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What have you tried lately for the first time?

My fellow Beer hounds, there are many threads about best and worst beers, but my question to you is what have you had lately that was your very first try?

For me:

Bear Republic: Racer 5 and the Red Rocket. Both were very good but I enjoyed the Racer 5 more. This micro is out of California and I have resided my entire existence in Pennsylvania so I'm glad to try it.

Also I had half of my girlfriends Thirsty Dog Raspberry. Not my cup of tea.

What have you tried lately?

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  1. I've been on a first-time kick lately (eatanddrinkitall.blogspot.com/2008/06/news-brews-and-fair-judgement.html). So far, I've tried Quilmes (an Argentinian lager), Magic Hat's Lucky Kat IPA, Rogue's Brewer's Ale 2008, Lagunita's Lucky 13, and over the weekend, Shmaltz Brewery's new Sword Swallower, a steel hop lager, and Albino Python, a white lager. Really the only one that didn't work for me was Shmatlz's Albino Phython. It had so many spices, it tasted more like an herbal remedy than a beer. Other than that, though, all quality beers.

    7 Replies
      1. re: Jim Dorsch

        Nope. I pulled that description off Shmatlz's site. I figured it's their beer, their description. Frankely, it tasted like a very good IPA.

        1. re: FlaHopper

          I emailed Jeremy at He'Brew and he told me that 'steel hop' is just a fun description of the beer. So, it means nothing, basically.

      2. re: FlaHopper

        I almost forgot, I tried of Allagash Brewing Company's Hugh Malone Ale a couple weeks ago. Good stuff, but the $16 price tag is a little hard to swallow for a single 750 ml bottle. I also picked up the Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse (a collaboration beer between Brooklyn Brewery and Schneider Brewery). And unless I'm mistaken, both breweries are releasing the beer in their own bottles. So you can find the very same beer in a Brooklyn bottle and a Schneider bottle. Maybe it's just me, but I thought that was pretty cool.

        1. re: FlaHopper

          "So you can find the very same beer in a Brooklyn bottle and a Schneider bottle."

          Not really the *exact* same beer- different hops were used in the two versions.

          Still, a very cool idea- one that sure get folks confused over on the various beer forums, especially since the current versions from both breweries are "batch #2's"- Brooklyn's first batch was draught only (the second batch was bottled on their new bottling line that's featured in the video that can be seen here by clicking on "Brooklyn Local 1" and then "Video"
          http://www.brooklynbrewery.com/beer/ ).

          Schnieder's batch #2 is identified by the lack of the Brooklyn "B" logo on the new label. http://www.bunitedint.com/portfolios/...

          It does bring to mind to do a side-by-side soon before they all disappear from my beer fridge...

          1. re: JessKidden

            Ah, there is a difference! Thanks for the info. I bought the Brooklyn version a few weeks ago and then saw Schneider's in the store a week or so later. I thought the breweries were merely being clever. As you say, I now have a good excuse to go buy both.

            1. re: FlaHopper

              Big difference in flavor too. Brooklyn's version is really phenolic with cinnamon/clove thing going on. Tilting way too much to the phenolic side to be enjoyable imo. On the other hand the Schnieder version is more balanced between esters and phenols and although the hop character (are they still making this with Saphire hops?) is over the top for a Hefewiezen, its an interesting take on the style. YMMV ;-)

      3. Split a bomber of Steamworks Conductor Imperial IPA. Good stuff, but maybe a little pricey at $5. Although these days, maybe not.

        1. Xingu - A lager from Amazonia.

          Was offered it at a Brazilian steak house.

          VERY dark...color of Guinness...but VERY light in body and mouth feel.

          Fantastically refreshing and flavorful. My wife, a Rolling Rock drinker (insert joke of preference here), and I both loved it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Monch

            Xingu sounds promising. Can I ask if it was a Fogo de Chao type of place?

            1. re: Mr Siegal

              Had to Google "Fogo de Chao" but I believe the concept is the same.

              Prix fixe for salad bar plus the meat. Gauchos roam around slicing off skewers..beef/pork/duck/sausage...Good stuff.

              Didn't have the Xingu with the dinner, but rather at the restaurant's sister bar.

            2. re: Monch

              Tried Xingu for the first time last weekend at Amazon, a churrascaria in Fullerton, CA. The beer was much better than the restaurant. Almost black in color, but like Monch noted, much lighter in taste, very drinkable.

