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Archive for the ‘Style: Belgian Pale Ale’ Category

Smuttynose Robust Porter

November 9th, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 2 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Smuttynose, Country: America, Grade: A regular, Grade: A-, Grade: A-/B+, Grade: B plus, Style: Belgian Pale Ale, Style: IPA, Style: Porter

5.7% ABV bottled

The Most Underrated Brewery Around

This is an era of hype and of overrating things.  Of proclaiming each new thing the “best” and the “greatest,” and constantly trying to rank things in an easily digestible top 5 or top 10 or top 100 order. Even I had thought of doing a list of the most overrated breweries in America.  Because, of course, everything in this world nowadays is overrated in some way or other.  In fact, it would seem impossible for something, especially something well-known, to be underrated.  But sometimes things just slip through the cracks.  And today I want to talk about the most underrated brewery in America:  Smuttynose from Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

I’ve been guilty of underrating this fine brewery for far too long.  So has everyone else.  Why is that?  They have nicely named beers with great labels, their taps and bottles are ubiquitous on the East Coast and always at an incredibly reasonable price, and, naturally, all their beers are delicious.  But for some reason, I’ve never intentionally sought out Smuttynose beer, nor even reviewed a single one of their brews on The Vice Blog.  For shame, Aaron, for shame.  That’s all about to change with this post.

The odd thing is, aside from their popular pumpkin seasonal beer, I’m not even sure if I’d ever even had a Smuttynose release until I tried their eye-openingly good Smuttynose Gravitation Quad at this year SAVOR event, finding it to be perhaps the best American quadruple around, and good enough to stack up with the legendary Belgians.  It was maybe my favorite beer at a festival that had dozens of rarer and more ballyhooed beers.

Now you would think my experience at SAVOR would have been a watershed moment for me and I would have begun to intentionally start seeking out Smuttynose beers.  But, dumbly, I still didn’t.  I still passed over the countless reasonably priced offerings for sale at my bottle shops, avoided their taps while tying one on, eschewed their offerings completely.  Perhaps it was the simple fact that I always knew I could get Smuttynose beers if I wanted to that led me to avoid them.  Like the slutty girl on your dorm floor that you never hook up with because you know you can always hook up with her if need be.

The next time I tried a Smuttynose offering was the next time I was forced to.  At a mediocre Williamsburg bar with all macro offerings save Smuttynose IPA “Finest Kind,” I obviously had no choice.  And so glad my hand was forced because this is one of the most unique beers I’ve had this year.  Far and away the most pungently bitter IPA I’ve ever had, on my first tasting I alternated between sips of “this is amazing” and sips of “this is absolutely wretched.”  But for the rest of the week I couldn’t get the beer off my mind, and with future tastings I came to adore it.  Finest Kind now stands as one of my favorite single IPAs that are readily available, and if I’m at a bar with a tap of it, I now always have to have a pint.  (A-)

Yet even with that experience I was still not a Smuttynose acolyte.  Next, while trying to find a beer my sister might enjoy, I gave Smuttynose’s Hanami Ale a whirl and I was greatly impressed by this spring seasonal.  A nice and refreshing beer, this is the rare fruit beer that isn’t too overpowering, nor does it have a phony, artificial syrupy taste like most fruit beers.  Hanami Ale is now one of my go-to recommendations to girls-that-claim-they-hate-beer-but-are-forced-to-drink-beer-with-me.  And, you know, they always love it.  (B+)

Later this very summer, while at Rattle ‘n’ Hum one Saturday afternoon, I noticed Smuttynose’s Baltic Porter as being the only beer on the menu I had never tried.  Interestingly, as much as I had ignored Smuttynose, I had been ignoring porters for even longer.  For some reason, I assumed them to be the red-headed step-brother of far superior stouts.  I’ve since learned that is very much not the case and, in fact, though they are similar and this is purely anecdotal, I’ve found, ceteris paribus, that I actually often enjoy porters more than stouts.  Whereas a bad stout can have that overly roasted, burnt taste like a Starbucks coffee, porters often have a more pleasant, sweet and malty taste.  Such is the case with this phenomenal Baltic Porter.  Big bold flavors of sweet dark fruits with just an underlying hint of chocolate, this is one incredible beer.  (A)

