Mike Castagno

Mike Castagno's picture
Beer Judge

Mike was born and raised in the Philadelphia area before going to school at Furman University in Greenville, SC for Chemistry. There he discovered craft beer from all of the local and nearby Asheville breweries. After moving back up north to Wilmington, DE, Mike stumbled upon an AHA Rally at a local brewpub and discovered that people were making high quality beer at home. He quickly jumped into the hobby and developed a passion for beer making. He’s been brewing since 2005 and has won a number of awards over the years. He relocated to Atlanta in 2007 and works in the field of polymer research & development. He loves to apply his chemistry and engineering knowledge to his brewing set up, always testing and optimizing. He decided to begin beer judging in 2009 to help make better beer and with dedication he has advanced to the rank of Master Beer Judge.

My reviews

The Gourd Standard

The Gourd Standard Flying Dog IPA Beer
Judges Rating:
86
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
34 / 40
Mouthfeel:
7 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

An interesting twist on the seasonal pumpkin beer, Flying Dog mashes pumpkin into an IPA with this brew. In respect to pumpkin beers, this one hits the nail on the head. Everything "pumpkin" about this beer – the sweet roasted pumpkin, caramel, clove and nutmeg – marry well in harmony. They play... Read More

GFJ

Sun King Brewing GFJ Grapefruit IPA beer
GFJ
Judges Rating:
85
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
19 / 24
Flavor:
35 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

The initial aroma was a bit perfumy and off-putting but if you can get past that, there is a nice beer underneath. This particular example was a little oxidized so the caramel became apparent while the hops slid to the background. There was a touch of wet cardboard behind it all as well. The ... Read More

Coffee Oatmeal Stout

Good People Coffee Oatmeal Stout Beer
Judges Rating:
90
Appearance:
5 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
6 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

Roasted coffee beans with a note of espresso and a touch of dark chocolate should hit you once the beer is poured. This is followed by some supporting caramel notes and a moderate malt character of bread, toast and biscuit. There is a faint hint of anise in the background along with a touch of... Read More

Double Platinum

Double Platinum Starr Hill IPA
Judges Rating:
93
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
23 / 24
Flavor:
38 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
18 / 20

There is quite an impressive expression of hops throughout this beer. Huge levels of pine and resin with minor notes of tropical fruit (guava) and a hint of citrus rounds it out. This is a beer of very good clarity with a reddish-orange hue, wearing a beautiful off-white head. The malt character... Read More

Bearded Lady

Good People Bearded Lady Wheat Beer
Judges Rating:
87
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
22 / 24
Flavor:
34 / 40
Mouthfeel:
8 / 10
Overall Impression:
17 / 20

The beer pours straw yellow in color with noticeable haziness and a creamy white head. The malt presents as grainy and doughy with a bit of a minerally kick to it. There are some apple esters with a hint of pear that marries with a light floral hop note in the nose. The bitterness is... Read More

Sweet Potato Casserole

Funky Buddha Sweet Potato Casserole Beer
Judges Rating:
81
Appearance:
6 / 6
Aroma:
21 / 24
Flavor:
30 / 40
Mouthfeel:
9 / 10
Overall Impression:
15 / 20

When evaluating a beer like this, a judge needs to look at two things: the quality of the base style (in this case an American Strong Ale) and how the added ingredient(s) are expressed in the beer. I give credit here for originality, as the unusual addition of sweet potato creates a gently sweet... Read More

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