Friday, September 12, 2008

Sea Dog Raspberry Wheat and Lakefront Pumpkin Lager

I've been going through my beer inventory and remembered that I pulled up some single bottles of random beers that I exchanged with my good friends Eli Shayotovich and Erik Boles during our big beer run to DaveCo a couple of weeks ago. Some of these beers I had never heard of but was in the mood to give them a try. So here are a couple of quick reviews of the brews that are a bit off the wall.

Sea Dog Raspberry Wheat

Sea Dog Raspberry WheatSea Dog Brewing Company is a beer company from Portland, Maine. During a swap, I traded a bottle of Left Hand Oktoberfest for their Sea Dog Raspberry Wheat. The Sea Dog poured a reddish-copper color with a tall white head that quickly dissolved into nothing. This brew was moderately carbonated. It had a mild piney wheat aroma but I couldn't really pick up that much raspberry in the nose. It didn't taste like other wheat beers I've had, this was a bit more funky. It initially reminded me of wet cardboard with a raspberry after thought.

Later as it warmed, it had a very sweet taste but left me wanting something more at the end. The brew uses essence of raspberry instead of real raspberries and it tasted a bit artificial. The beer itself looked like a glass of wine after the head disappeared. The taste grows on you after the whole 12oz bottle but I don't believe this one will make my re-buy list. It's ok. If I was more of a wheat beer lover it may have passed but for me, it's just mildly makes the grade. I'll give it a 2.9 out of 5 rating and a thumb sideways rating.

Lakefront Brewing Pumpkin Lager

Lakefront Pumpkin LagerNotice the name of this beer says "Lager" and not "Ale". That is the big distinction here for this Lakefront Brewing's Pumpkin Lager brew. This is one of the nation's oldest running Pumpkin beers on the market. My local liquor store had a stack of this out front and was the only pumpkin beer they had in stock. Since it is the Fall season and I've never had a pumpkin beer before, I thought I'd give the Pumpkin Lager a try. Most all other pumpkin beers are Ales not Lagers, so perhaps this one will be a bit different. Understatement. This beer IS different.

You are immediately hit with a big spicy nose. I got hints of cinnamon, all spice and of course pumpkin. It's a big sweet in the nose yet real spicy at the same time. It pours orange (as you'd expect) and has a near white head. The taste was nothing like I imagined. I was expecting something like pumpkin pie, but it was hoppy, spicy, funky, pumpkin and malty all at the same time. I initially had a look of concern on my face after tasting it for the first time. Different and definitely not your typical brew. I managed to finish the glass but was wondering if I'd really ever want 2 of these in a row. Probably not. It's good as a big change of pace beer. If you've never had one you should at least try a pumpkin beer. I still have a few of these left and will try to drink these down between my other brews. I'll give it an "OK" but not gonna rave about it much. It gets a 2.7 out of 5 rating and a caution sign.

OK - Let's hear from you!

Have you ever had a seasonal brew that was just really different? What drew you to try it? Was the beer worth it? I'd like to hear about your off the wall beer tastings.

Related articles:
- Crabtree Twisted Creek Wheat review.
- Rockyard Buddha Nuvo review (Pumpkin Saison)
- Tommyknocker Jack Whacker Wheat Ale review.

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