Craftsman Cabernale
Craftsman Brewing Co.

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Fruit and Field Beer
Ranked #424
Ranked #38,354
3.62 | pDev: 15.47%
Craftsman Brewing Co.
California, United States
View: Beers
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 41 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of rodbeermunch
2.98/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Back before Confession and Wineification, there was Cabernale, the first foray into wine territory for beer (that I'm aware of, unless you count barley and wheatwines, but I digress).

Had a unique purple kind of color with barely anything resembling a head on it, 1/12" at most. Aroma was cool, definitely them cabernet feels.

Taste was something that wasn't enjoyable even in the small taster size dose I was checking out. Didn't think it was all that sour or tart, was just like still life. Tons of tannins mouthfeel. Any bitterness isn't from hops.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Haven Gastropub in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a clear dark red with a foamy reddish-white head that fades to nothing. No lacing on the drink down. Smell is slightly sour and tart with malt, dark fruit, red wine, and woody aromas. Taste is much the same with sour dark fruit and red wine flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of woody bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and drying mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a solid citrus dark fruit and wine.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.28/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pours a deep reddish and nearly purple color with no head at all. No hints of lacing either.

S: Smells a whole lot like Welch's grape juice. Maybe with a hint of grape bubbleicious thrown in.

T: I don't know, just not a huge fan of this one. Lacks carbonation or any other real flavor besides the sweet grapes. Maybe a hint of grain on the finish? This is a pass for me.

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Photo of SubpoenaDeuces
4.12/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Craftsman cabernale 7.5% abv

A: The appearance has a crazy deep grape juice color with red carbonation. This makes the Duchess seem rather tame by comparison. It looks like juice first, beer second. The whole pour smacks of red champagne with foamy pink/purple hues.

S: Wow, what an incredible bouquet that this has. The beer maltiness is completely absent. There is a huge tannin wine presence with cabernet tones. The oak finishes the smell and hammer out the complete lack of beer presence.

T The beer is more present on the taste but the wine is still 60/40 dominate. It is as though it is a cuvee of predominate wine with some blonde ale added to support underlying tones. The juicy palate is overriding grapes and mellow tartness. Despite all this, there is a great balance zero hop presence.

M The mouthfeel isvery thin and lacks maltiness. This would usually be a knock against most beers but it seems more like a plus in this instance. The whole experience is more wine than beer in many ways, but I can’t really complain because it just seems to work.

D: It is not an everyday beer. It cannot be consumed over large doses and therefore it's too limited in scope. I could see this being great for pairing and meals, beyond that, that's about it. It’s tough to enjoy this over large doses.

Narrative: Gerard LeKriek escorted the tour guests through the exit and sighed through his nostrils. “Another successful day at the winery Gerard, don’t lose faith.” However, his investors had lost faith in his vision for his winery. First, his use of a grain bill in his merlot surprised them. Next, his use of trappist year in the wine barrels had them suspicious. I suppose the final straw was when Gerard insisted on making Pinot Grigio under cold fermentation conditions with lager yeast in kegs. Something just, didn’t seem right. “Mr. LeKriek, you ever…uh…think maybe there was something else you wanted to do with your life?” His groundskeeper innocently suggested. “I WILL TELL YOU WHAT I WANT TO DO, I WANT YOU TO STACK THOSE ALUMINUM CANS NEXT TO THE CANNING MACHINE LIKE I SAID! How else is this Pinot Noir going to be prepared for market!?” He kicked an empty bag of bottle caps in front of him. “WHO KNEW THAT THE WINE BUSINESS WOULD BE THIS TOUGH!?”

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Photo of The3rdbeer
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served at the Bottle Room in Uptown Whittier, Represent!

Poured into wine glass.

A- Started off with 1/2 finger of head and settled fast to a light bubble lace, beautiful purple red color with medium to lite carbonation.

S- Off the top grapes, fruit rollup, lite malt to round it off.

T- Amazing flavor like the cab wine it is made of, it takes over most of the flavor, lite malt at the end here.

M- Lite body and carbonation, its perfect for the style.

O- One of the most unique wine beer I've had yet. Loved it as opposed to the 2011 Vertical epic. its all about the red wine beers for me. so I may be a little partial in my ratings here.
complemented well with Scaldis Peche lambic.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
2.37/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Weird rose colored purplish color, no head to speak of, looked like wine. Astringent grape smell.

