Posts tagged ‘Lemon’

Jack-O Traveler Seasonal Shandy – The Traveler Brewing Co.

Travlers Shandy

When we set out earlier this year seeking out beers to review, we definitely started looking into some of the darker corners of the cellar. Sure, there are certainly a few major release pumpkin ales that have eluded our grasp as of yet, but two years running of tracking down all the familiar faces has allowed us a certain freedom to delve into the unique, elusive, and creative minds. Now, don’t get us wrong, we’ve got nothing against a good old fashioned pumpkin ale, but whether it works or not, there’s always something fun about trying something a little different. This one is definitely in the “you’ve got to at least try it once” category. ::Cue mustache twirl::

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Name: Jack-O Traveler Seasonal Shandy

Place of Origin / Brewer: Burlington, Vermont / The Traveler Beer Co.

Beer style / ABV%: Pumpkin Shandy

Specialty Prep / Individuality: This beer holds the distinction of being the first Pumpkin Shandy. It is brewed with 2-Row Malted Barley, malted wheat, and real pumpkin, and features Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops and a hint of spice. It’s also worth noting that while it does take it’s inspiration from the lemon soda & lager cocktails of Europe, the flavor here is 100% beer.

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Packaging:

I like this label. It’s playful and they’ve incorporated a fun moustachio into the artwork. Everybody loves a mustache. – Rick

A vine mustachioed jack-o-lantern. How hipster. – Tim

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Color: 7

This shandy is the color of honey or perhaps a lemon iced tea. Thin lacing clings just around the edge with an ever so slight amount of bubbles making their way to the top. It is the picture of refreshment. – Brittney

Deep Mustard Yellow leaning just slightly into a crusty orange / burnt umber. I’m going to guess this alludes to the lemon shandy aspect. Darker than I would have suspected. – Mike

M- 6.5 / T- 6.5 / B- 8 / R- 6.5

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Aroma: 6

I wasn’t expecting such a full bodied aroma from this shandy. There are some earthy elements which reveal a muskiness that isn’t unpleasant and helps pronounce the pumpkin. – Rick

The aroma of lemon is always intense to me. With that being said, I smell a great deal of lemon and a good amount of pumpkin followed by just a bit of cinnamon. – Brittney

M- 6 / T-6 / B- 7 / R- 5.5

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Mouth feel: 7

On the lighter end of medium bodied which, based on the fact that they are touting this as a shandy, is much fuller than I would have anticipated. The carbonation is mild and the ale has a soft and easy texture that would make putting more than a few of these back a veritable breeze. – Tim

Crisp, and light, with just a bit of fizz. This is easy drinking, hot weather pumpkin beer here folks. – Mike

M- 5.5 / T- 7 / B- 7 / R- 7.5

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Tasting notes: 7

A slight touch of acidity rides a heap of spices and a good dose of malty, well… goodness. There is dominant sweetness that lands between pie and powdered lemonade, without delving too much into either, and a quality of southern tea that makes it a likely accompaniment for a round of golf on Halloween. – Mike

The overriding flavor profile is cinnamon and allspice, with subtle notes of lemon trailing on the finish. Considering the spice on the nose and at the forefront of the body, it’s a real wonder that this isn’t more aggressive. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this by any stretch of the imagination a traditional shandy, but the brewers have managed to impart that light sweetness within the confines of a pumpkin ale with absolute success. – Tim

We’ve tasted a lot of beers that tout fresh and local. And we all know what “natural flavors” really means these days. But I think it’s probably for the best if we all give this one a chance to be what it is. This is like the difference between buying your pumpkin pie at the store and baking one yourself from scratch. This “pie” is the pie from the store, and for what it is, it’s pretty damn good. – Brittney

I am quite surprised, once again, by this shandy. I never suspected that pumpkin flavor with lemon would make such a great combo. The spicing is gentle enough to let the natural sweetness of the pumpkin flavors shine, and each sip is just as good as the last. – Rick

