Dog Tag Brewing Legacy Lager

I saw this in a bargain bin at Ace Beverage in Washington, DC. Tall-boys with a cause—terrific!

Except that it isn’t. This stuff is contract brewed by Pabst, and it is rough. It is bitter in that Oiels or Red, White, and Blue sort of way, with little malt or other flavors. Even a little salt did.not make it o.k. This was a rare instance where I dumped a brew down the drain. (Rating: Not good.)

Read more about Dog Tag Brewing at


Leinenkugel Fireside Nut Brown Ale


Just the other day, we ran a super positive review of Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout.

We were so excited at the quality that we decided to snatch up a six-pack of Leinie’s nut brown ale when we hit the grocery store yesterday.

Gadzooks, what an utter disappointment.  This may be the worst nut brown ale we have ever tasted. It is thin, almost watery, and the malt flavors are very weak.  The hops are hard to detect, and one’s left with little more than an unpleasant roasted flavor.  We struggled to finish just one 12 ounce bottle.

Blech—that was $9 down the drain.  Fat chance that we’ll drop any cash to try another Leinie brew.  (Rating **)


Leinenkugel Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout

Each autumn, we look forward to the arrival of the Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Chocolate Stout.  It’s a big brew, and often packs a punch of 10% ABV.

This year, Brookyln Brewery’s arrival was beaten out by the appearance at our door of Leinenkugel Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout.  As we hear it, this brew is available in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio and New Jersey, as well as Atlanta and Phoenix.  So, blessed were we DC residents for landing a four pack of it.

Big Eddy is a colossus; it is made with 11 grains and malts (including Munich, Caramel, and Chocolate) and three hops (Warrior, Summit, and Glacier).  It is black colored and absolutely fantastic.  At 9.5%, it is definitely not a brew for lightweights.  Lovers of big beers and roasty, chocolatey stouts will go bonkers for this brew.  The flavor is terrific—drink just one and you can’t help but slumping into a happy, satiated state; the belly is full, the palate is exhausted. Take one in the evening and it’s nighty-nighty! (Rating *****)

Read more about Leinenkugel beers at


Assorted Oktoberfest Beers

by Jacob

With the weather and leaves beginning to change in the mid-Atlantic after more than 50 days of 90 degree heat this summer, it is time to turn our attention to fall beverages.  One of my favorite are Oktoberfest beers.

The first Oktoberfest beer I ever had was from Sam Adams Octoberfest.  While it still one of my favorites for its rich color and fall inspiring notes, other fall seasonal beers have grabbed my attention in the last few years.  These include Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale (Pumpkin Pie in a bottle, without the sugar) and New Belgium Brewery’s Hoptoberfest (a Hoptastic dark amber beer).  While these beers are excellent, they are either expensive ($8.99 for a four pack of Dogfish Head) or impossible to get on the East Coast (New Belgium).

For this year, I have acquired a sample of some mass produced and specialty Oktoberfest offerings.  I bought all of these (excpet the Shiner) at Gilly’s Craft Beer and Fine Wine in Rockville, MD.  Each were between $2 and $3 per bottle (sold as singles) and are available in 4 or 6 packs for between $5.99 and $12.99.

These Oktoberfest beers can be roughly divided into two categories: Marzen and Pumpkin Ales.  Marzen are traditional Oktoberfest beers and are sometimes called Oktoberfestbier.  Pumpkin Ales are pumpkin based.

Here are are a few Oktoberfest beers for 2010.

Flying Dog – Dogtoberfest Marzen: Cooper colored with a sweet, yet malty bite.  Light on hops, the beer is a bit heavy as if it were a full bodied beer (5.6% alcohol).  Rating ****)

Spoetzl Brewery – Shiner Oktoberfest: Dark cooper color with a malty start and a hoppy finish. Well balanced and drinkable alone and with food (5.7% alcohol).  (Rating ****1/2)

Leinenkugel – Oktoberfest: A clear cooper color with significant effervescence.  Light on hops and malt create a easy drinking beer with a light caramel finish (5.1% alcohol).  (Rating ***1/2)

Post Road Pumpkin Ale (Brooklyn Brewery): A cloudy cooper color in the glass. Scents of spice on the nose with a bite of spice (clove, coriander) and slight pumpkin flavors.  I expected more pumpkin pie to come through in the glass, but it is a very mild flavor (5.6% alcohol).  (Rating ***)

Southern Tier Brewing Company – Harvest Ale: Brewed with four types of hops, this beer is quite hoppy and high in alcohol (6.7%) than many other Oktoberfest or harvest beers.  Almost a red color in the glass, it does not have the characteristic traits of fall beers (pumpkin, clove, and cinnamon spices, among others).  The hops dominate; it is not your typical fall beer. (Rating ***1/2)


O.K., this super-low alcohol product may not really qualify as an “alcohol” to be reviewed. But, cut us some slack- we’ve been consuming a number of brands of these beverages of late since we’re preggers. SHARP’S is by Miller Brewing Company (MBC) and it is okee-dokee. It’s more watery than, say, MILLER HIGH LIFE, and less pungent too. If you are desperate for a non-alcoholic brew, give this a whirl. If not- skip it. (Rating**3/4)

To learn more about SHARP’S, surf to Wait- never mind, the folks at MBC don’t have any info on SHARPS on their website. Go figure.