5 New Beers Reviewed

It has been awhile since we put up a beer review, so today we have 5 of them – Buckbean’s Orange Blossom Ale, Widmer’s Sunburn, Great Northern’sBlack Star Lager, Stone’s El CaminoUn-Real (a collaboration beer with Firestone Walker and 21st Ammendment brewing) and Bridgeport’s2010 version of Stumptown Tart.


Last week I got together a group of friends and contributors to The New School to taste a few seasonals and new releases of styles from all over the board. I asked each reviewer to write some quick notes and score each beer on a 0-5 scale overall. This way you get more of an overall sense of each beer from different perspectives, and not just one reviewer’s biased opinion.

Great Northern: Black Star Lager
(A dry-hopped lager sampled from both bottle and can)

“SNOB” Ritch

Smells really malty, not too much hop aroma. Its pretty light bodied and tastes a sweet, malty and clean. Reminds me a bit of a Czech Pilsner.
Score 3.5 out of 5

Amy Marvin
Smells a little malty. Looks dark gold to amber. Little bready malt flavor. Czech-style lager. Pretty good example of the style, fruity/lemon flavors.
Score 3 out of 5

ElGordo and Katie
Not much to this one. Light malt and a touch of sulphur on the nose. Balance is good between light caramel malt and mild, slightly fruity hops. Bottle serving seems livelier and drier than the canned version. Clean finish is nice and dry. Not a bad option for a lager.
Score 3.5 out of 5

Ezra aka Samurai Artist
1 finger white head pour. Yellow lager color, small thin bubbles. Light lager malt aroma. Not much there as far as aroma. Flavor has malty and light lemony notes. Just a light floral and spicy hops note. Light bitterness on the backend. Bottle tastes cleaner and less fruity than the can.
Score 3 out of 5



Buckbean: Original Orange Blossom Ale
(A beer brewed with Orange Blossom water)


“SNOB” Ritch
Smells like metal and orange candy, taste like orange peel and soda water.Really, this is a beer? There is really nothing good to say, except maybe that the can is cool.
Score 1 out of 5

Amy Marvin
Looks like Orange Fanta. Smells Windex’y. Tastes very watery, like weak Kool-Aid. I wish the Kool-Aid guy would kick its ass – Oh Yeah!
Score 1 out of 5

Jimmy “Swine-Flue” Blum
The nose has a stale orange smell, and the beer is the color of orange soda. On the palate, the beer tastes of stale malts, the carbonation is very low, and it reminds me of artificial orange flavor.
Score 1 out of 5

Ezra aka Samurai Artist
Thin, quickly-diminishing, bubbly white head. Crystal clear orange color, verrry bubbly, many clinging to the sides of the glass. Soda-like appearance. Malty sweet sugar aroma. Flavor is watery, slightly sweet and fruity. Light tart orange flavor. Finishes like water.
Score 1 out of 5



Widmer: Sunburn (Summer Ale)
(Citra hopped sumemr beer)

“SNOB” Ritch
Tropical aromas. Crisp and citrusy, really refreshing. The Citra hop flavor really comes through.
Score 4 out of 5

Amy Marvin
Smells hoppy. Looks nice, with a golden sparkly color. Hoppy but not too bitter, nice tropical flavors. This would be a nice choice for a warm day, light bodied and refreshing. I’ll look for it this summer.
Score 3.5 out of 5

Jimmy “Swine-Flu” Blum
Pours a clear golden color. The nose smells of pineapple and apricots. Flavor-wise, the beer is quite clean with a slight apple fruitiness; the base reminds me of a kolsch. There is a fair bite of citrus and bitterness, and the beer finishes with a cracker-like malt profile. Really nice and refreshing.
Score 4 out of 5

ElGordo and Katie
Nice floral hop aroma, plenty of Citra Hops. Very light malt profile. Light, airy finish is like a good German Kolsch. I can see myself drinking a few of these on a hot day (if we ever get any of those this year). Definitely a solid lawnmower beer.
Score 4 out of 5

