Monday, November 30, 2009

Odell's Woodcut No.2 Oak Aged Golden Ale

If Odell brewery keeps it up, they are very quickly going to be added to my list of favorite breweries. This small brewery from Ft. Collins, CO has a pretty good standard line up of beers, but its their special ales that are show stoppers. This beer, their WoodCut No. 2 is no different. A special series of beers, each aged in barrells have become very popular. Now they aren't cheap ($20+), so I definetely had to think about it before picking it up during my trip to Denver a few months back. Was it worth it?
The Beer: This one weighs in at a robust 11.0% and pours a dark copper with a thin bubbly head. Nose is oaky, caramel, malty, yeasty, and some notes of alcohol. Mouthfeel is medium bodied, bourbon-y, oak, vanilla, with just a slight bit of alcohol burn at the finish, balancing the sweetness that's apparent up front. Notes of caramel, brown sugar, and spicy hops show up as the beer warms in the glass. A very complex beer that drinks like a maple syrup-y bourbon. Its a very good beer, that gets an A- from me. Can I say it's worth the money? Thats up to you, I enjoyed it, and would probably buy another one to see how it ages, but its not something I would buy a lot of to cellar. The folks at BA enjoy it as well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stone Sublimely Self Righteous Ale

Beyond looking for new beers, I'm looking for new beer styles. As many beers as I have tried there are many styles that I've never had before. A recent example is the Eisbock from last week. Part of the reason I love beer is that there are so many different flavors and styles of beer that one would be hard pressed to ever try all styles. It keeps life exciting to try though. This beer something I picked up in Denver back during GABF is one of those new style types, a Black IPA. How can something be a pale ale and black at the same time? I don't know, but I do know its black and has the hops and flavor an IPA so until someone comes up with a better name, we'll go with it.
The Beer: It weighs in at 8.7% and pours a very dark almost black with a thick tan colored head. Notes of hops, grapefruit, lots of grapefruit, rich dark malts. Mouthfeel is full, hops, grapefruit peel, apricots, dark malts, dark rye breads almost like a schwarzbier. Rye bread with marmalade? Yeah that sounds about right. The hops really saturate the tongue like a good Stone beer should. They know their hops and this one isn't different. Good beer that has combined two different flavors that you usually don't see together very well. It gets a B+ from me. Here's what the folks at BA say.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quick Hits: Tuesday Edition

It's been a while since I've had time to post much other than periodic beer notes on the blog. For whatever reason things are pretty slow here in the beer world, but I do have some news bits to share.
- Dec 1st, Dec 1st, Dec 1st, mark it down on your calender. The amazingly awesome (more on that in a bit) Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #9 Imperial Pumpkin Stout is released! If you don't want to mark it down on your calendar it is marked on mine on the right hand side of the page.

- Speaking of DR#9, the lucky people at Houston Press have actually had the chance to have some. All I have to say, is a Pumpkin in every keg.

- Many of us in our younger years went off every summer to camp. I doubt any of us went to the camp described by Houston Chronicle's Ronnie Crocker, yes that's right ladies and gentlemen, Beer Camp.

Monday, November 16, 2009

De Proef Van Twee

Now I've had a lot of experience with this brewery from Belgium, and I am a huge fan of their colloboration beers with America breweries. The first one I had was their partnership with Tomme Arthur, the second with Jason Perkins of Allagash. Well the good news, they have another colloboration beer out, this time with Bell's brewing out of Michigan. This one is an interesting beer, made with multiple yeasts, New Zealand Hops (Nelson Seuvin) and Michigan Cherries.
The Beer: This one weighs in at 7.5% and pours a rich dark brown with at thick tan colored head. Fruity and funky on the nose, notes of plum, grape, banana, horse blanket, yeasts. The mouthful is full and thick. Tangy from the brett that has been injected into the beer. Mild tartness, chocolatey, mild coffee, plums, gooseberries. All these many different flavors meld together incredibly well and leads to a smooth finish. My initial impression of the beer is a tart, tangyness and funk from the yeast then the dark rich fruits from the malts take over, before leading to a light fruitiness from the hops. It almost reminds me of a tart chocolate yogurt if that makes any sense. This one gets an A- from me. Here's what the folks at BA think.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mikkeller Big Worse

We've been introduced to the greatness of the nomadic gypsy brewery Mikkeller with their tremendous Breakfast stout not to long ago. While that beer was not available in Texas, this one is. Big Worse is their Barleywine style beer and its brewed at the De Proef brewery in Belgium.
The Beer:b This one weighs in at 12.0% so you know this one is going to be a sipper. It pours a hazy chestnut brown with a thick taupe colored head. The nose is malty, dried fruit, figs, earthyness, toffee. The mouth is silky with very little carbonation. Rich dark fruits, sherry like qualities. Notes of figs, prunes, raisins, toffee. Incredibly its pretty easy drinking hiding its high alcohol, but its richness keeps it being a sipper. Some hop bitterness at the finish, not as much as an American Barleywine, but more than an English version, somewhere in the middle. It gives it a nice punch of bitterness against the richness of the malts. As it warms, you get some spiceyness, bourbon like qualities. Simply an amazing beer. This one gets a strong A from me. Here's what the folks at BA had to say.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reaper Ale Sleighor

