So, Happy Birthday to my mother in law - otherwise known as Mimi.  I don't make a lot of noise or issue with that sort of thing on Facebook or anywhere really.  It just isn't my thing.  But tonight we hung out at Aunt Erica's (my sister-in-laws) and had a great night.  We hung out and drank some beer, ate some burgers, and played some yard sports (frisibee, wiffle ball, and corn hole to name a few).  It was a great relaxing evening and I think the family enjoyed.  We also did a Family Hike today that I was super proud of to be honest.  On my wife's suggestion I took the family out to Raccoon State Park today for a nice hike.  We had a blast.  Both little girls took some "injuries" but stayed strong through the 1.7-2 mile hike.  We even "double timed" it back to the car towards the end.  Had a great time and really enjoyed the family time I got to spend today.  Score big family points for the Blutes today!  Now onto the beer:
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Organic Brewing Company - Wheat Ale - Grade 3.5
These guys are relatively new (7 months old I believe the lady behind the bar said).  We found these guys sort of by accident as we walked the "broad walk" of Hollywood Beach, Miami, FL.  We got here as a family around 11 or so in the morning.  We really were not sure what we would find or do.  We planned on hanging at the beach a bit and maybe moving to a kids museum.  Unfortunately for the kids, fortunately for me the storms moved in and we couldn't get back to the car soon enough.  We took shelter in this place and watched the storms roll past us to the south of us.  I am guessing these storms HAMMERED Miami Beach for sure.  It sort of missed us.  Meanwhile, we hung on the deck of this brewery and ordered an appetizer and a few beers.  I settled in on the Wheat Beer that they served.  It was nice and cloudy in the glass.  I nice bright yellow cloudy liquid in the glass.  I got some sour fruit and big banana in the flavor.  The smell was super fruity and flowery ester.  It smelled great.  It was a nice medium bodied beer with some hints of cherry flavors.  I would love to brew beer at this establishment.  Brewing beer on the beach.  How does it get better then that?  The interesting thing about this place is I talked to the lady behind the counter and I believe she was of Russian decent.  The brewer also was from Russia.  The brewed organic beer in the German style which was quite interesting.  They had German Schnapps behind the bar (home made flavorings).  And German foods on the menu - lest not you worry - there was some nice Vodkas on the menu as well.  I would have liked to talk to the Brewer a bit but could not find him during my visit.  Either way, an incredible place to have lunch and if you happen by this place.   Please visit it... good people making good beer!

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Kirkland Brand - Indian Pale Ale - New York Brewing Company - Grade 2.75
This is Costco's brand.  For those of you in PA that may not have gotten out of the state much - or those that do that don't make it to grocery stores while you are out you are missing out!  My wife and I make it a point to make it to local and not so local grocery stores while we are in different areas.  Who knows what you might find.  On this trip to Costco (which was actually on the 12th coming back from Hollywood beach) we found that they sell wine, liquor and beer; not to mention their own "brand".  Now, I will not call this the best beer I've had but what I've drank of it for $20'sh a case of variety pack.  Costco does has a good name!  It pours nice and medium in the glass.  The flavor has some peppery notes in the bite.  It has some smooth clean malty body in the glass.  It is of course a very hoppy beer and the bottle talks about Cascade, Centennial and Amarillo hops in the mouth.  I didn't get a lot of smell out of the glass but that was probably more my person smelling issues then the beer.  The head clung to the side of the glass and did not want to leave the glass.  It definitely gives a nice amount of spicy hop on the tongue that tingles the senses nicely.  For the price of the case it will not win many 1st place finishes but it is well worth the drink if you get a chance.  I drank this beer quietly solo in Miami as my last night.  We head to Raleigh North Carolina tomorrow and I/we needed our rest.
NOTE: I linked to the Costco website above - they didn't have a specific link for their beer that I found.  BUT if you google Kirkland beer there is a ton of information about them.  I will also note that we bought SEVERAL bottles of wine here way cheaper then PA wine.  And we bought their Kirkland Red and White Wine.  The White Pinot Grigio was pretty good for the $4-5 I think we paid for it.  Also, I found Kirkland brand Bourbon (and Rum, Vodka and Tequila).  I bought and tried the Bourbon.  I don't know that it will compete with some of the best bourbons but for $20 a bottle it holds its own.  It is a bit watered down and not quiet as bodied as I like in a bourbon but still mighty tasty.