              Also tried a bottle of Cintra, another Brazillian beer. This pilsner wasn't too exciting, should have drank more Xingu.

            3. Stoudt's Smooth Hoperator...too hoppy for me.
              Sierra Nevada Summer...great summer lager, nice and clean.
              Blue Point Toasted Lager...again nice light, clean with a little toasted note on the finish.
              Amadeus White...light ....taste of Fruit Loops on the finish.

              1. Gerry's Summer Ale
                Sam Adam's Mixed summer ale 12 pack.

                1. The last new beers I've tried are:

                  Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere (there is a recent thread on this one)

                  Lost Abbey Judgement Day - supposed to be a Belgian quad but tasted more like a one dimensional dubbel to me

                  Lost Abbey Angel's Share - Hard to describe, dark, strong, bbl aged with chocolate cake like notes. One of the best beers I have ever had the pleasure of sipping - world class.

                  Greenflash IPA - juicy and resinous hops balanced slightly by caramel malt - long finish that ends dry due to abundant hopping rates. Best new IPA in some time to hit the Boston area

                  Greenflash Hop Head Red - reminiscent of what Rogue beers used to be like when they were big and bold

                  Greenflash DIPA - a Summit hop onion/garlic bomb. Fail.

                  At a recent beerfest, some of the more memorable ones I tried:

                  Brooklyn Keller Helles - classic kellerbier with soft malt mouthfeel and plenty of noble hop character

                  Port Brewing 2nd anniversary - juicy, drinkable DIPA with plenty of hop aroma, flavor, and bitterness

                  Victory Wild Hop Devil - didn't cut it as an IPA, wild ale, or wild IPA. Hoppy beers finished with wild yeasts just don't do it for me.

                  Otter Creek - Ottersahn - interesting beer made with koji - a little sweet, but sake like

                  Avery 15 - a bit too farmy without the brightness I expect from an all brett fermented beer - hibiscus flower flavor was well done, but overall couldn't get past the farminess - and I enjoy a little of that flavor in wild yeast beers.

                  Harpoon Triticus - from the new Leviathan series - Highly drinkable dark wheat wine aged in bourbon bbls - heard this will be draft only which is a shame as the 100 bbl version of Triticus ages quite well

                  And I have to add one that I haven't had in about 5-6 years - but it seems like they changed the recipe a little since I had it last, so technically new :

                  Coors Blue Moon - not as cloyingly sweet as I remember with a crisp wheat snap, but overpowered with coriander (exactly as I remember) that was sharp, vegetal, and celery like and did not meld into the beer like a good wit should. Neutral yeast character. Can't figure out how this is so popular to the crossover masses unless the lemon wedge usually seen served with this is covering up those strong coriander flavors or the illusion to being Belgian is making it a status thing.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: LStaff

                    usually it's an orange garnish with blue moon, if I recall

                    1. re: Jim Dorsch

                      Yeah, I've seen both lemon and orange garnish served with witbiers.

                    2. re: LStaff

                      thanks for the heads on Green Flash brewery. I have never encountered them. At first I thought Green Flash was the Southern Tier IPA but I may be thinking Greenpoint IPA? not sure. Hop Devil is a reliable IPA. If there isn't anything exotic, I'd go with the Hop Devil.

                      Blue Moon is a waste of time.

                      1. re: Mr Siegal

                        Green Flash is a San Diego brewery that recently started distributing in MA. I don't know how their availability is in other parts of the East Coast. I also tried their IPA recently and was very impressed, but unlike Longstaff, I also really enjoyed their DIPA.

                        Link: http://greenflashbrew.com/

                        1. re: afty698

                          Had Green Flash Super Freak last night, it's their Le Freak (Belgian IPA) aged for a year in grenache wine barrels. Amazing stuff.

                          1. re: Josh

                            It is amazing after you let it sit and open up. My first sip of it straight of the tap was good but I didn't think it was anything special; as I let it sit over the course of like 45 minutes - 1 hour it became incredible. A fantastic beer that might be one of my favorites after letting it warm up.

                    3. I'm a big fan of Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye, a darker beer whose rye component accents the hop bitterness.

                      1. Allagash Victoria. I enjoyed it, although I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it, for the price...I received it as a present. I am curious to try the Victor now though, the one made with red grapes.

