Black Lab Bar

Julian “Hard Cider”

August 26, 2011 8:17 pm

This is definately a first – a keg of hard cider. Craft cider as an industry piggy-backing off the growth of craft beer so there are some really cool ciders being produced, Julian being one of them.

There are a few reasons why I wanted to put a keg of cider on tap but the primary reason is that I’ve seemingly developed an allergic to some types of hops and it’s been a painful process trying to figure out which variatals of hops bother me.  (Montana’s Kettlehouse Brewery “Cold Smoke Scotch Ale” is one of my safety’s… west of the Mississippi) With this, I can get back to sessioning kegs without worrying about feeling like dirt the next day… although at 7% ABV this could get me into some trouble.

Hard cider certainly has a stigma as being a lame drink and with the majority of the market being dominated by fruity-colored bottles targetted at young women who don’t like beer, I can understand why. This cider is very different.

Julian writes;

The Julian Hard Cider recipe originates from 1670 colonial America and is comparable to the finest British ciders. Unlike many “impostor” hard ciders on the market, it is easy to have more than one pint of Julian Hard Cider as we do not use concentrated apple Juice or additives which leave the drinker with a lingering sugary film and after-taste.

Why is Julian Hard Cider the choice of true cider lovers? We have only one ingredient… the freshest apples in the world! Our cider is lightly carbonated with tartness, acidity and a clean dry finish, enabling it to stand firmly on its own or compliment your favorite meal.

It’s interesting – it pours nearly crylstal clear, which Tim warned be about.  It’s extremely light color and high carbonation to the point where Lauren assumed I was drinking ginger ale.  It smells fruity, a bit like a light white wine.  The flavor is interesting – it’s sweet at first but quickly turns tart like a nice apple and has a really dry finish.  Beyond that, I don’t see much complexity – certainly not like craft beer which has the advantage of lots of ingredients at it’s disposal.  The light, non-syrupy feel could certainly make this a very-sessionable cider without leaving you with a full feeling like beer does.  Overall, I like it and would rate it a “B” (it received a “B-” on RateBeer.com).

Don’t get me wrong, I definately miss craft beer and the diversity of styles (which don’t seem as present with cider. Hopefully that will change as the industry grows.


Keg #51
Tapped: 8/28/11
Kicked:  —
ABV: 6.99% (listed on keg) – 7.27% (listed to bottle)

Wachusett “Country Pale Ale” #2

June 24, 2011 7:51 pm

I ordered this before finding out that it’s the exact same beer as the “Country Ale” with a rename a couple months ago, rumored to be due to FDA regulation.  It’s a good beer and we enjoyed it this past May (it was kicked just a fewweeks ago in fact).

Wachusett says;

Country Pale Ale
The Balanced Pale Ale

The best selling ale in Central Massachusetts

• First brewed 1994

• Available year round

Our original brew crafted by Ned, Kevin and Quinny in the early 90’s with super drinkability.
American two row pale with Crystal malts Cascade, Willamette and Cluster hops.

A.B.V. 5.1% | 17 IBUs

 

Keg #50
Tapped 6/24/11
Kicked 8/31/11 (68 days later).
Great beer, just took too long to finish as it spanned August, which was basically a dry month.

Just a Defrost

June 23, 2011 8:09 am

We just kicked the kegs after the Bruins Stanley Cup Championship so I used it as an opportunity to defrost the kegerator.  Quite a bit of ice build-up, but not as bad as last time.  Looks like I’ll need to do it once every 6-months or so.

Berkshire “Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale” #4

June 9, 2011 10:05 am

Back to back kegs of it since we crushed the last one so quickly during the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals.  This might be one of my favorite light beers.  Served in 2008, 2010, and now 2011 …twice.

We’re recovering from a pair of the slowest moving kegs we’ve ever had (Geary’s HSA & especially Gritty’s Halloween) so this should be a nice, welcome change.  I also wanted to serve something light since I’ve been getting sinus/allergy headaches when drinking and I suspect it might be the hops that I’m allergic to… which this hopefully won’t affect as much. [6/9/10 Update: it seems to be fine & allergy-free.  The Willamette hops didn’t seem to bother me at all]

From BBC,

BBC’s flagship brew is a light colored, medium bodied ale exhibiting exceptional freshness through its 2-Row Pale malt backbone and signature hop flavor and aroma.  In the words of renowned beer writer Lew Bryson, Steel Rail EPA is “what the water in heaven oughta taste like.”

5.3% Alcohol by volume (ABV)
20 International Bitterness Units (IBU)

Tapped 6/8

Kicked 6/15

…kicked during the Boston Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup win!

 

Sierra Nevada “Pale Ale”

May 15, 2011 9:25 am

It’s getting hot outside which means it’s time to start serving light, refreshing beers.  Tim mentioned that Sierra Nevada is one of his favorites so I figure we’ll give it a run even though it isn’t a northeast brewer.  Sierra makes some great beers and while it’s been a while since I’ve had their Pale Ale I remember it always being a nice, balanced beer with a very managable body and ABV.  This one should certainly go quickly.

Sierra Nevada wrote:

Our most popular beer, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, is a delightful interpretation of a classic style. It has a deep amber color and an exceptionally full-bodied, complex character. Generous quantities of premium Cascade hops give the Pale Ale its fragrant bouquet and spicy flavor.

“Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is the flagship beer, the one that made Chico famous. It is a flawless beer that opens with bright, perky high notes of maltiness and orange blossom and segues into a delectable hoppiness.”

– Elaine Louie, Premier Beer—A Guide to America’s Best Bottled Microbrews
GOLD MEDAL WINNER
Great American Beer Festival (American Pale Ale: 1995, 1994, 1993;
Classic English Pale Ale: 1992; Pale Ale: 1990, 1989, 1987)

Kicked 6/13/11.

Good beer, but I found I was allergic to the hops.  I’ll try it again at some point but didn’t have the confidence to drink it after one.

Berkshire “Steel Rail Extra Pale Ale” #3

May 9, 2011 8:30 pm

This might be one of my favorite light beers.  Served in 2008, 2010, and now 2011, it’s always a fast seller.

We’re recovering from a pair of the slowest moving kegs we’ve ever had (Geary’s HSA & especially Gritty’s Halloween) so this should be a nice, welcome change.  I also wanted to serve something light since I’ve been getting sinus/allergy headaches when drinking and I suspect it might be the hops that I’m allergic to… which this hopefully won’t affect as much.

From BBC,

BBC’s flagship brew is a light colored, medium bodied ale exhibiting exceptional freshness through its 2-Row Pale malt backbone and signature hop flavor and aroma.  In the words of renowned beer writer Lew Bryson, Steel Rail EPA is “what the water in heaven oughta taste like.”

5.3% Alcohol by volume (ABV)
20 International Bitterness Units (IBU)

Kicked 6/1. Popular beer but we all seemed to have problems with C02 the following day as if the yeast was still aggressively fermenting.  It didn’t slow us down but it was definitely in imperfection with the batch.