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Red Oak Brewery - Hummingbird Golden Lager - Grade 2.25
This is a local Raleigh, North Carolina brew.  It was very light yellow in color with lots of carbonation in the glass. It was a nice medium bodied "light beer".  It had a bit to be desired in my opinion.  It was a bit metallic in taste.  Though, I attribute this to many other lagers that I've had.  I'm not sure it is "metallic" as much as some bi-product of the yeast that is used.  I didn't review this in great detail as I drove 12.5 hours this day from Miami, FL to Raleigh, NC.  After a long vacation in Miami, I was tired.  I can tell you that the hotel we stayed at in Raleigh was not the best but we got it for $50 a night on HotWire.  It was supposedly a 3.5 star Radisson.  The pool was broke and they used Sleep Number beds in their rooms.  In my opinion, these beds are glorified air mattresses that do not deserve the glorification!  I will not talk badly about either of these but I will say we asked for a regular bed the next night and luckily the hotel accommodated us.  I will only also say that the door man at the Radisson set me in mind of the hotel on "Hot Tub Time Machine" and sort of freaked me out a bit.  That all said, we stayed the two nights and will have a family memory to remember for ever.  I will also say that the Buffalo Wild Wings by the South Point Mall was interesting.  We had a some what not good experience but THANKFULLY the waitress and the manager took care of EVERYTHING for us.  It was a crappy deal that was a mistake I'm sure.  But thankfully they did good on us.  And I want to thank the Store Manager and the Waitress for their kindness to us for sure.

Thanks again for stopping by.  Please stop back when you get time.

 
 
Looking out my window on this fine Saturday evening the sun is setting over the neighbors house.  This house is proving to be a challenge for my wife and family.  We've had this house for sale now about 18 months now.  We have had people through - 60 to be exact and yet no interest.  We have had people complain about almost every aspect of this house.  It has been an extremely trying struggle for us.  As I look around, I'm still baffled at what these buyers are seeing that make my house not an option.  I know it just takes one and that is the trickiest part.  At the price we are listed at now we are in the whole and yet people still pass it by as if there are ghosts roaming the halls.  60 different strangers have come through our house in the past 18 months (with out us here) to look at our place.  I'm speechless - I wish I could talk more about this but I'm not sure what else more there is to say.  We bought high and are "selling" low.  I'm exhausted.  Lets talk beer:
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Cigar City Brewery – Jose Martin Robustly Hopped American Porter – Grade 3.75
This beers color was dark brown with a light chocolaty head.  It had a nice roasty porter aroma from the glass.  The taste was creamy and smooth on the tongue.  It was nice and CRISP with robust burnt and highly roasted malts.  The Hops actually nicely complimented this beer and added a spicy sweet kick to the beverage.  I enjoyed this Tampa Florida Beer with some Fresh Florida mangoes that were picked right out of Uncle Wayne’s back yard Mango tree.  It was fresh and sweet.  It definitely gave a nice tropical smell in the fruit.  It was unlike any mango I’ve had before.  It was a bit soft in texture.  It was very good with the beer.
ON A SEPARATE NOTE:  Vacation was long and I had many a variety of beer.  I changed things up a bit this night with some sipping Rum I found.  If you are a rum drinker and haven't tried this - I highly recommend it.  If you are not a rum drinker - you should try this one out and see if it changes your mind.  I tried to find a website and came up short.  Look for this one out and about, you will not be disappointed.

