Vermont Beers: A History

VT Blog

Tasting Notes from Vermonts Beers

Lawson’s Finest Liquids – The Space In Between APA

Odd green color, with an aroma of citrus, pine, and grass. Lots of flavoring hops here give this beer a very robust flavor of citrus and grass. A touch of grapefruit peel on the backend gives this beer a delightful finish.

Zero Gravity Craft Brewery – Conehead IPA

Very citrus all around, this all citra session IPA is very unique in the flavors, some orange, lemon, and grapefruit abound in this beer. A light bodied beer that you can drink all day long if you wanted too!

Lawson’s Finest Liquids – Sip of Sunshine Imperial NE IPA

Lawson’s flagship beer and one of the most famous beers in the state of Vermont. This is one of the standards of the style. The nose is more bitter than expected with a lot of tropical fruit and resin in the aroma. Big flavors with a soft mouthfeel, this beer is very good and a nice twist on the NE IPA style compared to the juice bombs.

Frost Beer Works – West Coast Style Double IPA

This is a true west coast style DIPA. An unfiltered darker IPA, mostly orange in color compared to the other IPAs we have had. This has a big west coast dank aroma and flavor. Pretty astringent and some sweetness, this beer will not slip up on you. This beer looks east coast but tastes west coast.

Burlington Beer Company – Floating Wonder Gose

A crazy gose with a bunch of fruit flavors and vanilla all mixed together. The nose has vanilla and a nice salty tartness. The cherry flavor is hidden, but the other fruit flavors come through great and balance with the vanilla to make this beer taste like a melted fruit milkshake. This is a true dessert beer.

Final Thoughts on Vermont Beers

Travis preferred the Floating Wonder, followed by the Sip of Sunshine, Conehead, Space in Between, and the West Coast DIPA in that order. Andrew’s order was Floating Wonder, Space in Between, Conehead, Sip of Sunshine, and finally the West Coast DIPA. Vermont beers are fun and very hop forward. A little sweeter and always unfiltered, these beers are great and you should try and find some at your local bottle shop!

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American Pale Ale Style Guide

 

Pale Ale

History

The American Pale Ale is a fascinating style, with few rules. Starting as an English Bitter, but with the US Cascade hop, this style has barely changed and some of the original APAs are still available. Considered the original US craft style, this truly is the progenitor of all US craft beer. Overall the goal of this style is balance between the three main flavor characteristics: hops, malts, and yeast. Most APAs have very little yeast characteristics as they use a clean fermenting yeast, however having a solid malt base with caramel malts gives this style a balanced sweetness to work with the hops. APAs are generally around 5% ABV and between 30-50 IBUs. There are variants of the style, specifically the American Strong Ale, but with no set rules on which hops to use the flavor combinations are nearly endless. Personally this is one of our favorite styles and is a great barometer of your local craft brewery, if they can make a balanced and tasty APA you can trust them to make good beer.

APA All

Tasting Notes of American Pale Ales

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

The original APA, this beer is brewed with all Cascade and is a perfect balance of caramel and piney hops. Easy drinking and pale blonde color, perfect for any time of year.

Sugar Creek Pale Ale

A more robust nose than the Sierra Nevada with a lot of pine. There is a little bit of bitterness, but a nice toastiness on the flavor with some grapefruit to balance out the sweetness. 

Tree Meadows Three-eyed Squirrel

A homebrew special from Andrew using BIAB style. The New Zealand hops really bring out the orange flavors. The nose and palate have strong orange marmalade tones. There is a bunch of lingering bitterness, and really needs to be balanced better to be a true APA. For the recipe click check out our homebrew corner.

Oskar Blues Dale’s Pale Ale

Very floral in the aroma with a touch of grapefruit. Unlike the Sierra Nevada, this is not too balanced and is much more bitter with a big beer feel. The hops really shine through with the malt really taking a back seat.

