Saturday, November 01, 2008


I've had Dundee's famous Honey Brown ale many times, and it's always been on my list as a good quality for the price brown ale. I have also had their pale ale from time to time, which I am impressed with.

A few weeks ago while vistiting Mark & Cami in Olathe, I made a run to the liquor store to see if they had my favorite pumpkin ale, Buffalo Bill's Pumpkin Ale. And I spied a Dundee variety 12-pack for $12.

I didn't know they were brewing a bunch of beers, but since I'd liked the two I had no problems trying the variety pack.

There's a Pale Bock Lager, a Porter, a Wheat Beer, their Honey Brown & Pale Ale (both with new labels ... I love the new Pale Ale label), and an IPA. All excellent. They get the Phil stamp of approval.

Today I ran across their Oktoberfest and bought a 6 pack, and it is also excellent. So two thumbs up for Dundee beers!


  1. I'll have to watch for these. I'm not a big "beer" fan, but I have a special affinity for de Boomgaard Framboise. I'm sure you've heard of it, but if not, it's a Belgian beer. Very fruity....the raspberry is my favorite. Have you tried it? If so, could you compare the pumkin ale to the same "type" of beverage? Less hoppy beerish and with a definite "pumpkin spice" flavor?
    My dad is a big beer and wine maker, perhaps pumpkin would be an intersting one to try.... :)

  2. The best pumpkin ale is "Buffalo Bill's" (their Orange Blossom ale is excellent, too). Both of those are seasonal brews.

    I'm not a big fan of Belgian ales. It's the only style I really don't care for. I've had a few that were ok. They use special yeasts and bacterias that throw off those fruity esters - a true Belgian might taste like strawberry or peach but have neither in them. But there's another flavor that whatever they use ... that the microorganisms that they use throw off that I really just don't like. If the other flavors cover it up well enough I'm more likely to like it. But it's distinct and tends to stand out (to my tastebuds anyway).

    Pale ales are hoppy and I like them. People might consider this particular Octoberfest hoppy -- but if they're used to Budweiser pretty much any REAL beer tastes hoppy.

    The key is, the hoppiness (the bitter and sometimes "flowery" flavor)is to balance the malty (sweet) flavor that different beers have more or less of (depending on the style).

    As with any food, the colder it is the less you taste the sweetness. In my experience, most flavorful beers are best around 50 degrees or so. The sweetness will come out and the hoppiness won't overpower it like it does when it's cold.

    My favorite way to drink a Guiness came about this way. Vicki and I would both get one from the refrigerator ... and they were really too cold. I'd drink mine and Vicki would drink about 2/3 of hers and it would fill her up. About an hour later she'd ask me if I wanted the rest of hers. That's when it always tasted its absolute best.

    So yeah. I think you might like their honey brown if you're leery of hops. Wheat beers are always good with a slice of lemon or lime (or a splash of lemon or lime juice - just a little hint of it). I don't think the Octoberfest is hoppy, but I can see where some people might. Let 'em warm up a bit and see if you like them better. And don't expect them to taste like Budweiser. That's a whole different style meant to be drunk cold and it's not supposed to have much flavor (which is actually harder to do ... but I like flavorful beer most of the time).

  3. Regarding Pumpkin ales .... since they are seasonal and you might not be able to find them in the stores after October (I usually buy a couple of cases so it will last me through Thanksgiving) ... but here's a little trick.

    Get some Everclear and a baby food jar. Put some cinnamon and cloves and maybe a little ginger ... the spices you'd put in a pumpkin pie... in the baby food jar. (Whole cloves and cinnamon sticks would be best) and fill the small jar with Everclear and let it sit a few days, at least (the longer, the better). 1-3 drops of this in any beer with any malt at all in it will practically turn it into an instant pumpkin ale.

    I do the same thing for Christmas beers ... only I usually add some orange zest and maybe change the proportions of the spices. It works with malty beers but to me the best Christmas ales are made from stouts (especially sweet ones) or porters or maybe brown ales. Still, I've added it to Budweiser with nice results as well.

    Nothing beats the real thing of course -- there are some wonderful Christmas ales out there. But in a pinch, it's nice to have these little jars of instant holiday zest around.

  4. Wow! Interesting trick! I might have to give it a try. I've made liqueurs before and that was kind of fun.
    I've just never been a huge beer fan at all. Rodd enjoys beer, but he prefers lighter beers. The Northwest is big on microbrews, which I don't care for either. I know, I'm a whimp! :) Perhaps a little "holiday cheer" in it would make me like it better..... I'll give it a try!