                        Sweaty Betty...forget the company name. Pretty good, but again, wouldn't go out of my way to buy it.

                        1. We recently starting getting Bells in our area. So I mixed up a six of the Amber Ale. Oberon and Kalamazoo Stout. I'll go for the Amber Ale again and the stout is worth another tasting. Didn't see the overhype fuss on the Oberon.

                          1. I've always been a porter/stout "darker the better" drinker. Recently I've been trying to get into the paler beers and have enjoyed a couple pints of Sierra Nevada Summerfest, Ipswitch IPA, and Brooklyn Lager. Although I have never been a fan of hoppy beer in the past I think that I will continue to explore in that direction.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: viperlush

                              This reads like something I would have posted a couple years ago.
                              The result is that I came to love the hoppy beers. I came to crave the hoppy beers. I now MUST have the hoppy beers. While I was still into the darker beers, I was lucky enough to get hold of a few Expedition Stouts from Bell's. It was, at the time, the best beer I'd ever had. Now, I wish I still wanted it. I don't. I want hops. Nothing but.
                              I'm trying to get back into other styles, but I find anymore that if I can't get a hoppy beer, I have a cocktail.

                              1. re: Bobfrmia

                                I feel you pain on this one. Why must I have hops upon hops to be happy. I just read an article in the Yankee Brew News about session beers making a comeback with low alcohol and low hops. The whole point was this was a harder style to brew instead of just having double digit ABV and 100+ IBUs. I understand the argument to a degree but really how good is it when you have that beer that has a lot of both but is perfectly balanced? I would much rather have a few amazing hoppy beers than a bunch of average session beers.

                            2. Capital Brewery's (out of Middleton, WI) Wisconsin Amber. Amazing. I had some canned Leinie's (their lager) that I was using to simmer some brats and I needed more beer so I ran to pick up this six pack. It was a shame to put even half a bottle in the pan. Mighty, mighty tasty. The write-up does it justice:


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: joypirate

                                I tried Capital Brewery for the first time last year during a visit to Wisconsin. I couldn't have been more impressed.

                              2. Had a great lunch today:

                                Green Flash Hop Head Rod- very good, 6% abv, a nice hoppy IPA i'm assuming.
                                Green Flash Imperial IPA- much higher abv, had that hop taste where you feel like you are chewing on it afterwards. I really like that. Victory Hop Devil has that but a lower alcohol %. I preferred the Hop Head but both were excellent.

                                Great Lakes Moondog ESP- not sure sure what the ESP means but it was good. A nice nice taste after the assault that was the Green Flash.

                                great beers, all three. a nice lunch, I must say.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Mr Siegal

                                  GF Hop Head Red is technically considered a red ale due to the caramel malt base and lower ibu to original gravity ratio than the IPA style, but does have more hop flavor/aroma than some self proclaimed IPA's.

                                  This is how their website describes it:

                                  Hop Head Red Ale
                                  Resinous hop character and bitterness balance the rich carmel malt base. We took it a step further and Amarillo dry-hopped the brew to 45 ibu's, creating refreshing and savory hop flavors and aromas. Is it red IPA? That's your call.

                                2. Tröegs Nugget Nectar Imperial Amber. Very tasty
                                  Also like Mr. Mr Siegal I liked Bear Republic's Racer 5.
                                  I also tried Saranac's Caramel Porter. It really had a strong caramel taste that was not pleasant in a beer.

                                  1. Weinstephan - comparable to a Pyramid Hefe, but a touch sweeter and less "chewy". Very pleasant at an outdoor beach bar, watching the sun set :-)

                                    1. I was in La Crosse, WI over last weekend and grabbed a six pack each of New Glarus IPA and New Glarus Totally Naked. I had neither before. Most of the bars in Wisconsin just serve New Glarus Fat Squirrel on tap. The IPA was very hoppy. The Naked was a lager. Both were very satisfying. Unfortunately, New Glarus only sells their beers in Wisconsin. I could if desperate drive 50 miles to Hudson, WI and probably pick some up. I live in Minnesota.

                                      1. I had a Carmelite belgian at the trappist in Oakland last week. awesome

                                        1. Had the Stone Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. Loved it. Had the aroma of dark choclate but the smoothness you generally see in an oatmeal stout. I planned on drinking only half the bomber, but couldn't stop myself from taking down the whole thing!

