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Review of Pretty Things Lovely Saint Winefride

Hi guys.  For today’s craft beer review I’m going to try the Pretty Things Lovely Saint Winefride produced by the Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Let’s go ahead and skip the small talk and jump to the website, prettythingsbeertoday.com, and see what it has to say about this beer.
 
Lovely Saint Winefride is a brown lager, brewed by Dann using a decoction mash. The beer is malty, containing a blend of German and English malts, and it’s clean as you’d expect from a lager. The beer was lagered over deepest winter for 8 weeks and will be available in kegs and 22oz bottles in MA, with bits and pieces going elsewhere in the USA.

St Winefride lived in post-Roman Wales from 600 to 660 A.D. She was charming and intelligent, and decided to become a nun. Unfortunately, this news went down poorly with her suitor, Caradoc, who hacked off her head. Luckily, her Uncle Beuno was able to perform the miracle of reattaching it and she recovered fully. (Hooray!). She became an Abbess and governed Gwytherin Abbey in Wales until her death on November 3rd, 660 A.D.

The lager, yes lager, started out as an idea to create a very rustic beer with a roasted character and a brown disposition. We imagined a pre-Great War sort of beer that might have been on its last legs of popularity. The kind of beer young folks of the time would laugh about as being “an old man’s lagerbier”. Well Pretty Things is the old-man’s-dream-beer-brewer, so we decided to give it a whirl. We started with malted barley and hops from the German tradition and employed a single decoction mash. Decoction is a slightly complicated, time intensive and little used technique (on this continent anyway) that insured temperature accuracy in the age before real temperature control. Got it? Okay, that was a boring explanation. How is this: we took a portion of the mash and boiled it at 212 degrees F for 15 minutes. Trust us, boiling a mash is rare. Dann has only done this once in his twenty year career (on purpose anyway). Ahem. We continue by saying this brown lager is also quite delicious and nice to drink. If you choose to not think about boiling mashes and old men we assure you this beer will still very much please your palate.

I know, rather lengthy.  Let’s get to the beer.

This brew comes in a 22 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 7.0%.

It poured brown in color with some burnt orange highlights around the bottom and edges of the nonic glass.  It had a light tan head that was sized pretty well, very smooth and creamy.  The retention time was ok and the lacing looked pretty good too.

The aroma released hints of smoke with a slight fried bacon smell.  Touches of coffee bean and a bit of a hickory nut smell.  Quite earthy with strong tones of roasted and toasted grains.  I thought it smelled pretty darn good actually.

The taste was kind of woody and only lightly smoked.  Toasted grains and bread with additional hints of bitter coffee.  Again, kind of nutty tasting.  More of the earthiness really started to come through as it warmed a bit.  It was unique and complex, but balanced nicely.

The mouthfeel was medium bodied.  Fairly dry, slightly chewy and smooth.  The carbonation was good and a good dose of flavor was left behind on the palate after each gulp.

You know, even though this beer was a bit different, I really liked it.  I think it would pair very well with the cooler months of the year.  The drinkability was rather good, although I did start to have a little bit of trouble towards the end because of the somewhat bold earthy flavoring.  However, I would easily recommend the Pretty Things Lovely Saint Winefride if you are looking to experiment with a lager that’s far from the norm.  Not to mention it has a really cool looking label also.  With that being said, pick up a bottle if you happen to see it and give it a go.  I think you may be surprised by it.

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

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.0 out of 5
Grade:  B+
  

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Country: USA, Pretty Things

 

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, prettythingsbeertoday.com, 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 Pretty Things Jack D’Or

Hi guys.  How’s everyone doing?  I hope well.

Thanks for checking back in on another craft beer review.  For today’s review I’m going to be trying a Pretty Things Jack D’Or produced by the Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Let’s skip all of the rubbish and jump right to the website, prettythingsbeertoday.com, and see what it has to say about this brew.

“Jack D’Or” is a simple table beer, or “Saison Americain” as we’re referring to it. We are not trying to coin a beer style – we’re just having fun.  The Jack D’Or (pronounced “Jack Door”), is at the very center of Pretty Things and nearly three years on we’re still pleased as punch that he joined us!

Sounds good.  How about a taste?

This brew comes in 22 oz. bottle and it has an ABV of 6.5%.

The Jack D’Or poured a beautiful, hazy, honey/gold color with a bright white head.  The texture of the crown was soapy, soft, frothy and comprised of very tiny bubbles.  It was of near perfect size.  The retention time was very good and the lacing was more than adequate.  A very, very nice looking beer to say the least.

The nose divulged tones of white grape, lemon citrus and lemon grass.  Some spicy hints of pepper and coriander were exposed and they were blended very well too.  I also found the slightest bit of “musty funk”.  Not a whole lot, but enough for a solid showing.  A relish of yeast added a sturdy backbone and really helped pull everything together.  A wonderful smelling beer in my opinion.

The taste introduced a medium strength lemon tartness with an easily manageable sourness.  The “funk” seemed to be a bit more forward, although nowhere near overbearing.  The white grapes showed themselves again as well as a hearty dose of yeast.  Minor impressions of white bread backed up the distinct spicy bite of pepper and coriander while a smidgen of grassy hops provided a welcome bitterness.  I’ll say one thing, this brew was very flavorful and agreeable to my taste buds.

The mouthfeel was medium to light bodied.  Very dry, snappy, “bitey”, refreshing and thirst quenching.  The carbonation was lively and an excellent amount of flavor was left covering the palate for a great long while after each sip.

Man.  This is a great brew in my novice opinion.  It’s a “sleeper”.  It has tons of character and personality.  Even though it’s quite elaborate I never found it to be over-the-top or confusing.  Instead, all of the attributes were, for the most part, up front and easily identifiable.  The drinkability was superb, which would make it a killer Spring or Summer seasonal.  I’m definitely picking this up again soon and I’d suggest that you guys do the same.  If you like the Saison style, I doubt that you would be disappointed with the Pretty Things Jack D’Or.  If you do sample it, leave a comment and let me know your opinion.

Thanks for reading guys.  I really appreciate it.

Until next time.  Cheers.

Score:  4.45 out of 5
Grade:  A  

 
 
 
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