Tastes like wine and that kambucha drink. Slight fermentation and carbonation. Tannin wood feel to it all. Dry. Unique points, but damn, is the line blurred between a beer and a wine here, and it leans more to the wine side. Just didn't seem like beer, wasn't all that enjoyable, was really looking to get this 'beer' all over with, and it was only a small sampler size. Hid the alcohol I guess, a bump up for that.

On tap at Bruery Provisions. No hop or malt appreciable.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Lucky Baldwin's (Pasadena)

A: The pour is an intriguing one: dark purple in color with plenty of red mixed in. The head is fluffy and pink, but short lived.

S: The nose is definitely "grapey". There isn't much to it, to be honest. Other than some vinous qualities, there's some mixed berries, and a bit of sweetness.

T: The flavor is similarly wine-like. The skins provide some mild tannins on the palate, but again, there's just a bit of mixed berry flavor (mostly raspberries), and some grape juice.

M: The body is a bit on the light side and has a bit of dryness to it. Despite being carbonated, the beer seems a little flat on the tongue, but for some reason, it works.

D: I was hoping this beer would have a little tartness to it, but was disappointed on that front. A decent enough beer, but I wouldn't look to try this again.

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Photo of getkrunkhoe
3.07/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

on tap @ Lucky Baldwins (pasa)

App- was a decent red/purple(weird in a way) rocky head.

A- smell was nice, grape juice and vinegar notes (I know, but was still nice).like acid grapes. very light hop notes, very light.

T- decent I guess. reminded me of a sparkling grape juice.

Mf- lightly acidic feel, body was minimal.

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Photo of Sandstone
3.69/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Served at the Red Room, poured into a wine glass.

What an odd beer.

I'd actually had the opportunity to try this one before, but opted only for a couple sips and passed on getting a full glass. Seeing it again, especially this far up north (where we never get Craftsman), I decided I needed to pull the trigger.

Beer pours a dark red (although in the lightning of the bar its hard to tell...) with a head that quickly disappears, leaving you with a glass of beer that looks... Well, like, wine.

Smell is rich with sugar. Lots of raisin and molasses notes in this one. Doesn't smell like much of a wine at all -- Well, maybe a port.

Taste is kind of odd. This is very much a malt-forward beer, quite sweet, with strong grape flavors (not wine flavors) on the finish. I didn't actually like it much at first, but when I finished the glass, I felt strangely compelled to order a second one, and when that was done, I probably would have gotten a third... This is definitely one of those beers that has the potential to grow on you.

Final verdict: This is a unique beer that most likely will be a love/hate kind of thing. If you see this rarity on tap, it's probably worth at least giving it a chance... Just don't expect something wine-like. If you want that, go track down Russian River's unbelievably excellent Consecration. (Or go drink wine, I guess)

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Photo of illidurit
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at The Red in Santa Cruz. Poured into a pint glass. Reddish purplish brown color with a creamy beige head. Aromas of grapes, cream, and strawberries. Flavor seems like a blonde or cream ale base with the light sweet malts. A slightly tannic vinous red wine grape character provides some tartness and acidity to temper the sweetness. Body is a perfect shade under medium. Mouthfeel is fulfilling and drinkability is huge.

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Photo of Deuane
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Rich, deep purple with a thin pink head!

S-Faint dark grape juice and a bit of oakiness.

T-Simply put it was just like drinking a "weak" Cabernet Sauvignon. A bit of yeastiness infiltrated but did not detract from the pleasure. I found this to be be very interesting and well done.

M-Medium-light bodied with a pleasant astringency from the oak aging.

D-A truly unique beer. No hint of the 8% ABV. I found this to be a wonderful example of experimentation. So good I had a second(and third) snifter at another location when I saw it on the tap list!

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Photo of dill
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

served on draught into a wine glass.

A - deep cabernet in color with no head and minimal carbonation in the glass.

S - smells of grapes and a bit of alcohol.

T - tastes like carbonated alcoholic grape juice.

M - thick with light carbonation.

D - this is such an interesting beer and it's hard not to compare it to wine. i really liked the flavor of the grape, and was intrigued for the first half of the glass. then i felt like something was missing, and realized that it would have been much more drinkable with some nice food. i think it would go great with a steak.