Shockingly, I still wasn’t on the Smuttynose bandwagon.  What the fuck did I need?!  Am I such a dope that I need a brewery to have multiple entries on the Beer Advocate Top 100, that I need them to have a slew of barrel-aged beers, that I need them to have countless small batch release parties and overpriced beers for me to hail their greatness?  I guess so, because, again, just this week while watching the Yankees clinch #27, I only ordered Smuttynose’s Star Island Single because I was forced to with nothing else appealing on tap.  Glad my hand was played again because this Belgian pale ale, Smuttynose’s newest regular lineup release, is imminently drinkable and quite tasty.  Strong tastes of banana Laffy Taffy-like esters, honey and a nice citrusy yeastiness, I could drink these all night.  And, in fact, I did for 9 innings.  (A-/B+)

Finally, after having liked, loved, and been blow away by five Smuttynose beers in a row, did I decide last night to intentionally purchase one, grabbing a bottle of their Robust Porter to enjoy with the “Mad Men” finale.  Of course, such as life, this was my least favorite Smuttynose beer so far, but it was still very solid.  Dry and roasted, with a nice coffee and chocolate taste, this is a no-frills beer that is quite drinakble.  (B+)

I feel like it’s taken me a full year, if not a whole beer-drinking lifetime, to “discover” a brewery.  A brewery whose beers have been around me since I first started tippling the good stuff.  I’m excited to now have tons of new beers I want to try from Smuttynose.  Their Really Old Brown Dog old ale and their Big A IPA and their imperial stout and wheatwine and barleywine and all their others I have yet to have.

I still don’t understand why Smuttynose is universally underrated, maybe it’s due to their odd name, maybe due to getting overshadowed by their sister brewery Portsmouth and their legendary Kate the Great imperial stout, but I will no longer underrate what has easily become one of my favorite breweries in America.  Nor should you.

Westvleteren 8

August 2nd, 2009 by Aaron Goldfarb | 3 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Brouwerij Westvleteren, Country: Belgium, Grade: A plus, Grade: B plus, Style: Belgian Pale Ale, Style: Dubbel

8% ABV bottled

Last Friday would prove to be one of the greatest extended drinking days of my life, and when all was said and done, I had polished off eight top 100 beers, five of them in the top 25, and three in the top 10.*  The centerpiece of the day being a much-anticipated blind tasting between the two best quadruples in the world:  Belgian trappist beers Westvleteren 12 and Rochefort 10.  Now these beers are often said to be nearly identical.  Rochefort 10 considered a worthy and accessible proxy for the rarer Westvleteren 12.  In fact, many people think the 11th rated Rochefort 10 to be every bit as good as the “best beer in the world” Westvleteren 12, save for the fact that it can pretty much be bought in every Whole Foods in America while the Westy is only able for purchase on a few days a year and straight from the source, the Abbey of Saint Sixtus.  I’d had one bottle of each beer previously, given each an enthusiastic A+, and though these tastings had been separated by several months, in my mind I believed that Rochefort 10 was the better beer.  In my notes I had thought it boozier and with a more pleasant candi taste that the muted Westvleteren 12.

Well…let the blind tasting speak for itself:  Westvleteren 12 absolutely humbled Rochefort 10.  The Rochefort–how can I put this?–smelled vomitous.  I thought I had a dirty glass at first, but no, it was certainly the beer.  And The Captain agreed with me.  Did we have a bad bottle?  No, I just suspect the Westy was so damn good it had rendered the Rochefort 10 worse in our mind.  Admittedly, though, the Rochefort’s taste was fine, even good.  Boozy, a little uneven, a dry maltiness and minimal candi taste.  The superior Westy though was sweet and incredibly smooth, liquid silk, with tastes of dark fruit, Belgian candi, and toffee.  And, this time, the semi-mocking quote marks came off and it was truly THE BEST BEER IN THE WORLD.  On this day at least.  I had never had a better single beer.  Which is what makes great beer interesting.  A different batch, a little more aging, a little less aging, and even the same beer can be eons different.  Perhaps the next time these two venerable quads face each other the results will differ, but on this one day in July, 2009, Manhattan, New York City, Westvleteren 12 was the ungodly victor.

