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American beer specialists with experience needed

 
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The title is a joke, seriously I need an opinion of a few Americans who like to taste a good beer :-).

Recently my local supermarket imported a few beers from the US. I got a bottle of every brand they had. I am a huge beer fan and collector (I have over 150 unique beer labels, all drank by me), and those are my first US beers. I would want to know a few things about those beers from US citizens:

* Do you recognize those beers?
* Are those beers from small local breweries, or something bigger and more available?
* If you tasted those beers, how would you compare the taste to other American beers?
* Do you like those beers? Please explain why yes or no

Here is a photo of the beers (click for full size image):



The brewery who makes the Firestone beers is:
Firestone Walker Brewery
1400 Ramada Drive
93446 Paso Robles, CA

And the Brooklyn beers brewery is:
Brooklyn Brewery
79 North 11th Street
11211 Brooklyn, NY

Sadly, I cannot write anything about taste of those beers myself at the moment as I am sick a little and have pain in throat. I have weakened taste, thus I don't want to try those beers because it would be a pure waste.

Any answers, any comments, will be very appreciated. The more opinions the better.

Thanks!
 
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The only one I have tried of those is Brooklyn Lager, which is a pleasant lager. American IPAs tend to be hoppier than some brewed in UK, and therefore bitterer. Did you have any Anchor Steam Beer?
 
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The Brooklyn Brewery used to be one of the best craft beer breweries in New York City (Brooklyn is one of the boroughs in NYC). They are, of course, no longer a small brewery (which you can judge by the fact that they exported outside of the US)... so, arguably, I am not sure if they can be classified as "craft" anymore.

Regardless, it is highly recommended -- especially if you get their summer or winter ales (which are both seasonal).

Henry
 
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Thanks for your comments guys. I am not sure if I did right by posting those question when I cannot try them yet, not I want them really bad but I still can't, haha. At least they will taste better when I finally open them.

Campbell, I never had any beer from US. However, my wife reported that she saw a few new bottles in the supermarket, maybe it is Anchor Steam? I need to check that out tomorrow.

Henry, that's great news what you said. Really can't wait to open them!

I checked my first post and I found out that link on the thumbnail is not working, so you cannot see full size image. Here is reupload (click for full image):

 
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Adam Scheller wrote:
I checked my first post and I found out that link on the thumbnail is not working, so you cannot see full size image. Here is reupload (click for full image):



Thanks. I switched the thumbnail for you (to use your second picture).... and a cow for caring for your topic.

Henry
 
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So yesterday I gave the Brooklyn Lager a try!

First thing that I noticed about this beer is it's reddish color. The beer contain small amount of mild particulates, but is generally clear. My first thought about the color was caramel malt, and I wasn't wrong as it's very present in the taste. The smell is very floral and very sweet. You can definitely smell sweet malts and slight aroma of hops.

The initial taste was very sweet, but not "aggressively sweet". Usage of well balanced mix of sweet malts is definitely here. The color of the beer suggested use of caramel malt, and the taste definitely verifies that theory. The beer lefts some nice bitter hoppy aftertaste. The carbonization is rather light, which fits that taste very well.

Very interesting beer and quite unique taste in comparison to other lagers in my area (Munich, south Bavaria). The composition of sweet taste at the beginning and bitter aftertaste works very well. I am generally not a big fan of sweet taste in beer, therefore I wouldn't get it very often, but certainly I would pickup it from time to time (if it's price would be reasonable here).

By the way, regarding the sweet taste, my wife didn't find it to be as sweet as I tasted it. It may be me, because I generally "hate" sweet things as I feel the sweet taste "overly intensive". What is your opinion about it's sweetness?

Today I will test one of the other beers

Thanks Henry for the cow!
 
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Adam Scheller wrote:
By the way, regarding the sweet taste, my wife didn't find it to be as sweet as I tasted it. It may be me, because I generally "hate" sweet things as I feel the sweet taste "overly intensive". What is your opinion about it's sweetness?



I also hate sweet beers... and because of this, I also tend to be overly sensitive to it.

I have never tried the Brooklyn Lager, and based on your description, I am not sure if I will ...

Henry
 
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The thing about beer is that there is much more variability than there is for wine. So there is much more scope for people to brew beers which you don't like. Simply because the gamut of beer flavours overwhelms the gamut of flavours which are to somebody's taste.

Occasionally at a beer festival we find a beer which is so adventurous that it seems to be to nobody's liking. Fortunately that is an unusual event.
 
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They guy you bought it from is using the money to buy Guinness.
 
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Guillermo Ishi wrote:They guy you bought it from is using the money to buy Guinness.



As long as the Guinness is not purchased from the United States...

Not saying that Guinness in the US is bad, but Guinness in Ireland is definitely better. Basically, Guinness should have done a better job at vetting the brewery that they use in the US.

Henry

 
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Henry Wong wrote:

Guillermo Ishi wrote:They guy you bought it from is using the money to buy Guinness.



As long as the Guinness is not purchased from the United States...

Not saying that Guinness in the US is bad, but Guinness in Ireland is definitely better. Basically, Guinness should have done a better job at vetting the brewery that they use in the US.

Henry


I think the last one I had was around 2010 and I don't know where it was from. It was delicious with hearty meals. I also like Corona with meals, which has to be its polar opposite. Anything else, the trip consists mainly of going to the bathroom every 15 minutes. Actually, when I was in school the micro-brewery craze was on and there different tasting more normal beers that I used to order with a big plate of nachos at a micro-brewery a couple blocks from my digs.
 