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Photo of dac
2.64/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

On tap at Beachwood BBQ Seal Beach, CA

I was a litte leary of this so I cautiously tried a 1 oz sample first. The smell was good and the taste didn't kill me so I went with a full one. This turned out to be not so good an idea.

Served in a baloon wine glass, the color is a murky dark pinkish purple - Like mixing red wine with witbier. Fizzy with a week head.

The aroma is of cabernet grapes- berry jam like, but less vinuous than a wine.

You can't miss the resembelance of this beer with red wine, but with a pronounced sweet wheaty/malt background. Winey fusel alcohol flavors mingle with the grape and malt. But the complexity ended there, there is no oak, and acidic tartness / tannin level is too low to balance the wheaty sweetness. Maybe this was designed for the twenty-something crowd that is being weaned off of kool-aid and sodapop?

What is the most disturbing was the bigtime yeastiness which leaves a nasty cloying sulphuric taste after several sips.

The Cabernale idea is interesting but I hope it is a work in progress. Some things that I think would improve it are a malolactic or lambic fermentation for a fuller more acidic profile , aging in oak and filtering, aging or multiple rackings to reduce the yeast carry over.

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Photo of sfoley333
3.88/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at pizza port carlsbad 12-30-07 at $5 of a pint. Poured a purple blackish color with a purple head. Smell is of grape bubblegum with no hops and a little sourness. Taste is a diffent wine astringent flavor with a little malt backing. With a creamy carbonation level it went down pretty easy. Drink one pretty fast but then switched to a Norstradamus pint.

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Photo of Floydster
3.05/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pint at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach for $5.50

Color was a deep purple with a light red tint, large 3/4 pinkish white head that stuck around for a few minutes, fairly good retention and some weak lacing at the beginning

Smell was a lot like a wine or a strong lambic, full of strong smelling grapes, strawberries, a little boozy, also some other faint fruity aromas

Taste was fine expect it lacked a very necessary tartness, too sweet all the way through and the grape flavor just overpowered everything else, tasted more like a sparkling wine at times than anything else, taste finally mellowed a bit once the beer warmed and it developed somewhat of a cough syrup texture, carbonation never let up making this even harder to drink, taste was not what I was expecting and more like a cider overall

The body was pretty full but there was excess carbonation, taste did not last long either, thicker than it need to be as well

Could not have drank much more than my pint of this, heavy because of the constant sweetness and its fairly high alcohol percentage for a fruit beer, taste would just get tiresome after any more

One of the worst beers I have had from Craftsman but not one of the worst fruit beers I have had, that probably belongs to Dogfish Head's Fort still, if you are curious to try this holiday seasonal, then do it because I am not confident that others will have the same reactions to it as I did, this beer was not really my thing

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.82/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at the Beachwood BBQ, in Seal Beach, CA,

A: Pours a royal purple, with a medium pink/red head, with good retention, interesting looking beer.

S: Smells heavily of grape juice, Concord Grapes, a bit of strawberry as well, a nice fruity smell.

T: Very winey taste, if I tasted this blindfolded, I'd of swore this was wine. Grape juice and alcohol are the major flavours, the beer character is there, but in the form of mild carbonation, and a wee bit of malt. It is an interesting flavour, but not really what I'm looking for in a fruit beer, I thought it needed more "beer" character, though it tasted good.

M: Smooth, warming, winey, acidic, tannic, feels a lot like a good Cabernet.

D: A very interesting beer, I was intrigued to try it out, definitely an extreme form of fruit beer, in my opinion.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.7/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled on tap at Lucky Baldwin's, June 2007
This beer is lightly hazy with a ruby-purple color that is topped by a thin, pink tinged, pale head. The aroma is vaguely berry like, with a touch of nose warming alcohol and some hints of grape skin. This definitely has aromatic notes of reminiscent of cabernet (or at least red wine); it is light though when compared to an actual 100% grape ferment. Some hints of tobacco and leather add to the spicy character of the nose.

Lightly sweet, yet certainly tart, with some berry notes, but a finish of red grape skins (fleshy, with a touch of a tannic backbone) and even some oak-like flavors. The flavor is very grape influenced; the beer notes tend to temper the grape character, making it easier to drink. This is definitely a nice, quaffable beer. The fruit character is definitely the dominant note here. This has a nice heft to it, not to heavy, but definitely fuller than a red wine.

