Monday, July 31, 2006

2005 Laurent Gregoire Domaine de Beauregard Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie

Welcome to WBW # 24 hosted by Alder over at Vinography. For those that don't know Wine Blogging Wednesday occurs on one Wednesday every month, hosted by a fellow wine blogger and is a chance for a virtual tasting of whatever the month's theme is. This month its Loire Valley Whites. While some think of Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc I went in a different direction.
The Grape: The muscadet grape is a small white grape that creates wines that are usually perfect companions to shell fish. Within Loire valley, the Muscadet grape grows in 4 different areas with Muscadet Sevre et Maine being the most important. Specifically around the city of Nantes and the granite soil that creates the unique flavors in this wine.
The Winery: Unfortunately I couldn't find much about the winery, but the importer is Weygandt-Metzler who imports various wines from France, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Australia.
The Wine: The wine pours a nice light honey gold in the glass, with a seemingly slight effervescence. In the nose there is some citrus fruit and anise aromas, some light honeysuckle notes. In the mouth you feel the effervescence in this crisp clean wine. There is some good acidity to go along with the citrus and honey flavors. The wine weighs in at 12.0%. This is a pretty nice wine that I'd grade a B.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

St. Peter's Cream Stout

Well I tried this beer tonight with dinner. One of the beers I picked up at my recent jaunt to Spec's. I won't go much into the style of stout since I think most people are familiar with what a stout is if from nothing else than Guinness. However I will say something briefly about a Cream stout. Basically a stout that has some Milk sugar in it, to give a slight sweetness.
The Brewery: St. Peter's is a microbrewery from England. The brewery was built in 1996 in the Norfolk region of England. The brewery was custom made and started in March of 96, with the opening on 21st of June, the Summer Solstice. This is a very traditionalist brewery. All water comes from the breweries own well, and is naturally filtered through a layer of chalk in the soil giving the water a nice balance of minerals. St. Peter's brew's traditional British beers, all ales from bitters, milds, porters and stouts, to fruit beers, and traditional cask ale that they serve in their London Pub the Jerusalem Tavern.
The Beer: First the beer comes in one of the neatest containers, a flask shaped bottle which they state is a replica of one made in 1770 fir Thomas Gerrard of Gibbstown. The beer pours almost opaque in the glass with a nice tannish head that dissipates into some thin lacing. There are notes of esspresso, burnt coffee, and cocoa. The mouthfeel is thick, with the same esspresso and chocolate on the tongue. This is silky smooth, with a nice layer of maltiness and hop bitterness. I still like the Coopers Extra Special Stout, but this isn't bad. Here is what the folks over at BA say.

Victory Ten Years Alt

Well I recently made a trip to Spec's and picked up a plethora of beers that I have either wanted to try for a long time, or some that I hadn't heard of but looked interesting. The first beer is from the brewery in Downington, Pennsylvania (more on them here and here).
The Style: Altbier (Alt means Old in German) is traditionally brewed in only three cities in Germany, Dusseldorf, Hanover, and Munster. Just as in other cities in German such as Cologne and their Kolsch beers, these cities primarily drink this brew and nothing else. The other unique thing about Altbier, is that in the land of Lagers, this is an ale, top fermented at that. The ale is similar to Belgium and English ales, but it has its own very unique German style.
The Beer: The beer pours a cloudy reddish brown with a thin cream colored head, that dissipates into a thin line, with a small insignificant amount of lacing. In the nose there is sweet malt flavors, low hoppiness but some citrusy yeasty breadiness in there. In the palate there is a nice full mouthfeel A little caramel flavors and some tangy malt flavors that finish with a whack of hoppiness that doesn't overpower the roasted maltiness. At a low 4.5% this is easily something that you could stick with throughout the day. Its a very interesting unique, unlike anything that I have had. Here is what the folks over at BA say.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