Ezra aka Samurai Artist
Pours amber yellow with one finger of bright white head. Citrus, lemony aroma, light cereal malts. Flavor has a nice bready, nutty note. Light floral and lemony hops. Dry floral finish. Sweet lemon candy flavors at the sides of the tongue though not a sweet beer.
Score 3.5 out of 5


Stone: El Camino Un Real Black Ale
(Collaboration with Firestone Walker and 21st Ammendment Brewing)

“SNOB” Ritch
Black Licorice aroma. It has a nice fig flavor up front with a pepper finish.Also has a strong alcohol flavor, sort of like NyQuil. Probably will improve with age.
3.5 out of 5

Amy Marvin
Smells like gingerbread. Looks dark brown, hint of medicine. Very complex, boozy, vegetable flavors, maybe pfefferneuse cookies. Think it would mellow with age.
Score 4 out of 5

ElGordo and Katie
Complex aroma of sweet dark malts with lots of fruitiness from the hops. Palate is again big on the dark malt and holds some notes of peppercorns and anise. Lingering finish is boozy with more anise and pepper.
Score 4 out of 5

Ezra aka Samurai Artist
Pours dark chocolatey brown color with mocha-like but thin head. Herbal spice aroma, Greek herbs with licorice. Herbal pot and mint. Medium-heavy body, green herbal flavor, roasty and milk chocolate with little hop bitterness in the finish. Lots of odd spice notes hit all over.
Score 3.5 out of 5



Bridgeport: Stumptown Tart (2010)

(Oak-aged raspberry beer)

“SNOB” Ritch
This beer has a strong raspberry aroma. It’s tart up front, but not too sour, and finishes with a good raspberry flavor. This is probably my favorite Stumptown Tart yet.
Score 4 out of 5

Amy Marvin
Smells of tart, banana. Looks clear orange with fine carbonation. Flavors are slightly tart taste of raspberries and oak. This is a very good beer, I could drink this with a meal. It is not super sour, well balanced.
Score 4 out of 5

ElGordo and Katie
Nice tart, fruity nose with a lot of rasberry and a touch of honey. Palate is lightly sweet malt with a good dose of tart raspberries towards the back of the mouth. Nice tart finish with just a hint of oak. This version definitely lives up to the “Tart” moniker better than the previous iterations. I think maybe they should stick with the raspberry in the future.
Score 3.5 out of 5

Ezra aka Samurai Artist
Reddish orange in color. Effervescent, raspberry, tart, malty aroma. Fruit malt flavors. Dry, woody finish. Very light tartness in flavor. More tart in aroma then flavor. Fruit is evident up front but gives away to malt and then wood and a dry finish.
Score 3 out of 5

Overall Review of the beers:
All of the brews got pretty good, above average reviews except for Buckbean’s Orange Blossom Ale (which is the lowest reviewed beer ever on
The New School). Everyone seemed to enjoy the Sunburn and Bridgeport beers especially, with myself being the exception on the Bridgeport beer. It just was not tart enough for me. The Black Star was a solid lager, and the Stone beer won points for complexity and originality.

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Samurai Artist
Samurai Artist

Founder of The New School and most frequent contributor Ezra Johnson-Greenough has worked in the craft beer industry for almost 10 years, doing everything from illustrating beer labels to bartending at renowned beer bars and breweries like Belmont Station, Apex, Laurelwood and Upright Brewing. He has also had a hand in creating events like the Portland Fruit Beer Festival, Portland Beer Week, and the Brewing up Cocktails series. He is available for freelance consultation in marketing, events, graphic design and branding. Contact: SamuraiArtist@NewSchoolBeer.com

Discussion

  • Bill Night
    Bill Night
    Tue May 25, 2010 4:59 PM

    Ezra: I’m with you on the Stumptown Tart. I actually liked last year’s cherry version a lot more. Not that the raspberry one is bad, just that the flavors are a little muted.

    • DOSiR
      DOSiR
      Wed May 26, 2010 4:59 AM

      Yep…. last years was OK…. but to try and re-release a somewhat mediocre brew is quite lame. I would expect better from Bridgeport. I look forward to Widmers new release…. and I doubt they will have a re-release party for it next year! 😉