Later, I got my first crack at little brother Westvleteren 8, a dubbel.  I can now proudly say I have had 21 of the top 25 BA-ranked beers in the world, only lacking four hard-to-obtain tap-only offerings.**  And, just like Westy 12, Westy 8 would quickly replace Westmalle as the best dubbel I’ve now ever had.  A creamy yeast and malt combination with some raisins, plums, and just a touch a smooth booziness.  Thinner mouthfeel and a tad more carbonation than Westy 12, which is to be expected.  Perfectly constructed.  Simply sublime.


Westvleteren Blonde

5.8% ABV bottled

Finally, I got to complete the trappist troika with Westy Blonde, the low-ABV “table beer” for the Saint Sixtus’s monks.  This beer is obviously not meant to knock your socks off, and it doesn’t, especially since I don’t believe monks wear socks, but it is still quite solid.  Tart, fizzy, almost a little sour like a subtle Brett beer.  Just nice craftsmanship.  This is a very good session beer and a nice little bottle of “liquid bread.”  Don’t trade the farm to acquire some, but an interesting beer curio for sure, and I am happy to have had it.


*R-L:  Three Floyds Dark Lord, Rochefort 10, Lost Abbey Angel’s Share bourbon and brandy barrel-aged, Westy Blond, Westy 8, and Westy 12.

My day would also include, among others:  Stone Imperial Russian Stout (on tap!), Goose Island Night Stalker (on tap!), AleSmith YuleSmith, and Brooklyn Locals 1 and 2.  Wow!

**For the record:  Pliny the Younger, Dark Lord Vanilla Bean, Dark Lord Oaked, and Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout.  I wonder if I’ll ever locate these bad boys or attend the rare events where they are tapped.

A Cornucopia of Christmas Beers

December 15th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Abita, Brewer: Blue Point, Brewer: Coors, Brewer: Sierra Nevada, Country: America, Grade: A-, Grade: B-, Grade: C plus, Grade: C-, Style: Belgian Pale Ale, Style: Brown Ale, Style: IPA, Style: Winter Warmer

Feeling a little bit frisky on Saturday afternoon, I decided to buy every single Christmas/winter seasonal beer I had yet to have from the local supermarket and prebar with a cornucopia of the typically-spiced brews.

Blue Moon Full Moon

5.6% ABV

It is well-known how much I really kinda detest Blue Moon–Coors’ hush-hush attempt at trying to make microbrews–thinking it everything wrong with beer. Meant to be “good,” but in reality just mass-produced stuff that chickens out and appeals to no one. Too lame for real beer geeks, too non-watered down for novice drinkers. Though a lot of girls seem to like it if plenty of orange slices are added. I don’t know why I thought Full Moon would be better. The label actually almost convinced me with its claim to be an “abbey ale brewed with a hint of dark Belgian sugar.” Boy, the gall! I realized almost immediately what a con artist this bottle was. Well, not immediately. The first thing I realized was–beer snob alert!–this has to be one of the first twist-top bottles I’ve had in months. Kinda nice actually, I can never find my bottle opener and always need the Nigerian kid next door to bite my caps off. The second thing I noticed was that Full Moon poured quite dark, like a legit dubbel or something, whatdayaknow? Surely one of the darker American macros I’ve ever seen. The taste is all wrong though. Blue Moon again acts cowardly by ostensibly starting off with good intentions but by then pulling punches to try and appeal to the masses. What this actually tastes like is a decent dubbel that has been mixed with 50% tap water. Imagine that.


Abita Christmas Ale 2008

Unknown ABV (seriously Abita, list your fucking ABV, it’s like the only stat we all care about!)

Abita is another brewery that really rubs me the wrong way. Oh, how many times I’ve bought one of their beers, one of their countless new releases, thinking, “Hmmmm…that sounds interesting, that sounds good.” It never is. Abita is surely one of the shittiest prominent craft breweries in America. Nice labels, but everything they make is mediocre at best to absolute dreck at worst. Don’t tell that to a Louisianan though! Yet again, Abita tricked me here with their slick hologram-esque, unphotographable label*. This beer was just garbage. Not bad-tasting or anything, just not-tasting. Called a brown ale, it did indeed look that way, but tastes of absolute water. If the World Beer Championships ever held a contest to see who could make the darkest colored beer with no flavor, I think we might have our winner here. You fooled me yet again, Abita. What’s the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me for like the forty-fifth time, Abita, and…yeah, I’ll probably still take a whirl on your next shitty seasonal selection.”  Got anything in the works for Valentine’s Day?  Perhaps a beer steeped with those chalky little candy hearts?!