M- 6 / T- 7 / B- 8 / R- 8

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Finish: 6.5

Smooth and lemony on the end pronounced by a hint of zest and maybe a bit of cinnamon. A nice pumpkin gourdiness really floods the senses here and compliments the brew well. – Rick

This is where I get my dose of lemon. Nutmeg lingers and gives the quality of a mulled cider, with fruity pumpkin juice gleaning on the swallow. In fact, I think I might have had this once in a certain wizard themed section of a certain local theme park. – Mike

M- 5.5 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 7.5

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Flavor balance: 6.5

  • Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6

What little pumpkin there is shows itself only on the bouquet, the spice while prominent is never overbearing, which in and of itself is a major compliment considering the dominant cinnamon profile on display. – Tim

The lemon really helps sweeten without having to rely on an over use of pumpkin spice. Actually the spicing seems to be pretty fair and light on this one. – Rick

M- 4.5 / T- 4.5 / B- 7 / R- 8

  • Sweet / Dry balance: 6.5

You get sweetness from pumpkin and spice and a crisp dryness from the lemon creating a pretty decent balance to me. – Brittney

A good shandy should be sweet, but not soft drink-esque. This ale toes the line in that regard, with finessed aplomb. It has just enough sugar in it to make me want to pound down a few with my holiday fish and chips, but not so much that it’s going to leave me bloated and sorry. – Tim

M- 4 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 8.5

  • Multiple Drinkability? 7

It’s light and easy going down, but there is an inherent sugar rush that just doesn’t gel with me. That said, it surpassed my expectations as a novelty, and is definitely interesting as a fringe style. A few tweaks could make this a winner down the line. – Mike

I was really impressed with this new twist on the pumpkin beer, and the style just begs to be drunk in session. It’s really well balanced and even more pumpkin-like than some of the ales that we’ve had. – Rick

M- 5 / T- 6 / B- 7 / R- 10

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Overall: 6.67

M- 5.67 / T- 6.33 / B- 7.33 / R- 7.33

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La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado – Bruery, Elysian, & Stone Collaboration

It’s that time of year again! Welcome to round two of The GPBR. If you’re just joining us, it’s worth saying that you might want to skip back to post #1 and catch up on how all of this stuff works, as well as a few of the exceptional beers we covered last year. For all of the old friends of the blog, it’s worth noting that we will not be recovering any brews we touched on last year unless they are specifically considered “batch brews”, i.e. limited series that should vary significantly in another incarnation from previous batches. Believe it or not, there are just too many pumpkin beers to cover otherwise. I guess that says something for the excellent state of craft brewing.

Before we march too far into the future, we’re going to call our own bluff though. Try as we may, last year we just couldn’t get our hands on some of the rarer west coast and north east brews (we’re located in Florida). This was one we just couldn’t afford to pass on. Yes, it says not to age it on the label. Oh, well. When you see three excellent brewers get together for a pumpkin ale, how can you say no? (Also, if you scour around a bit, you’ll find that this is still available in the nooks and crannies of the internet, and has aged very well all things considered).

It seems that there are plenty of inside jokes and funny stories that go along with this brew. I’d personally love to hear the one behind the decidedly loose interpretation of French in the name. Apparently, it’s a thing. It was brewed on site at the Stone Brewery (1999 Citracado Parkway), where the pumpkins used in the mash were also raised, giving us a touch of insight on it’s name and origin as “”The Heavenly Pumpkin of Citracado”.

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Name:  La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado

Place of Origin / Brewer: California, USA / Bruery, Elysian, & Stone Collaboration

Beer style / ABV%:  Dark Herbal Vegetable Ale / 5.0%

Specialty Prep / Individuality:  Collaborative ale forgoing the traditional pumpkin pie spicing, brewed with pumpkin, yams, toasted fenugreek, lemon verbena, and birch bark brewed on location at Stone Brewery (where the pumpkins were also grown). Warrior and Motueka hops add to the bill, as well as a bevy of malt including Pale, Rye, Crystal, Chocolate Rye, English Brown, Aromatic, and Honey malt.

