Every once in a while, one of my fellow beer appreciators sends me a review of a restaurant, bar or brewery. Every once in a while I post them to beerappreciation.com.
Brian W. Jones and his lovely wife Joanne are great beer appreciators from NJ and good friends. (And Brian is the current reigning “Citizen of the Year” for Gloucester County, FYI). The Jones’ travel with their family up to Vermont every year – last year I got to enjoy the Alchemist’s revered Heady Topper thanks to them. What follows is their review of their latest Vermont beer adventure from the end of this summer:
“Vermont . . .Each summer the family and I trek up north to our favorite vacation spot, The Tyler Place Family Resort. Nestled on the shore line of Lake Champlain in Highgate Springs, Vermont, no more serene nor pleasant retreat has ever existed. All who attend with their children, and you must have children in your “family group” to be a guest, become fast friends and part of the Tyler family. Manned and managed by multiple generations of Tylers, they take care of your every need. So many great activities to choose from, great views, great food and yes great beer.I still remember my first draft of Shed Mountain Ale, once a small brewery in Stowe, Vermont, now owned by Otter Creek. Who could forget their initial sip of unfiltered Switchback Ale, another Vermont standard . . . both beers served at the Tyler Place. This year was no different with Hector, an ever-doting host and bartender extraordinaire, suggested that I try a Valor Ale from the 14th Star Brewing Company.14th Star is a relatively new brewery located in St. Albans, Vermont, a short ride down the road. The brewery was founded by the head brewer, Steve Gagner. The idea of brewing beer was hatched in the mountains of Eastern Afghanistan, when Steve and his Army buddies had lots of time to reflect on coming home and what to do upon their return . . . So why not make some beer?Valor Ale is their flagship brew with a portion of the proceeds from sales benefitting the Purple Hearts Reunited Foundation. So enough for the back story . . . now let’s drink some beer!Hector pulled my first draft of Valor Ale (ABV: 5.4% IBU:40) and it looked very appealing. The beer reflected a light amber color with some copper hues. This brew displayed a respectable white head with decent retention. A nice nose of malt with some carmel overtones surfaced along with some mild citrus and grassy aromas. Now there are some major floral hops floating around here too, perhaps even a mild resin flavor, but nothing too overwhelming is present. As the beer warmed I noticed a slight buttery flavor coming forth but not so much that it would overrun the pleasant full flavor I was enjoying.All in all a very nice offering from the 14th Star Brewing Company. I enjoyed several more chilled drafts during my stay at the The Tyler Place. I found Valor Ale very drinkable and look forward to tasting future offering’s from the 14th Star Brewing Company.Well off to fishing on Lake Champlain with Captain Gil . . . Muskie On.And one more thing . . . Thanks Steve for your service . . . “This We’ll Defend!”Brian W. JonesWoodbury, NJ(Follow Brian on Twitter: @thebankersays )