February 21, 2020
 

This is a very different kind of beverage for the following reason: there are big differences between making hard cider and beer, and what sets one apart from the other can often be wildly different. An example of this is some ciders (such as Woodchuck) for some of their specialty releases try to infuse their product with nutmeg for extra flavor – it turns out that’s actually not a bad idea, as it creates a flavor that makes it different from their run of the mill products, making the new ones a bit of a novelty. The folks over at Citizen Cider had a slightly different idea, instead of infusing a cider with nutmeg, they instead infused it with ginger. The result is The Dirty Mayor, which is a very cool sounding name to be sure. Sadly however, we feel at this time this cider cannot be recommended by us. Don’t get us wrong however, it doesn’t have a terrible taste, indeed, there are certainly people out there who may like it. But infusing a cider with ginger like this though an interesting idea doesn’t create a flavor that we feel is worthy of high marks unfortunately after trying it. We applaud Citizen Cider for their attempt, but the flavor here is a little too “specific” to appeal on a large “mass-market” scale and get consumers very excited about it, that’s why we don’t openly recommend this product because we feel it tastes fine but it’s (quote) “not for everyone.” But hey, if someone if just dying to specifically try ginger infused hard cider then there’s nothing wrong with giving this particular one a shot. This product may appeal to a very small selection of cider drinkers, so if you fall in that category, then we would applaud you.














































Review by Bryan Fitzmartin

 

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February 21, 2020
 
This beer is a hybrid brew, and it’s an interesting one to be sure. As an example, when Starship IPA from New Belgium was reviewed earlier the amount of hops included in the beer was discussed, but that was an IPA, so the amount was quite high (as it usually is with that type of beer). This beer, called “Remain in Light” is not an IPA at all, but in fact it’s a Pilsner. However, the idea of this beer goes like this – Pilsners tend to be quite “light” in their flavor, but this Pilsner is designated by the brewer (Cambridge Brewing Co.) to be hop-infused. So, since that’s their claim, the question is (and it’s a very good question) -- does it meet that standard, the one the brewer set out? Or, you could even ask the question another way: does this beer combine the strong flavor of hops with the “lighter-side” of a Pilsner successfully? The answer, after sampling this beer, is yes. In fact it does, and perhaps owing to its name, it is able to combine the taste of both without sacrificing either, which is an interesting thing to do since obviously most Pilsners would not include hops, as those are the beers you tend to drink on your porch during the warm months of summer -- so for them, being “light” (or technically “on the lighter side” of the beer drinking spectrum) is important. This beer would be fantastic for anyone who likes both pilsners and IPAs (the latter being a style of beer that is also somewhat heavy) separately to try one that has the taste of both together. So anyone who wants to try Remain in Light by Cambridge Brewing Co. would be well advised to sample a very interesting beer.































































Review by Bryan Fitzmartin
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February 19, 2020
 

This beer is amazing (flat out amazing) and here’s why – many beers (and actually some ciders also) are aged in barrels of different kinds, be they rum barrels, whiskey barrels, or any variety as a form of novelty, but this is the only one reviewed so far that actually tastes amazing. What’s more, this beer is also incredible because it’s able to combine the taste of beer and and the taste of rum into one fantastic beverage, which is, as anyone knows who’s tried both rum and beer separately – no easy feat. Obviously (and this doesn’t long take for anyone to figure out) beer and rum have dramatically different flavors, and in fact different types of people are attracted to the two for different reasons. Nor is it completely obvious to try to age beer in rum barrels in the first place, even though many brewers do try to do exactly that with whiskey barrels. To that point, I actually also think that some people may have trouble believing, as to be honest this reviewer did, whether it is possible to successfully combine the taste of both beer and rum into one drink, but the folks at Innis and Gunn actually successfully did it, and it is very impressive. Strangely, the rum barrels also give this beer, “Blood Red Sky,” a somewhat “laid back” and sophisticated flavor, so if you like unique beers that are a true pleasure to drink, this selection would also be for you.












































