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Blue Point Brewing Company – Summer Ale – Grade 2
Coming to us from Long Island, NY this is Blue Point Brewing.  I’ve had a few of their beers in the past.  It’s nice to finally sit down and drink one to actually review.  This summer ale is very light as beers go.  The color in the glass is light yellow and very clear.   There is little head to speak of on the beer from the pour and even after it sits awhile.  The carbonation is low and the bit of the hops is probably the largest kick coming from this; though even that bitey hop kick is very light and almost none existent.  I get a small bit of sweetness from this beer and it does have a refreshing characteristic to it.  My opinion is that the refreshing part of this beer comes from the fact that it is very light.  I wouldn’t put this in the same category as a Miller or Coors Light though it does have many similar characteristics.  In general, I wouldn’t call this a bad beer but for the money I probably wouldn’t drink it unless I physically located close to the brewery.  Try it for yourself and let me know what you think.


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Florida Beer Company - Hurricane Reef Caribbean Style Pilsner – Grade 2
I find myself drinking this beer tonight.  My “keeper” (aka Uncle Wayne) for the week is a firm non-believer in this crap.  He feels there are about 3-5 different beers from the region that are about the same “crap” that are re-branded/labeled with different names/ect and as per his quote:  “Bunch of tourists come down and think they are cool – trust me THEY DON’T DRINK IT!”  My response – Yea, I can see and agree with that.  This is not great beer.  It is ‘a beer to drink’ while in the area but it isn’t grade A quality stuff.  It just doesn’t contain that “heart” that most micro-brewed beers I’ve drank in past seem to have.  This particular beer is light and golden in the glass.  It carries a very light almost non-existent head in the glass.  I’m drinking it a bit warmer then it probably should be actually which particularly hurts this beer.  But in general, it has a sort of bad lager taste of aluminum and light blah malt.  It is surprisingly medium in body and may be the most redeeming quality of the beer.  It has a bit of malt to it with barely any noticeable strong hops in my opinion.  As for smell, I get little on cent from this beer.  Tomorrow is Thursday and my vacation in southern Florida is coming to an end.  I’m sad that this is happening as the family down here is very accommodating and fun.  And seeing the girls play with other family in their age range has been refreshing as well.  Though they have been a handful, this has been a great trip and I haven’t thought about work in what feels like 2 weeks.  I am feeling very refreshed.  Now I must focus.

Please stop back any time.  I love the people and the comments.  It has been a great journey so far and only 5 more months to go.  Thank you and Cheers.

 
 
Wednesday night here July 25.  Yes, I'm still behind on the blogging.  As I started out, I knew the blogging was going to be tough but never quite this tough.  Building these links/thoughts/pictures/ect and organizing them into something semi-readable is a bit trickier then I thought.  My props to people that do this for a living.  Though, if my day job wasn't spent on a computer all day and I didn't quite despise technology as I do it may be easier for me.  I'm half way through the first week of work from vacation and things are going pretty smooth.  The weekend can't get here soon enough.  I should say happy birthday to my sister in law as we were over at her house tonight to celebrate her b-day from yesterday.  Also, August is closing in quickly on us.  Will not be to much longer till I start talking about Turkey Beers and Santa Clause brews!  Lets talk about some beer:
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Landshark - Lager - Grade 2.5
First FUN day of vacation we hit Universal Studios Island of Adventure for the day.  I have had a strong desire to get my glimpse of Hogwarts and the castle since it opened.  Also, the Orland Margaritaville is one of the Margaritavilles my wife and I have been trying to get to together in some years.  We have been to Las Vegas, Myrtle Beach, Jamaica (2 there), and of course Key West.  We decided to make this the stop for dinner.  As you can see from the picture I did as the song suggests: "I like mine with lettuce and tomato; Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes; Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer".  What more appropriate beer to drink here then the Landshark Lager?  In my opinion, this isn't a bad beer.  But just like a girl that was "bad looking and has a great personality" it isn't a keeper.  In general, everywhere I see it it is overpriced.  It is thin and refreshing and cold.  It pours a nice gold yellow in the glass.  It’s hard to give me a COLD lighter lager style beer in 97 degree weather with 50% humidity that would not be enjoyable.  As a side, we did get the Butter Beer in the Harry Potter attraction and it was good.  It was different.  I think the definition would be a mix of cream soda and butterscotch ice cream it was then topped with a thick layer of heavy whipping cream whipped to a very thin creamy consistency.  We bought the frozen ones and they are non-alcoholic so all ages can enjoy.  I was a "bit" disappointed in Universal but then we are a Disney World family so that is hard to top in our book.

