Tom Becham’s Seasonal Beer Reviews

Written by Tom Becham

karl-logoIn years past, I have submitted a great number of reviews to PGA for pumpkin ales. The very simple reason for this is that my wife loves pumpkin and pumpkin spice flavors, so the beer will be in the house anyway. And I always like to try new things.

So, here are a few more seasonal brews I’ve had the past couple of weeks, and my impressions of them.

My first review is actually an Oktoberfest beer. Karl Strauss is a regional brewer in Southern California, with a chain of brewpubs. Their beers are generally brewpub-standard styles (which is to say, not extreme, and therefore not exciting to many beer geeks) but generally very well done. Their Okto (called, imaginatively enough, Oktoberfest) is no exception. At only 5% ABV – slightly understrength for the style – Strauss’s Okto starts with a very grainy, malty aroma, caramel undertones snaking into the nostrils on occasion. The flavor is much the same, with the finish dry and reminiscent of hazelnut. It is not a terribly complex beer, but it is quite good, and suitable for session drinking. Continue reading “Tom Becham’s Seasonal Beer Reviews”

Brew Biz: Werts and All

brewfest glass

Written by Ken Carman


 Ken Carman is a BJCP judge; homebrewer since 1979, club member at Escambia Bay, Clarksville Carboys and Music City Homebrewers, who has been interviewing professional brewers all over the east coast for over 10 years.

The Topic: Old Forge Brewfest

 Looks cold, doesn’t it?
 Although this picture of the North Street Pavilion: down towards the old airport, pavofcourtesy the Adirondack Weekly, was taken at a different, more winter-y, time, the scene the day of the first annual BrewFest in Old Forge, NY, was similar. A snow squall kicked up and it reminded me of many days spent in the winter-y Dacks, past tense.
 Being BJCP beer judges, members of several homebrew clubs, having poured for many festivals, and one of us a former Old Forge area resident, of course we volunteered to pour. This was run by The View and I was amazed they got over 40 breweries the first year, and a bit busy because we poured for many different breweries: hence less pictures than I would like.
 Barkeater, Fulton Chain Brewery, Saranac, Sierra Nevada, Browns, Founders, Ithaca Brewing, Lake Placid, Ommegang… just to mention a few. There were two big areas where multiple tables had been put together, and a few off to the side. Continue reading “Brew Biz: Werts and All”

Tom Becham on Firestone Walker Barrelworks

FW Barrelworks

Written by Tom Becham

For my birthday in September, a friend took me up to Firestone-Walker Barrelworks. If you have tracked my articles over time, you may realize I am a bit of a Firestone Fan Boy. But since Firestone has won at the Great American Beer Festival four times for Best Mid-Sized Brewery, I don’t think my enthusiasm is misplaced. They’re obviously doing some things right. Continue reading “Tom Becham on Firestone Walker Barrelworks”

Maria Devan Re-Reviews Ommegang


Written by Maria Devan

If I read a review of a beer from years ago am i drinking the same beer? Nay i say. Ommegang has been less than stellar lately and here is two reviews of their re release of iron Throme and Take the Black Stout.

My first impression was that these beers lacked confidence as compared to the other beer from Ommegang I tasted recently (grains of truth). This is a re release of the beers I’m sure. Continue reading “Maria Devan Re-Reviews Ommegang”