Blue Point Winter Ale

4.5% ABV

With all these shitty Christmas beers, I was starting to be happy to be a dirty Jew. Also because I don’t have to hang out with people I hate on December 25th, I can just go to the movies, eat steak, get wasted, and hang with sexy Jewesses (no, that’s not an oxymoron you antisemite). Blue Point, unlike Blue Moon and Abita, is a brewery that I have actually found to have made some respectable stuff in the past. No masterpieces or anything, but alotta solid efforts. Here is another one. Good hops and seasonal spices, this is probably the only legit “winter warmer” out of any of these four. I liked but didn’t love this one. Needs a higher ABV quite frankly to keep you toasty during the Yuletide season. At a minimum, though, Sam Adam’s and Brooklyn’s winters are better.


Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale

6.8% ABV

OK, nice red label with a wreath framing a pastoral picture of a snowcapped log cabin and the name “Celebration” would certainly make you think you’re getting a winter beer, full of nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and other egg-noggy type things. Nope. This is pretty much just a standard double IPA. And a good one at that. What in the world is Sierra Nevada thinking in making this their special winter seasonal? Who knows. But thanks, I guess.  Delicious and overhopped in a good way, sticky and full of citrus sensations, this one is worth searching out. As a “winter” beer this is an abject failure, but just as a beer, it is probably the best Sierra Nevada I’ve ever had and a damn fine IPA.  I can’t wait for Sierra Nevada’s summer beachtime seasonal release, tentatively slated to be a 13% ABV dark chocolate and coffee stout that actually give the inside of your stomach a sunburn.


Final thought:  when are they ever gonna make me some Hanukkah seasonal beers? Perhaps a nice strong ale with tastes of potato latke, chocolate gelt, and dreidels? YUM.

*Perhaps they make unphotographable labels so that one can never actually prove they drank a shitty Abita beer?

Flat Earth Convention Ale

September 17th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | 4 Comments | Filed in Brewer: Flat Earth, Country: America, Grade: B plus, Style: Belgian Pale Ale

5.4% ABV from a bomber

There’s two schools of thought on how to walk the streets of New York. You can be like Barry Sanders, juking and jiving your way around slow-moving tourists, sidewalk-hosing bodega owners, and fatsos in Rascals, cutting right to left, behind newspaper bins, using bus stops and fire hydrants as your blockers as your try to quickly traverse the street. This certainly works but it is tiring and certainly not cool. No one looks at someone jitterbugging down the streets and thinks, “Now that is one sexy motherfucker.” I mean, how bad would the opening to “Saturday Night Fever” have been if famous homosexual John Travolta had implemented the Barry Sanders walk through Brooklyn? Something tells me the movie wouldn’t have been quite the cultural touchstone it became.

A second school of thought is to navigate the street like G.O.A.T. Jim Brown, picking an opening and with head down and shoulders even lower, busting through the crowds and sending any one in your path flying. This too is an effective process for Manhattan walking but results in people thinking you the high school bully who never grew up, still pacing through the halls knocking nerdy freshman out of the way. Plus, with all the crazies in the city, this method has a high potential for fisticuffs erupting.

Now I am one of the finest walkers in the entire city and I think that is because I shirk the common schools of thought and use a third school, a hybrid of the other two, hoofing it down the sidewalks ala Walter Payton. When I need to juke, I juke, but never too much. And when I need to lower my shoulder or use a oh-did-I-just-bump-you forearm to clear the way, I can do that too. And just like Sweetness, I never go out of bounds (the street).

It seems like hybrids of opposing schools of thoughts are always the best way to go. My feelings on politicians are well discussed and even if I do decide ever to vote again, I can’t imagine it being for either a Republican or a Democrat, it would have to be for someone with a bouillabaisse of values. It simply doesn’t make sense to be too far extreme in any direction in regards to…well almost anything.