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Rogue - Voodoo Doughnut - Bacon Maple Ale - Grade 0.5
The one nice thing about this beer was that it had many of the ingredients on the side of the bottle.  It was showing roughly 3 brands of smoked malts.  This beer was "extreme" even from the beginning with the PINK LARGE bottle that had a New Orleans Black Magic type person on the front of the bottle.  The other nice thing about this beer was the company/family were were in enjoying the beverage beside.  We were visiting family in Miami and they were throwing a Bacon & Beer party.  I think someone got a little to literal with this as the original intention was to have food cooked with bacon and GOOD beer that would go with that food.  Well "lucky for me" someone found this gem of a beer that seemed to be the epitome of the party.  Those two were the only two nice things about this beer.  It was rough to drink.  I thought the Billy's Chili beer was rough well this was equally rough.  The grain bill on this recipe had 3 different sets of smoked malts: Briess Cherrywood Smoked Malt, Weyermann Beechwood Smoked Malt, House-Smoked Hickory Malt and a few other none smoked.  The smoke comes across huge.  Forget the german purity law - this beer has 13 different ingredients you can find on the label; not only the smoked malts above but you can also find Applewood-Smoked Bacon, Pure Maple Flavoring.  There was a huge amount of sweetness coming from the "doughnut" that it is talking about on the bottle.  I got a lot of anise and clove spices coming through in the body of the beer.  The flavors were big and intense.  There was little head to speak of on this beer.  True to my point of this blog, many beers have a great story and this beer will always remind me of some of the great new friends I met.  Also, I got to hang out with good family and friends.  Other than this beer, the party was a HUGE success.  Good times; thanks for hosting us for the week Uncle Wayne and Aunt Nancy.

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Florida Beer Company - Key West - Sunset Amber Ale - Grade 2
This beer "hails from" Melrose, Florida.  I found while down in Florida that there are not many breweries in the area.  I ran across 2 or 3 that I could find.  I did find a few "brewery" beers like this one that CLAIM Florida residency but that were out source brewed in other states (North East seemed popular with the one or two I saw).  I guess they want tourists to THINK they are drinking local.  I'm not sure how I feel about this and would like to do a bit more research on this to find out really what the story is here.  My original thought is that the water sources down there are not very good.  Though there is a lot of water down there the drinking quality of said water has some things to be desired.  The waters of Orlando and mid-Florida have a very sulfur smell coming right out of the faucet.  This amber beer was enjoyed at lunch at Alabama Jack's (the site was not accessible at www.alabamajacks.com which is a shame as I wanted to give them some props on my site) down in the Key's.  There was something big going on because AJs was packed.  We had to wait for a seat and Uncle Wayne said that is not usually the case.  The food was alright (the Conch Fritters are a MUST GET) but the atmosphere was the Key's.  There was a local band playing some blues/country type music in the corner while 2-3 70+ aged girls danced on the floor inviting anyone that wanted to join them for a spin up to the floor.  It was fun and relaxing and enjoyable right on the water way.  I'm talking about everything else here as the beer was not the "refreshing enjoyable" part of the day.  It was not bad.  It was average at best.  It weighed in as a light bodied beer that seemed to be trying to be medium.  The head of the beer was light and the smell was a copper metallic nose.  It was medium malt with a sharp lager flavor.  It was clean and refreshing and cold with a bit of creamy background.  Not a beer that I would enjoy often but while in the Key's it is fun to have one just to say you had a 'local' beer.  I guess their marketing worked on me.

Once again, thanks for stopping back and please post what you are drinking if you have a minute.

