Sunday, October 22, 2006

Guzzling Tiger Beer Catches on in Detroit

We say it's amazing what a fortuitous name and a little October magic can do for an otherwise average beer. Bet the Tigers could have used some after the way they played last night.


This brew couldn’t have landed in Detroit at a better time.

Tiger Beer -- complete with a tiger on its orange-and-blue label, which matches the ball club’s color scheme -- has been moving quicker than a Joel Zumaya fastball at area bars and specialty shops.

One of Singapore's best-selling beers, it entered the U.S. market in August, just as the Tigers were gearing up for a playoff run. The timing was coincidental, and its packaging is a variation of its 1930s label.

Now bars owners and retailers are hoping to get even more of it into the hands of Tigers fans during the World Series.

"Last weekend alone we sold 20 cases, which for an off-brand beer is a ton of beer," says Harry Kefalonitis, owner of Harry's Detroit, which is near Comerica Park. "They see the sign I put up about the beer, and people will say, 'Oh, give me that. Get me a Tiger Beer,' and then the whole table ends up getting it."

The pale lager is served in about 25 bars in and around Detroit, primarily through accounts that Detroit-based beer distributor Great Lakes Beverage has close to the stadium, including a couple locations inside Comerica Park. It also is available at a handful of local specialty shops, including Royal Oak's Holiday Market. It arrives in the United States by way of its importer, Anheuser-Busch.

Daniel Haberman, co-owner of Ferndale hot spot the Bosco, said he’s been a fan of the beer for years.

“We’ve been waiting for it to come to the market for a long time just because it’s such a popular beer in Europe,” says Haberman. “More and more people are drinking it just because the Tigers are doing well.”

He called it a basic drinking beer.

"It’s like Labatt, but with more alcohol," Haberman said. "It’s nothing super special. It’s just a basic, solid tasty beer.”

Royal Oak’s Holiday Market is selling six-packs for $7.99 and pints for $2.99 until the end of the World Series. The store is bracing itself for a big weekend and has a delivery scheduled for today.

“We sold six cases in two days,” Brian Croze, wine consultant at Holiday Market. “That’s big for one relatively unique, obscure product.”

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Flossmoor Station: A Great Place to Derail

I've been drinking, and of course sitting here reflecting on the way the meaning of the phrase "beer fueled weekend" has gradually shifted in my personal lexicon over the past few years. Where once the phrase carried connotations of a man so drunk he is punching his friend in the face to wake him up because he is passed out on the couch in his dorm-suite lounge and he needs to wake up and walk the fifteen feet to his bead, it now carries the image of a man driving all over the mid-west in search of a good hike, a little dose of knowlege from a friendly brewer or two, and of course a good pint of beer.

Suffice it to say, that when I write here that my last two-weekends have centered on beer fueled jaunts, I am not about to reel off a story of complete debauchery, which I suppose means there really is no point in wiiting about them at all. But since I was raised an evengelical Christian, and I know that it is truly blessed to speak more loudly and piously about you religion at times people will care the least, I feel no choice but to press on and spread the word of my new religion, Mid-Western beer.

First up is Flossmoor, IL, home of the Flossmoor Station Brewing Co., I first became aware of Flossmoor last spring during Beer on the Pier, a beer tasting event held on Chicago's Navy Pier and featuring tasty brews from all over the mid-west. Flossmoor was one of the smallest breweries there, sharing a table with a snooty-beer vendor specializing in imported belgium ales and another small brewery from Grand Rapids, MI. But what Flossmoor lacked in stature, It's featured IPA, more than made up for in bold-hoppy flavor and good crips finish. Had we been the judges, I and my three friends, a scotch-drinker, a stout-drinker and a non-drinker, would have unanimously voted the IPA best in show. Perhaps the highlight of the show was when I kept filling out extra-tickets to win a "I got de-railed at Flossmoor Station T-Shirt", size large, and I after I won, and announced there was no way I could wear this, having some 400 pound dude offer me $10.00 for it so he could give it to his 300lb girlfriend. I wanted fifteen but Icouldn't budge him, so I wandered back out into the city firmly resolving to visit Flossmoor if I ever got the chance.