Now that is not always the case with beers. I love overwhelmingly hoppy IPAs and overly alcoholic barley wines as much as the next guy, but I also like those oddball beers you can’t really pigeonhole. Such was the case with Flat Earth’s Convention Ale, a Minnesota brew specially made to celebrate the area’s hosting of the GOP Rah-Rah-a-thon. Said to have “a conservative amount of hops and a liberal amount of special malts” the brewery itself calls it a red ale, while Beer Advocate labels it a Belgian pale, Rate Beer gives it the always-ambiguous “summer” beer label, and I found it to be something completely different. But more on that in a sec.

I didn’t realize this til after I had opened the beer, but this brew has had strange problems whereas quite a few of the bottles have spontaneously exploded, sending shards of glass everywhere. In fact, the beer has actually been recalled, and with only 9 total reviews on Beer Advocate at the moment, it would seem to be an increasingly rare pop.

Luckily for your Vice Blogger, the bottle was enjoyed without a hitch. A light straw yellow almost-macro pour with a very, very bubbly head. It had a mild smell and I was begin to wonder if this simply was a fancified macro.

It wasn’t. it was very carbonated and bubbly in taste, Belgian yeast and moderate hop bitterness (38 IBUs). Quite a bit sour, almost like a weaker version of a wild ale. I realize by definite it cannot be a wild ale, but that’s exactly what it tastes of, like a poor man’s Cuvee de Castleton. A chalky finish and low ABV are its demerits.

Whatever it is, boy is Convention Ale one oddball beer. Very interesting, almost like a champagne. It took me a while to figure out if I loved it, liked it, or hated it, but I sure kept drinking it, was damn glad to try it, and utterly sad to finish my sole bottle.


Captain Lawrence Liquid Gold

June 17th, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Captain Lawrence, Country: America, Grade: A-, Style: Belgian Pale Ale

6% ABV on draught

House of Brews can kind of feel like a research library instead of a bar. I mean, yeah, they have plasma TVs showing sports, and they have a menu loaded with greasy and delicious foods replete with mayo-based dipping sauces, and sometimes even females show up there. On purpose. But, I don’t think people do a lot of picking up there–I certainly haven’t–and I don’t think many people get hammered there, and certainly there are not a lot of recently graduated frat boys that go there to pound Goose and tonics, yo. It’s a place to indulge in quality beer, nothing more, nothing less. Most people drinking there are alone or with a single other person. And, that’s absolutely fine by me. I hate being served high-quality beer by a pop tart of a bartender that knows more about drinks that end in -tini than she does about the nerdy questions I need to ask her about my brew (”Excuse me, miss, how many IBUs are in this barley wine?”). I hate trying to enjoy my brew in a refined manner while some finance guido whose bald pate is busting out of his dress shirt tries to get his bros to do SoCo and lime shots with him. Thus, House of Brews is a perfect place for peacefully drinking alone.

The last time I was there, sitting to my right was some mid-fifties guy from the Midwest wearing bifocals on the absolute tip of his nose like Santa Claus does when he’s making his list and checking it twice. The guy sipped his beers with the tiniest of sips, once every five minutes or so. In between each sip he would sniff the beer, twirl it in the glass, and hold it up to the light. Beside him, he had a massive sheet of paper, his “tasting notes.” He was lost in the beer experience so I was able to look over his shoulder in the same manner I cheated on physics tests in college. These tasting notes had tons of boxes to check and data to fill it. It was more befitting a tax return or maybe a census form. The man meticulously copied all the information about his beer that he could cull from its bottle onto his notes. He then looked into the air with his tongue upturned like Charlie Brown used to do when he was thinking real hard before he began laboriously writing his thoughts on each aspect of the beer. It took him well over a half-hour for each beer.

The man on the left of me was a mid-thirties tourist. Possibly European I would guess by his dress. Beside him at the bar he’d plunked down his Fodor’s type guide book. However, it wasn’t a book that told you about museums and theatres and boring shit to take your bitch wife to. It was something called “The New York City Bar Guide.” Wow, that sounds like a pretty awesome vacation. I know it’s what I want to do whenever I’m on vacation (”Did you go to the Louvre?” “Is that a bar???”). OK, so I thought this man had to be pretty awesome. Then, he pulled his laptop from his bag and opened up an Excel spreadsheet. He then began to log information about the beers he was drinking into the file. Good lord. Nerd alert. Christ. Giving beer drinkers a bad name. Who brings a fucking laptop into a bar?