Appalachian Mountain Brewery Spoaty Oaty

This beer is most similar to the Sierra Nevada Pale with a nice creamy oatmeal mouthfeel. Nice and smooth with a touch of citrus and pine. A really good beer that is a great iteration on the OG APA.

Final Thoughts on American Pale Ales

We really like this style as it allows for a lot of variety in the flavor and it is a great way to get into craft beer. Because of the balance this style generally goes well with any food. Andrew’s favorite beer of the night was the Sugar Creek and Travis thought it was the most unique. If you want to try out an APA, we highly recommend trying out the OG Sierra Nevada.

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Happy Bastille Day!

Notes de dégustation de la French Beer Week

Boum’r Brasserie White IPA with Chinook and Citra

A similar aroma to a wheat beer with a lot of grapefruit, some basil, pepper, and a touch of Belgian funk. Not as acidic as expected, but some good lemon tones and a touch of farmhouse funk from the French yeast and malt.

Matten La Schwortz Biere noire (stout)

Lovely roasty nose with note of coffee and peat. However the mouthfeel on this stout is extremely light and the flavor is more of acidic coffee with just a touch of dark fruits. All in all, this beer smells more like Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, but tastes like a regular Guinness Stout and is very thin.

Kronenbourg 1664 Lager

This beer was exceptionally funked and had a bold weed nose with notes of honey. On the palate we got a lot of honey, but the flavor overall was not good. This beer was too sweet with almost no bitterness and is best described as a very bad German lager.

Bisaigue Kaeffer Beer IPA

A little bit of grape must on the nose goes well with the rest of the standard West-Coast IPA tones we are used to in American beers. This beer is very much a French attempt at a West-Coast IPA with some light grape tones. Supposedly very hoppy, but not by our American standards.

Dernières réflexions sur la bière française

We were rather impressed with the French craft beer we tried, however the Kronenbourg was absolutely terrible. With the freedom to brew without following tradition it is fascinating to try out all the new beer that can come from this traditional wine power, however we just need to get it over to America! Travis and Courtney preferred the Bisaigue IPA while Andrew and Laura thought the Boum’r White IPA was the best.

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Summer Shandy Episode

Shandy

Tasting Notes from our Shandy Episode

Leinenkugel Summer Shandy

Reminding us of college, this beer was not our favorite. Tasted like fake lemon and almost no beer flavor. While we did learn more about the Jambulance than we ever expected, we did not care for this as it is very sweet and light and is best described as bad lemonade.

Stiegl Zitrone Radler

Smells like lemonade with more natural lemon aroma. While this beer has very little alcohol (2.5% ABV!), it has good flavor for a shandy and is quite refreshing. The lemon is not too strong and while it is sweet it is not overpowering.

Flying Dog Summer Rental Grapefruit Radler

A fairly light nose, even though the beer is darker. Not as much grapefruit flavor or aroma as we expected. A touch of bitterness on the backend and definately the least sweet of the 4 shandys we tried.

Narragansett Del’s Watermelon Shandy

Biggest nose of the night with watermelon and candy tones in the aroma. This beer is fairly heavy in the mouth and dull on the palate. This cleans like watermelon, with not much lingering after the initial drink.

Final Thoughts on Shandys

None of these were particularly good to us, but Kim and Laura liked the Flying Dog Summer Rental the most and Andrew preferred the flavors of the Stiegl Radler, however we were not very impressed in general and would not recommend shandys as a general rule.

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Deschutes Brewery

Tasting Notes from Deschutes  Brewery

Twilight Summer Ale

Very smooth yeast aroma with hints of citrus. This was a very refreshing beer that we both really enjoyed, even if it wasn’t exactly what we expected as this lacked lemon which we associate with summer ales.

Fresh Squeezed IPA

Big caveat: we do not know how old our can was and we think that may have impacted our beer.

On the nose we detected some citrus and astringency. On the flavor we got some grapefruit, some citrus, and some pine, more like a DIPA with a touch of astringency and some pineapple notes.