American Hops

America has a long history of growing hops, both wild and farmed. From the ubiquitous Cascade hops that now grow in abundance in Oregon to the American Saaz, the brethren of the Czech variety that helps to make such great Pilsner. A hundred or so years ago most of America's hops grew along the upper East Coast, however due to a downy mildew blight, it moved to the west where it now resides in places like Idaho and the aforementioned Oregon. However, that may soon change thanks to one man that saw a Budweiser commercial. Retired mechanic Rick Courcy bought about 90 acres in Maine, and couldn't decide what to grow until he saw a beer commercial and decided on hops. He has since imported stalks from England and is in the first year of growth where they are already have grown to 10 Ft which is pretty amazing in the first year. Another key to his endeavor is that they are grown organically, no pesticides, no chemicals. Its definitely good to see that hops farming is moving back to its origins and it will be interesting to find out how they grow and what flavors they add to the end product....Beer.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Victory Golden Monkey

My second stab this week at a Belgium style Trippel ale. This one from Victory brewing. I spoke briefly on the Trippel style the last time when I had the New Belgium ale, so I'll skip that tonight.
The Bewery: Victory Brewery is located in Downington Pennsylvania. The president and brewmasters of Victory are Ron Barchet and Bill Covaleski who both trained in Germany. You can definetely see evidence of that in his Prima Pils and other seasonal Lagers that he creates. They have a wide varieties of ale and lagers, which is somewhat unique for an American Craft brewery where ales are usually the key.
The Beer: Made of 2 row German Malt, European Hops and Belgian yeast this beer ways in at 9.5% alcohol. I used a similar chalice to the one I tasted the New Belgium to keep for a similar experience. The beer pour a nice orangish color, with a quarter inch foamy white head that slowly dissapated. There was a nice amount of lacing until the beer warmed slightly (this is a sipping beer!). There is a nice level of spiceness and orange scents in the nose along with a breadiness. In the mouth there is a nice level of yeastiness, citric sweetness, hop bitterness and spiceness. Plenty of carbonation as this is bottle fermented. I really enjoyed this beer, and would rank it above the New Belgium Trippel. Here is what the folks over at Beeradvocate say.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout

I am taking a breather from the Trippels today, more on that tomorrow. Tonight I decided to crack open one of my big beers for a taste....
This tasting note will be somewhat shorter in length, but I have spoken about Great Divide here, and Imperial Stouts here.
The Beer: Great Divide does have a very popular regular Imperial Stout, the YETI, this is an oak aged version, using toasted oak chips. The beer pours an opaque black, no light shining through here, with a thick foamy darkly tan head. After a while the head dissipates, creating a creamier beer with plenty of lacing against the glass. In those there is an oaky toastiness with plenty of coffee and a slight floral hoppy scent along with some raisins. In the mouth there is plenty of esspresso bitterness but not as much chocolate as I was expecting. There is a nice level of bitter hops on the palate and the mouthfeel is heavy and creamy. As the beer warmed up a bit the hints of toffee and some chocolate began to come through. This was a very silky smooth beer that belied its alcohol at 9.5%. This would be a great beer to sit in your cellar and check out in a year or two. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and here is what the folks over at Beer Advocate say.

Monday, July 24, 2006

New Belgium Trippel

This week I have the opportunity to try two different Trippels. The first that I tried tonight a friend of mine gave me to try, the other I picked up from Spec's and may try it out tomorrow.
The Style: Trippel ale is a Belgium style ale. While this beer does not mean that its three times as strong as a regular Trappist ale, instead it is related to the XXX that marked the casks showing that this was the strongest of the three trappist ales. Tripels are actually notoriously alcoholic, much more so than dubbels, however the best hide this warmth, making them sipping beers. Trappists ales were traditionally brewed by Monks in Belguim, however many American Craft breweries are taking up this trappist tradition, putting of course an American spin on things.
The Brewery: Ahh yes New Belgium, that maker of the ubiquitous Fat Tire, that has given them nation wide or almost nation wide recognition. New Belgium, started by a young Electrical Engineer Jeff Lebesch, who after biking his way through Europe and becoming enamored with Belgium brews got into brewing beer at home. His first two ales were the famous Fat Tire and his Abbey ale. In 1991 he and his wife Kim decided to open a brewery in Fort Collins, CO. I have had the opportunity to visit the brewery on a couple of occasions and its an exciting place as they always have a surprise beer on tap that you can only get in the tasting room. Also New Belgium practices susatainablitly in many ways and they are one of the largest breweries that use Wind power to help run their facility.
The Beer: I used a chalice style glass to help it give that more Belgium feel. The beer is made using Saaz Hops and an authentic Belgium Yeast Strain. The beer is also bottle fermented. The beer pours a nice light orange in the glass, starting with a thick head that quickly dissipates into a thin filmy white strip. The bottle fermentation gives the beer a nice level of carbonation. There are nice flavors of banana and bread with some citrusy undertones. However, although the bottle says there are plenty of hops, I didn't get that overpowering hop bitterness that I was looking forward too, neither did I get any of the alcohol warmth, which at 7.8% (although somewhat low for a trippel) I didn't feel. I would call this beer ok at best, but here is what the folks at Beeradvocate say.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Random Wine Links of the Week

Some random wine news from my perusings through the web.