Review by Bryan Fitzmartin

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February 19, 2020
 

Ever tried an IPA? You probably have, but if you have had a lot of them, you probably have noticed one thing about that style of beer – most IPAs seem to actually taste very similar to each other. It’s of course definitely true that there’s variation between them, but the reality is, one IPA tends to be generally not wildly different than the next one, even when different brewers make them. That’s not to say that IPAs as a category are not excellent on the whole, but that somewhat tends to be their nature. Enter Starship IPA – once you try it you’ll see this beer is different. IPAs are always very hoppy, that’s what gives them their flavor, and this beer certainly has that. But it also has a very excellent citrus flavor as well, something as something you might describe as (for lack of a better word) – “fruity” that stands up amongst the flavor of the hops, and that’s what makes it unique and sets it apart and makes it stand out. This entry from New Belgium is certainly a breath of fresh air among all of the standard IPAs, and one can immediately see that’s the case. That’s what makes this beer very highly recommended by us. Everyone who wants to try a unique IPA should give this beer a try.



































































Review by Bryan Fitzmartin

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February 19, 2020
 

This beer has actually been around a long time; it was a mainstay during the 2000s and is still a mainstay now. It’s still worthy of a review though for the same reasons that make all Unibroue beers worthy of a review – almost all of them are Belgian-style, and that’s what makes them excellent. For anyone who’s tried an actual Belgian beer, such as Chimay, the question remains – how well do these beers stack up as examples of this particular genre of brewing? The answer, at least as far as “La Fin Du Monde” (which is French for, “The End of the World”) is concerned, is extremely well. This beer is a very authentic Belgian Triple Ale, and it shows in its taste. Though not quite as good as Chimay (as very few beers in the world in fact are), one difference between the two of them that makes this selection different is that this beer is slightly heavier, but that certainly works for it. We recommend that people who like Belgian beers give this beer a try as well as all the entries into the market from Unibroue. And stick around here for more reviews of authentic Belgian-style beers.
































































Review by Bryan Fitzmartin

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January 05, 2020
 

I am proud to offer this review, specifically because, for anyone familiar with Erie Brewing Company, this beer is an old standby. It is offered as a selection in their mix packs, it is also offered year round, and it stands very well alongside Erie Brewing Company’s other beer entries. There are in fact however, other entries from Erie that are a bit more exciting and dynamic that may get more attention, such as “Misery Bay IPA,” and “Skipper’s Coffee Stout,” but that doesn’t diminish that excellent, and very solid, cherry flavor of “Derailed Ale.” Derailed Ale is a “cherry cream” flavored selection, and it meets that standard, it’s cherry taste is discernible immediately upon sampling, and this adds to the “laid back” quality of this beer when drinking it. That makes it an immediate go-to if you’re looking for something mellow. This entry may also work well for folks who are not huge beer connoisseurs, since this is an easy selection for anyone to start with. So, all that said give “Derailed Ale” (Cherry Cream Ale) a try. If you’re looking for a beer that just has a great taste without any “bite” then this one would definitely be for you.
































Review by Bryan Fitzmartin

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January 05, 2020
 

Our next beer does not need an introduction – Stone IPA. Why doesn’t Stone IPA need an introduction? Well, basically, Stone’s beers are recognizable because of the company’s “iconic” artwork that it places all over it’s packaging. There’s a picture of their beer posted here and you can immediately see the Stone “gargoyle” on the side of the product. “Gargoyles” of course are traditionally supposed to ward off evil – Stone Brewing claims their gargoyle exists to ward off “cheap ingredients” (not joking; according to them, that’s really its purpose). In any case however, one can see why Stone’s products, and especially this one, which is basically its flagship beer, would be immediately recognizable. It’s because of the artwork on the product which always makes their beers look downright spooky before you drink them.

