Made in the Shade 2009

Made in the Shade Beer Festival

June 20, 2009

The beers are listed in order of tasting, so the effect of increasing concentrations of EtOH can be taken into account.

1. Coopers Lager, ABV 5.0%, pretty light, would be good if it were really hot, but rather tasteless.

2. Barrio Razzbery. The Magistra Scientia really liked this one, it was good, not too sweet.

3. Baltika Dark Lager, ABV 5.6%, a very nice dark lager, flavorful without being too heavy. 

4. Moosehead Lager, more of a palate cleanser than anything else. I really do just buy this when it's on sale.

5. Sam Adams Hardcore cider, light and refreshing, with just a little bit of tartness.

6. Spaten Optimator, a double bock, ABV 7.2%. One of my favorites.

7. Warsteiner, German pilsener, ABV 4.8%. Another favorite of mine.

8. Old World Brewery Nitro Blonde. Truly nasty, I don't know whether I had a bad batch or it was just really terrible. I actually poured this on the ground.

9. Carlsberg, Danish pale lager, 5% ABV. 

I stopped giving ratings at this point, anything that wasn't awful tended to taste pretty good.

10. Golden Pheasant, Slovak pilsener. Crisp is the best word to describe it.

11. Barrio Copperhead

12. Sam Adams Hardcore

13. Sam Adams Blackberry Wheat

14. Gordon Biersch Marzen

15. Big Sky Summer Honey

16. Pyramid Thunderhead

17. Fox Barrel Pear Cider

18. Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, very strong vanilla flavor.

19. Oak Creek King Crimson

20. Fox Barrel Apple Cider

Blue Moon Agave Blonde Ale Review

Blue Moon Agave Blonde Ale

Fruit beer [Type 15] 5.6% ABV

Fruit beer? Isn't it labeled a blonde ale on the label? It is, but since what you get is mostly the agave syrup and not much else, this is really more of a light ale with flavor in it. That sounds more dismissive than I meant. This is not a bad beer. It is not a very good beer either. I picked up this Blue Moon assortment, and I'm not sorry. I also wouldn't buy another one, since there are so many beers to enjoy.


Blue Moon Agave Blonde Ale Review

What you get is sweet, and more sweet. There isn't much else in the flavor. For a light summer beer, that can be ok. Had a pretty good head on it, and plenty of carbonation. It has a bit of color to it, not as light as a lager, but pretty close. Not gross, but there are better beers to buy.

Cable Car Small Batch Amber Ale

Cable Car Small Batch Amber Ale

Marzen/Oktoberfest [Type 57] 5.7% ABV

Brewed in the Marzen style, meaning German malts and little in the way of hops. Big head that dissipates quickly. A sweet and light amber. The color is light too, not as dark as the name might suggest, but that matches the flavor.


Nothing to write home about, but the lighter flavor was pretty much what I wanted with this beer. Not super thick or flavorful Marzen, but good enough.

My other beer reviews

Beer Club March 2011

Beers of Central and Eastern Europe

Baltika #5 Gold

5.3% ABV, Euro Pale Lager. [Type 12] A pretty good lager, tastes a lot like a Heineken. 3 beers. I'd drink it.

Stout homebrew

More delicious homebrew that we have had in months past.


5.0% ABV, Czech pilsner [Type 37] An alias for Budweiser Budvar. The other Budweiser. Similar to Pilsner Urquell, a light refreshing beer. 2 beers.

Werewolf Lithuanian

A Belgian dark ale [Type 29]. 8.2% ABV. Sweet and sour. Pretty heavy. Not the best Belgian I've had. 4 beers.

Primator Dark Lager

Munich Dunkel. [Type 39] 4.8% ABV. Has that distinctive German maltiness.

Primator Maibock

A Hellesbock, or light bock beer. [Type 13] 7.5% ABV. Strong, malty, some fruitiness. A fun beer.

Baltika #4 Dark

The Baltika version of a European dark lager. [Type 39] 5.6% ABV. Sweeter than the Primator.

Okocim Full Pale

A Polish pale lager [Type 12] 5.6% ABV. This is a pretty good lager. Tasty and creamy, a pleasant beery taste. 2 beers.

