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Archive for the ‘Brewer: Clipper City’ Category

The Bruery Autumn Maple

October 13th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Clipper City, Brewer: The Bruery, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Grade: A-, Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, Style: Pumpkin Ale

10% ABV bottled


I have just recovered from a big four-day drinking weekend down in Washington, D.C., highlighted by my first ever visit to Rustico’s Oktoberfest.  Luckily, it was a little drizzly out which kept the kind of drinking element away who only hears about events in this world courtesy of “morning zoo” DJs while listening to Top 40 radio.  The overt beer geek element was fairly low too for that matter, now that I think about it, though I did see one dweeb in a Kate the Great shirt proudly trying to get his picture taken with a “St. Pauli Girl” whose boobs were veinier than Iggy Pop’s arms.  It was mostly an Alexandria/Arlington lot of MILFy women in giant fuck-me boots with even gianter rocks on their hands and pushing the most giantest strollers you done ever seen.  As much as I wanted to hate on these women for pushing SUV-sized strollers of crying babies through a beer festival, I was actually kind of jealous that these runner-up trophy wives got their own portable cupholders for them to place their beers in while showing off their engagement rings to other yentas or while holding hands with their latently homosexual husbands.  But I digress.

I think I have now well exceeded my amount of fall seasonal beers for 2009 and like the smart kid in elementary school, I may need to skip a grade all the way to winter drinking.  I tell ya’, if I never see a malty marzen or a pumpkiny pumpkin beer again this year, it might be too soon.  Some of my fall seasonal highlights of the Oktoberfest, all which I’d score an A- minimum:

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale
Avery The Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest
Bear Republic Late Harvest Oktoberfest
Clipper City Heavy Seas - Prosit! Oktoberfest (cask)

(Surprisingly, my lowlight of the weekend, besides passing out wasted at 8:30 PM on Saturday night, was Flying Dog’s Dogtoberfest, recently awarded the gold medal in the marzen category at the Great American Beer Festival.  I found it to be a stunningly awful malt mess and since I had no drain nearby to pour it down, I had to resort to dumping onto the parking lot near the Port-o-Potty release plug.  Fitting.)

But my two highlights for the weekend would be Clipper City’s Heavy Seas - The Great Pumpkin and The Bruery’s Autumn Maple.  I had The Great Pumpkin on cask and I have to say, flat out, it is the best pumpkin beer I have ever had by an order of magnitude.  Well outperforming such legendary luminaries as Southern Tier’s Pumking and Dogfish Head’s Punkin, my previously-thought-to-be two best in the category.  The Great Pumpkin tastes like if you just dunked your head in a giant pumpkin pie.  It’s probably the most pumpkin-tasting pumpkin I’ve ever had as it doesn’t suffer from the over-spicing a lot of pumpkin ales do.  And it’s so silky and creamy, oozing down your throat as smooth as a nitro Guinness.  Whereas even the best pumpkin ales one grows sick of after a pint or two, this was the one beer I kept revisiting at the festival, going back to the cask booth time after time after time.  I really wish I had a cask of this in my house right now, it was that good.  Perhaps it was the fact that it was my first ever pumpkin beer on cask–I got to compare The Great Pumpkin side-by-side on tap and it simply lacked the same oomph the cask version had–but this one deserves legendary status.  A very impressive effort for Baltimore’s Clipper City.


Now, full disclosure, Autumn Maple was actually the only beer I have discussed today that wasn’t available at the Oktoberfest but I did happen to try it the very same day.  A damn shame it wasn’t at the festival, because this might be the finest “Oktober” beer around.  Like most The Bruery beers this is a most unique creation.  Instead of opting to make a pumpkin beer for fall like everyone else, the boys from Orange County opted for a sweet potato beer.*  Huh?!!!  Mmmmm, actually.  Yams and maple syrup, tons of classic pumpkiny spices, this beer absolute worked for me and along with The Great Pumpkin has to be maybe the best seasonal beer out currently.  I know most The Bruery beers are a little pricey compared to other American options, but don’t be scared off in this case.  I’m shocked that it merely gets a B on Beer Advocate because this is very much a solid…


*Perhaps for a lack of a category at the moment, BA lists Autumn Maple as a Belgian Strong Dark.  Whatever.

Heavy Seas - Peg Leg Imperial Stout

July 1st, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Clipper City, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Stout

8% ABV on cask

Being an internationally famous beer blogger, you can imagine the scene when I go to my sporting arena–the bar. Luckily enough, future NBA bust Roy Hibbert and his crew of dorky hangers-on happened to saunter into the same bar as me and my crew of Herculean beer and bourbon drinkers and thus most of the tavern’s clientele was focused on the 7′1″ freak of nature as opposed to me. Perfect. I like it that way. Signing autographs can be annoying when you’re trying to focus on your drink. And a nicely poured beer is far sexier to me than some Georgetown slut.

Derek had discovered a quasi-secret bar hidden at the back and downstairs of an unassuming wood-burning stone-oven pizzeria, Pizza Paradiso. The place was as tiny as a VFW bar and totally lacking in ambiance, but their beer list was indeed exquisite and their pizza was about as good as a bar snack can get.

First, I ordered a Clipper City Heavy Seas Peg Leg Imperial Stout on cask. Surely the longest beer name I’ve ever seen on a menu. I’m usually very leery about cask beer and in fact rarely order it.  Not that many American bars actually have it.  As with a lot of things I drink, I’m not actually sure what cask beer is but I typically associate it with brews that are dispatched slowly from odd, low-level hand pumps and that are usually warm and lacking carbonation.  Oh, and that I usually don’t dig that much, probably because I’m a dumb American say the Europeans.

Doing some heavy, heavy research though, I find that there’s no reason to avoid cask as it is essentially the freshest beer one can get.  It’s unfiltered which usually means it is still fermenting (I’ve discussed secondary fermentation before) and is served without additional N or CO2 pressure.  True, it tastes much different than ordinary beers but who wants ordinary?  I must admit, I really enjoyed this brew and I’m going to begin pursuing more cask beers.

Heavy Seas - Peg Leg is a fantastic stout.  Who knew they made such good beers in Maryland?  It’s visually one of the better looking beers I’ve ever seen.  Incredibly dark like a shiny black marble.  Smell and taste of roasted coffee and barley as well as dark, dark chocolate.  Very smooth and creamy and goes down easily with hardly any bite.  One of the more drinkable Russian Imperial Stouts I’ve ever had.  Any Tsar would be tickled by it.