Friday, October 27, 2006
Hello Beer World
Thursday, October 26, 2006
10/24/06 Harvest 2, Winter 4
Deschutes “Hop Trip”
One of the best harvest ales around. Made with plenty of fresh Willamette valley hop, this Pale ale pours a golden amber color and has the aroma and flavor of lemon, flowers, and just a touch of grass. Not too bitter but with tons of hop flavor and aroma. A+
*** Winter Ales Round 4 ***
Golden Valley “Tannin Bomb”
Now to me, this is what winter beers are all about. Out of all the winter beers I look forward to this one the most. It has a big malty fruity flavor that just does it for me. Not too hoppy, a light bitterness to finish well but nothing overpowering. The 8% alcohol is smooth but will warm the cockles of your heart. Best served only slightly chilled so as to bring out the smooth malt and play that against the fruity character. I always age a six-pack or so every year, this year I’m going for a case. This beer actually ages very well. On first sip you might not think that a beer like this can go long term but after about 8 months the malt starts to intensify and instead of it playing against the fruit character, it actually starts to accentuate the fruit and you end up with a more intense beer. I have to give props to Golden Valley for producing a winter beer like no other.
New Belgium “2 Below”
Dark amber in color, this beer pours with a ¼ inch creamy head. Nice resiny pine hop aroma. The flavor is malty nutty with earthy tones a touch of fruit and the finish dry and bitter.
Sierra Nevada “Celebration”
Copper in color with a thin head and a big floral hop aroma. The flavor is lightly of caramel / crystal malt. The hop flavor is bitter with a grassy citrusy flavor. This classic west coast brew is a sure sign of the happy holidays to come.
WOW!!! What a treat. This oaked Belgian beauty has it all going on. Great aroma, and flavor, strong in alcohol and a gorgeous package. It pours orange/amber in color with a big head despite it 13%. The aroma is big with fruity apple, cognac, vanilla, and a floral perfume. The flavor is amazingly complex. Sweet and malty, woody with a bit of tannin from the barrel aging. Creamy up front and dry in the finish the herbal / minty hops are low but in there someplace. Be forewarned that this indulgence does come at a price but a rare delicacy like this is worth it.
De Proef “Flemish Primitive (Pinhead)”
Copper /red in color with an ample head, this beer has a tart aroma with earthy hops. The flavor has a touch of brett and a light sour lemony character. The light body and prickly carbonation fits well and makes for a rather refreshing brew.
*** Back In Stock ***
Victory “Storm King”
This opaque black stout pours at a substantial 9% with coffee and cascade hop aroma. The flavor is of bittersweet chocolate, espresso, fig, and toast. More hops on this one than most stouts of this caliber but it works well and keeps it from getting too sticky. This one is a fun assault on your tongue from both the hop and malt side.
De Proef “Flemish Primitive (Surly Bird)”
The reason the name is in parentheses is that there is no name title, just a scene from a Hieronymus Bosch painting. Brewed with Brettanomyces, this is one of those wonderfully funky sour Belgian Ales. A yellow / light golden color with a massive rocky head that persists for some time. I used a German Weisse glass and still had problems. Earthy acidic aroma that moved into a lightly fruity, cirtusy flavor with a touch of sweetness and dry peppery finish.
Golden Valley “IPA VS Brut”
This deep copper IPA was aged in oak barrels at the Argyle winery. It was also put through the Methode de Champenoise (the way they make Champagne). Sort of a domestic IPA version of the Bosteel’s Deus. The aroma is slightly woody with fruity hops. The cork and wire-basket bottle opens with a loud pop, has good carbonation but little head. The flavor is of piney, citrusy hop bitterness with a ting of Chardonnay and lightly malty in the finish.
This is by far the most elegant beer I have ever seen (or tasted). This beer is a bottle-conditioned triple that goes through the Champagne method (riddling, disgorging, and dosing). What does that mean to you? All of the complex flavors of a well aged triple, small tight dense head, crystal clear without any filtering. Pale straw in color, spicy / gingery aroma and a sweet tropical fruity flavor with hints of clove and cinnamon spice. It is more expensive due to the extra man power put into it but it is a great treat for the holiday season.
10/21/06 Winter Beers Round 3
*** Winter Beers ROUND 3 ***
North Coast “Brother Thelonious”
This brew is a fundraiser for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. This 9% beauty is very good Belgian Abbey style ale and is burgundy in color with a tint of brown. Its aroma is caramel with plum and raisin tone. The flavor is a bit sweet with bready, malty character up front. It then moves into a big dark fruit with a touch of spice. The 9% is hidden well and finished dry with a light bitter, vinous quality. I plan to put some of this down as I think it has some tremendous ageing potential.
