Ok, I guess I'll jump in first on the beer tastings. Last time I went through the whole scoring breakdown process (nothing wrong with that), but this time I'm not gonna do that. I just want to give impressions like we do in the 'Commercial Beer Review' thread.
Anyway, I was fortunate to get several homebrews from Ken (Wort-HOG) including these first two - a 'German Pale Ale' and a North German Pils. The German Pale Ale is as advertised- I get definite pilsner malt character in the nose, along with spicy German hop character which also has some slightly fruity, citrusy character. So I suspect that some newer German hops like Mandarina (with possibly Huell Melon ?) were used with possibly a traditional noble variety. The beer is perfectly clear, very pale orange, settles into a foam cap of two fingers that laces to the glass nicely. The hop bitterness and flavor are spot on for pale ale, body is medium/light,and there is a slight Caramunich/Caravienne character that, along with the pils flavor, gives a balance to the pleasant, fairly dry finish. I've liked the idea for a while to do a German pale ale or IPA and this is proof that it can work well. Excellent beer, Ken !
The second beer today was the North German Pils, which pours (as expected) a pale straw, perfectly clear, with beautiful thick foam of two fingers that sticks around and laces beautifully. Nose is of sweet, crackery pils malt and spicy/floral noble hops. Body is medium-light, with nice pleasant bitterness up front which carries over into pils malt flavor balanced by nice spicy hop flavor. Finish is appropriately dry, leaving you wanting the next sip. I love this beer and would fill up one of my liter mugs a few times from a keg of this. Awesome, well made beer, Ken !
He also sent a bomber of Great Lakes Brewing's saison, which I sampled yesterday - delicious beer. It is very delicately spiced with ginger and lemongrass, so subtle in fact that it takes a back seat to and serves to compliment the saison yeast character, which is fruity and slightly spicy. Nice beer.
As luck would have it, I have a few more of Ken's beers to eval. Can't wait !