Monthly Archives: August 2012

Review of Pretty Things Once Upon A Time X Ale: November 22nd, 1838

Hello everyone.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying a Pretty Things Once Upon A Time X Ale:  November 22nd, 1838 produced by the Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I’m really interested in trying this brew.  I’ve been impressed with all that I’ve tried from Pretty Things thus far, so I’m hoping this one continues in my joy of their beers.

It was released as a “twin” set with the Once Upon A Time X Ale:  February 22nd, 1945, which I will be reviewing at a later date.  From the website,, we find this bit of information about these particular beers. 

Mild was a hugely popular style for more than a century (1800-1900s). Here, we have released two mild ales side-by-side.: two beers from opposite ends of that period, brewed by the same brewery. If you drink both, you will drink the same brand from the same brewery separated by 107 years. Over those years, Mild changed considerably: something these beers amply demonstrate. Though bearing the same name, X Ale, in character they could hardly be more dissimilar. The 1830s saw the beginning of a boom in Mild ale brewing, which in 30 years became England’s favourite beer. This beer, 1838 X Ale is a typical London Mild of the era: bigger and more robustly hopped than modern versions. Brewed from 100% pale malt and Kent hops, this is a straightforward, uncomplicated beer, much like the working classes who first drank it. The colour is also much paler than you might expect. From this original form, Mild was to undergo many transformations, culminating in the second beer in this series, February 22nd, 1945. Drink them side-by-side to compare how this beer style evolved.

Let’s pour.

This beer came in a 22 oz. bottle with an ABV of 7.4%.

It poured a hazy golden/orange color.  It looked a little like orange juice.  The head was off white and well sized.  The texture was kind of creamy, soft and filled with small, tightly compacted bubbles.  The retention time was good as was the lacing.

The nose brought forth a very nice biscuity malt.  Spicy breads and yeast with slight inklings of grain.  An abundant amount of grassy and earthy hops were intermingled with a light fruity relish of pear and orange citrus.  Overall, very well balanced, pleasant and solid I thought.  A nice smelling bouquet with this one.

The taste released more of the sturdy bready notes.  Again, quite a bit of biscuity malt along with an easily identifiable grassy/earthy hop profile.  An almost Imperial Pilsner type of malt I thought.  The bitterness was indeed mild, but it did give a slight tickle on the sides and back of the tongue.  More fruitiness was accounted for as well.  Pears, juicy red apples and just a touch of orange.  The flavor was nearly identical to the aroma.

The mouthfeel was a solid medium.  Very dry and very smooth.  It was almost creamy feeling.  A very fine medium strength carbonation allowed for a good dose of flavor to be left behind after each sip.  This brew was darn near refreshing and thirst quenching to be honest.

Well, I really liked this beer.  It was extremely easy to drink and it totally hit the spot.  I do believe that any level of craft beer drinker could appreciate and enjoy this brew.  It’s very good all around.  It looks great, smells nice and is very tasty.  I really enjoyed the style too.  I wish I could get my hands on a couple more bottles that’s for sure.  It’s a beverage that could be sipped slowly and contemplated or it could be drunk at a social gathering without much fanfare.  Either way, I think it would be wise to seek out a bottle of the Pretty Things Once Upon A Time X Ale:  November 22nd, 1838 and see what you think.  Feel free to let me know your opinion also.  I’d really be interested to see if you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I’m grateful.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.05 out of 5
Grade:  A-     

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Posted by on August 25, 2012 in Country: USA, Pretty Things


Review of Jolly Pumpkin Baudelaire Bier iO Saison

Hi guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Baudelaire Bier iO Saison produced by Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales located in Dexter, Michigan.

Let’s forgo all of the small talk and jump to the website,, for the commercial description of this brew.  

Ale brewed with rose hips, rose petals and hibiscus.

Well, a very simple and to the point description there.

Let’s pour.

This Jolly Pumpkin effort comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 6.8%.

It poured a deep rosy/red color with a very large off white head that was soapy, rocky, soft and billowy.  The retention time was outstanding and the lacing was more than suitable for me.

The aroma brought forth a nice dose of sourness and tarty goodness.  Mostly along the lines of soured cherries and soured grapes.  It was very floral smelling too.  It actually did have a slight “rose” hint.  Touches of yeast added some earthiness while a bit of funk started slow then gradually became stronger and more drawn out as it warmed.  Little to no spice was detected however.   