The ever growing list of new brewer's coming into Texas welcomes Reaper Ale Brewing out of Southern California. With a name like Reaper you can guess the theme of their beers. Cool website as well. Honestly I don't know much about their beers, or at least didn't before seeing this beer on the shelves of my local Spec's. But then again I can't turn down a Double IPA. As stated this is their DIPA, weighing in at 105 IBU's, finished with Centennial Hops, and dry hopped with Centennial, Chinook and Columbus.
The Beer: This DIPA weighs at 9.1% abv and pours a cloudy orangish color with a good dense head of off white foam. The nose is hoppy, boy is it ever. Grapefruit, jam, yeasts, toasty malts. The mouthfeel is medium to light body, but tongue coating hoppy. Grapefruit, biscuits, jammy. Good flavor all around, but not much intensity of flavor. Notes of white pepper biscuits grows as the beer warms. Notes of copper and just a bit of alcohol on the finish. A good beer, that I wish had just a little something more to offer. This one gets a B- from me. Here's what the folks at BA think.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Kulmbacher Eisbock

Its always nice to try new beers and living in Texas of late we are getting more opportunity than ever before to try new beers. Most of these beers are from American craft brewers but every once in a while we get a new import beer, this is one of those cases. However before getting into my review let's do an introduction to what is an Eisbock?
Beer Style: An Eisbock is one of the more unusual style of beers that Germany makes, and it has an interesting story to its discovery. Back in the 1800's a Bavarian barkeep (or some stories put it as his young assistant) left a keg of bock beer outside. It being a cold winter night, the beer was partially frozen. Depending on what story you hear, it was the last keg that the barkeep had and it was reluctantly used or the barkeep forced his young apprentice to drink what he thought was spoiled beer. Luckily for all of us it wasn't. What it was, was a syrupy concentrated beer, the water frozen, the alcohol remained concentrated throughout the rest of the beer. The German's named this new beer eisbock, more than likely a play on the other German speciality eiswine.
According to the BJCP the beer should have an aroma of rich intense malt and some alcohol presence. Its usually a deep rich copper to dark brown, very low carbonation and a full bodied mouthfeel. The flavor is of dark fruits, plums, prunes and grapes. There will be some alcohol presence in the flavor that should help balance the over all sweetness of the beer. Recognized to be a great digestif beer.
The Beer: The beer weighs in at a potent 9.2% and pours a very dark brown almost black with ruby highlights. Good sized tan colored head. The nose is malty, malty, malty, figs, plums, and just a mild bit of alcohol. The mouthfeel is thick, tongue coating, silky, no carbonation. Notes of figs and dried dark fruit. Coffee flavors, but not the burnt beans of a stout. Smooth and sweet, but not cloyingly so. Balanced by a mild burn of alcohol. A sipper for sure, a bit syrupy, but a wonderful dessert beer or just an after dinner drink with maybe a cigar. This I like, and must search out more of the style. This one gets an A- from me. Here's what the folks at BA had to say.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

A pair of Brooklyn Beers

If you've ever talked to me you know that I am a fan of brewer Garret Oliver, and his book Brewmasters Table made a huge impact on me and how I look at beer and food. Well a couple of weeks ago he was in Houston for the homebrewer's competition The Dixie Cup. As part of his visit he also did a tasting at our local Central Market and it was there that I got to spend some time talking to him. He's an extremely generous guy with his time and comes off completely genuine in his excitement of beer. It was also fun to get to talk to him about his beers and find out whats coming next. Good news: Monster Ale is coming and coming soon to Texas, we also may get some of the rarer beers as well that will be draft only. After talking beer with Mr. Oliver I just had to pick up some of his brews to drink at home. Unfortunately due to a work trip to Canada and a week of being sick its taken me this long to post on those beers.
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout: Now I tried this on draft at Flying Saucers Anniversary party, but it was nice to be able to sit down in a quiet place and really enjoy the beer. This weighs in at 10.0% and pours a dark pitch black with a thick tan colored head. Notes of chocolate, espresso, coffee, malts. The mouthfeel is creamy and lush. Dusted coco nibs, espresso and chocolate, some citrusy acidity notes. Damn Ice Cream would go wonderfully well with this. Great beer that gets an A- from me.
Local 2: The second brew in Brooklyns Local series. The first was a Belgian Golden ale, this one is a strong dark ale made with local New York honey. It weighs in at 9.0% and pours a dark rich brown with a thick dense head of taupe colored foam. The nose has some notes of honey, sweet malts and fruity esters. The mouthfeel is very effervescent, notes of honey, malts, sweet dried dark fruits. Very sweet up front, before finishing startlingly dry, much like a Brut Champagne. Notes of candied sugar mix with the richness of the dark fruits. An amazing food beer that would go with everything from grilled veggies to frites (which is what I had it with). This one again gets an A- from me.
Two great beers from Brooklyn Brewery.