Coming Home 2013 Holiday Ale

Image courtesy of wisconsin Beer Geek.

Image courtesy of Wisconsin Beer Geek.

I’m not a huge fan of holiday ales.  Too much cinnamon and nutmeg, which I enjoy in food, but not so much in beer.  I’m sure I’ve said it before.  Sorry.  Coming Home 2013 Holiday Ale is not so nutmeggy, and it’s also not availble unless you cellared a bottle like I did.  It pours medium to light orange with champagne-like carbonation.  The initially generous tan head becomes a thin, one layer of bubbles that can’t resist the gravitational pull of the edge of the glass and ends up as a flimsy ring fairly quickly.  There’s some banana in the bouquet, and some caramel, but still not so much spice.  I could almost be convinced the spice notes are from a weird yeast strain.  Coming Home 2013 Holiday Ale has smooth caramel notes in its flavor as well, and some alcohol sharpness (7.5% ABV) in the finish.  A little rust in the finish tells you that there is at least some quantity of hops in the recipe.  Not so holiday-y as Belgian Dubbely.  I believe this year’s recipe will be different, so if this sounds like a good beer to you, keep a look out.  Coming November 1 to a bottle store near you.


Generous Ale

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Do you like Bass Ale?  Well, then you should love Guinness Generous Ale.  Generous Ale pours a deep ruby with inclinations toward chestnut, and a good Navajo White head to cap it off.  Head retention is pretty good and the lacing leaves pictograms and silhouettes of mysterious creatures on the glass.  The sweetish bouquet is lightly hopped at the back, mildly malty at the front.  Roasted barley colors the flavor and a hop-related dryness rests on the tongue as a satisfying aftertaste.  Generous Ale possesses a smooth, full mouthfeel, but is far from being heavy.  There’s just something familiar about Generous Ale.  Maybe it’s a bit like an extra special Bass Ale, or maybe it’s a genetic memory of Christmastime in East Anglia.  Who knows for sure.  Guinness Generous Ale is not a life-changing beer, but if your life is pretty good as it is, Generous Ale will fit in nicely.

75/100 English Ale

Domaine DuPage

Courtesy of Two Brothers Brewing Company. You'll like this one!

Being a resident of DuPage County, I would be remiss if I were not to partake of a beverage which is named after the region of my residence, so it was with great anticipation that I first sampled Domaine DuPage French Style Country Ale (Biere de Garde) from Two Brothers Brewing Company in Warrenville, IL.  This 5.9% ABV ale is Orange/amber in color with pinkish highlights, and its lacy head is as white as a snow drift.  The malty bouquet foreshadows the sweetness that greets the tongue, but the slight dryness noticed upon the first swallow signals the presence of some moderate hops.  It is a little syrupy perhaps, but very drinkable and worth an 84/100 on the beerbliographer scale.

Lord Chesterfield Ale

I really have an emphatuation with all things Yeungling, and am not sure if it is because it is a rare beer in the midwest or if it is truly as good as I think.  Lord Chesterfield Ale (or Chettie to those of us in The Society) is bright gold and vigorously carbonated, floating a decent 1-finger head and splotchy lacing.  The bouquet is hoppy with a hint of yeast.  It is smooth-bodied and light-textured, with a mild but not bland flavor.  There’s some graininess, sweetness and just a touch of bitterness.  This is a very drinkable American Ale, more pleasing than A Genessee or Little Kings, and not as daring as an Anchor Liberty Ale.  It’s good stuff, people, and you can’t get it here!  Head East.  Not the band.  80/100

Anchor Summer Beer

courtesy of

Ah, summer in Chicago.  94 degrees, 94% humidity, ozone alert.  Thank God for the White Sox and good beer.  Anchor Summer Beer is one of those good beers, but I’m not exactly sure why it is good.  It’s kind of nondescript in many ways, but maybe the fact that it’s quaffable and thirst-quenching makes it good.  This wheat and barley ale produces a huge head, the consistency of whipped egg whites (thanks to the wheat malt) which in turn leaves enough Brussels lace to serve as an antimacassar on your old autie’s loveseat.  The carbonation is vigorous, giving Anchor Summer Beer a lively quality.  The straw-colored ale also has a lively bouqet, featuring citrus notes and light, smooth sweetness.  Although the beer is light-bodied and mild flavored, you will find a hint of green apple, and a bit of hops dryness in the finish.  It’s a pleasant, pleasing beer, perfect for a hot summer day.

One last thing…Fritz Maytag is my hero.

Bass Imported Pale Ale: for those who don’t care for something better.

Good enough for some.

Good enough for some.

I know a lot of people who call Bass Ale their favorite beer.  Nothing wrong with that, we all have an opinion.  I just think that those people don’t care to look further that the liquor section at their Osco.  Bass Pale Ale is amber-orange, well carbonated and has a thin lacey head.  The bouquet is reasonably hoppy with a hint of sweetness.  It is smooth-bodied, but maybe a wee bit thin in texture, and it finishes sweet and dry.  I have noticed inconsistency in Bass over the years, but the most recent pint I’ve had was fresh-tasting.  Bass Pale Ale is a crowd pleaser, but there are better ones out there.

Samuel Adams, trying to redeem himself

If you’ve read my posts for any length of time, you know I’ve been disappointed with Sam Adams products regularly in the last few years.  My next 2 posts show that they are still making some acceptable brews.  First, their Pale Ale is crystal clear gold with vibrant carbonation, and it floats a fluffy, long-lasting head.  The bouquet is primarily hoppy, but not strong, and with a touch of yeast hanging in the head.  Breathe it in deep and the lightly roasted malt is strongest, with a butterscotch note for your efforts.  Smooth, round mouthfeel, slight sweetness, Rohrschach-like lacing and dry finish are the rewards for your purchase.  I like it by itself, but it’s not in the leage of Anchor Steam’s Liberty or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.  Then again, not much is.