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I had Guinness only once, but I was already after several glasses of wine and ouzo, so I don't remember much from that experience I just remember how some guy was showing that you can pour it into glass from 1 meter without spilling it even a little. He put a glass on the floor and poured the beer from above chest level. Indeed, he didn't spill it a little and the foam didn't get out from the glass. There is also some mysterious ball inside of the can.

My friends were talking about some Irish pub in the city, probably I will try Guinness next time when we visit that bar.

On Sunday I tried the Firestone Pale 31, it tasted pretty nice. It has pale and clear yellow color, with mild citrus hops aroma. The taste begins a little sweet followed with bitterness of hops. Hops taste is dominating, but is not aggressive. Pretty mild but very present. Carbonation is medium which fits the beer very well. There is only one serious problem with that beer - the bottle is too small! I really enjoyed the taste but it was not enough to fully enjoy the experience.

Regarding sizes of beers, it is really so common in US that all beers are in 12 oz bottles and cans? When I was in Mexico they had all of the beers in that size as well. It's imo way too small!
 
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The “ball” inside a can is called a widget which is filled with a compressed mixture of CO₂ and N₂. When the can is opened and the pressure released, the gas escapes from a tiny hole in the “widget” producing a stream of bubbles and a thicker head on the beer.
 
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Adam Scheller wrote:
My friends were talking about some Irish pub in the city, probably I will try Guinness next time when we visit that bar.


Do it if you haven't tried it. I used to always get it at an Irish-style pub in the U.S. It's dark and super thick and the foam is like a thin layer of cream with a tan tint. The flavor is part sweet and part bitter. Goes well with food like home style burger.
 
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I guess I will get Guinness sooner than I expected. Next week I will have to visit a "Getränkemarkt" to get some beers for a guest, I bet I will find a Guinness there. "Getränkemarkt" is a shop having tons of various beers (and other liquors, sodas, water, etc).





That "ball" sounds very interesting. Once I get a can I will do a little "dissection" to investigate it further
 
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The amount of “dissection” required is minimal. A large pair of scissors will get through the paper‑thin aluminium in next to no time.
 
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Adam Scheller wrote:There is only one serious problem with that beer - the bottle is too small! I really enjoyed the taste but it was not enough to fully enjoy the experience.

Regarding sizes of beers, it is really so common in US that all beers are in 12 oz bottles and cans? When I was in Mexico they had all of the beers in that size as well. It's imo way too small!



Hmmm... never thought about it much. I guess over here, beer comes in all sizes. The 12 oz variety are generally bundled (from as small as 6 bottles to boxes of a dozen or more bottles). And the big bottles are generally sold separately.

Perhaps, it is easier to ship the boxes (bundles) but sell them separately overseas?

Henry
 
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I did hear somewhere a very long time ago that there is a US standard beer bottle size. But I cannot remember all the details.
 
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:The amount of “dissection” required is minimal. A large pair of scissors will get through the paper‑thin aluminium in next to no time.


I want to make a dissection of that ball, I guess that may be a little more difficult operation, we will see :-)

Regarding bottle sizes, in Europe those 12 oz bottles (it's 0,33 liter bottle, so not exactly 12oz but close to it) are called "small beers". In Germany, only a tiny group of breweries offer beers in those sizes. The 0,5 liter bottles is virtually the standard. There are also bigger bottles, but those are much less common. At the moment I am having a beer from 0,65 liter bottle, and the biggest one I had was... 2 liter :-)

Here is a comparison of "the standard" 0,5 l (~17oz) bottle with a "small beer" 0,33l (~12oz) bottle:


And here is 2 liter beer (~68 oz) with 0,33 liter beer (~12 oz):


0,5l beers are sold separate or in boxes of 20 bottles capacity. Here is an example of how it looks, in my car's trunk :-)


Buying beer in boxes is very common and practical in Germany. In example, here is a supply that my neighbor bought a few days ago :-D


Another question regarding beers that came to my mind. How much beer do Americans consume? I'm not interested in statistics, but for an opinion how much beer do you buy for a weekend and week, etc.

One more question, how people perceive beer consumption in US? For example, my friend from Poland says that when you drink beer everyday, you may be considered as an "alcoholic". On the other hand, here in Bavaria, it's common to see people buying a full box of beer for a weekend and it's completely okay with everyone. How it looks in US?
 
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Adam Scheller wrote:How it looks in US?


I would say in the U.S. it's all good until your first drunk driving conviction. Seriously, really. As long as it doesn't affect your life, kids, wife, decisions, and so on negatively it's all good. More based on your behavior than consumption I suppose. As for how much and when people drink, that would be a big topic.
 
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That's really great that US has such approach towards beer!

I am satisfied with your posts about beer in US, thanks your time guys.

If you have any questions regarding beer in Germany/Bavaria, just ask
 
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Keep your eyes open for Yuengling, just in case someone is exporting it. It is an American beer brewed in Pennsylvania. I can't even get it here on the US West coast, but if you see it try it.
 
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Blake Edward wrote:Keep your eyes open for Yuengling, just in case someone is exporting it. It is an American beer brewed in Pennsylvania. I can't even get it here on the US West coast, but if you see it try it.


That's a blast from the past. I remember "Yingling" from the '80s in KY. From where I was hanging out it those days it must have been a budget brand But probably at least as good as the most popular U.S. beers, if not better. My beer was Iron City in those days, also from PA.
 
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