 
 
Here it is July is ending and I am just starting my July blogs.  Its been a hectic month to say the least.  We hit the road Tuesday July 3 and did not return to our house till Saturday July 21.  I had thought I would get a chance to blog on the vacation but alas, I was busier on vacation then when home.  It puts a huge smile on my face to say that though as that means that I really did put down all electronics and focus on my family and family fun.  We did all kinds of good stuff that I'll to talk about in the next few blogs; the highlights that I remember - 3800 miles of road warrior travel, 3 different hotels, 5 different beds, numerous friends and family visited, Miami Zoo (fed giraffes), visited the Keys twice (fed some tarpon), oh yea and found a few breweries on the way for sure.  Surprisingly (or maybe not so much) Florida did not seem to have many breweries throughout.  And the few "Florida beers" I found were brewed in the north eastern states of United States.  In general, it was a family vacation for the history books; More specifically it was a much needed break from home and work!  We have not sold our house yet (unfortunately leaving for 17'sh days only resulted in 2 extra showings) but we are still trying.
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Otter Creak Brewery - Black IPA - Grade 2.25
This beer poured a dark brown to light black.  The first sip was very roasty and burnt coffee.  It was a strong stout beer with hints of hops in the background.  In my opinion it was to much Stout and not enough IPA.  The best part of this beer was the company it was enjoyed by.  This is the first day of my vacation.  I got to my home town and an old high school friend of my was having a get together.  It was nice to see the old crew.  Reminiss about the old days; play crazy old music and just make fun of all the stupid stuff we used to do.  Always good times to catch up with the crew of the Greenramp.  I luckily got to catchup with the crew on two occasions this trip.  I rare occurrence for me and it was nice.

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Saranac Brewery - Rye IPA - Grade 2.75
Happy 4th of July (belated of course).  We as a family were heading out in the car at 3 am from my parents the next morning for a 15.5 hour drive from York to Orlando.  We were able to get out and see some of the festivities in Wrightsville, PA but unfortunately not as much as I'd have liked.  My wife and I needed our rest for the long day ahead of us tomorrow.  Therefore, I drank this beer and called it an early night around 7:30 or pm.  This beer came across with a strong heavy peppery rye spice in the front.  It was a light texture in the mouth.  It had a strong pressence of hop.  I definitely noticed a sharp crisp almost dry finish.  I didn't take the time to pour this one into a glass so I have little to talk about the color and head.  This was straight out of a bottle for me.  I would not have chose this as a good rereshing July 4th beer but for the beer of the day it served me nicely.

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Not SURE - Grade ????
I drove 15.5 hours straight through on this day with a family of 4.  We were in a Honda Odyssey for just about 1000 miles.  I got to the hotel around 5:45pm.  The kids were tired and hungry.  My wife and I were exhausted.  We were considering eating at another restaurant but did not want to drive any further.  I have a picture of me sitting at the hotel restaurant "Sharky & Jack's Bar & Grill".  I don't for the life of me remember what it was and if I liked it.  I know it was COLD.  That is about as much as I can remember.  For some reason I can't find my notes on it or a good picture.  Not sure if I counted the beer in the restaurant or if I needed to drink a beer in the room that was unique?  I'm going to let me slide on this one.  I know I drank a DIFFERENT beer but not sure what it was. 
As I was uploading this to the site it REALLY bothered me I couldn't remember this - so I talked to my wife and we thought.  We were at a NON-BEER bar (it had beer but the normal cast of characters; ie Miller, Sam Adams, Bud, ect).  I think it may have been a Labatt's Product.  Do I remember which?  NO!  Do I remember the taste not specifically.  I'm guessing it was Labatt's Blue.  Even in this picture taken by my 4 year old with my phone the beer is hidden by the mustard bottle.

More to come soon.  As always drink responsibly and please remember to stop back and catch up.

 
 
Laptop malfunctions, vacations, children, work, travel, ect are just a few of the challenges that have had my blog become 2 weeks stale.  This really stinks as I am currently in Miami currently experiencing some great drinking and some good relaxation and can’t get it onto my blog today quickly because I am not 2 weeks stale on this writing.  Now I have to sit down and attempt to remember these past few beers that I have clearly procrastinated on.  These posts are going to be relatively short for the most part.  I’ll try to do justice on the ones I feel really deserve them for sure.
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Lucky Bucket Brewing – Wheat – Grade 2.75
This beer hails from Lavista, Nebraska.  I may have never had this beer in my life if not for the “Beer of the Month” Club from the site http://www.amazingclubs.com/.  This gift is proof that my wife loves me because it is special beer not only given to me on my birthday but ALSO for several weeks after.  Thanks babe.  The first thing I noticed from this was huge hints of lemon smell on the nose.  The texture of the beer in my mouth was light and a bit watery.  The finish of the beer was nice and refreshing in my opinion.  The beer was murky yellow almost fluorescent in the glass.  The taste was nice and refreshing.  It was almost like a glass of refreshing lemonade though it had healthy notes of beer and wheat malts throughout.  Over all a very nice beer.

