Urthel Hopit

The label says this is a "superior hoppy blonde ale", and I have to agree. It's a 9.5% abv from the Netherlands and I have to say it's really good. I expected it to be a bit more like the Belgian beers, but this has a great hoppy flavor. You don't see too many big hop flavors from that region.

Hopit has a cloudy, golden color, and a delicate sweetness. There's a bit of aftertaste, but nothing to really detract. I appreciate the hops in the aroma and taste. In the end, I conclude that this is remarkably like all those Belgian beers I've had with a lot of extra hops. It's quite good!

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Goose Island Matilda

Gorgeous. Even a visiting Chicago native was singing praises about this beer after I very regretfully let him take a sip.

Goose Island is a great brewery and I've been finding some small batch brews, which lets me know that they keep experimenting. I bought this one at New Beer Distributor, but I also found it on tap at Schoolbred's in the East Village. It's a Belgian-style that has a beautiful brown-amber color. It has a nice light flavor with a hint of fruit. It has a fresh smell and you can sense the presence of good hops, although they don't have a starring roles. There's a slight alcohol bite at 7%, but this might be one of the best Belgian-style beers I've had from a US brewery.

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Oerbier by DeDolle Brouwers

This brew is dark and chocolatey. It has a slightly pungent aroma and tastes strong but not astringent. Interestingly, the bottle had a ton of sediment. This Belgian is 9% and has a thick, heavy taste.

Oerbier is good if you like rich, brown beers. But don't order this if you're expecting something like Duvel.

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Souther Tier Unearthly IPA

(image from TimeOut)

This image is from a timeout article and I used it because I had this beer for the first time at Spitzer's Corner in the LES. This gastropub is great, and this beer is F***KING incredible.

It's a brilliant beer from a brewery that someone recently turned me on to. Southern Tier claims it's a double IPA, and it's got a thick, deep flavor with a hint of citrus. It feels very heavy as you drink it, yet somehow doesn't fill you up and overpower you somehow. It's a miracle. It has a sweet, deep flavor of malt but is balanced by the strong, aromatic, and flavorful hops. It's awesome. At 11%, it's a barn-burner but there's something about this beer that will make me order it anytime I see it.

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Dogfish Head Burton Baton

This is quite an interesting beer from Dogfish Head, a company that continually surprises me every time I try a new beer of theirs. This beer is an oak-aged Imperial IPA that is quite delicious. It has a tight bubbled carbonation, a nice reddish amber hue, and is relatively clear (although dark enough to not see all the way through). This brew is sweet, but not overly malty, which is what I like. At 10%, this is a strong beer but it's flavor is great so that makes it dangerous in terms of getting happy very fast. The alcohol does not overwhelm the flavor though.

Overall, this wouldn't be a beer I'd drink all night due to the moderate sweetness. But, it is refreshing and a nice brew.

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Victory Golden Monkey

This brew from Victory is pretty solid. It's a triple, very sweet & fruity, and has a light clear golden color. At 8% it's fairly alcoholic, but the sweetness compensates for the bite to create a good balance. It's reminiscent of a wheat beer, but it has a bit more bite and nice fruit flavors.

I'd give it another shot, so would the girlfriend.

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St. Bernardus 12 Quadrupel

Wow! A very complex beer. Super malty, extremely dark, 10.5%, and rather sweet. Kind of tastes like a really ripe stone fruit of some kind. A bit of old cherry and peach. This beer is fairly intense in its flavor profile. It's very thick and a beer for sipping, not for gulping.

This beer is very interesting for those who like Belgian beers that have been given a lot of extra love in the secondary fermenters. I'd recommend trying it if you're adventurous. But it's one of those "one and done" beers that are good to try, but not one you'll seek out again unless it's your thing.

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Cooper's Lager

See review of James Boag's below. This is the same deal. Not bad, not great. It's an export lager. Enough said.

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James Boag's Premium Lager

An Australian Lager (well, actually a Tasmania lager). I don't have much to say about this. It's an export lager and it's not bad but it's not great. It's an average beer with decent flavor that everyone who drinks beer has had some variation of at some point whether it's from the US, Belgium, Holland, New Zealand, whatever.

Drinkable, but nothing to write home about.

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Witkap-Pater Abbey Triple Ale

The Wikap-Pater is a Belgian beer with a deep, golden color. In fact, it's almost rather when it's not in direct light. It's fairly high in alcohol at 7.5% and seemed to have fairly low carbonation as it was poured from the bottle. The beer is rather cloudy and had a thick layer of sediment that I didn't stir up and pour into the glass. Usually I always include the sediment but since it was already pretty cloudy I opted not to this time.

