Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tasting notes and comments: Vitus is a slightly sweeter thicker version of the Hefe Weizen by Weihenstephaner. The predominant flavors are sweet banana, a touch of cloves, and some citrousy, sour bite at end as it warms.
Rating: Recommended without reservation.
Style: Wild Ale
Tasting notes and comments: Ommegeddon uses Brettamyces in a second fermentation to impart some sour acidity and funk. It tastes something like Hennepin on steroids. The predominant flavors are lemony citrus and funk but nothing extreme.
Recommendation: With qualifications. A Wild Ale should have more funk.
Monday, December 29, 2008
The brewer is ambiguous. The bottle claims to be from Olde Richmond Brewing Co. The address is the same as St. George Brewing. Perhaps it is a contract brew and Olde Richmond is a beer marketing company. The alternative is that St. George sells beers under two different labels.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
My understanding is that Baltic Thunder is a collaboration between Victory and Heavyweight, a now extinct brewer. Heavyweight brewed Baltic Porter called Perkuno's Hammer. After the brewer's demise, the brewer gave the recipe to Victory. There, the brewer's tweaked the recipe and the result is Baltic Thunder.
The classification for the beer is ambiguous. The brewer states that it is an interpretation of a Dark Mild Ale. BeerAdvocate classifies it as American Pale Ale. I think APA fits best.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
The dark ale floats over the light beer when it is poured carefully over the light beer, creating a nice visual effect. Reports indicate that this is an American affection. The alternative is to let the two beers blend together in the glass. Black and Tan sold commercially are simple blends.
Black and Tan derives its name from the colors of the two beers. The name may be related to the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force, a paramilitary force sent into Ireland from England from 1920 to 1921 to suppress revolution in Ireland. The force wore mixtures of military and police uniforms and were called the "Black and Tans". That a "Black" Irish stout floats on top of a "Tan" British Pale Ale may be interpreted by some as an analogy for the success of the Irish over the British.
IPA is one of my favorite styles. The extra dose of hops guarantees that the beer will be flavorful. To drink good IPA is a wonderful experience. A good test of whether or not you are a "hophead", someone who likes hoppy beers, is whether or not you like IPA.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
De Dolle Still Nacht and Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA have crept into my top 10 list based on recent tastings. The top 10 now contains 12 beers. I count like the Big 10 does.
Still Nacht is Belgian Strong Ale. The flavor is a delightful medley of candy sugar, orange zest, spices, funk, alcohol and subtle hop bite. The beer is a seasonal release and usually arrives early in the calendar year. It ages wonderfully. I recently consumed a 2-year old bottle and it was FANTASTIC.
120 Minute IPA is at least a double IPA and may be a triple IPA. It tastes like a BIG English Barleywine. Bitter hops fight to emerge from a sweet raisin mash, followed by big alcohol blast. It is a 2+ hr. sipper. It is an occasional purchase due to its price. A 12 oz. bottle goes for $9 or $10 dollars.
Chimay Tripel has earned an honorable mention. A recent glass on draft was FANTASTIC.
Friday, December 5, 2008
I enjoyed three beers while having dinner at ML's with my wife's book club: Harpoon Winter Warmer,De Dolle Stille Nacht, and Bell's Expedition Stout. They demonstrate the variety of styles available to beer geeks.
Harpoon Winter Warmer is spiced mild ale. Cinnamon and nutmeg tastes stand out without being overbearing. This is a fine beer for the holidays and a good example of Winter Warmer that feature spices.
De Dolle Stille Nacht was FANTASTIC: a complex medley of orange zest, candy sugar, spices, alcohol and funk. It is Belgian Strong Dark Ale and the alcohol is 12% by volume. The brewer bottled the beer in 2006 and it had been sitting in my cellar for almost two years. I want to buy more and age some longer.
The Expedition Stout, while good, was a disappointment. An unsalted soy flavor diminished the beers flavor and bursts of alcohol made the beer "hot". Perhaps this is a result of oxidation? The brewer bottled the beer almost two years ago. A similar vintage a week earlier was a fantastic chocolaty treat.
The two different experiences with Expedition Stout indicate the difficulty of reproducing consistently craft beer. The brewing process is complex and the result is alive. The ability of the large brewers to produce products that are consistent across time and location is amazing.