Pyramid “Snow Cap”
This has always been one of those seasonal beers that I really look forward to. The balance between the roasty malt and the east Kent Golding hops is superb. Its 7% is respectable but not so high that you couldn’t have a few. All in all a great NW winter ale.
Great Divide “Hibernation Ale”
This “Old Ale” is brewed in July and aged until October. This gives it a deep malty smooth character with big roasty tones and a well-developed and complex hop presence due to the aging and subsequent dry hopping.
Noel is an ale with an incredible complexity of aromas: flowery of rose, hint of dried fruits, caramel tasting, banana, cherry, plum, toffee, cocoa, licorice and peppery notes. Excellent with black chocolate, a glass of Noel is perfect for a special night.
*** Back In Stock ***
This Belgain Triple style ale pours dark amber colored beer with good clarity. Its aroma is of warm flowers, apricot, banana and bitter almonds. Similar flavors of apricot, almond cake, citrus fruits, and rich malt come through strongly with a dry, tangy finish.
This special brew has been concocted from an ancient Egyptian recipe. Unmalted kamut, ginger, myrrh, and orange peel are used to represent the balancing spices of ancient times. The myrrh provides the bittering that allows Teo to mostly forgo the use of hops. The aroma has notes of violets, roses, cyclamen and citrus fruits. Full-bodied with an intense taste in which citrus aroma contrasts pleasantly the balsamic (mentholated) overtone. It finishes with tones of bitter resins.
Wayan is made of 17 different ingredients, barley, wheat, spelt, oats, rye, different types of hops & many different spices besides coriander. The balance & bitterness is by a high degree provided by those many spices some of which are very very unusual in brewing. This quite unusual combination of spices & herbs greatly impacts the finish, which again is very different from “regular saison-style ales”.
10/19/06 First Havest Ale
This 55 IBU Pale ale is a perfect copper color and pours with plenty of carbonation but thin head. Made with “WET” hops, not dried like most hops. The hops are picked and overnighted to Denver where they make this bitter, grassy, citrusy brew. Malt only has a small if nonexistence part in this totally hop driven brew. If you’re not a hophead don’t bother, if you are, than snatch up this bitter beauty while it lasts.
Boulder Beer “Killer Penguin”
What bird can not fly AND can not walk?? It is any penguin that finishes a bottle of this by himself. The Killer Penguin is a fine, limited release Barley Wine from Boulder Brewing Company. The color is a red / brown tone and pours with a tight head. The aroma is malty with caramel, toffee, and molasses tones. The flavor is caramel with tropical fruity notes and a touch of brown sugar. It has a great package and I think some aging will lower the sweeter tones and bring the fruity esters forward.
Pike “XXXXX Extra Stout”
The color is darkest brown bordering on true black. The head is big and dark tan. The aroma is roasty with a whiff of grass and flower hops. The body is thick and the flavor is roasty with molasses and coffee. This is one big stout without being too sweet. The dark roasted malt down plays against the light sweetness and makes for one massive stout.
Hale’s “Wee Heavy”
This Wee Heavy has great flavor but is a bit more on the North West side of the style if you know what I mean. Nice brown color and a malty aroma with caramel tones that befits a Wee Heavy. The hops come in late in the aroma and flavor and provide a light flowery piney hit to the brew that marks its origins as being from the northwest.
10/12/06 Winter Beers Round 2
Alaskan “Smoked Porter 2006”
This is a dark rich porter that is made with alder smoked malt. It is rich flavorful and intense. It ages very well and will continue to mellow and increase in complexity for some time. For those of you who love the hops, you will probably like it better young, for the rest of us aging it for a year or two smoothes and mellows it.
Alaskan “Winter Ale”
Their winter seasonal is an ale brewed with spruce tips. The spruce gives the beer a deliciously unique sour/bitterness. Not as rich and malty as most winters but definitely one of the most unique. Golden in color with a nice medium body, it is quite refreshing.
Full Sail “Wassail”
Wassail is dark brown / mahogany in color. It pours with a medium head but it settles down to a thin layer. Rich with a malty fruity character and a light hop finish. It seems less hoppy this year, accentuating more of the malt. An improvement to my tongue.
