Mike’s Authentic Shandy from Mike’s Hard Lemonade Company in Chicago, Illinois pours a cloudy pale yellow colour that unsurprisingly looks like diluted lemon juice, with a loose white head that gets retained as a thin cap and leaves sparse lacing. This lemonade and lager mix has a fairly mild, yet overly sweet and syrupy lemon smell. The only hints of lager come from a dirty metallic note and distinct whiff of corn.
The taste of Mike’s Authentic Shandy is also quite sweet and dominated by what I can best describe as a concentrated, “hypernatural” lemon flavour. This shandy is medium-bodied with lots of fine carbonation, but is extremely syrupy on the tongue and teeth. Some tartness is perceived in the finish, but is swallowed by the sweetness provided by a seemingly unhealthy amount of glucose-fructose that lingers throughout the aftertaste and gets joined by a biting, metallic and chemical-like flavour.
Rolling Rock Extra Pale from Anheuser-Busch InBev pours an all-too-familiar pale straw yellow colour with a sizable white head that burns off in a few minutes leaving a film and sparse lacing behind. This beer smells of corn syrup and some kind of metallic or plastic aroma. I also get a wet grain smell as well as a slight ester-like quality.
After a nice crisp start, I get a sweet, toasted malt taste from Rolling Rock Extra Pale. The beer is oddly sour in the aftertaste before going dry. This certainly is an easy-drinking brew. It’s light-bodied with a medium-high carbonation and a sort of earthy note in the finish.
Samuel Adams Octoberfest from the Boston Beer Company in Massachusetts pours a very nice amber-ruby colour with a rather large off-white head that burns off quickly without leaving much lace, but gets retained as a fairly thick collar. This traditional German-style lager has a surprisingly hop-centric aroma over a solid base of caramel malts. There is some bread-like character and a hint of plum, but it’s kind of muted over all.
Samuel Adams Octoberfest tastes primarily of toasted caramel malts and has a brown bread quality. The beer has a nice balance between sweet and bitter, and a slight lemon zest character comes through in the dry finish. It is fairly thin-bodied with a medium carbonation level and a dry, syrupy resin feeling on the tongue. The aftertaste is bitter with a slight floral note.
This strong, American-style double IPA from the Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York pours a hazy golden-orange colour with a moderate-sized soapy head that gets retained as a collar and leaves a bit of lacing. 2XIPA has a very smooth aroma. It’s well-balanced citrus with a grapefruit tartness and tangerine sweetness, as well as a buttery tone and thick, biscuity malt backing. A piny alcohol tone comes through after warming, but it’s not intimidating.
2XIPA is also very smooth in taste, especially for the style. It has a syrupy, butterscotch sweetness at first. A maltiness takes on characteristics of dark rye and a bitter, almost sour grapefruit-like citrus kicks in at the end. The beer’s collar sticks around forever, contributing to a fairly thick and creamy mouthfeel. Its high ABV makes itself known in the finish with a warming sour bite before going dry on the back of the throat.
This mass-market witbier from Anheuser-Busch in Baldwinsville, New York pours with a huge frothy white head that burns off within a few minutes on top of a typically cloudy and slightly rusty, iced tea-coloured brew. The smell of Shock Top Belgian White is mild, with banana taking the forefront, accented by bubblegum and a hint of spice.
Shock Top Belgian White has a rather mild, but crisp and refreshing taste. An orange-lemon-lime peel blend used in the brewing process is noticeable without being overpowering and coriander comes through on the finish.
The mouthfeel is quite thin and watery for a witbier, with very little carbonation after the head burns off. This is definitely a macro-brewed “BL Lime” take on the style that I can best describe as “semi-filtered”. An orange flavour lingers on the back of the tongue between sips.