Baltika #8 Wheat

Type 14. 5.0% ABV

Primator Double Bock

Amazingly strong doppelbock. [Type 26] 10.5% ABV. Pretty thick and sweet, a bit like cough syrup.

Celebrator Ayinger

Another doppelbock. 6.7% ABV. Everyone remembers this as the goat beer.

Old Rasputin

A Russian Imperial Stout [Type 50] 9.0% ABV. More bitter and stronger than a mere Imperial Stout.

Leinenkugel Oktoberfest Beer Review

Leinenkugel Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest [Type 57] 5.1% ABV

I like Leinenkugel beers in general. I am up for trying just about anything they brew. This beer was underwhelming. I have had a lot of Märzen recently, and this one just was not as good. It was a solid example of the style. If I were a diehard Leine fan, I would probably rate it higher.


Nothing special here. Nothing bad either! I really enjoy the Oktoberfest style, so I have high expectations.

My other beer reviews

Beer Club September 2010

Amber and Red Ales

Amber ale is a variant of pale ale that uses crystal malts to achieve a slightly darker color. The ambers can range from copper to dark reddish brown. The malts tend to give the ambers a caramel flavor. Some beers referred to as amber are actually lagers with colored malts.

Fat Tire

One of my favorites, Fat Tire is the most popular beer from New Belgium brewery in Fort Collins. Fat Tire has a biscuity flavor, a bready taste with a bitter finish. 5.2% ABV. 2 beers.

Alaskan Amber

Not actually an amber, this is an Altbier [Type 61], from the German for old beer. A German brown ale, Alaskan Amber has a sweet bready taste with a mellow finish. 5.3% ABV 2 beers.

O'Hara's Irish Red

The Irish Red Ale tends to be sweeter than the American Amber, with dominant malts. The taste was smoky, it reminded me of a porter. 4.3% ABV. 2 beers.

Drop Top Amber

Drop Top's Amber tasted of melons, with a light finish. 5.0% ABV. 2 beers.

Full Sail Amber

The hops were strong enough to make me think of an IPA. 5.5% ABV. 5 beers.

Boont Amber

Also quite hoppy, but this was better balanced than the Full Sail with stronger malts. 5.8% ABV. 3 beers.

Old Scratch

An example of an amber lager. The term we settled on was 'fair-middlin'. This beer has little flavor, but it wasn't terrible. 5.5% ABV. 4 beers.

Bell's Amber

This beer was middlin. A bit more flavor than Old Scratch, 5.5% ABV. 3 beers.

American Amber Ale

From Rogue Brewery, I expected a lot of hops. Turns out, this one is moderately hopped, just enough to give the beer some character. The pine flavor of the hops obscured the amber malts, but I liked this beer quite a bit. 5.6% ABV. 2 beers.


Sweet and hefe like due to the German yeasts. 5.5% ABV. 2 beers.

Jumping Cow

A undistinguished beer. 5.5% ABV. 5 beers.

Sunset Amber

My favorite of the evening, this is a local beer from Grand Canyon Brewery. Lots of malt, caramel, and body. 5.4% ABV. 2 beers.

Red Bridge 

An amber with a twist, this is a beer brewed with sorghum so that it is gluten-free. Not bad for a gluten-free beer, a bit thin and fizzy, but a nice light lemony flavor. 4.8% ABV. 3 beers.

Dundee Irish Red

Sweet and malty, but no smoky flavor in this Irish Red. 5.5% ABV. 3 beers.


Another local beer, this one from Mogollon Brewery. My favorite of the Mogollon beers so far. Sweet and malty. 5.0% ABV.  3 beers.

My other beer reviews

Beer Club August 2010

Pale Ales

LineupPintThe pale ale isn't necessarily pale, it is called so in distinction with the porter, the other common style in England. The use of malts with less color makes the pale ale less dark than a porter, but usually darker than a pilsner.

As an ale, they are made with top-fermenting yeast. The style originated in Burton-upon-Trent, a city known for its hard water. The preeminent pale ale from Burton-upon-Trent is Bass. The minerals in the water gave the beer its flavor, and later a process known as Burtonization was developed to allow for the same flavors in beer brewed in other locations.