Two weeks ago that chance finally game, a beautiful fall Saturday with nary an entertaning college football game on the slate, and so it was that after a short excursion to the wilds of the Medwine National Prarie and a harrowing experience with some evil looking bugs, I found my self making the short drive from Joliet over to Flossmoor more than ready for another taste of that heavenly IPA.

The brew pub itslelf is nestled in the heart of a mid-western suburban, and while it wasn't hard to find, it certainly was a kick to find myself driving past cul-de-sacs and down curvy tree lined streets confronting the ghosts of my childhood. When I finally emerged from my own haunted thrill ride, there was Flossmoor station right off the Metra commuter tracks, occupying an old remodeled train station. I was so excited to get to the beer, that I unwittingly charged up the first-set of stairs I found, across the beer garden and a backroom that was hosting a private party and directly to the bar where I promptly demanded the sampler.

While I was waiting for the sampler, I finally got around to reading the beer list, and my heart nearly sank to my shoes when I saw that the IPA was not currently on tap. The dissapontment was short lived however, when the bar tender arrived with my sampler tray of 12 four ounce glasses of beer. I will save you the touble of detailing my experiences with each different beer, all of which you can read about here, and just say that I dived in whole-heartedly only half worrying about having to still drive some 30-miles back to Chicago.

Maybe it was the fact that months of anticipation had led me to hold Flossmoor to unreal expectations, or maybe it was because I was tired and still a little hungover when I started drinking, but whatever it was, right off the bat, I was more than a little disappointed. The first few beers I drank just didn't seem to have any sort of distinguishing character or style, and that's not counting the Zephyr Light, which I had already written off as the annoying substitute beer all brewries out here seem to have for the frat girls who walk in and insist that they only like Miller Lite.

It was somewhat shocking for the Station Master Wheat to not immediately hit the spot on a hot day, and while the raspberry and cherry ales certainly held their own as curiosities, they did nothing to distinguish themselves from other fruit beers. There was a seasonal nut brown that I liked right from the stout, but on intial tasting the Pullman Porter had that sort of metallic-coffee taste that a not quite perfect porter sometimes acquires.

After about 20-minutes of sampling, I was watching the toy train traveling in circles above the bar and back behind the brauhaus and contemplating the best way to kick myself on a barstool for ruining my own personal myth of Flossmoor. I noticed that I hadn't touched the Panama Red Limited and half-heartedly lifted it to my lips. In an instant a star was born and things started looking up. It isn't often that one finds a red ale infused with nine types of malts and four types of hops all perfectly balanced. It was all I could do not to chug it all down, but there was still more to try, and now that there had been some time for them to breathe a few more of the brews started to come alive.

As I made my way through round number two of the Sampler the flavor of the Iron Horse Stout was finally beginning to build some momentum as it chugged down my throat, warming my body with a hearty roasted malt taste, and the Pullman Porter certainly did a good job of carrying away the baggage it had deposited only a few minutes before. But the hidden gem out of all of these brews was the aptly named Gandy Dancer Honey Ale, an American Pale Ale infused with honey that literally dances on your taste-buds.

30-minutes later, after a nother full pint of the Gandy Dancer had lightened my fee even more, I floated out of Flossmoor, firmly resolved that soon I would be bringing a group down on the train, and so excited about the growler of Panama Red I was carrying home, that I forgot all about checking my directions and ended up on a 35-minute detour that carried me east to Indiana and back west again before I finally got myself back on the right tracks.

I had been derailed at Flossmoor, and the trip couldn't have been better.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Expanding Our Horizons

Wisconsin on tap: A road trip with a brew

A little somethin' from the Chicago Tribune for our Midwestern readers. We think this a region that often gets overlooked, with all the love on the coasts. Reading it makes us itch for a roadtrip for some reason. It also makes us thirsty.

It was "a hobby gone horribly awry."

That was the typical response I got from brewers during a series of microbrewery road trips around Wisconsin that lasted from April into July.

I called it the ultimate pils-grimage, a sacred journey to meet the brewmasters and sample the suds at the state's 70-plus breweries and brewpubs. From my home in Madison, Wis., I hit all but a few of them in a half dozen looping trips. I also learned some related local lore, like where the fresh cheese curds were and who was doing the Friday fish fry.

My first road trip for beer was back in the late '80s when a group of college buddies and I set off from Green Bay on a two-hour drive to Stevens Point with the sole intention of touring the Point Brewery. At that time Bilko, a retired brewery employee who led the tours on Saturday mornings, prodded me in the shoulder with a finger as he asked, "And ya know what kraeusening is, don'tcha?" I had no idea.