Packaging:

Simple and to the point, this label is informative and has a touch of elegance. Three brewer’s logos stamped firmly in gold let you know its a joint effort, and the vine laden white logo let you know it’s an out of this world pumpkin beer. If you are semi-literate in French that is. I also enjoy that each bottle seems to have a different message from each brewer involved across the three. – Mike

Very simple and an elegant design for a pumpkin beer bottle, but you would not be able to tell what type of brew this is without further inspection.  I think it’s ambiguity adds to the professional quality of this three way collaboration and reveals just how seriously the brew masters took to crafting such a unique pumpkin ale. – Rick

The label is hard to read once the brew has been poured but I’ve had a love affair since this bottle found its way into our hands.  The label has a simple clean yet antiqued look with modern appeal and well-done text with a witty message. – Brittney

I love this bottle; it reminds me more of what you get from Stone, with the printing directly on the glass.  The back of my bottle (they are all a bit different) includes some thoughts on the collaboration from The Bruery.  Overall, a classy design that makes the beer feel unique. – Tim

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Color:  7.5

A deep dark caramel color with garnet highlights and a thick and creamy two-fingered head and leaves some minor lacing. – Tim

I love the dark oaky color that is presented while retaining a nice amber glow about it as well. The head is nice and thick, more likely to come from a strong ale than a pumpkin beer. – Rick

A dark murky amber body with a tan head that fizzles to an ivory lacing. Intentional or not the coloring once poured in a class matches the bottle nicely. – Brittney

Not what I was expecting but engaging none the less. The dried blood reddish brown elicits revolutionary ideas, a reminder of the all for one and one for all sense of three collaborating brewers with their hands in the mash tun. The Napoleonic powdered wig of a head is a nice touch too. – Mike

M- 8.5 / T- 8 / B- 7 / R- 6.5

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Aroma:  7.5

The label tells no lies. Lemon Verbena and Fenugreek are not subtleties here. They’re loud, proud, and reinforce that pumpkins are plants, not pies. There’s also a back end of toasty malt and rye that lends itself nicely to the earthiness. – Mike

Fenugreek is an ingredient used in curry.  Did you know that?  I didn’t until recently. Am I late to the party? Maybe, but this is why when I first smell this beer the aroma reminds me of curry.  Once my hunger subsides I get a really great-mushroomed earthiness and then I am hungry all over again. – Brittney

Reading the ingredients list here, I was expected to be bowled over by the Lemon Verbena and the Fenugreek—but the aroma on this is actually more flora and hoppy with the verbena wrapping its bouquet around a complex mix of scents.  Unfortunately, I’m not getting any Pumpkin or Yams in there and I’m not getting the Fenugreek at all, so I am wondering if, because of the power in there, the Fenugreek is being kept on the down-low. – Tim

There is a complexity at work here that is atypical of this style. The toasted fenugreek is dominant with an eerily woody body. Pumpkin is barely discernible on the nose though, not that this impedes the quality of the nose in any way. – Rick

M- 7.5 / T- 7 / B- 8 / R- 7

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Mouth feel:  7

Light and creamy right off the bat offers a smooth tasting brew. It does however stand to be slightly too watery in the body and feels deceptively light. – Rick

Far less heavy than the color would imply, the nose is your hint here. Refreshing and delicate but not so light as to be watery. It keeps this complex mix very approachable. – Mike

Medium to low carbonation and medium bodied. This would be the one aspect of this beer that I would not describe as complex.  The mouth feel does not attempt to do anything but provide a solid platform for the multitude of other senses about to be pleasantly attacked. – Brittney

M- 7.5 / T- 6. / B- 6 / R- 7

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Tasting notes:  7

Creamy and mellow up front, with the eastern spices dabbling and them making a more pronounced entrance, leaving the throat on notes of char-grilled sugar squash and sweet potatoes. This unconventional approach to spicing makes it’s way up your nasal passages, and does a bit of a dance, which creates a uniquely and unabashed harmonizing of savory and citrus cleanliness. – Mike

This is a very different pumpkin beer. It is not a pumpkin pie beer nor is it a pumpkin vegetal beer. To me, the fenugreek is very noticeable followed by spicy woodiness. The citrus touch of the lemon verbena dreamily entangles itself throughout. – Brittney