On tasting, this beer has a mild sweetness in the presence of a bit of alcohol bite that hits your tongue. The girlfriend suggests that it has a minerally taste, and I agree but it's not really a negative. This beer has a nice flavor and good body. It'd definitely pick it up again.

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Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA

We went to Brother Jimmy's BBQ on 8th Avenue before a Rangers game (kicked the crap out of Florida!) and I had a couple of the Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA's. I don't see Flying Dog around too much for some reason.

This beer is very hoppy, which I like. It's also rather bitter and just oozes hops. It's really awesome if you're into strong hop everything. It's definitely not for the faint of heart and amateurs might think it's nasty.

I also found it had a clean finish for being so intensely hoppy.

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ABITA Andygator

I got this beer from New Beer Distributor on the LES in a 32 oz. flip top. They have some beer on tap and charge about $6 to fill a 32 oz. bottle. The best part is if you bring the bottle back you can fill it up again with whatever they have on tap for $2 cheaper, which is just like how you'd get beer before mass production.

ABITA Andygator is an interesting beer. It's good, but there's something a little funny about it that keeps it from being a favorite. It's golden and clear with a floral, sweet flavor. It didn't really have a strong aroma or a lot of carbonation, which is likely due to the keg to 32 oz. transfer it went through the day before I finally drank it.

At 8% abv it's strong, but you wouldn't really know it from the taste. It almost tastes like a light wheat or Belgian, in fact in kind of looks like one. There's something in the taste that I can't quite place, and the aftertaste is a bit funky. But, it's a smooth drink and a good alternative for times when I don't want to hit myself over the head with an IPA.

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Wittekerke Belgian Wheat

I actually shared this one, but it was really good so I wanted to record it. It's a Belgian wheat that is rather floral and fruity. It had a fizzy mouth feel, and the flavors were unique compared to the other wheat beers I usually drink. It's a lighter color and 5%, so it's closer to a Blue Moon or a Franziskaner than a Weihenstephaner or Schneiderweiss.

This is really a great alternative and a good one to try after getting spoiled by the prevalence of the major German Weiss beers.

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Inis & Gunn Oak-Aged

This beer was surprising in a number of ways. It's aged 77 days using oak barrels (although I think it's not in the barrels the whole time), which gives it a very unique flavor. Interestingly, there are hints of vanilla in the taste and nose. The nose has something mildly funky about it, but not in a discouraging way. The oak definitely works some magic and you can sense the similarities to scotch. It even looks a bit like scotch. The taste is a bit sweet too, but not overly malty.

This beer from Scotland is one of the more interesting beers I've ever had. For that reason, I'd recommend it to people. Although I don't think it'll be my first choice any time soon.

Also had this at 10 Degrees.

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Goldstar Lager

Every country has one of these. It's Israel's version. A plain old lager like is mass produced for export everywhere. Budweiser, Heineken, Steinlager, etc, etc.

Also had this at 10 Degrees in NYC.

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Avery IPA

We went to 10 Degrees on St. Marks and I saw the Avery IPA on the menu. I was excited because I'd read somewhere that Avery is a great brewery.

This beer is a very smooth, rather gentle IPA. It's not overly hoppy and is probably a great way for people to get into IPAs. It's really very good and balanced and doesn't try to blow your taste buds away with crazy hops.

I like this beer and would definitely turn to it if I didn't want to go for the huge flavors one night.

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Goose Island Demolition 2007

A great beer from the great Chicago brewery, Goose Island. I fell in love with Goose Island Honker's Ale when I used to live in Chicago. This brew has Saaz and Styrian hops which yield a fresh, grassy, citrus aroma and taste. Makes me feel like I'm in a hop field, but not in an overbearing way. It tastes really fresh on the tongue with a great floral aroma. It's very smooth and mild with a delicate, yet well-developed hops profile. It's golden in color, darker than most Belgians, and a bit cloudy.

With it's great flavor, aroma, and clean finish this is a top beer. Love it. You can taste the fresh hops, with the smoothness of a Belgian, and the subtle bitterness of a Pilsner.

$2.75 at New Beer Distributors.

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Achel Trappist Biere Blonde

This Belgian has a nice golden color, is a bit cloudy, and has quite a fizzy head. The bubbles are actually quite large, which is a bit surprising, and creates a bit of effervescence. It's closest to Duvel or a Chimay, but not quite as refined. Although it's not as sweet as some Belgians.

The only problem I have is that there seems to be a bit of a metallic taste. Perhaps, this one has been in the store for a while and picked up some bottlecap.

Overall, it's a good Belgian blonde with a nice fizz, but the metallic aftertatse is a bit off-putting. It's not overly sweet, which is good, but not overly smooth either.

$5 at New Beer Distributor.

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