This series of trips began with a map of Wisconsin, on which I marked up the locations (Dallas, Wis.--who knew?) of various microbrewers and brewpubs, with the intention of creating a road-trip guidebook (see end for information).

Whether you are just popping up to Milwaukee or Madison for the day, or taking a long weekend up in Chetek, Minocqua or Door County, there are beers here that any beer fan should not pass up a chance to try. Many of these brews you won't find even at a liquor store across the street from the producer.

All the breweries except Rush River Brewery in Maiden Rock have some kind of tour and samples. Nearly all the brewpubs will give you a tour or at least chat about their system if it is very small (and it often is), but that often depends on the availability of the brewmaster. In a place like Hops Haven Brew Haus in Sheboygan, the brewmaster is also the owner, bartender, plumber and janitor.

Milwaukee, the city that beer made famous, is a good place to start. Miller still turns out barrels in seven digits every year, and few are the countries around the world where you can't get your hands on some. But there are also a good number of brewpubs in the area distributing most or even all of their production over the bar.

Sprecher Brewing Co., which started brewing in 1985, is the oldest of the microbreweries in Wisconsin, and neighborhood hangout Stonefly Brewing is the newest of the brewpubs (stop in for live music and check out the tap handles, works of metal art done up by one of the bartenders). If you have to choose, Milwaukee's Lakefront Brewery arguably has the best tour (with samples before, during and after)--and on Fridays, you can stay for the fish fry complete with live polka band.

But if you have time for more, take a ride on the Brew City Queen (414-283-9999), a pontoon boat that on weekends from mid-May through September does three-hour cruises with three stops--Lakefront, Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery and the Milwaukee Ale House (also the temporary home to the Museum of Beer and Brewing).

Another way to effortlessly hit multiple brewpubs is the Milwaukee trolley--the free ride passes close to Rock Bottom, Milwaukee Ale House and Water Street Brewery, as well as other major attractions downtown.

Madison is not to be left behind. The Great Dane Pub and Brewery and JT Whitney's Pub and Brewery have very loyal followings (for good reason), and Capital Brewery in nearby Middleton probably has bottles at your corner liquor store. None is to be missed. The most recent arrival is Ale Asylum where the beer is "Brewed in Sanity." Brewmaster Dean Coffey, who made a name for himself when he brewed at Angelic Brewpub, has a pale ale called Hopalicious, which caters to hopheads, and a few delightful Belgian ales that move up the scale on alcohol.

Just these pubs warrant a couple of days; add a trip to Lake Louie Brewing in the woods in nearby Arena or the Grumpy Troll Brewpub in Mt. Horeb or New Glarus Brewery (see below) to the southwest, and you could make quite a long weekend.

But if you've got more time and a full tank of gas, there are some goldmines farther afield.

Minocqua Brewing Co. is right downtown and lakeside in that popular tourist town. Besides offering great handcrafted beers it is also a great place to go for a fish fry.

If you are going all the way to Lake Superior, don't miss Ashland's South Shore Brewery or Twin Ports Brewing in Superior. If you're up here to camp, grab a growler (a half-gallon glass jug refillable at your local brewpub; pictured on the front page is one from Stone Cellar Brewpub in Appleton) and take it along.

Marshfield has a hit with Central Waters Brewery which is married to 14th Street Restaurant, the best eats in town. Mudpuppy Porter is quite popular, and if you want something really different, try their Imperial Stout--aged six months in old bourbon barrels.

And now for some Wisconsin microbrewery/brewpub superlatives and trivia:

Smallest brewery: It may surprise you (or not, considering the state), but the student center at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville offers a lager and a pale ale brewed on site.

Largest microbrewery: New Glarus Brewery--maker of Spotted Cow, Fat Squirrel and Totally Naked--rolls out about 40,000 barrels per year. They offer self-guided audio tours of the brewery. Next summer, the tours will move to a second facility on the other side of this little Swiss town, which will allow them to triple production to 120,000 barrels.

Most remote: Nicolet Brewing in the town of Florence is open only on the weekends but is a must stop. Florence is as far northeast as one can get without being in Michigan. In Florence County, every town, including the namesake county seat, is unincorporated. Brewmaster Art Lies will set you up with a fine pint and is an endless font of tales, most of them tall.