The growth of the China Wine Market. The next frontier for fine wine?

British Champagne??? Well not quite, but it sounds interesting.

A new Winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Beer Links

Random beer news from around the web......enjoy at your leisure

Happy 18th Birthday Deschutes. Deschutes Brewery out of Oregon turns 18.

The Greatness that is Head. Why pouring beer into a glass is better then swigging it out of a bottle.

The fun of attending a local beer festival.

And finally a great article about the the great combination of Beer and Baseball.

The Rise of Craft Beer

While not exactly earth shattering and of news that will be widely reported throughout similar beer blogs as this, a financial report by a Merrill Lynch analyst has been published regarding beer sales. The kicker of course is that volume has fallen somewhat significantly for SABMiller (5.7%), A-B (1.9%), and Molson Coors (0.3%), while at the same time volume of Micro or Craft Beers has grown 12.5% in JUNE! That is amazing growth and shows that as people's palate's grow, and as American's turn away from the over produced food products of a Fast Food Nation and Bud, they turn to good food's and good beer made with good products. It will be interesting to see the spin that Big Beer puts on this, but one thing is for certain, they will be worried, and that's a good thing for drinkers and makers of Craft Beer.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Coopers Brewery Best Extra Stout

A few weeks ago I mentioned Coopers Brewery as winners of a British Pub's World Cup of Beer. The beer that won it was their Sparkling Ale. Well, as I was visiting my local Spec's I came upon not just the Sparkling ale, but their Best Extra Stout. I was feeling in the mood for a stout so I picked this one up. I wasn't disappointed.
The Brewery: Coopers Brewery is based in South Australia, and is the largest family owned brewery in Australia. The brewery was started by two brothers Thomas and John from England in 1862. At the time SA was only 26 years old so these guys were obviously pioneers in many ways. Thomas Cooper first created beer from an old recipe that was supposed to act as a health tonic, but it turned into their now famous Sparkling Ale and their Extra Stout. These days the brewery is in the good hands of Dr. Tim Cooper and Glen Cooper, who over saw the development of a new $45 million brewery. All their ales are top fermented using a yeast strain they purport to be over 90 years old and all are naturally bottle fermented.
The Beer: Dark almost complete opaque with streaks of reddish brown. A nice finger thick tan head sits on top. When you pour it out of the bottle, leave a bit in the bottom, swishing around the loss sediment before pouring the last bit into your glass. In the palate there is a thick viscous mouthfeel. The taste reminds me of those chocolate covered esspresso beans. Nice layers of thick malt, with just a twinge of that esspresso bitterness coming out on top. This is a VERY nice stout, one that I will definetely come back to again and again. At 6.3% you wouldn't want to have too many in one night, but as smooth as it is you sure could. Great beer.
Bonus: Makes an absolutely incredible Stout Float. A little bit of vanilla ice-cream in the amazing desert.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

2003 Opolo Vineyards Nebranillo

The more I discover unique flavors in my beer, the more I appreciate the amazing jobs that vintners perform when blending grapes into wine. It is one thing to blend two grapes from the Bordeaux region, becuase lets be honest, Merlot and Cab were made for eachother. Its quite another to blend two grapes that are traditionally from very different parts of the world, and create a suprisingly good wine.
The Winery: Opolo Vineyards is located in Paso Robles, off of Peachy Canion road. All of Opolo's wines are estate grown, giving the opportunity to gain more control over the final product. When a winery chooses to have estate grown grapes, it allows them to truly have total control on what grapes are grown where, pruning methods, harvesting methods, and of course, when to harvest.
The Wine: A unique blend of two very different grapes. The Tempranillo, a tradiational Spanish grape from the Rioja region and Nebbiolo a traditional Italian variety. Blended 48% to 52%. Both variatals were fermented sperately, then aged 20 monhtes in 30% new American Oak. Finally just prior to botteling the two wines were blended. The wine weighs in at a hefty 14.8%. In the glass it pours a nice bright red cherry color. In the nose there is cherries, vanilla, oak, and a slight white pepper note. In the mouth there is that nice sharp cherry vanilla with toasty hints of oak. There is a sharp dryness here with a residual warmth from the alcohol. Plummy afternotes. There are some tannins, either from the grapes or the oak I can't tell, but it does dry out the mouth a bit. Still a very nice wine I'd grade a B.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

