Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Christmas (Beer) in July

Feliz Navidad en julio!
Today is July 25, exactly five months until Christmas. So I decided it was appropriate to celebrate (with a) Christmas (beer) in July. Okay, so it's not exactly a Christmas beer, but the label has a Poinsettia on it. That's good enough for me. I figured we all need something to help keep us cool during these hot summer days, and this beer does the trick!

This beer is brought to us from Mexico by Cervecería Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma (part of the Heineken company). The only other Mexican beer that I've ever had (thanks to my father-in-law, by the way!) was Tecate, which incidentally is also brewed by CCM. In fact, I believe that the large majority of the beer I've consumed to-date has been domestically brewed. Makes me wonder what I've been missing. If you've got any suggestions for great foreign-brewed beers, please let me know.

Noche Buena is a Bock weighing in at an average 5.90% ABV. Apparently I'm on a Bock-blogging kick, since my last post was also about a Bock. Noche Buena is of the darker variety of Bocks. Admittedly, I am a big fan of darker beers. Their colors color my opinion before I even taste them. They just look like they're going to have more body, more depth than a lighter-colored beer. Of course, some of the lighter-colored wheat beers such as Hefeweizens are fairly alluring simply because of their hazy, unfiltered, golden-clouds-in-a-glass, come-and-drink-me look that foreshadows the tantalizingly tart flavor profile awaiting your tongue. There's still just something about the alluringly dark beer that beckons my taste buds.

But I digress.

"Get on with it!"
Appearance: An opaque burnt sienna with a frothy, off-white head.
Smell: A good "dark beer" smell. Hard to say exactly what that means, other than it seems to fit the style.
Taste: At first, there's nothing particularly interesting about the taste. But as I thought about how to describe my tasting experience, I realized that there was a slight bitterness present on the back end. Not so much that after having one beer you'd notice it all that much (unless you're trying to write about it!), but I believe that it'd start to catch up with you after having several. So the finish was not entirely clean (would you call this "somewhat messy"?), but it was satisfying.
Mouthfeel: Smooth with a bit 'o bubbly, though not too much.
Overall: This beer was a refreshing reminder of cooler weather. Pretty good.

71 BeerAdvocate users rate it a 78/100.
115 RateBeer users rate it 26/100 overall and 66/100 for the style.
Justin's Brew Review gives it a solid B.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Beer Born on the Bayou

You may recall that right after Christmas, I wrote a post called "A Taste of Brew Reviews to Come" and included a picture of the 18 different beers I had received for Christmas. Well, I'm not slacking in the writing department...I'm slacking in the drinking department. I've only had one of these so far! As they say, so many beers; so little time!

At any rate, I have been trying many new beers, one of which is the subject of today's post: Covington Brewhouse's Bayou Bock.

I thought Bock was German for "dark"?!
This beer comes to us from Covington, Louisiana. I was quite confused when I poured it into my glass because the beer was so light-colored. I have only ever seen dark Bock beer, so I did a double-take. I figured I had either cracked a different bottle than I thought or Covington put the wrong label on this brew! Turns out I was wrong on both counts. The German word Bock does not mean "dark"; dunkel is the German word filling that role. (Duh, Mr. German minor.) Bock is actually the German word for "goat".

Boy, do I feel sheepish!
Turns out that this particular beer style is a Maibock or helles Bock. (In German, you capitalize nouns. The German word helles simply means "light".) According to Beer Advocate, "The Maibock style of beer tends to be lighter in color than other Bock beers and often has a significant hop character with a noticeable alcohol around the same as a traditional Bock. Maibocks are customarily served in the spring and are oftentimes interrelated with spring festivals and celebrations more often in the month of May." That pretty much sums it up. So without further ado, here are my tasting notes:

Appearance: Golden yellow. No head but it evidenced thin white lacing on the sides of my glass.
Smell: Almost like what I call a "typical beer" (run-of-the-mill type stuff, you know), but I caught a hint of passion fruit. It reminded me of a Juicy Juice® [1] flavor.
Taste: Nothing remarkable. And by that, I mean there isn't really any special flavoring. However, it has an easy-to-drink quality. The hint of passion fruit was not as evident in the flavor, but it's definitely in the background. The aftertaste isn't noticeable in a bad way, and it certainly is not a bitter beer. I'd drink more than one at a time.
Mouthfeel: I wouldn't say that you really notice the carbonation, but the mouthfeel is good. It is not too light and not too heavy. It's Goldilocks just right.
Overall: I would rate this beer as a B+. I thought it was pretty good.

Sixteen BeerAdvocate users gave it a 74 / 100.
Twenty RateBeer users were not so kind. They ranked it a very low 18 / 100 with a mere 6 / 100 for the style.

Have you tried this beer or any others by Covington Brewhouse? Let me know in the comments below or through one of the following avenues:

[1] References and/or links to Juicy Juice® are provided strictly as a convenience to our users and are in no way intended to express or imply an endorsement of these companies or their products by Justin’s Brew Review. Plus, it isn’t even a beer.