Category Archives: commercial beers

Common Ales: Pyramid Lemondrop Pale

Pyramid Lemondrop pale aleLet’s just dive right in!

It’s grassy in the nose, maybe lemongrass? But definitely evoking that cut lawn scent, and I dig it.

The lemon flavor sneaks up on me. I’m not sure what the tart or bitterness is, but I don’t pick it out as lemony until a few sips in. About a third of the way down, the beer starts to make sense. It’s doesn’t have enough sweetness to really be a lemondrop, but there is just enough to reign in the beer and keep me drinking.

This has a ‘hot day’ quality to it, as it finishes somewhere between dry and crisp. The Lemondrop doesn’t commit to one feeling or another and I think that’s an pretty apt ruling on the beer overall. It wants to hint at lemon but not demonstrate it, hint at bitterness but not flaunt it, tease a quenching feeling but not provide it.
It’s ok, but I can’t recommend it, because it doesn’t want to be something, it wants to be anything.
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What Can You Buy There #7: Cerveza Madriz – “La Gata Orgullosa”

I’m currently in Madrid, and as I was wandering around, I came across a lovely store called Más Que Cervezas (More Than Beers) disturbingly close to my apartment. While there, the clerks and I joked about Belgian beers invading the Canada section on their shelves, one of them tried to sell me on the beer from his hometown, so I picked up two beers to try: one Belgian and one local to Madrid.

La Gata Orgullosa by Cerveza Madriz has an…aggressive pour.

La Gata Orgvllosa ale

It was described to me in the store as a blonde ale, which I’m willing to buy…but a dark blond.

I wish I could find more information out about this particular beer, but I’ll have to make do with what I have…eyes, nose, and taste buds. Eyes you’ve already heard about. Nose: it is beer. I wish i could be more specific than that. It smells like beer with a slight caramel overlay. 

Taste: It’s not unpleasant. It tastes a little bit like homebrew. And I’m not saying that to slight homebrew. But there’s sometimes where you’re having homebrew, and you think, “This isn’t bad, but a bit more polish and practice and this could be really tasty.” Well, this is like that. The front end is competently beery, if perhaps a bit watery and the back end drags some grains across my palate. If both parts were smoother, I’d be a happy camper. As it is, it’s not terrible, but I’d not reach for another if I had a choice.

Not The Best Idea

I can’t say that I’m a fan of the notion of a ‘shower beer’. There’s something inherently wasteful, to me, about drinking a beer while showering. But that’s my thing; you do you.

However, don’t do you while drinking this, I say. At 10% ABV, that is astronomically high for a beer that you drink in hot water. You’ll be a wreck!

Common Ales: Sierra Nevada Resilience

Sierra Nevada ResilienceI bought this beer for a couple different reasons, not the least of which was for research. This year is the year that I make IPAs as my style of choice and try to build a beer I enjoy.

I love the nose on this; faintly weedy, skunky, a little pine, it evokes almost exactly what I’m hoping for from IPAs.

What really is nice is the balance; there is a soft but still palatable malt sweetness there that helps pave the way for the bitterness on the finish. The bitterness doesn’t slouch away either; this isn’t a juicebox IPA. This is 90’s era IPA, just before they started over hopping everything to hell in styles that didn’t want or need it.
But when an IPA really was a standout from the pack and a lot of forest notes were being brought into the spotlight.
And while I certainly don’t want to be a cranky, ‘back in my day’ human, I do appreciate this beer for standing out from the current trends of sweet grapefruit ales. More please.

Common Ales: Terminal Gravity Festivale

Terminal Gravity FestivaleTerminal Gravity’s Festivale is a strong winter ale. It has a sweet nose that fades rapidly so I can’t get as much as I would like off of it. There’s a little woody quality there, too, again difficult to detect because the scents seem to evaporate so quickly.

This beer is problematic for me. The body of it has a sweet, roasted quality along with a bit of maple. The issue is the finish, which is startlingly bitter. It clashes hard with the beer and makes me think of that period of time in Portland where everyone was over hopping their ales, trying to shove that bitterness into styles that did not want them.

And that’s where that orange bitterness rolls up; it’s not horrible but it really isn’t going well with the rest of the beer. A rare miss from Terminal Gravity.