WBW 24

Yep its that time of the month. The great Alder over at Vinography has announced that he will be hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday this month. Actually its the 2 year anniversary of this great, unique virtual wine tasting. The theme this month is straight forward. Loire Whites from any appellation, any variedly and any year is what he is asking us to try. The great and tasty Chenin Blanc of quality you will find no where else or Sauvignon Blanc are the two biggest white wines of the regions, although there are others. I will definitely be participating, so if your interested come back on Aug 2 and see how it went.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Saison Dupont

Up until recently I had never heard of a Saison style ale. I knew nothing about it, that it is a old style Belgian Farmhouse ale, I didn't know its roots, let alone had I ever actually bought a bottle and tried it. That changed this past week as I opened the cooler at my local Spec's and decided to try it out.
The style: Traditionally produced by small breweries in a the Belgian province Hainut. Saison means Season in French and it refers to the season of Winter (although now produced year round thanks to modern brewing techniques). This was a beer that was brewed in March, but was consumed throughout the summer and into the fall months until the Winter, when the brews started up again. It was a strong beer that was brewed to be robust enough to withstand the warm months and not spoil, but brisk and drinkable during the hot summer months.
The Brewer: The Brewer Dupont (or Brasserie in French) is located in Hainut near the French border. Still a family run brewery it is probably the most popular and famous Saison in the states. The Duponts bought this brewery in 1920 and it has remained in the family ever since. Dupont is not only a brewery but a farm as well offering artisanal cheeses and breads.
The Beer: The beer imported by Vanberg & DeWulf comes in a green Champagne style bottle complete with a wire cage and a pop cork. It pours a nice orange color in the glass with a thick cottony white head, there are hints of yeast and bread in the nose along with citrus, pepper, and an earthy undertone. In the mouth you get that same yeasty citrusy bready taste along with a startling carbonation, similar to champagne, that gives it some palate cleansing power to whatever food you may be enjoying at the time. Although it weighs in at 6.5% you don't feel it in the mouth. Made with East Kent Golding Hops. Here is what the guys over at the Beer Advocate say.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Rise of Organic Beer

Time for another trend it seems. There are numerous articles including this one from the Boston Globe, touting the increase growth of Organic Beers. This articles all specifically state A-B's release of two Organic beers, Wild Hop Lager and Stone Mill Pale Ale as evidence of its growth. Don't get me wrong, I support organic growth. I think eating more things that have less chemicals and articial flavors is a good thing and something that we all should stand up and applaud. My issue is, that with the exception of the big boys, most beer is pretty much organicly grown. Most of the micro-brews we all know and love are made with malt, barley, hops and water...thats it, nothing artificial, no other chemicals, nothing but pure goodness. Maybe by going back to the root of beer making the big boys will realize what they have been missing with the corporate crap thay advertise as beer.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Rogue Imperial India Pale Ale