                                          1. Kira Belgian White (on tap). I've haven't seen it anywhere except for one pub in Brooklyn ... and they only have it occasionally. Great flavor. Crisp, smooth and clean. My current #1. If you ever come across it, give it a whirl.

                                            Had a few Medalla's a while back in Puerto Rico. It is really good, but I haven't seen it in the states. Anyone know where to get it in NYC?

                                            Have also been enjoying Brooklyn Summer Ale. Have consumed many Brooklyn Brewery quaffs, but this may be my favorite.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: chezfredo

                                              we lived on Medalla while down in P.R. a couple years back. damn skinny cans won't stay in your koozy though!

                                              1. re: chezfredo

                                                I just tried Brooklyn Summer Ale for the first time last night. I agree, it's quite good. I also tried Long Trail Blackbeary Wheat. I'm usually a fan of fruit wheat beers, but this one was disappointing. I thought it tasted like Bud Light with a slight hint of blackberry.

                                                1. re: Solstice444

                                                  Incidentally I also had a disappointing Long Trail experience recently: I tried the Double Bag last weekend and it didn't do anything for me. I'm ok with a strong beer but it was just sort of strong without the taste to back it up. Too heavy overall.

                                              2. I had a 'Sawtooth' from the Left Hand Brewery (out of Colorado, I think)...it was delicious!

                                                1. Stone's 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Stout.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: ozbuc

                                                    When I heard the 12th anniversary was going to be a stout, I admit I was a bit disappointed -- I am still hording the stellar 10th anniversary DIPAs at home. But the 12th is spectacular -- accidentally had three pints in a night because it was just so drinkable.

                                                  2. Baltika #7 - russian beer

                                                    got it a a vodka bar...which was also the first time i ever been to a vodka bar, they had about 30 diffrent infused vodkas....i usually don't drink vodka, i like it, but it turns me into a whole 'nother person.....had many Baltika 7's with many shots of infused vodka, loved it all....i never would of thought i'd like a Russian Beer, but this one surprised me, if i could buy it at my local brew store, i'd grab it. worth a try, i drink a lot of diffrent beers and this one is worth drinking again and again.


                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: jackson_van

                                                      Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale.

                                                      I tried it last night. I liked it.
                                                      I'm not an expert taster like many on this board.
                                                      I haven't had a regular SN pale ale in a while but based on memory, I'd sale the AA is more like an IPA based on my green understanding and recent exploration of IPAs.

                                                    2. Just picked up a case of Stoudt's Smooth Hoperator. My first time with this IPA. It is very good, nice hoppyness with almost a fruity aftertaste. I'm liking it a lot more than I thought I would at 7.2%

                                                      1. Smooth Hoperator is awesome, but have you tried Southern Tier Creme Brule Stout!? Holy Crap!

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: kelarry

                                                          I had the Creme Brulee stout on tap at a local pub. Though really tasty, I could barely finish my pint! I wouldn't mind having a few stashed away at home, though, when the spirit moves me.

                                                          A surprising beer that I had recently and enjoyed was Magic Hat's Odd Notion. I don't normally go for MH beers, but this one was very good. A buddy of mine brought over a sampler a few months ago and I just never had any until recently. It reminded me of a slightly fuller-bodies, chewier, Turbo Dog. Very nice!

                                                        2. I had a Samiclaus the other day and I don't know if I got a bad one, but it was neither malty or hoppy just a very hot(VERY HOT) alcohol burn. I was extremely dissapointed

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: niquejim

                                                            What vintage? I don't usually touch them until they're around 5 years old.
                                                            (Can't wait 'til 2012 so I can try the new "Helles"...)

                                                            1. re: JessKidden

                                                              Three years old and I'll probably not buy it again until I can taste it somewhere else. It was like sipping Everclear, and that was after a North Coast Stock Ale so it wasn't a shock to my system.

                                                          2. Hazed and Infused, by Boulder Beer. It's hopped, so it's similar to an IPA. But only 4.85% abv. And I can find it in bottles and on tap here in Florida (America's beer wasteland).

                                                            1. The Anniversary Ale from Sierra Nevada is very good this year. Full of Cascade hops.
                                                              Very welcome addition to Iowa.
                                                              Now if there was just a way to get hold of the Chico Harvest.

                                                              1. I'm heading to the beer depot this week, what are you guys drinking at the moment? any end-of-summer heading into fall beers out there that are worth trying? I need some ideas.