jzzbassman (1523) - New Albany, Mississippi, USA - FEB 26, 2006
3.4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
I always like this style so I was excited to try this, and it is a good example of the style. On a cloudy evening, it just made me want to hang in front of the fire with a good pipe, book, and light conversation. A touch too sweet, and could have had some more in terms of hops, but quaffable nonetheless.
Uriel (146) - San Jose, California, USA - FEB 8, 2006
2.7 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 2/5 OVERALL 12/20
Small head, dissipates quickly to tiny head. Toasty, high fruity floral note that reminded me of 7 up. Light orange brown in color with a light tan head. Toasted and hoppy flavors, but the there was a kind of funky taste, like the hops had gone old. The hop flavor fades quickly as does the initial bite of carbonation, giving way to a touch of sweet maltiness on the tongue.
GeneralGao (3614) - Iowa City, Iowa, USA - FEB 6, 2006
3.1 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draught. Clear light copper color with bubbly white head. The aroma and flavor have a suprising milk chocolate maltiness that belies the lightish color. Sprucy hops hide somewhere in the background.
luckygirl (1223) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - JAN 31, 2006
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
Had this in the tasting room at the brewery. Beer pours a clear, light amber color with a small, frothy, white, mostly diminishing head that left behind moderate amounts of lace. The aroma was toasty warm: Heavy, fat, round notes of roasted grain and nuts; a moderate hop note of pine; and a moderate yeast note of cellar. Miscellaneous esters included vanilla and honey. The flavor was moderately sweet and lightly bitter with an average-length, lightly bitter finish. The body was medium, the texture was velvety, the carbonation was lively and there was a light alcoholic feel to the ending.
5000 (6300) - Hardened Liver, Washington, USA - JAN 28, 2006
3.2 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draught @ Brouwer’s Cafe: Fiery golden, moderate white foamy head, quite nice lacing, very lively carbonation. Somewhat of a grainy aroma, no, in fact its really grainy with cereal added. Sweet malt start, luckily not as grainy as the nose suggested, tiz a bit earthy and dusty however. Definitely an American rendition of an ESB as it doesn’t to appear to be as clean nor crisp as other examples. The graininess and cereal are a tad too strong on this one. Body and mouthfeel are moderate, yet enjoyable. Grainy finish, very slight hop presense, perhaps a little sweet as well. Tiz okay, but not as entertaining as the last 2 beers I had.
harlequinn (2744) - Tacoma, Washington, USA - JAN 28, 2006
3.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
This was nice, not my favorite beer from this brewer, but a nice refreshing change when most of what you can get on tap here in Eugene consists of Fat Tire or Loft. A nice pardon the pun bitter hop bite right off the bat, that ahs some really sweet spiciness wrapped up in some fruity breadcrumb flavors. Decent
Oakes (13272) - Vancouver, British Columbia, CANADA - JAN 28, 2006
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
Draught, Billygoat Tavern, Mt. Shasta, CA
Golden-amber colour. Fresh, spicy hop (Mt Hood?...guess I was wrong there...I’m stunned...) character with hints of breadcrust. Light character - an amber with hints of caramel and the same spicy hop. Decent if unadventurous brew, complemented a corned beef sandwich well, too, when the food came.
jimmack (1223) - Nutley, New Jersey, USA - JAN 19, 2006
3.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
12oz. bottle thanks to SS Crosling. Clear golden color with a small white head. Aroma of sweet spices (coriander and nutmeg), citrus hops and malt. Flavor of coriander comes through immediately, making this taste almost like a Belgian Wit. Some citrus hops and a sweet malt background. Interesting.
GarrettB (1181) - San Diego, California, USA - JAN 7, 2006
3.1 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
UPDATED: SEP 17, 2007 First off, a thanks to the fine folks at New Belgium for caring enough about their customers, dedicated or not, to offer free tastings and a free tour. It was that largesse (rare in today’s cutthroat capitalist milieu) that enabled me to take in a New Belgium brew I had heard rumor of, but never had the chance to drink. When it comes to New Belgium products I’m about half and half; either I’m ecstatic about a beer or brush it off as mediocre. So my hopes for the 2° Below weren’t high. A flip of the coin would have an appropriate determinant of my chances to like the newcomer, and it appears the negative side won. Call me blasphemous but I’m not terribly pleased with Fat Tire, especially now that my beer senses (something like spidey senses but more useless) are sharper then they once were. And that’s why the 2° Below gets such a low mark. It’s too much like Fat Tire. They brag about a good ratio between the malts and the hops, but the 2° Below is merely bitter, a lot like its replica predecessor. I’m also curious as to why they call it a Winter Ale. Frozen fingertips and snow up my nose calls more for a stout than an amber ale like beer (though it is technically classified as a Bitter). I’ll give it some credit though. While 2° Below has close similarities to the New Belgium bill payer Fat Tire, it has a bit more class and elegance. Maybe it’s the faint cider quality, or a moderating oak wood tone, but the 2° Below is just a step above its big brother. Still, I don’t like either of them, and hope NBB comes out with another winner to add to the now shrinking list I have. The odds are good.
Update December 20th, 2006: At this point it tastes more like a sweeter less offensive Fat Tire. Currently drinking it under conditions of the ’06 Denver Blizzard. Appropriate in name, convenient out of a hotel complimentary plastic cup and nice to drink as I watch the wind whip up the loose snow into a hazy night air. Still corny and skunky, but with a bit of generic and maple syrup sweetness.
bitter (1136) - Henderson, Nevada, USA - JAN 2, 2006
3.1 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
very, very, very crystal clear copper straw colored, small off white head speads around. floral spongy nose and more bittering hops on the palate then expected with small amt of warmth.