Categories: "Drink" or "Beer"
Right off the bat I am a sucker for gadgets...or in this case widgets. Tetley's features a Nitrogen widget which gives this English ale it's thick, creamy head. You ever just sit at the bar and watch a freshly poured Guinness? If you are as easily entertained as I, Tetley's is a great way to bring that home...without the big, bold flavor of an Irish stout. Which brings me to my disappointing news: You won't have the bold flavor of an Irish stout...but you don't have much flavor at all. There is some light malt, but not much else. This beer goes down like creamy, slightly malty-flavored, mildly-expensive water. I could drink a lot of these and feel no worse for the wear. This isn't a bad beer, but at this price point I will probably pass on it in the future.
As far as beers go, Ale is a territory into which I have seldom traveled. I traditionally have enjoyed lighter beers - Wheats and Lights. I really enjoy a few Lagers, but that is basically the end of my beer resume. I have tried a little of everything else, but I have liked very little. Due to trying a lot of new foods and wines my palate is beginning to develop as is my curiosity for new things. The Anchor Steam Liberty Ale is a very interesting beer. It has a beautiful light orange hue that might suggest a lighter flavor than is delivered. The top-fermenting brewers' yeast gives it a slightly citrus flavor. There is a nice light carbonation to the beer, too. This is certainly an interesting drink, if you have the opportunity to enjoy one. As I write this, my Liberty Ale is only a memory, but I will have this again. This is a great happy hour beer -- when you will just have 1-2 and you don't feel the pressure to get the cheapest beer and you want something you will be glad you ordered.
As my horizons broaden into more seasonal beers, as they have lately, this was a natural choice. Whose favorite "season" doesn't involve Germans celebrating beer anyway? Octoberfest was featured as a rotating tap at a restaurant/bar; so my first experience is based solely on Octoberfest draft.
In a word: delicious.
To elaborate: I said that it was almost like having a meal in a glass, but that was misinterpreted as full-bodied. I realize that I chose my words poorly. This beer tastes like your favorite crusty bread soaked in beer. That may not appeal to you. It wouldn't appeal to the late Dr. Atkins. It appealed to me just fine.
I have a new reason to look forward to fall: the leaves change color; the temperature begins its descent; and Samuel Adams Octoberfest hits the shelves (and taps).
This is definitely a "situational" beer. To drill down even more than calling this a "seasonal" offering from Leinenkugel, it would have to be a pretty particular set of circumstances to warrant the light body and citrus flavor of the Summer Shandy. This is a beer I would buy when I am serving dinner for guests on my back deck. We're eating something I just took off the grill, it's warm out (but comfortable enough to be outside), and maybe the lemon flavor will play well with the meal.
This is not an everyday beer for me. When I've been outside and want a beer that's refreshing, I'll keep reaching for my Hoegaarden.
I am not a huge fan of lemon flavor, but unlike people I have talked to, the lemon flavor in the Summer Shandy did not overwhelm me. It was certainly noticeable, but I still felt it to be relatively reserved. My expectations, based on word-of-mouth, were to be blown away by lemon flavor and that did not happen.
This is a fine beer...and I'll finish what I bought, but I'm not in a hurry to buy more.
I have now had this beer a few times and I keep encountering what I believe is a relatively common issue with craft beers: it never really tastes the same. The good news is that I have liked it every time I've had it, which is directly linked to why I've had it more than once.
What is funny to me is that the first time I tried #9 I felt like it was two different beers in one bottle. At first it carried the weight of a darker beer, but finished like something VERY light. Since then I have had a bottle that was heavy start-to-finish, and one lighter throughout. Each has been good, but it's hard to get a read on what this beer is really supposed to taste like. Though I do know that it is supposed to taste (at least somewhat) like apricot, which they add at some point in the brewing process. I wasn't sure how I would react to the apricot flavor, and while I didn't love it, it wasn't bad.
I've seen #9 range from $7-10 per 6-pack. When I find it for $7-8 I will continue to buy this beer when I'm in the mood for something crafted. And if I can find it on tap I will order a #9 to have with a meal.