Most brewpubs per capita: If you don't count the travelers who come here for a variety of outdoors activities throughout the summer--and the Birkebeiner cross-country ski marathon in winter--Hayward (pop. 2,245) surely is a contender with Angry Minnow Brewery and Muskie Capital Brewery. As if the giant muskie at the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame wasn't enough reason to come.

Where would Al Capone drink? Two of the brewpubs--Shipwrecked Brew Pub in Door County's Egg Harbor and Bugsy's Sports Bar (Brown Street Brewery) in Rhinelander--have or had tunnels leading out of their basements, and local legend has it Capone used them to escape the Feds.

Only brewery with a drive-up window and playland: Falls Brewing in Oconto Falls, which set up a brewery and bottling operation in an old Hardee's. Sorry, but neither are currently in use.


Kevin Revolinski is the author of "The Wisconsin Beer Guide: A Travel Companion" (Tynan's Independent Media, $21.95). If you can't find it in bookstores, it's available online at

Monday, October 09, 2006

Shipyard Brewing Company

We visited the Shipyard Brewery in Portland, Maine a couple of holiday weekends ago. Might have been Labor Day, we're not exactly sure anymore. There are two things, aside from their beer, that we find very interesting about Shipyard. The brewery actually got its start in 1992 at Federal Jack's Restaurant and Brewpub in Kennebunkport (think George Bush the Elder). As demand grew, they expanded and moved to a new facility in Portland in 1994. That facility is actually located on the spot where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born. Shipyard has made a beer in his honour, which we look forward to trying. Sorry, but we find these sorts of things quite interesting. The second fascinating fact is that Shipyard was cofounded by an Englishman named Alan Pugsley. That, in itself might not grab you, especially since you were too lazy to click our link. Had you bothered to do so, you might have learned that Pugsley is pretty well known for his English style ales, as well as helping to design and install several dozen brewing systems in the United States, including Geary's (the first microbrewery in the Northeast - also located in Portland), Magic Hat and Middle Ages. In fact, Middle Ages founder Marc Rubenstein interned under Pugsley in Maine prior to opening the brewery in Syracuse. But we digress. Perhaps there will be more on the fascinating history of Middle Ages in an upcoming post.

So, what else can we tell you about Shipyard? Well, they make some pretty solid ales, for one. Pretty much English style with distinctive flavor from Ringwood yeast. Their flagship is a pale, Export Ale, they make a smooth IPA featuring only English Fuggles hops, and Old Thumper is an Extra Special Bitter created by Alan Pugsley's mentor, Peter Austin, and also brewed in Ringwood, Hampshire (that's Jolly Old England), and in the Orlando Airport. Yeah, you read that right. Did we forget to mention that Shipyard is partially owned by Miller Brewing and also has a small brewery Orlando, Florida? Don't hold any of that against 'em though. It's a pretty cool, pretty good regional brewery. You could do a lot worse. We happen to quite enjoy their Pumpkinhead, which is rather light and easy drinking, yet nicely spiced. Here you'll find a fairly complete link to the beers.

Shipyard does a fair amount of contract brewing, including several brewpubs: Gritty McDuff's and Pugsley's Sea Dog brand, Federal Jack's Tremont Ales, and Davidson Brothers, among others. They even originally did contract brewing for Magic Hat. The tour wasn't much, unless you like pockmarked, sweaty, men with heavy regional accents, who are about to knock off for the day and clearly are mailing it in. They did have an interesting video on the brewery's history (you can find that and more on the website if you click around a little). Additionally, it was free, they gave samples, and the giftshop was pretty good, so we ain't complaining. Contrary to their belief, Shipyard doesn't make the best beer in the world. They do have a good product and have certainly played a role in helping establish and maintain plenty of other breweries, not the least of which is the one in Syracuse.
We definitely have a soft spot for them.