OK, so Stone’s beers are visually interesting, and that probably makes more people interested in buying them, but how does this particular Stone beer taste? As their flagship beer (and especially as an IPA), I would say – this one is pretty “straightforward” or “over the plate” in its approach. When you taste it, it’s immediately apparent that this IPA has everything it needs to get the job done – it’s heavy, it has plenty of hops and you can really taste them, it’s got a “strong,” great, taste which is what an IPA needs to succeed. But, on the other hand, there’s a problem. This is a really “solid” beer, and worth trying, but, there’s nothing really all that special about it. If one were looking for an IPA that really stood out from everything else, I would recommend Limbo IPA from Longtrail. That would be an IPA that stands way, way, out from the pack and distinguishes itself. What Stone has done is show they are capable of producing a very solid entry to the IPA market, one worth trying, but not anything incredibly special. So, since Stone IPA has a very solid taste, it’s worth trying, and there’s nothing necessarily about it that would steer one away from it. So give Stone a try if you like, and, of course, see if you’re freaked out by its large gargoyles on the bottles when you see them.























Review by Bryan Fitzmartin

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January 04, 2020
 

Ever wondered what a cross between jolly-rancher's candy and IPA would taste like? Me neither, but Victory Brewing company has made it a reality with “Sour Monkey,” a very “unique” tasting beer. I’ve probably tasted hundreds of beers over the years, but never one quite like this – it’s truly unique. The term “Sour Monkey” is presumably an extension of Victory’s go-to mainstay "Golden Monkey" offering. I saw a man carrying a six-pack of Golden Monkey the other day and pointed out how good a beer it was. The person I saw who was waiting for the bus agreed and we both mentioned that one of it’s best parts was how “spicy” it was in its flavor. “Sour Monkey” may have a similar name to it’s more popular cousin “Golden Monkey,” but is nothing at all like it. “Spicy” it is not, it has a flavor all its own. It’s worth sampling if you’re looking for something that is in fact very different from any other beer you’ve tried. In creating “Sour Monkey” (a beer that doesn’t really taste like any other), Victory brewing showed that they were truly amazing brewers. However, one argument against “Sour Monkey” as a whole also comes from the fact it’s so different. Some tasters will wonder why a beer like this was needed at all, as the demand for this type of flavor would not in fact be overwhelming (try it to see what I mean). Still, though the previous is probably true, there’s nothing wrong with its novel taste, even if I myself am not entirely sure what the point of Sour Monkey is. Feel free to give this selection a try if you want – see if you can figure “Sour Monkey” out.




















Review by Bryan Fitzmartin

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January 04, 2020
 

Java Head Stout is an amazing beer, it’s one of my absolute all time favorites. Who doesn’t like coffee? Who doesn’t like beer? But coffee and beer together in one offering? That’s just too good to pass up. Like almost all coffee beers (except “Dunkin” seasonal by Harpoon, which is a Porter), Java Head is a Stout, like Guinness (technically, it’s actually an Oatmeal Stout), and it’s a very strong entry into the coffee beer line, which is an excellent but somewhat of a “niche” market in the craft beer industry.

That being said, though Java Head Stout is amazing, and most people who try it will like it, specifically for its coffee robustness -- some will not like it. The reason that there will always be a group of people who will not is simple. Some people do not like the taste of Guinness, and both Guinness and Java Head are Stouts. By the same token, some people will find Java Head (even though it is a coffee beer and this very much comes out in the taste) a bit too heavy for them, but any serious beer enthusiast will appreciate what an impressive entry this is to the beer family, no question. Even though it may be a little too heavy for some, I recommend anyone try Java Head Stout.  Love coffee?  That's all you need.





























Review by Bryan Fitzmartin

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September 29, 2014
 
For our third review, we asked Bryan Fitzmartin to review Original Sin Hard Cider.  "This cider is excellent," Bryan commented upon trying it.  "The fact that it's brewed with champagne yeast makes it a truly unique cider.  It's very excellent."  he explained. "People who love hard cider or beer in general should try it.  There's no two ways about it.  It has a very crisp flavor, that's indicative of the yeast it uses.  It's dryer than most ciders for sure, but not so dry that it lowers the quality in any way, besides," Bryan commented, "people like that."  We thank Bryan Fitzmartin for his review, and hope more people try Original Sin hard cider.  Cheers.


Review by Bryan Fitzmartin



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