Hey all you craft beer drinkers! It's that time again! What time? New Beer of the Month from Gourmet Monthly Clubs time! Yeah... I know, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. But the beer... The beer tastes good. So let's get to it!
This month, we got beer from Sand Creek Brewing Company and Lancaster Brewing Company. Sand Creek sends their English Style Special Ale and Woody's Wheat, while Lancaster has their Milk Stout (which we've tried before on a trip to Pennsylvania and loved) and Winter Warmer. With that in mind, let's get to the beer! (Also, please keep in mind that we were lacking correct glassware for this article, that is why everything is served in a goblet. The Sand Creek English Ale should be in a pint glass, the Woody's Wheat should be in a tulip, the Lancaster Milk Stout should be in a pint glass and the Winter Warmer should be in a tulip or pint glass. We accidentally left some of our glasses at a friend's house while doing a tasting for a party they had.)
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Sand Creek Brewing Company English Style Special Ale
Appearance: Dark amber to brown with a light brown head that pours about 1" thick and then recedes quickly. The beer is super clear, though.
Smell: Sweet, caramelly, toasty English malt.
Taste: This beer has a great mild toasty flavor, not too much hops or malt or anything. Just a great English session ale with a touch of smooth, round caramel to balance the light hoppiness. We both want more. We could drink this one all night! YUM!
Sand Creek Brewing Company Woody's Wheat
Appearance: This beer has a light and super hazy straw color with a very white and whispy head. Not much head on this one, but it looks pretty.
Smell: Holy hefeweizen yeast! You smell wheat and banana right away. Smells a bit tart.
Taste: WOW! Surprising given the smell, no tartness. Just super light refreshing and crisp wheat beer. This is a great nod to German brewing traditions. A hint of lemon zest, so no need to add one yourself... scratch that, go for it if you're into that. We would say try it without first, though. We think the yeast shows off best this way.
Note: We've discovered that Sand Creek is a great brewery we had not tried anything from nor heard any hype about. We really want to try some more stuff from this brewery. Hey, Gourmet Monthly Clubs, take note! We've tried over 1,000 beers... Well over. We want to hear more about these guys! Definitely seek these out.
Lancaster Brewing Company Milk Stout
Appearance: Black beer with coffee with tons of cream head. The bubbles are huge... think a pancake when it's ready to be flipped.
Smell: Coffee... And a little sweetness. Basically, this smells like chocolate covered espresso beans.
Taste: Wow! Creamy, yet sharp. It starts out creamy from the lactose sugar, then ends up sharp from the malt bitterness (a result of the dark malts used). This is a tasty beer. We were glad to see it in the pack, because we've had it before from a trip to Pennsylvania and we were glad to have it again!
Lancaster Brewing Company Winter Warmer
Appearance: Brownish ruby with light brown head that sticks around.
Smell: Little bit of sweetness. This almost smells Belgiany. We get a bit of dried dark fruit, like figs or prunes. It's a nice mild smell that's nice for winter.
Taste: WHOA! Way different than expected based on smell. It's got a very slick mouthfeel. This has a similar taste and mouthfeel of a good barrel aged rum... in a good way. The 9% alcohol is definitely noticeable, but not assaulting at all. It just adds a nice warming character to the beer. Some roastiness ends the flavors off. This is definitely one of the better and more interesting "winter warmers" we've had. Not over spiced, not pure alcohol... just warming and tasty dark beer.