If you visit:

86 Newbury St. in Portland, Maine!

Store Hours:
Mon-Sat 10:00-5:00 pm
Sun 12:00-5:00 pm

Brewery Tours and Tastings:
Daily, on the hour, every hour, from 12 noon to 4 pm

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Latest From Lew

Just Because You Can...
"Any style of beer can be made stronger than the classic style guidelines. The goal should be to reach a balance between the style’s character and the additional alcohol. The brewer must provide the base style that is being created stronger and/or appropriately identify the style created (for example: double alt, triple fest, imperial porter or quadruple Pilsener)."
That’s what Garrett Oliver read to our judging panel at the Great American Beer Festival just two days ago. We were getting ready to judge the "Other Strong Ale or Lager" category, facing some big beers of 8% and up; Garrett was the table captain. The whole point of the category was to cover beers that had bulged out the top of their "base" category, the so-called "imperial" or "double" beers. (Get all the 2006 GABF winners here.)
I’m not against up-throttling beers. Doublebock came along over a century ago, and has proven itself in the marketplace and on my own happy tongue. More recently, double IPAs and double red ales have proved popular enough to have been granted their own categories. This category is kind of the proving ground for super-sizing beers.
It was our job to test the mettle of these whoppers. We faced imperial nut browns, double (or triple) pilseners, overcharged malt liquors ("What’s this," I asked, "Olde English 1100?"), and super wits. It’s easy to make fun of beers like this – and I have, in the past – but there were two disturbing aspects in the beers entered in this category.
First, this is what passes for much of the vaunted "innovation" in American brewing: turning up the volume. Honestly, I realize that it’s not as simple as just dumping in more malt. There are issues of yeast health, proper attenuation, and maintaining drinkability. But come on. What we’re talking about is a couple brewers sitting around and saying, "Damn, wouldn’t it be cool if we made a bitter at 9%? Dude, that would ROCK!"
Sorry, that’s not innovation. It’s about as creative as making a burrito with twice the stuff. Sure, you have to use a bigger tortilla, maybe even make them yourself to get them big enough, and you have to put in more spices to balance the additional beans and beef, but…putting more beans in a burrito doesn’t make it something else. It’s just a bigger burrito.
I don’t mind bigger burritos. I ate a couple whoppers while I was in Denver and I enjoyed them, much as I enjoy a well-made big beer. But when a big burrito is full of undercooked beans, or it’s blowing out through the ends because it’s got too much stuff for the tortilla, or the ingredients aren’t fresh…it’s not an imperial burrito, it’s just more sucky burrito to plow through.
That’s the problem with some of these beers. They just aren’t well-made, or even well-formulated. There are an unfortunate number of these steroidal monsters that are flabby and fat with malt. I tasted an overstrength sweet stout that used a whacking great shot of hops to cover how overly sweet the fortifying process had left it. Sweet stout with a big bitter finish? What the hell’s that?
It’s a mess. There was a "pilsner" that was hugely malty, and it was thick, heavy, sweetly hoppy, almost syrupy. Are those words you want to hear when you’re thinking about getting a pils? So many of these beers miss the point. A super witbier? What is the best characteristic of a witbier? It’s refreshing. An 8% beer is a lot of things, but "refreshing" is not usually the descriptor that pops to mind.
I’ve said before that American brewers have swung too far from the pure pleasures of lager beers. We react against them because that’s what had hammered beer variety almost completely flat in America, an unending sea of bland lagers. But we’re throwing the baby out with the spargewater: lagers are not necessarily bland, any more than ales are necessarily interesting. Believe me, I judged American "hefeweizens" as well, and that’s plenty bland.
I think we are making an equally big mistake in swinging too far from the whole German model of brewing. The Germans don’t do a lot of experimentation. They stick to making what they know, and they put all their energy into making that the best, most consistent way they know how. They don’t have a lot of variety in their beers, it’s true, but the beers they do make are very well made.
I don’t think American brewers should stop innovating. I also judged strong barrel-aged beers, and although there were a few clinkers, this is a wonderful category of beers, started only 10 years ago. But after tasting a shocking number of beers that were tainted with diacetyl or DMS, beers that were oxidized or simply stale, I do think that maybe we should remember that it’s a good idea to master the basics before trying to improvise too much.
We need to reach a compromise position between the German model and the Belgian. Innovate, certainly, but keep your focus on technique and solid formulation. Avoid the temptation to throw in more malt or hops because it would be cool. As an old girlfriend always used to say, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
The beer that finally won the category’s gold medal was a wheatwine from Rubicon in Sacramento. It was magnificent; complex, rich, and not cloying or over-hopped. It was a well-thought out beer. Innovative? Maybe not; wheatwines have been done before, although they’re far from what I’d call a popular style. But it was quite different, and definitely well-crafted. It was one of the better beers I had last week. Way to go, Rubicon.