I am a self proclaimed Hop Head. I love the strong scent, the strong bitterness of a hoppy beer. In my younger days, I couldn't stomach it, but over the years I have developed a taste for, well yeah, Bitter Beer. One of the most hoppy beers is American India Pale ale, so when I saw this one at my local Spec's I had to pick it up.
The Style: The IPA style has its origins in Britain, and like Imperial Stout was created due to the need to preserve the beer during shipping. In the late 1700's the British were well established in India, but due to the high temperatures, brewing in India was near impossible. Since beer was a staple in the British household and many a British soldier was paid partially in beer it was necessary to ship British Pale Ale to India. The only way to do so and keep it from spoiling was to add an insane amount of hops, this helped preserve the beer and gave rise to a new style of brewing. This could have remained forever linked to beers shipped to India if it wasn't for a shipwreck in 1827 in the Irish Sea that was bound for India and full of the robust Pale Ale. The barrels washed ashore and once the people tasted it, they clamored for more and as they say the rest is history....
The Brewery: Rogue Brewery is based out of Newport Oregon, most famous for its Dead Guy Ale, it makes a variety of beers, both available in six packs and as Big Beer. The brewery was founded in 1988 first as a brewpub then as a full fledged brewery, making a wide range of beers in a wide range of styles.
The Beer: All I can say initially is WHOAAA. This is one hoppy beer. The beer is unfiltered and aged for 9 months and is brewed with two-row Pipkin Pale malts, Saaz, Cascade and Northwest Golding hops. It pours a bright amber almost orange in the glass with a nice quarter inch foamy head. There are citrus flavors in the nose and mouth, but the king here is the hops. It almost burns the nose and there is an overwrought bitterness, but somehow the beer manages to balance it all out. Its a sipping beer at 9.5% alcohol and with the high hops you definitely wouldn't drink more than one. But for a night at the pub or at home of quiet drinking this is a really nice beer. Your taste buds are all but dead after this, so you wouldn't go from one beer to another, but its still very nice for those Hop-Heads out there.

World Cup of Beer

I admit, I am not the biggest fan of Soccer (Football to all you non-American's), but I have watched most every game of the World Cup this year, some of that due to the fact that I have a friend over from Germany and he has had a vested interest in the cup. I gotta say its been exciting and a great event (if only the official beer wasn't Bud). When the Cup started Chris Scott over at 'Hail the Ale' started a World Cup of Beer competition where whoever played that day he would match up beers from those countries. It was pretty interesting, but unfortunately he got busy with other things and didn't finish it off.......However this article reports that a British News Magazine actually did hold a World Cup of Beer Competition. Essentially a pub in Britain pitted 32 beers from all the countries that participated in the Cup. And the Winner?
Not a beer I am familiar with but the winner was South Australia's Cooopers Brewing Sparkling Ale. I have actually seen this beer at my local Spec's, but haven't ever tried it out....well I think that will probably change, I think I will have to check it out see if its worthy of the Cup.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

2000 Pretty Smith Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is a wine I have wanted to try for a long time, usually the long forgotten third partner of Bordeaux it is not often made into a variatal wines, outside of places in New York or Germany. So this wine is actually my first 100% Cab Franc wine.
The Grape: Cab Franc is actually one of the parents of the more popular Cabernet Sauvignon. Cab Franc is a thin skinned varital and early rippining variety. It is also somewhat frost resistant when compared to its offspring. The thin skins also means that this is a less tannic grape.
The Winery: Not much informatin on this winery unfortunately. What I could find is that it was started by Lisa Pretty and Victor Smith who purchsed it in 2000. The estate has about 45 acres of grapes and is located in the Paso Robles region of California.
The Wine: It pours a nice Garnet red in the glass. Hints of smoke, coco, earth, acidity, oak and sage in the nose. There are tastes of sour cherries, black chery, hints of chocolate and oak. There is a nice biting acidity here which the Oak helps level out somewhat since there is an abscence of high tannins. There is a good balance between the acidity, oak and alcohol at 14.1%. A nice wine that I'd grade a B.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Left Hand Imperial Stout