Rogue “Santa’s Private Reserve”
Yes, its true, if Santa was going to knock back a pint it would be one of these. Deep garnet in color it pours with a rather thin head. The aroma is mainly of piney resinous hop with a little crystal malt. The flavor is lightly bready, caramel malt with plenty of piney hop bitterness (44 IBU). Every year I try and convince my kids that Santa is lactose intolerant and would much rather have a beer like this with his cookies then a pint of 2%.
** Now Available Online ***
St. Bernardus “Pater 6”
This wonderful Abbey ale is beep brown / red in color. Ample, persistent head with an aroma of chocolate, caramel, and dark fruit. The flavor is big plum and toffee. Another fine Bernardus brew.
St. Bernardus “Witbier”
Belgian wheat beer spiced with orange and coriander. St. Bernardus Wit has more body and a smoother texture than any other witbier. This provides a beer that is not only extremely flavorful but is also very refreshing.
St Bernardus “Sampler Pack”
This brewery used to brew the beer for the Monks at Saint Sixtus. Although they no longer have a business relationship with the Trappist monks, they still make an outstanding lineup of beers. Beers that are made in the Trappist style (big, smooth and fruity) but are not made by Trappist monks are referred to as Abbey Ales. When looking at Abbey Ales there is none finer than St. Bernardus. This sampler includes three each of their Abt12, 8, 6 and Witbier and a 5% discount but. This makes a great introduction to Abbey Ales, Belgian beers in general or a great gift of any beer lover.
October 6th Winter Beers Round 1
First out of the gate with many more yet to come.
Deschutes “Jubel Ale”
Another yearly fav of mine. Dark brown in color, dark malt aromas along with chocolate and caramel. Flavors dominated by roasty malt, chocolate and bitter sweet tones. Very good, as usual. Early in the release (10/6 as I'm writing this) the hops are bright and have a pine / juniper flavor. This mellows out as the season progresses.
Dick’s “Double Diamond”
This malty, roasty beer is just what you need on these colder nights. Made with Munich, caramel, and roasted barley along with a touch of wheat makes for a dark brown rich winter ale. They throw in a healthy does of hops to pull it all together into a well-balanced winter warmer.
Anderson Valley “Winter Solstice”
Full body with a smooth mouth-feel, caramel malt sweetness with a fruity ester flavor. Nice spicy hop flavor without being overdone. It’s a great addition to our winter beer lineup.
Dogfish Head “Punkin Ale”
A full-bodied, spiced brown ale brewed with real pumpkins, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown sugar. Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale is named after the annual Punkin' Chunkin Festival held near Lewes, Delaware the weekend after Halloween.
7.0 % ABV 24 IBU
Dogfish Head “Midas Touch”
Is it beer? Is it a mead? Is it wine? All I know is it is a wild and crazy historical brew. A brew based on the analysis done on the remnants found in the cup of King Midas himself. It has great flavor, great aroma and a great story that can be found at http://www.dogfish.com/beer/midas.cfm. Try it yourself and be Touched. 9%
St. Bernardus “Abt 12 Special Edition”
Year 2006 marks the 60th Anniversary of the brewery St. Bernard. The brewery was established in 1946 with a sole purpose to commercially brew St. Sixtus Trappist Abbey ales until 1992, when their agreement ended.
St. Bernardus Abt 12 is still made according to the same original recipe from 1946 and is recognized as one of the best ales in the world. This Special Edition of Abt 12 (11% abv) will be available in an attractive metal container and was brewed for that occasion by brew master Bert Van Hecke. Bert is paying tribute not only to the brewery, but also to the hop growers from Poperinge region of West Flanders by using their Challenger and Golding hops together with black, amber, Munich and pale ale malts. A perfect gift for anyone who loves beer.
Jerome “Cerveza Negra”
This Argentinean beauty is an excellent Schwarz bier style. Light in body, black malt roastiness, and a light silky caramel. It is also brewed with Patagonian Cascade hops.
Jerome “Cerveza Roja”
This imported amber goes down smooth with a light crystal malt flavor and a touch of bitterness at the finish.
Jerome “Cerveza Rubia”
Golden in color this beer has a nice floral hop character and is light on the malt without being sweet.
Jerome “Cerveza Diablo”
A little stronger than its brothers. This amber has more malt than the Roja, bigger body and a smother finish.
Avery “Samael’s Oak-aged Ale”
Holly Crap!!!!! This is one powerful, flavorful, sneak up behind you and hit you in the back of the head kind of beer. Big, big malt like an English Old ale and fruity esters like a Belgian. At 14.5% it is a behemoth that should be server well chilled and enjoyed slowly...with a friend....while sitting down. Not even “The Beast” could take on “Samael”. A+++ IMHO.