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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
Norman Miller reviews brews, offers food pairings and writes about breweries.
A look at new beers from Samuel Adams, Jack’s Abby, Stone, others
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About this blog
By Norman Miller
Norman Miller reviews brews, offers food pairings and writes about breweries. Norman is a reporter and beer columnist for the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, email ...
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The Beer Nut
Norman Miller reviews brews, offers food pairings and writes about breweries. Norman is a reporter and beer columnist for the MetroWest Daily News in Framingham, Mass. For questions, comments, suggestions or recommendations, email nmiller@wickedlocal.com or call 508-626-3823. Or, follow the Beer Nut at his Twitter page at www.twitter.com/realbeernut.
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By Norman Miller
April 23, 2013 5:15 p.m.



Whenever the seasons get close to changing, the liquor store shelves get flooded with a bunch of new beer.

Here is a look at a few beers that you may (or may not) want to try.

First up is the latest in Full Sail Brewing’s Pub Series, the ESB, which had previously only been available in the Oregon brewery’s tasting room. FSB_POUR_SHOT_ESB_web

This ESB is a really solid beer. The first thing you’ll notice when you pour it, other than the reddish color, is the sweet caramel aroma.

That caramel continues into the flavor. It’s sweet, but not overly so, and it finishes with a nice hop kick. It’s a smooth and creamy ESB, and if you’re a fan of the style, it is definitely worth picking up.

Next up is Jack’s Abby Brewing’s ABCS, the latest double India pale lager. The name comes from the four types of hops used in the beer (Apollo, Bravo, Calypso and Simcoe.”

If you’re a fan of citrusy and piney hops, the ABCS is for you. This is a showcase of hops, and it is a really well-done beer. The lager yeast really lets the hops show through.

It is a crisp and easy drinking beer. At 7.5 percent ABV, that easy drinking quality could easily be dangerous, but it is so good.

Samuel Adams has recently released its new LongShot mixed pack, which features homebrew contest winners.

This years pack includes a wheat beer, a double IPA and a fruit lager.

First is the Beer Flower Wheat beer. This light wheat beer is brewed with hibiscus flowers, hence the name. The hibiscus adds a tartness to the beer, which works well with the light bodied wheat beer.

It’s a good solid beer, but I don’t think I’d want to drink more than two of these at one sitting.

Next up is the Magnificent Seven is a lighter-bodied double IPA. Don’t take that to mean it’s thin, but it just doesn’t feel as hefty as its 7.2 percent ABV would suggest.

The beer really showcases the flavors hops add to the beer – you get citrus, pine and even some grassy flavors in the finish. I enjoyed it, but if it had more of a malt backbone, I think it could have been phenomenal instead of just good.

The final beer is the Strawberry Lager. The first thing you need to know is that I hate strawberries.

The second thing you need to know is that this was probably the most well-done beer of the pack. It was light, drinkable and refreshing. I won’t drink it again because of the strawberry flavor, but if you’re a fan of strawberries, this would be the perfect summer beer for you.

Next up is something totally different – the Stone Brewing Company Expression Imperial Russian Stout, released as part of the brewery’s “Odd Beers for Odd Years,” program.

The regular Stone Imperial Russian Stout is a personal favorite, so I was really looking forward to this beer.

It didn’t disappoint. There coffee flavor is amazing, and it works fantastically with the bitter chocolate flavors. It has a not unpleasant bitterness and it goes down really smooth. At 11 percent ABV, this is beast of a beer. If you see this beer, buy it.

Finally, the Traveler Beer Company (owned by the Boston Beer Company) has expanded its distribution to the entire state, bringing all three of its shandies to the market. I’m reviewing the two newest ones here. traveler

If you read this blog, or follow me on Twitter, you know I’m kind of obsessed with Samuel Adams Porch Rocker, so I was wondering how these two, the Tenacious Traveler and Time Traveler would hold up? The answer, not as good as Porch Rocker, but not bad.

First is the Time Traveler. The beer gods must be upset with me, because I’m reviewing a second strawberry beer in one week.

That being said, the Time Traveler is what it’s supposed to be, light, refreshing and easy to drink. The strawberry adds a little tartness to it that you might not expect. Again, if you like strawberries, you may like this beer.

The Tenacious Traveler was much more enjoyable for me. It appears to be the same basic base beer, brewed with the same malt and hops, but the addition of ginger and clover honey really works in this. Ginger is an ingredient that can ruin a beer if it’s too strong, but the honey balances it nicely. I could easily get through a six pack of this in one sitting.

OK, time to drink. Cheers.

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