Brewtopia Events LLC
American Microbrews
Blind Beer Tasting
Kerri Allen and Gary Essex
Owen Ogletree (director of Brewtopia Events LLC) gathered together Gary Essex (brewer for Buckhead Brewery in Stockbridge, GA), Crawford Moran (brewer for Dogwood Brewing Co. in Atlanta), Pasha Sovourin, Kerri Allen, and Erin and Jeff Renfroe on December 20, 2003 at Max Lager's brewpub in downtown Atlanta to sample and comment on several interesting ales and lagers from some U.S. microbreweries.  This beer sampling was done as a blind tasting where no one was aware of the brands that were being served.  Beers were informally commented upon and ranked according to Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) style guidelines. First, second, third places, and honorable mention were awarded to the beers we felt represented their individual styles in extraordinary fashion.  Feel free to drop Owen an email to share your comments and opinions.

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Max Lager's was kind enough to host our evaluation of these beers.  Visit the pub soon for a fine selection of house beers and delicious menu items.

Max Lager's American Grill & Brewery
320 Peachtree Street
Atlanta, GA
phone: (404) 525-4400

Pasha Sovourin and Crawford Moran

Pumpkin Ale 
Spice/Vegetable Beer 
Buffalo Bill's Brewery – Hayward, CA
Aroma: Ginger and allspice - smells like pumpkin pie.  Hints of toast and bread crust.
Appearance: Light gold in color and very clear.
Flavor: Bit of a thin body - could use more malt.  Pumpkin is mild, but spices are intense and flavorful.  Big carbonation bite makes spices taste even more bold.  Slightly dry in the finish.  This is a very pleasant holiday ale.

Hoppus Maximus
American Amber Ale 
Thirsty Dog Brewing Co. – Akron, OH
Aroma: Big hop aroma.  Smells like fresh hops from the NW USA - citrusy and resiny.
Appearance: Light copper / golden / orange color.
Flavor: Spicy and floral with hints of butter, chamomile, and fruity esters.  A complex ale with a bold hop flavor balanced well by malt. So light in color and caramel notes that it could pass for an American Pale Ale.

Red Brick Winter Brew 2003 
Robust Porter with chocolate malt and oatmeal  
Atlanta Brewing Co. – Atlanta, GA
Aroma: Roasty, chocolately aroma with touches of coffee/burnt notes.
Appearance: Almost black - opaque with an attractive tan head.
Flavor: Chocolate and coffee are up front with an herbal/roasty finish.  This is a bold, flavorful ale that is medium in body.

Bert Grant's Fresh Hop Ale 
American Pale Ale  
Yakima Brewing and Malting Co. – Yakima, WA
Aroma: Cascade hops (citrusy) and malt sweetness make for a nice aroma.  There are some sulfur notes that dissipate quickly.
Appearance: Clear and brilliant with a copper/amber color and good head retention.
Flavor: Good malt (caramel undertones) and hop balance with outstanding flavoring hops.  NW American hop (piney, citrusy, grapefruit-like) character is nice, and there is a mild hop finish without much bitterness.  This is an elegant ale that is somewhere between an American Pale Ale and an American Amber Ale.

Anchor Porter
Robust Porter
Anchor Brewing Co. – San Francisco, CA 
Aroma: Chocolatey, earthy, fruity, aromas.  Hints of phenols and green apple.
Appearance: Nice dark color with a tan foam.  Gorgeous and dark.
Flavor: Light nutmeg and cinnamon with a big chocolate, cocoa flavor.  Body is medium.  Chocolate dissipates into a sweet, malty finish with some fruity esters.

Yuengling Premium Light Beer 
American Standard Lager 
D.G. Yuengling & Son – Pottsville, PA 
Aroma: Corn and DMS with a slightly sweet, mild aroma of grain.
Appearance: Yellow with a bright clarity and white head.
Flavor: Clean and mild with a thin body.  Good example of the style.

Abita Light Beer
American Standard Lager 
Abita Brewing Company Abita Springs, LA 
Aroma: Slightly sour, earthy, sweaty, straw aromas.
Appearance: Light yellow in color with a slight haze.
Flavor: Almost champagne-like - very effervescent with hints of light grain and apple.  Slightly malty with a carbonation bite.

Sam Adams Light
Specialty/Experimental Lager 
Boston Beer Company Boston, MA
Aroma: Honey, flowers, and hints of Vienna malt.  Toasty, bready notes make for a complex aroma for a light beer.
Appearance: Much darker than an American Lager - has a touch of red.
Flavor: Mild European Lager hints - mild malt, mild toast - richer and more complex than a standard American Lager.

Highland Gaelic Ale
American Amber Ale  
Highland Brewing Co. – Asheville, NC 
Aroma: Malty and slightly fruity with a tea-like, caramel character.
Appearance: Clear and amber with an appealing, mild, white head.
Flavor: Deep malt flavor with touches of crystal/caramel malts.  There are also toast and smoke hints with a balance toward malt (rather than hops).  The hop background is pleasant, however.

Rogue American Amber Ale 
American Amber Ale

Rogue Ales – Newport, OR 
Aroma: Hops, nuts, wood, pine, malt, caramel, and honey.
Appearance: Dark amber and clear with a good stand of white/tan foam.
Flavor: Almond and pepper notes.  Seems a bit thin with some paper (oxidative) quality.  Balance leans toward bitterness in the finish with a touch of astringency.  Overall, a nice Amber Ale.

Yuengling Porter

Brown Porter 
D.G. Yuengling & Son – Pottsville, PA 
Aroma: Fruit, melon, grass, malt, herbs, and a slight roasted malt note.
Appearance: Dark with some ruby highlights.  Very opaque.
Flavor: Tastes very English in style with sweet, mild flavors of roast and caramel.  Very light bitterness.  Body is medium/light.  This is a mild and smooth ale that is very drinkable.

Saranac Caramel Porter

Robust Porter with caramel 
Matt Brewing Company Utica, NY 
Aroma: Caramel corn with hints of fruit and figs.  There is a hazelnut/butter note in the aroma.
Appearance: Clear and light brown with slight carbonation.
Flavor: Caramel flavor is intense and somewhat odd - has a candy/artificial note about it.  This is a malty Porter that is more like a Brown Porter than a Robust.  Butter is present in the flavor.  Tastes a bit like a Brown Ale with some nut extract.  Strange, but interesting.

Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale

Spice Beer with cinnamon, ginger and orange
Boston Beer Company Boston, MA 
Aroma: Mild spices - ginger, orange peel, allspice.  Has an orange candy aroma that is citrusy.
Appearance: Clear and red - very attractive.
Flavor: Mild orange rind with other flavors of toast, malt, and mild spices (ginger and cinnamon).  Well balanced, yet very mild.  Caramel background is pleasant.  This is slightly more dry than one might expect, yet very drinkable.

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