These were some fairly loathsome creatures in my humble opinion. I didn’t even want to shoot the shit with them, even if they might have had tons of knowledge to share with me. Please, please, please if I currently am, or ever become, one of these folks, make my next shot hemlock. You know how I make my “tasting notes”? I either fucking remember how good, bad, or mediocre my beer was and write it down later. Or, if I have some really unique or important or world-altering points to get down–remember, Louis Pasteur did say “A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world” and I’d like to think several bottles of beer would apply as well–I grab a stack of cocktail napkins and furiously scribble my stream of conscious notes down. Waking up the next morning to have my thoughts spewing out of my pockets written on anything I could find to write them on. The more notes I have is inversely proportional to the number of people I was drinking with the previous night. Alone, with nothing to do, I’m writing briskly like Dostoyevsky. But if I have friends to hang out with and women to mack on, then you better be fucking sure I’m not excusing myself from some girl’s “fascinating” story about her cat to write about beer. I’m trying to, you know, enjoy my life. It’s not too hard to recount my feelings about drinking a beer the next day or so. I mean, do you take notes when you fuck? I don’t, though that would be funny (maybe a microrecorder in the bed post? “Test, test, OK, my partner’s neck is kinda salty. Her ‘mouthfeel’ is clean, crisp, kissable. I think she ate a burrito earlier today as I detect hints of guacamole…”). Yet, we are all still able to recall in intense detail both our worst and best sexual experiences, sometimes years past the fact. And so am I when it comes to beer.

OK, onto this beer review as I look through my crumpled cocktail napkins trying to piece my thoughts together. I was alone when I drank this one and had absolutely no interest in befriending the dorks around me. Liquid Gold has a great smell that I adore and an even better taste. It’s very unique in flavor, befitting it’s cool name. It’s very spicy, exciting the mouth. Almost like a mouth full of Pop Rocks. It’s really malty and alcoholy tasting. Tons of summer fruits, honey, and even some sourness. Nicely carbonated, yet goes down easy. I’ll drank as many of these I can this summer and will hope more and more city bars begin to stock this local brew. Love it.


Leffe Blonde

June 3rd, 2008 by Aaron Goldfarb | No Comments | Filed in Brewer: Abbaye de Leffe, Country: Belgium, Grade: A-/B+, Style: Belgian Pale Ale

6.6% ABV

Leffe Blonde was one of the first “good” beers I’d ever had. I used to not be much of a beer drinker, preferring whiskey or vodka in college. This was mainly cause I didn’t know how complex and tasty a quality beer could be. This all changed after school when one of my more worldly friends introduced me to Belgian beers. While our other friends hit pitcher-deal happy hours at crappy pubs we began frequenting the old Markt Belgian restaurant/bar in the meatpacking district. A glorious place with a several pages long menu there of only Belgian beers. I sampled many of them as a 23-year-old but I always came back to two, Duvel and Leffe Blonde. As I got more into beers my focus shifted away from Belgians and, being a huge jingoist, I became more interested in American craft beers. But, I always knew in the back of my head that I could revisit Leffe whenever I needed too. And, when pressed to list some of my favorite beers, I always listed Leffe Blonde in my top ten.

This past weekend I knew I would be going to a Mediterranean cheese/wine bar with a fairly respectable beer list. Perusing its beer menu online before I left, I was pleased to see Leffe Blonde on the list, bringing back fond memories of a beer I probably hadn’t tasted in three years. I paid a visit to BeerAdvocate.com to read about it. I was shocked to see the beer get a mediocre C review from the experts and a crummy B from the online reviewers. Had I always liked a crappy beer? Had I had a poor, inexperienced palate back in my early 20s when I loved this beer so much? My mind had been blown.

The verdict was a resounding NO. I still loved the smell of this beer and the taste too. It’s very malty, smooth with a great flavor. It may not be that complex but it’s eminently drinkable. In all honesty, it wouldn’t be on my top ten beers list any more, but it’s still a great brew. And it brings back the fondest of nostalgic memories.