Oak Creek Pale Ale

An American Pale Ale [Type 17], which tends to be maltier and much hoppier than the English Pale Ales, Oak Creek Pale Ale is amber colored, with a significant piney hop taste. 5.5% ABV. 3 beers.

Reaper Deathly Pale Ale

Dark orange, and a little hazy. Has a sour, Belgian finish. Surprisingly sweet for a pale ale. 6.2% ABV. 4 beers.

Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale

This is my favorite of the bunch. It is an old school English Pale Ale [Type 10], more like a porter because of the cocoa flavors from the malt. Very drinkable beer. 5.0% ABV, 2 beers.

Poleeko Gold Pale Ale

A California beer, it is strong on the hops, with a smell like stale beer. 5.5% ABV, 5 beers.

Four Peaks 8th Street Ale

An Arizona classic, 8th Street Ale is the flagship brew from Four Peaks. It is citrusy, something I had never noticed before. As a milder Pale Ale, it is considered an English [Type 10]. It has a bit of a soapy finish. 4.5% ABV, 3 beers.

Boddington's Pub Ale

Boddington's Pub AleA traditional pub ale, Boddington's is clear and smooth, the kind of beer you can just keep on drinking all day. We had the can with the nitrogen capsule, so it had a nice creamy head on it. Light in color and flavor, goes down easy. 4.7% ABV, 2 beers.

Mirror Pond Pale Ale

Another moderately hopped pale ale. 5.0% ABV

Nimbus Pale Ale

Nimbus is a very pale pale ale. Light on color and flavor. 5.5% ABV

Ballast Point Yellowtail Pale Ale

A bit of a blended style, Ballast Point Yellowtail is an ale that is lagered. It is a Kölsch [Type 55] more than a pale ale, but they label it as the latter. Very sweet, I don't think I could drink too many. 4.6% ABV, 5 beers.

Rogue Juniper Pale Ale

I couldn't really taste the juniper, but that may not be the beer's fault at this point in the evening.

Two Hearted Ale

A couple of IPAs snuck in at the end, which is okay since in this part of the queue you aren't all that selective anymore, and the IPA hops cannot affect the more delicate flavors of the earlier beers.

I reviewed Two Hearted Ale in January of 2010.

Modus Hoperandi

OMG! That is hoppy! This is a quote, and everyone insisted I write down what I said, so there it is. Modus Hoperandi is one of those punch you in the face kinds of IPAs. It has an intense hop aroma and equally intense flavor. 6.8% ABV, 4 beers.

My other beer reviews

Beer Club July 2010

July 2010



Pilsner glassThe pilsner defines beer for most of the world today. It is a recent style of beer, invented in the 19th century in Bohemia by applying the pale ale techniques to the existing lager style. Lagering is the storage of beer at low temperature, allowing slow-acting lager yeast to ferment the beer. Lagers were first developed sometime after the middle ages, but the pilsner quickly became the most popular in the world due to its light flavor, golden color, and low cost. The biggest sales volume beer in the world, Budweiser, is a pilsner-style, but it can be considered an adjunct lager because other grains are used to brew it.

Pilsners are named after the town of Pilzen, now part of the Czech Republic. They are traditionally served in tall skinny glasses with a slight taper, the better to create lots of bubbles that form a dense white head. This allows the scent of the pilsner to build while drinking.


Simpler Times

Simpler Times

Simpler Times is the 2 Buck Chuck of beer, and that is an insult to 2 Buck Chuck. A german pilsner [Type 23] at 5.5% ABV it has a lot of punch, but the flavor is just, strange.... Buttery is the dominant flavor, with some strange bitterness in the finish.

I could not in good conscience recommend this beer to anyone. It was terrible. I opened a can and could not finish it. That is unusual for me, and a good indication of just how bad this beer really is. 6 beer rating. I would give it less if I could.


Karlovacko is a Czech or Bohemian Pilsner [Type 37]. 5.0% ABV. Pretty similar to Pilsner Urquell. 3 beers.


A german pilsner [Type 23], 4.4% ABV. An excellent example of the style, it is golden and clear with a pure white head. Clean dry finish, very tasty. 2 beers.

