JCB (3999) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - MAR 15, 2008
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
12oz hand-bottle from MrBendo - thanks, Todd!! Nice ebullient pour, suiting the bright gold color. Lively and fast-dissipating head, with some modest lacing. Lovely fruity aroma, picking up pears specifically but certainly some floral and citrus notes in there too. As I got into it, there’s definitely a nicely integrated malt flavor, but very smooth and not bready in the least. The pear notes continue, and my overriding impression is that this is the beer equivalent of a bright October afternoon. I’ve had to have anything from Captain L that I didn’t enjoy tremendously.
kramer (5102) - Sunbury, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 22, 2008
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Growler, via BA gpcollen1. Pours a bright, clear, goldenrod under a one finger fizzy white head that all but disappeared withing seconds. A slight bit of lacing remained. The nose is quite delicate and light with a citrus fruitiness and a bit of perfumy hoppiness. Extremely clean smelling. The flavor is very agreeable and extremely drinkable, I’m drinking down this growler much quicker than expected. Very clean pale malt with touches of honey is the mainstay with a minimally bitter, yet still hoppy, lightly spicy fruity finish. The mouthfeel is light bodied and crisp with nice soft fizzy carbonation. This really doesn’t bowl you over on any front, but it’s the most drinkable beer I’ve had in a while. Excellent. Captain Lawrence is really putting out quality stuff.
johnadam2002 (529) - Hainesport, New Jersey, USA - FEB 19, 2008
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Poured gold with a long lasting white head. Aroma of fruit, bread, and spice. Started off with some fruit and finished with a tad bit of spice. As it warmed it tasted more like bread. Decent.
Rastacouere (6137) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - FEB 17, 2008
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Clear golden yellow. Gentle white head, fully lasting. A clean and very herbal belgian ale. Strawy maltiness meets a fine complement in the shape of the multi-layered herbal aromatics. Soft noble hops, grassy, spicy. Dry on the palate. Grainy malt profile, but blending nicely with the yeast’s breadiness. All in cleanliness. Not the most characterful offering of its kind, but drinkable and tasty.
Stine (1628) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - FEB 13, 2008
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Growler; a week old. Pours fairly clear with a white gold hue; frothy milk and lots of sticky lacing follow it down. Aroma is distinctive and fragrant, first of many spices, minerals and flowers; iron water, cloves, dandelions, mint leaves, ginger. In the middle an airy farmhouse stink of wet hay and animal troughs wafts in an out. Tart half-fermented apple juice, honey, and butter croissant toward the back; brilliant balanced, with confident but subtle character. Taste is a delicate harmony of hops, herbs, and soft funk; baked pineapple and pear dusted lightly with cinnamon, clove, and ground flower petals, juiced with a lemon. Palate is soft and sprightly, graceful in the mouth but full of character and zest. Finishes with an acidic burst of peach juice which cleanses the back of the throat for a full pulse of doughy, sweet malt redolent of pancake batter and warm cinnamon roll. Incredible; tantalizingly nuanced and a joy to drink. Thanks Jason!
FlacoAlto (3810) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 12, 2008
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Pours from the growler’d bottle with a frothy, initially one-finger thick, pale, almost perfectly white colored head. The beer is a brilliantly clear, full gold color, that shows bright, yellow-gold highlights when held up to the light. Initially this smells of herbal, slightly lemon-like hops, but a deeper inspection reveals aromas of honey-like malt, grassy grain notes, soda-cracker aromatics and some light fermentation character. The fermentation character produces some fruit notes reminiscent of apples a distinct, yet subtle, note of metallic white-wine grape varietal and a sweet citrus aromatic. It also has a hint of phenolics, as well as a touch of ginger / peppery spice aromatics and a yeast-signature of earthy-spice note. Really the hops are the most noticeable note, but they in no way dominate the aromatic profile of this brew.
Fairly dry up front, but it does pick up some sweet malt notes reminiscent to honey and grain. Grassy, herbal hop notes are noticeable from the first and slowly morph into a biting, solid, mouth coating bitterness that lingers on in the finish. I should say that the bitterness is not any where near overwhelming, just the signature of an American brewer trying to put a personal signature into his interpretation of the style* (*whatever that means). The hop character towards the finish intermingles with spicy fermentation notes of pepper (also contributed by the carbonation, which has held up well), ginger and clove like turpenes. Light bodied enough to be quite drinkable, but it does have a soft body to it that is easily offset by the medium-light, yet persistent carbonation. As my palate gets used to the hop character a slightly tart fruit character becomes noticeable in the flavor; again notes of metallic white grapes (sauvignon Blanc, though more Chardonnay), a hint of pear and a touch of melon are noticeable especially towards the middle where the slight malt sweetness picks up a bit. The dry, grassy grain and soda cracker malt notes from the aroma are much subdued in the flavor, instead it has more of a sweet bready flavor. As the beer warms up a bit it picks up a touch more green/earthy spice character (if that makes any sense) and the complex fruitiness picks up a bit as well.
In a very rare occurrence for a bottle of this size, I am left wondering why I don’t have more of this beer to continue drinking. This is a very solid brew, sort of a cross between a Pale Ale and a Belgian Blond; I like the fresh hop character here and the light, spicy / fruity yeast contribution works quite well. I really do like the more recent twist of including a significant hop presence in these characterful yeast driven styles (by both Belgian & American Brewers). I might have wished for a more rustic yeast and / or fermentation temperature regime, but that would most likely be pushing this beer out of reach of the average consumer & more than likely outside what the brewer was trying to accomplish. This beer is tasty enough that I wouldn’t mind having this on tap as an every day beer, which is a soft way of saying this is quite tasty. If this beer had been less than 5% abv and still maintained the general flavor profile and balance, It would be perfection in a glass; it is a touch too strong to be that, but it still this is one damn good, more than the sum of its parts, just plain enjoyable brew.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Mrbendo kicks ass!
DocLock (8054) - Lower Pottsgrove, Pennsylvania, USA - FEB 12, 2008
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Bottle from Ty. Pours hazy golden with off-white head. Aroma is candi sugar, pale malt, tangerine, peach, apricot, and dry florals. Tastes candi sugary with a firm pale malty base, with floral, spicy, and layered citrus fruity notes. Medium palate heft and very complex.
Schroppfy (2360) - Łódż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - FEB 10, 2008
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Handbottled 22 by MrBendo. In great shape! Aroma of grain, fresh air, a little floral hops and coriander spiciness. Medium body, almost full. Flavor is a little sweet and contains fair spice levels (coriander). Well balanced. Highly drinkable, with more substantial aroma than flavor.
pforei (338) - USA - FEB 9, 2008
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
On tap at Captain Lawrence brewery. Golden yellow color with thin head. Sweet honey-orange with corriander, pepper, yeast, and slight floral hop. Mixes German malts with a good amount of Belgian yeast and spice. The honey/orange spice and yeast taste lands it to the Belgian side of the fence.
MrBendo (1064) - Swedesboro, New Jersey, USA - FEB 3, 2008
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Clear yellow color. Aroma of banana yeast with some cloves and pepper. Tastes of lemony citrus, honey and sugar. Medium-light body. Sweet and spicy finish.