I had some serious concerns based on the Verbena that this was going to taste like a bar of soap or a bottle of shower gel.  Much of that fear was allayed but I still felt like the Birch and the Verbena were battling it out for supremacy, and keeping everything else at bay.  The Pumpkin and Yams are still MIA leaving room for a touch of the Fenugreek (still less powerful that anticipated) and notes of coffee. Tim

A very unique twist on the pumpkin ale, this brew doesn’t shy away from an exploratory use of spicing that makes it a bold standout. It is the epitome of roasted pumpkins. – Rick

M- 9 / T- 6.5 / B- 7 / R- 7.5

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Finish:  7.5

A touch of sour bitterness (not in a bad way) accompanies the epically long finish that had me contemplating this beer for an extended period between sips. – Tim

I’m really enjoying the dryness on the back end here. I think the bold aroma of toast and fenugreek really emboldens the body and catalyzes each sip to a smooth crisp finale. It’s the great balance of spices that make this brew smooth to drink and imparts a peppery finish. – Rick

It lingers on your tongue and by lingers I mean my tongue is literally tingling with spice. – Brittney

The birch really pops up here reminding me of that strangely smooth bitterness of cold birch beer, and as the mouth warms the spice fades leaving a roasted vegetal note worth of any holiday side dish. – Mike

M- 8 / T- 6.5 / B- 7 / R- 8

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Flavor balance:  6.5

–         Pumpkin to Spice balance: 6

We lean towards the spicing here quite a bit, but it’s also the strength of this beer. The pumpkin and yam notes create a familiar ground to return to, and I like that just fine. It’s a very welcome mix up to the category of autumn offerings, which certainly appeals to the gourmet and multi-culturalist in all of us. – Mike

The spices used may not be traditional pumpkin pie spices but they dictate the pumpkin and yam.  Something makes me think that if we had heeded the warning on the bottle to “drink fresh, do not age” we may have had a little less of a dominance of spice. – Brittney

To be fair, it’s hard to judge the criteria for this beer against the usual suspects for pumpkin beer.  It’s not your traditional pumpkin beer, and I don’t think it necessarily works as a pumpkin beer, so to judge it on its own I found the Birch/Verbena battle to be a little too aggressive to call this a well balanced beer.  I still liked the beer, but it is a bit unharmonious. – Tim

M- 7.5 / T- 4 / B- 4 / R- 8

–         Sweet / Dry balance: 7.5

Definitely falling toward the sweet end of the spectrum—no doubt from the Yam sugars.  The beer has subtle Raisin notes as well.  It doesn’t need to be any drier since the Hops and the Verbena lend some IPA profiles already. – Tim

There is a great symbiosis at play here, and it all rests on the shoulders of the bold spicing. It’s sweet, clean, and dry. – Rick

Definitively drier, with the herbal qualities of a heady gin and tea mixture, all elements of sweet vanish as you go, with even a slight astringency appearing about 2/3 of the way through. Maybe I just need to drink more water. – Mike

M- 7.5 / T- 5 / B- 8 / R- 8.5

–         Multiple Drinkability?  6

If I had not had the amazing Indian butter burrito last night I might be able to have one more but at the moment I’m fenugreeked out. – Brittney

It might seem like I’ve been a little hard on this collaboration, but that’s only because I expect great things from these 3 breweries.  The truth is this is a very nice, relaxing beer, which I would include for a special evening.  It’s a palate changer—not a palate cleanser.  I would break this out, one at a time, on a special evening with friends for something a little different and a little special.  Session it?  No.  Buy a 6-pack?  Absolutely.

The crisp cleanliness of this palate combined with the enamoring intricacies it entails makes this ale something I could return to in multiplicity. Compare that with an astonishingly reigned in ABV, especially for this trio of brewers, and you’ve got yourself the ultimate warm autumn beer. – Mike

M- 8.5 / T- 6 / B- 3 / R- 7

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Overall:  7.17

M- 8.08 / T- 6.58 / B- 6.67 / R- 7.33