Port Brewing Panzer Imperial Pilsner

Very hoppy. Unusual for a pilsner, there is a strong piney hop flavor. As an imperial, it has 9.5% ABV. This is really a craft beer modification of the pilsner style that adds a massive dose of hops to increase alcohol and bitterness. Not really all that good. 4 beers.


A polish beer, with a bit of a medicinal flavor. 5.2% I like the Okocim brand, they make some pretty good stuff, so a solid 3 beers.

Coney Island Albino Python

Part of the lager group rather than the pilsners, Albino Python has a bit of the wit bier about it because of the spices, lots of ginger in this beer. Pretty tasty, albeit unusual. 3 beers. 6.0% ABV.

Samuel Smith's Organic Lager

Tastes a lot like Rolling Rock. Another lager [Type 12] 5.0% ABV, pretty bland really. I like rolling rock, but I suppose I expect something different when I get an organic craft beer. 4 beers.

St. Pauli's Girl

A german pilsner [Type 23], 4.9% ABV. A standard pilsner that you can find in just about any grocery store. It has the typical German yeasts, light body and flavor, and is really pretty drinkable. 3 beers.


This is a Lebanese beer, german pilsner [Type 23]. 4% ABV. Not bad, not great. Probably not worth paying extra for, but it tasted fine. 3 beers.


A fine german pilsner [Type 23], Stiegl has 4.9% ABV. Clean, crisp, unadorned. The Austrians did a good job. 2 beers.

My other beer reviews

Guinness and Früli

Guinness and Früli

Guinness and Früli

Stout 4.2% ABV [Type 21] and Fruit Beer 4.1% ABV [Type 15]

An interesting combination in the spirit of a bruised apple or a snakebite, this one combines strawberry ale with Guinness stout. These two beers resist mixing strongly, so you tend to get mostly Guinness on top and strawberry ale on the bottom. However, you do get some flavor diffusion, so there was a hint of fruit in the Guinness. It was less sweet than I expected, but then again strawberries have very little sugar in them.


Not terrible, and not great. I am not sad I tried it, but I don't know that I would ever order another one. It might actually taste better if you just mixed it real thoroughly. That seemed wrong though. The Früli just isn't good enough on its own to really make this a good combination. The strawberry ale is fruity and earthy, but it has a bit of a sour finish that clashed with the smooth malt of the Guinness.

My other beer reviews



CoorsAmerican Adjunct Lager 5.0% ABV

Coors is a pale golden yellow, with a fairly thin head and minimal hops. I suppose the best way to describe the taste is beery. In much the same way as grape soda can in some ways taste more like grapes than grapes themselves do, Coors tastes like beer, and that is about it.

Coors is not the best selling of the mass-produced American lagers, but it certainly is one of the big ones. Coors is called an adjunct lager because of the use of grains besides malt in the brewing process, such as corn or rice. This practice arose during World War II because of the war-rationing, but it has proved popular and profitable enough that it has continued to the present day, with many of the most popular brands throughout the world being brewed in this fashion.

How can I hate what so many people like? There is certainly a cost-element in the popularity of brands like Coors and Budweiser, but a great many people throughout the world find this style of beer refreshing. The trendy beers these days definitely have more pronounced, complex flavors. The fashion these days is for really intense hops, probably even to excess. I expect this too shall pass. I like hops too, but damn. Hopefully a more moderate hoppiness will prevail.

Beers like Coors have been pretty much the same for a long time. As a statistician once noted, breweries pride themselves on consistency, and the big brands are really really good at keeping the beer tasting the same over the years. This is no mean feat. Particularly at the volumes they produce.



I enjoyed this beer right out of the can. There is something fun about popping open a can of beer, even though the flavor of canned beer is quite different than bottled beer. Even Fat Tire tastes a little tinny in a can. But the real question is: how good does it taste? The essential question for the six-pack scale I use is how many beers do you have to drink before it starts to taste good. A clear weakness [or feature] of this scale is everything starts to taste good after you drink enough. After extensive research, I decided to give Coors 4 bottles, because I don't drink it for the taste, but I don't look down on it because of that. I actually like this beer, and can appreciate it for what it is.

My other beer reviews