The tarty, sourness and funk really softened in the flavor.  The fruity cherries and grapes were found, but they too were quite calm and restrained.  I actually started to get a slight taste of apples in there.  Some spice was detected.  It was pepper mostly.  A very meager amount of yeast and bread completed the savor and helped create some balance, yet overall, the flavor profile was a touch underscored.  Although still good.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Very dry, somewhat sharp, crisp and refreshing.  The carbonation was very lively and pleasant and a decent amount of flavor was left covering the palate after the sip.

Well, we have another nice beer from Jolly Pumpkin here.  It was super easy to drink and I think it would be an outstanding beverage for the Summer months.  It was very manageable and easy going, therefore I also believe it would be a great introductory Saison for someone looking to explore the style.  It’s not over-the-top or obtrusive in anyway whatsoever.  It retains a lot of the proper characteristics of a Saison and it has one very cool looking label.  I’d recommend giving it a try if you see it.  It was a nice, little, tasty brew that could be enjoyed by most anyone in my opinion.  Have you guys ever tried the Jolly Pumpkin Baudelaire Bier iO Saison?  What did you think of it?  Be sure to leave a comment and let me know.

Thanks for reading everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  3.8 out of 5
Grade:  B+   

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Posted by on August 23, 2012 in Country: USA, Jolly Pumpkin


Review of Achel Extra

Hi guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to be trying the Achel Extra produced by the Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse located in Hamot-Achel, Belgium.

I’ve really been in the mood for a Trappist brew lately and when I saw this one on the shelf, I just had to give it a go.

I couldn’t find any information regarding this particular beer on the website,, but I was able to gather a commercial description from

Huge, copper-colored, bottle-conditioned ale, still hot off the presses, Achel Trappist Extra is the latest from the tiny brewery at the St. Benedictus Abbey at Achel, in the Northeast of Belgium. At this year’s World Beer Championships in Chicago, the Extra was easily the best of the many Trappist beers tasted, scoring 97 points and an “Exceptional” rating. You will find this a very satisfying beer, with just a little malt sweetness, dried fruit flavors, warm sherry notes, and a brisk balancing backdrop of fresh hop bitterness.

Let’s pour.

This brew comes in a 25.4 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 9.5%.

It poured a burgundy color with a copper/orange sheen around the bottom of the chalice.  It formed a light tan head from a gentle pour.  It wasn’t particularly large in size, but it was smooth and mostly creamy.  The retention time was decent and the lacing looked ok too.

The aroma brought forth hints of dark fruit.  Mostly plum and fig.  A slight relish of toasted wheat bread and yeast along with touches of chocolate and light caramel.  Only the most faint waft of clove was found along the spice realm.  This Quad wasn’t as robust or strong as some of the others that I’ve tried, however it seemed better balanced and harmonized in my opinion.

The flavor was very, very nice.  Stabs of dark fruit.  Figs, dates, plums and a bit of grape as well.  Flavors of yeast, toasted breads and biscuits.  The chocolate and caramel malt that I found in the aroma were very subdued in the taste.  They were still there, but maybe just a touch underscored.  The dark fruits were the primary players in the taste I thought.  The clove stepped up towards the end of the drink after it had time to warm at bit.  Slight savors of alcohol were found as well.

The mouthfeel was a sturdy medium.  Smooth, kind of creamy and dry.  A light, easy going warmth was felt from the alcohol and a great amount of carbonation really tickled the tongue.  A good dose of flavor was left on the palate after the sip too.  I tasted it for quite a while after the bottle was finished.

Overall, I really liked the Achel Extra.  It succeeded in quenching my Trappists thirst that’s for sure.  I think Achel deserves more respect than it gets in the “craft beer world”.  It seems that most dismiss their brews when they think of an authentic Trappist beer.  One thing is for sure…. I don’t.  I think these brews have plenty to offer, are easily drinkable and are relatively easy to obtain.  If you guys have yet to try anything from Achel, I would highly recommend it.  I think you will be rather impressed.

Thanks for reading and commenting everyone.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.25 out of 5
Grade:  A- 

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Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Achel, Country: Belgium

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