Profile: Ithaca Beer Enigmo

The color is golden amber, the clarity is exceptional and the head is white, uniform and fell modestly to a cap and ring. The mosaic hop is completely under control on the nose and while it hints at orange and shows you some leafy hop greenness too, you cannot smell orange. There is a barely perceptible fruity ester form yeast that tickles the nose like a hint of something sweet. No scent definitions can be applied. Grass. Bread-y with hops making their mark in the body of the beer. A little orange-y tasting but it’s brief and not too overdone as complimentary hop bitter and dryness from perfect attenuation punctuates the moderate carbonation and malty finish. No diacetyl, no dms. I can say no acetyldehyde because I think the fruity ester I was able to perceive is pear like but not sufficient so as to be able to say. There is just a tiny bit of stickiness from hop resin on the tongue as it finishes.

If you have ever had Sunner Kolsch but not too recently as the last batch I had seemed different from my first few, you would have noticed a resiny and substantially bitter hop presence that is not at all fruity. If we say that terroir has to be admitted in order to use local hops in international styles, then this beer meets the style. If you read the guidelines you will note that the style is subject to a not too loose interpretation in that regard. However, they have called it a “Kolsch” instead of a “Kolsch style” ale or beer. This is despite the appellation designation already granted to the Kolsch.

4.1 out of 5. Congratulations Ithaca on a modern yet traditional Kolsch style beer. Their brewing process had to be meticulous.

My score of 4.1 reflects excellence in all five categories but minus a few points for fast falling spots not streaky clinging on the lace which fell just a bit faster than some and was not at all soapy even though it was uniform. Also it reflects the idea that they met the style just a tad bit outside of the flavor parameters with that cheeky point 1 after the 4 and did so with both panache and control.



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


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Rogue’s Cold Pressed Coffee IPA

Profiled by Ken Carman

I was wondering about this one. So many ways it could go wrong and, once it warmed, that only confirmed my fears. To be honest cold pressed coffee too often tastes like chewing on coffee grounds which this had a hint of to begin with. I thought, “THAT will up my score.” WRONG. As it warmed the cold press turned into chewing on coffee grounds covering the hops, which were more Pale-ish when it comes to balance.

The hops and coffee were perfectly balanced but were too light to start. Once again as it warmed: better. The aroma was the best sense of the quaff. Pale malt way in the background, as one would expect from many IPAs.

Quite the haze to this one which may have been exacerbated by coffee. SRM about 16-17: reddish-dark copper that was becoming brown. Head faded supper fast.

Could have used more carbonation: just a tad. Again coffee may have affected that. Medium body that felt higher than it really was. Carbonation tad prickly.

Once it really warmed the Pale Ale sense that should have been more IPA faded and coffee dominated. They really need to back off on cold pressed coffee and increase hops just a tad: mostly flavor and maybe some high alpha hops for head retention and a tad more bitter. So I couldn’t go to 4.

3.5 at RB
3.9 at BA
3.7 at Untappd



Welcome to the PGA beer rating system: one beer “Don’t bother.” Two: Eh, if someone gives it to you, drink. Three: very good, go ahead and seek it out, but be aware there is at least one problem. Four: seek it out. Five: pretty much “perfecto.”


________________________Beer HERE

A Beer Judge’s Diary- Trusting Your Senses

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 I think perhaps one of the first personal lessons that I learned as a judge, and have to keep learning because there are almost an infinite number of variables, is problems I might have when identifying aromas, mouthfeel, etc. Sometimes it just takes more experience, but sometimes it is caused by relying too much on those who insist everyone visualizes smells and other perceptions the same. And when someone doesn’t sense the same the second biggest (perhaps just as important or more) mistake we make is automatically blaming it all on them for having a different perception.
 How easy and self aggrandizing is that?
 When it comes to judging beer I think one time one of these ongoing lessons was emphasized, reinforced, had to do with the ‘pine’ descriptor. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary- Trusting Your Senses”

A Beer Judge’s Diary: Pensacola Battle of the Brews and New Breweries

Blue Wahoos Stadium
By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 I won’t be able to do as complete a job as I would like on this competition because it all came down pretty fast, so I’m adding a brief report on three new Pensacola breweries: more profiles than anything else.
 It started out as the trip from hell: blown tire, nuts for the spare didn’t fit quite right, no new tire until the next day and the dog was sick all weekend long. This was the first year for Brewery Battle in the Square: a pro brewer competition somewhat based around Irish beer. We had three categories: Irish Stout, Irish Red and Pilsner. It was done in tandem with a competition of area offerings from chefs. We have no comments about the food competition because we got there late: the BJCP competition was after the food was judged. We did have a Boston Butt from one of the competitors after the competition and it was excellent. The food trucks obviously arrived in a swarm earlier, stinging visitor’s palates with pleasure. Continue reading “A Beer Judge’s Diary: Pensacola Battle of the Brews and New Breweries”

Beer Cafes and Bolleke: Beer for a Day in Antwerp

Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard

Like so many cities and towns in Belgium, Antwerp is but an hour and change by train from Brussels. If you’re like me and your trips to Belgium never amount to more than about five days at a time, these medieval cities and towns end up as day trip destinations, even if they merit several days. But with a modicum of advanced planning, you can spend an enriching day in Antwerp. And you won’t be at a loss for beer and places to drink it.

A historic port that accrued its wealth through the diamond trade, Antwerp started life as a fort during Charlemagne’s time. During the 1500s, it emerged as the region’s premier port after Bruges’ once-bustling port silted up. By mid-century, Antwerp was one of Europe’s most important cities, boasting a population of around 100,000 inhabitants, one of whom was Pieter Paul Rubens. The city suffered several reversals of fate over the next three centuries till Napoleon Bonarparte rebuilt the ports in 1797. By the late nineteenth century, Antwerp was the world’s third-largest port after London and New York.

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