Forgive my recent obsession with Colorado Breweries. I have found that although other states have great breweries...Texas has St. Arnold, New York has Brooklyn Brewery, Deleware has Dogfish Head Ale, etc, for my money Colorado has the pot of gold when it comes to the abundance of great breweries...heck maybe it IS the water, and people trying to show that Colorado Beer is much much more than the just the Silver bullet.
The Style: Imperial stout has one of those great histories that some beers have. It all starts waaaaaay back with Catherine the Great, who happened to be a big fan of the Stout style of beers from a trip that she took to England. However when she had some shipped to the Russian court it spoiled on its way to the Baltic Ports. So too appease the Queen, who was none to happy that her favorite drink had ruined, Barclay Brewery in London created a strong bitter stout that they hoped would be sturdy enough to withstand the long journey to Russia. Well they were right and so was born the style of Imperial Russian Stout. Over time the nomenclature Russian dropped from its name and we were left with Imperial Stout a much stronger version of what we think of as Stoute, ie. Guiness. Guiness usually weighs in at no stronger than 4 or so percent, whereas an Imperial stout can be over 10%.
The Brewery: As I mentioned, I am having a obsession with CO breweries of late, and this is no different. Left Hand is from Longmont, CO, which is outside of Denver. I love this place, I was able to visit the brewery a couple years back during a trip to Denver with my girlfriend and its a great place. They make quite a few brews from ales, to pale ales, to a great milk or cream stout, all available in six packs. They also make what I call BIGS...this Imperial Stout being one, but they make seasonal as well. The brewery started out as a lot did back in the 90's. A home brewery got the bug and went insane......Originally incorporated as Indian Peaks Brewing Company in 1993, they changed their name to Left Hand in 1994. and have been growing ever since. 2 years ago you couldn't find any Left Hand in, you can find them in Spec's, Central Market, Whole Foods, and some local grocery stores.
The Beer: I mentioned it comes in a BIG, pours a nice dark black/brown in the glass with a small whimsy white head. The nose is full of coffee chocolate, some sweet toffee notes and Malt, lots of Malt and hops. In the mouth you get a full robust roasted esspresso, that went perfect with the dark dark chocolate I had with it, undernotes of cocoa, and a nice level of carbonation. It was incredibly well balanced with hops and malts although on the aftertaste it was all hops. It weighed in at 10.4%. This is a sipping beer, and here is what the guys over at Beer Advocate say

The Growing Texas Wine Industry

An interesting article from the The Daily Texan out of Austin regarding the growth of the Texas Wine Industry that has occurred over the past few years . The article reports that Texas has grown from 45 wineries in 2002 to 85 this year. Although most of the wineries are labeled boutique (producing fewer than 15,000 gallons/year) Texas still ranks fifth in the nation in wine production. Nothing to shake a stick at. However, what I find most heartening is in this sentence from the article:
"These wineries experiment more with blends and varieties because they're
not competing for shelf space at a liquor store"
That is music to my ears. I have longed for the time when Texas Wineries would realize that what grows well in California is NOT necessarily going to grow well in Texas, and I'm glad to see that some wineries are experimenting, taking on that rebellious curious spirit that makes Texas great. We need to find the varietals that grow well in Texas, not try and force grapes to grow here, that will only produce marginal wine at best.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Avery Thirteen Weizen Dopplebock

I was sitting around this Saturday afternoon, watching the World cup and decided to open up one of my BIG BEERs that I have, and try something new. I had a small plate of cheese and one of these "special beers." A nice respite on this rainy Saturday watching Soccer.
The Style: Weizen Dopplebock is basically a wheat double bock. This unique style combines the dark toffeish color and flavor with the citric and biscuit flavors of a wheat beer. A normal weizenbock is a complex beer of malt and hops flavors that blend together and are usually of higher alcohol content. The dopplebock doesn't necessarily double these attributes, but it definetly adds to them.
The Brewer: Avery Brewing Company is located in Boulder Colorado, and was incorporated in 1993 by owner and chief brewer Adam Avery. This is a company that started with only serving beer in Draft form or Big Beers until 1995 when they started selling their beers in six packs. They are a true microbrewery making incredible artisan beers, an amazing White Rascal Witbier (or Whitebeer) with a mix of wheat, hints of orange and corriander to their seasonal New World Porter a beer of smooth chocolate goodness. Even though they have a relatively wide distribution they are still a relatively small operation, but they are constantly growing just having added somewhere around 20,000 sq ft of space.
The Beer: This beer celebrates the thirteenth anniversay of Avery Brewing Company that occurs in early August. You don't offten see a wheat doppplebock so this a was a treat. In the glass it purs a dark black with plenty of bubbles, and when poured right a nice quarter inch head. The head wasn't creamy and quickly dissapaited. The smells was of citrus and biscuits. From their website the beer is brewed with Rocky Mountain water, malted barley, malted wheat, imported German specialty grains and hops, and one unique German yeast. In the mouth its got quite nice carbination that helped clear the cheese from the palate. Its also got a unique combination of overt Hoppiness with a high maltiness flavor. A really wonderful beer, but at 9.5% alcholo its a sipping beer only and not something that one would drink a lot of in one nigh. Heres what the folks at BA say