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Lucky Bucket Brewing – Lager – Grade 3
I poured this in a nice frosted mug.  Again, another one of my birthday presents from my wife and children.  Love those girls. The color had a nice red color in the glass and held a nice strong head.  The flavors had some wood/oaky flavor almost as if it were conditioned in a cask though I’m sure it wasn’t.  These woody notes were mild and nice.  It was very nice and creamy, light ( it was a bit thin ) and crisp.  After the second or third sip this beer began to grow on me.  I am very happy to have found this beer through the AmazingClubs from above.  Thanks again Wife for this wonderful gift.

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Lake Placid Brewing – Barkeater Amber – Grade 3
Well this is the first site that named their website after there flagship beer instead of the brewery itself; this through me off a bit since their flagship beer is Ubu Ale.  I knew nothing of this brewery but on reading a bit of there site this was the name of a patron’s friendly chocolate lab.  There is a great story about how the beer made it into the White House that is worth the read.  The beer poured nice dark amber brown in the glass.  Had a nice heavy creamy looking head lay on top.  It had a nice medium body on the tongue.  The beer came across with a huge caramel malty sweetness on the tongue.  The hops were light and balanced the malt nicely.  Over all the beer was a averagely decent beer.

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Brouwerij Van Steenberge - Golden Draak – Grade 4.5
The CEO and I from 365 got a night out on the town and decided to take full advantage of the kidless night.  We met some friends at the Sharp Edge Creek House in Pittsburgh PA.  This is a place I really need to work on getting to more often.  It is an incredible Beer Bar in Pittsburgh that knows there stuff about beer.  To be fair, the beers are/were always awesome, the service and/or food sometimes leaves a bit to be desired and this night was no different.  We did end up leaving a bit early from this place because the service was not on top of its game which is a shame because the beers are always great.  And I actually want to say the prices seemed to go a bit higher here as well (though hasn’t that happened with all beer everywhere in general right).  Anyway, on to the beer – I had this one on draft.  It was a nicely poured beer in its own glass.  It was rich malty thick with a thin head.  The smell was pleasantly sweet as well.  In general this was an incredible beer.  I highly recommend this one if you see it out.

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Saranac Brewery – Session IPA – Grade 2.5
This was a very light crisp yellow beer in the glass.  It came with a thin white head on top.  The nose was light at first but seemed to build of citrusy hoppy smells.  It was light and hoppy with a nice balanced malt balance.  It was very clean with a citrus bite.  For an IPA it was completely easy drinking.  Though, that would be what the “session” stands for.  In general the texture was light and refreshing but not exactly a great quality beer.  One great memmory from this night (even though the pic is over exposed) was that the 'family' (I think Brecken went to bed early that night) watched another one of the Harry Potter Movies.  Jordan really got into the first three this year.  We are not thinking of moving on to 4 or 5 for sometime.  But so far the first 3 movies have not scared her.  And the trip to Universal - will prove that watching the movies really did pay off as she loved the movies and the park and the Hermione Wand that "found her" in the wand shop at the park!

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Saranac Brewery – Summer Ale – Grade 2.25
This was the night before vacation.  I was sitting at home before the big trip and had a few of these at home.  The bottle states that it was a “beer brewed with natural flavors”.  I’m not sure how a beer is “brewed with natural flavors” but OK.  Anyway, it was a wheat malted beer.  It was very light and wheat tasting with some citrus and grassy flavors.  It had a bit of orange flavor but very little in my opinion.  The over whelming taste I got was almost a lemon grass flavor.  The smell was a bit grassy with a bit of banana and maybe a bit of strawberry.  It was super light and almost a bit to watery for my flavor.