Fresh Haze Hazy IPA

This hazy IPA is not too hazy, but it does clearly have a nice haze to it. The nose is similar to a Terrapin beer that we have had before, and is unlike many hazy IPAs in its aroma. The flavor is very much like orange juice, especially upfront. There is a nice soft mouthfeel and a touch of sweetness to this beer as well.

Black Butte Porter

The nose is more roasty with notes of creaminess. On the palate this beer held up well. A fairly thick mouthfeel, dark chocolate notes, and some coffee. This reminded us more of a mocha, but it was really delicious.

Final Thoughts on Deschutes

We thought the Fresh Haze wasn’t anything special, but fits nicely into the haze craze. We enjoyed the Twilight Summer Ale as it is unique considering the style. Andrew’s favorites were the Twilight Summer ale and the Black Butte. Try Deschutes if you are able to find their beer as it is very good, but on the East Coast our options have been very limited recently.

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Cigar City Brewing

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Tasting Notes from Cigar City Brewing

Florida Cracker Belgian-Style White Ale

This clear white ale has aromas of coriander and notes of citrus on the tongue. While Cigar City claims this beer is hazy, ours was completely clear. Both Travis and Andrew enjoyed the Belgian yeast tones, and Travis was able to get a touch of bubblegum in the flavor. All in all this is a very easy drinking white ale that we think is a good craft beer introduction.

Guayabera Citra Pale Ale

Named after a very unique/hideous shirt, this beer tastes much better than a Guayabera shirt looks. Lovely nose with a heavy dose of tangerine and some lime. A very bitter pale ale with a touch of breadyness on the backend. We really enjoyed this beer as it was not too bitter but perfectly well balanced.

Tocobaga Red IPA

Nice red color with a heavy nose of crusty multigrain bread and caramel. On the tongue we detected a touch of astringency, pine, and a little bit of blueberry in addition to the bread profile from the malt.

Jai Alai IPA

Pronounced “Hi-Li”, this IPA is Cigar City’s flagship beer and has a very busy hop bill using 6 different hops. Lot of orange and caramel on the nose. This is a good drinking IPA with a slight maltiness and wonderful flavor blend without one strong flavor note beyond some citrus. If you like a good hop bill without one strong characteristic that takes over your palate.

White Oak Jai Alai Oak Aged IPA

Smells very similar to the standard Jai Alai, but with additional notes of oak. The oak imparts a silkier mouthfeel than traditional Jai Alai, more like a buttery chardonnay. We did pick up notes of vanilla and only the slightest bit of dill. The hops balance out the oak tannins well, but this does not taste like traditional Jai Alai to the point that in a blind tasting you would not be able to tell they are the same base. We think this would go well with a spicy fish curry.

Final Thoughts on Cigar City

We liked everything we had from Cigar City. We both enjoyed the Guayabera and the Florida Cracker was surprisingly enjoyable. Andrew of course likes the oak aged Jai Alai and the standard Jai Alai is Travis’ go to from Cigar City. All in all, we highly recommend Cigar City and you should definitely go out and get some!

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pFriem Family Brewing

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Pilsner

Very robust nose for a pilsner, with high IBUs, this Pilsner is quite floral on the nose. Fresh grass is correct in the flavor, and this a very good pilsner, even though it is a touch different than a standard pilsner.

IPA

Zounds! This IPA, while harkening back to England, is clearly a West-Coast tropical IPA. With a lovely hop body, this beer has all the hallmarks of pineapple and guava that we expect from a tropical American IPA. This is a solid IPA, even if it is not wholly unique.

Flanders Red Ale
Sour cherry nose makes you think this beer will be more sour than it is, however it is only slightly tart. It has a very smooth mouthfeel, almost as if its on nitro, but this beer is robust and fun with a lot of funk, sherry, and oak.

Final Thoughts on pFriem Family Brewing

We really enjoyed the beer from pFriem and would really like to visit again. The beer was all excellent and unique. If you like good Belgian beers and live in Oregon, absolutely give pFriem a try!