We're suckers for Imperials, but Lew is usually right about these things. It's just hard to find fault with a beer that has a ton of taste and clocks in at 8% ABV plus. Unless it costs too much.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Brewery Review: Long Trail

This being my maiden voyage, I would love to critique a brewery as a whole. I don't know if it will work or not, but let's face it: I've been drinking.

To me, breweries are like movie directors. I know that makes precious little sense, but let me explain. As an avid filmgoer, I can usually predict the quality of a given film by recognition of the director's name. Not only can I figure out how high the quality will be, but I can also determine certain characteristics of the film. When I see a Coen Brothers film, I know there will be erudite (or at least region-specific) text and a lot of nice visuals. When I hear that Martin Scorsese has directed a new picture, I expect lots of hard-boiled dialogue and a smooth cinematographical style. Kevin Smith will pander to the lowest common denominator. Milos Foreman will make an epic life story. Spike Lee will take himself too seriously and have a stupid jazz score ruining any dialogue he's written. Michael Mann will make everything dark blue. Paul Thomas Anderson will copy Scorsese. Robert Altman will have 15 characters all talking over each other at the same time. Does any of this make any sense?

Of course not. But my points still remain. Like movie directors, you can tell a lot about a beer -- even before trying it -- by the brewery it comes from. Stone is going to be harsh. Middle Ages will all have English styles. Ommegang will trigger the gag reflex (due to strength, not taste). And today, I would like to create a brief exploration of one minor microbrew: Long Trail.

Long Trail is a brewery out of Bridgewater Corners, VT, which makes a competent, inexpensive collection of seasonal brews. They are neither elite, nor swill-peddlers. It is a fine, starter beer for those of refined and pedestrian tastes. Long Trail currently has an autumn/winter twelve-pack, with four brews: Long Trail IPA (India Pale Ale), Long Trail Hibernator, Long Trail Ale & "Hit the Trail" Ale. There are three bottles of each. This 12-pack will likely cost you about $12.99 per. But let's quickly explore each one for characteristics... (I will refer to my notes)

Long Trail IPA
: Good frothy head...dark blonde color. Surprisingly sturdy hop aroma, but with a bit of maltiness thrown in as well. Very balanced hop/malt ratio... Not hoppy enough to be considered a true IPA. Very much a standard ale with a tiny little bit of extra hops...Light bodied, pleasant enough. Nice aftertaste. Definitely don't have to choke it down. Could drink several of these in a row...Should be considered a regular pale at best.

Long Trail Hibernator
: Has a dark red hue with very little head to speak of. Has a spicy, malty scent. Flavor is heavy malt, with a honey-ish touch. Very mild, much more so than most winter ales....Surprisingly nice aftertaste...As it warms up it becomes a little more cozy. Nice mild maltiness with a slight honey kick to it.

Long Trail Ale
: Nice amber color, with a thick and bubbly white head. Clear and bubbly. Small shoots of bubbles head upward toward the surface...Pleasant malty aroma...I probably wouldn't be able to pick it out of a line up, but it's got the goods. Good flavor, even if not unique. Nice at a somewhat warmed-up temp. A little bubbly on the tongue, but smooth. This is a surprisingly solid ale...Very easy to drink. It's a good beer to have between stronger ones.

Hit the Trail Ale
: An opaque reddish brown color...Nice head. Has a sweet, malty scent to it...Sweeter than most browns. Has a pleasant, malty flavor; you can tell it's there, but it's not overbearing. The malt is overpowering, but lingers on the aftertaste. A little lighter than I expected, but that fits this beer. You don't have to choke it down... Don't know if I would drink a full sixer of this particular beer, but makes a nice change-of-pace brew in the Long Trail 12-pack.

So what can you expect from Long Trail?:

Reddish or at least darkish golden color. A decent amount of head (as if there is such thing as enough). Malty flavor. Underwhelming hops. Probably a certain sweetness, or at least sweeter than most. A light, drinkable beer. Inexpensive, but not low-grade. I would say that it's a good beer to bring if you don't want to spend a lot, but want to bring a good, solid beer to the party.

Feel free to add your twelve ounces...