In the end this beer is good, but could use more balance. I think that this could actually benefit from a short rest in an oak barrel, though I would definitely keep this on the restrained side of things; just enough to balance the fruity, berry notes. I also wouldn't mind if the beer-like flavors played a bigger role, but I might just be grasping at straws at this point.

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Photo of rallison
4.3/5  rDev +18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Beachwood BBQ.

Quite an interesting beer - never had anything quite like it. Basically a beer-y red wine - rose really. Had some aspects of the sour cherry wild ales - but the sourness was much more mellow than those. Can't really think of anything I can directly compare it to. Very nice. A nice, less tart version of a cherry aged American Wild Ale mixed with a touch of red wine and champagne.

Nice mouthfeel and great drinkability. Recommended.

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Photo of sloejams
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at The Library Bar on 2/6/07

Served in a tulip glass, the beer looks a lot like you would expect if you combined the words "cabernet" and "ale". To put it simply, it rather smelled and tasted that way as well. The aroma has berry aspects to it and a hint of orange. Tasting it reveals the grape flavor, you really get a good deal of tannins. A very interesting beer, one I liked to sit down with again.

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Photo of BrewMaster
4.2/5  rDev +16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: I had this pint at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena on 3/29/05. The beer poured with a deep reddish-purple color and a thin head. The off white head didn't last too long and I suspect this is from the glassware, not the beer itself.

Smell: Malty with nice fruity and berry smells. Notes of cherry and grape dominate the nose.

Taste: Slightly metallic fruity flavor with dry grape flavors. The grape tannins are delicate and not overpowering. When I ordered this beer I had no idea it was produced with grapes but the name gave me a clue. The flavor sealed it for me. The end is malty and there is a light spiciness like clove and camomile that starts in the middle and lasts until the end. Other notes include a caramel/brown sugar kind of taste that lasts through the end giving it some what of a barleywine-like flavor. This is subtle but very good indeed. I did not tast one hint of alcohol in the beer. Until entering this review I had no idea the beer was 7.5% ABV. Craftsman did a great job with this beer.

Mouthfeel: This beer was well carbonated and helped release a lot of flavor on the palate. It had the feel of champagne in my mouth at the end of each sip. This beer definately got better as it warmed.

Drinkability: This beer made a good night cap for me. It's not really a sweet dessert beer so it would be tasty any time of day.

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Photo of beerguy101
3.82/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Medium orange color. VERY large white foamy head. Aroma is malty and orange, touch of wine like tartness. A medium bodied strong ale. Malts are fruity and somewhat sweet. Grapey would be a good description. Sweet without being overly sweet. Well balanced. Very smooth. This would make a good session beer if it weren’t 8%, as there is no trace of alcohol. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and crisp. Aftertaste is slightly sweet with a touch of tartness.

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Photo of Gusler
4.26/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a bemused amber color with the head modest in size and a light tan color, frothy in texture and the lace a nice covering sheet for the glass. Nose was sweet malt with a hint of the hop flowers, very fresh and clean to the senses, start is sweet and rich in malt, top middling in feel. Finish was brisk in its carbonation, the hops spicy and pleasant, also something we all remarked about was a “Grape Like flavor”, like “Welches Grape Juice”, not unpleasant, just a bit odd, well at least to me, sampled 3 times to get a handle on this one.

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Photo of DrewBeechum
3.71/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled in a 14oz "Pint" at Father's Office in Santa Monica.

Newest offering from LA's most adventurous brewing company. Following his passion for adding fruits and spices to beers (See Orange Grove Pale and White Sage Tripel), Mark Jilg has made another strong beer with Cabernet grapes. (Didn't get if they were Sauvignon or Franc)

Beer comes into the class a bright ruby with purplish shaodws. Head is low, but very tight and dense.

Aroma is a long cherry/berry aroma without any cloying sweet tones. As the beer warms a faint metallic aroma grows with a hint of diacetly butter. (I suspect the metal comes from the taps at FO, an unusual thing.)

Initial flavors are of grapes and beers with a light malt pull and absolutely no overriding sweetness. As the finish comes into play tannins from the grapes rise on the palate with just a touch too much diacetyl hanging about to soften the blow.

Overall, an interesting beer with a good application towards food.

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Craftsman Cabernale from Craftsman Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 81 out of 100 with 41 ratings