Saturday, January 22, 2011

January Beer Tasting

Tibor, Chris and Dennis came over last night from food, drink and camaraderie and we had quite the line-up of craft and imported beer.  We started the evening with Avery – The Reverend – Belgian Quadrupel Ale, with an ABV of 10% and an IBU of 10.  I have had this beer before and it is very good – nice malt sweetness, hints of cherries, prune, and molasses.  This was a great way to start the evening.  I had Lori taste the Reverend and she liked it too.

I recently read a review of Samuel Smith's - Yorkshire Stingo - an English Old Ale in Draft with a rating of 100 and on the magazine's list of top 25 beers for 2010.  This beer has an ABV of 9% and an IBU of 30 –35.  You could taste the oak from the barrel aging and there was a slight sourness to the beer.  I picked up toffee, plum/prune, and raisin.

I served some chips and salsa and we also had other snacks including some Habanero Almonds.  Since we were eating some food with spice, I thought it was time to pull out a beer with some hops and Stone’s Arrogant Bastard seem to be a great match.  Stone makes great products and Arrogant Bastard is an American Strong Ale with an ABV of 7.2% and an IIBU of Classified.  Arrogant Bastard went great with the spicy foods and this is a good beer. 

Time to head back to Belgium for Westmalle’s Tripel with an ABV of 9.5%.  This is a wonderful beer that pours with a nice lacy head.  Great fruit taste and just a great beer and one understand the 100 rating by Draft and the renown this beer has.  You cannot go wrong with a Trappist beer and Westmalle is a great representative of these Belgian beers.

Back to Boston for Sam Adam’s New Work Tripel with an ABV of 10%.  This beer poured with no head at all, which was strange from my perspective.  Nice aroma and I could detect the oak from the barrel aging and the fruity sweetness from the malt and use of Belgian candi sugar (I presume).  Not a bad beer and I appreciate that Boston Beer Company continues to try new things.  This is one of my favorites from Boston. 

IPA Flight Time – I poured four different IPA’s for comparison – all were good. 
    - Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA with an ABV of 6% and an IBU of 60.
    - Bear Republic’s Racer 5 with an ABV of 7% and an IBU of +75.
    - Uintah Brewing’s Detour with an ABV of 9.5% and an IBU of 75 – a Double IPA.
    - Stone’s Ruination IPA with an ABV of 7.7 and +100 IBU.
It was interesting to try these 4 in flight and to sample the different aromas.  I detected the most grapefruit from Ruination and a grassy aroma from Racer 5.  Detour reminded me of a Barley Wine ale and I now want to try Cock-Eyed Cooper.  Chris is not an IPA fan and he liked Detour the best.  I thought the IBUs were a lot lower and I think the higher alcohol and the malt sweetness hide the IBUs.  Detour also had the best head and left the Belgian lace on the sides of the glass.  These are all good IPAs and it was interesting to try them in a flight.  

Now, we jaunt to Canada for Unibroue’s -La Fin De Monde (The end of the World) that is a Belgian-style Tripel with an ABV of 9%.  While this is not a Trappist or Belgian ale, it is a very good, complex beer with nice mild orchard fruit sweetness and very drinkable.  The alcohol is well hidden and this is a great beer from Canada. 

We ended the evening with Left Hand’s Fade to Black Series 2 – a Smoked Baltic Porter with an ABV of % and an IBU of.  This is one of my favorites this winter and I have enjoyed a few of these.  I covered Fade to Black in an earlier blog post. 

It was a nice evening with some incredible beers.  None were bad and we were all impressed by the quality and fine taste that was represented in these beers.  Tibor is hosting the March tasting and we plan to focus on the beers of Germany and will probably have a Guinness in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  Since Tibor grew up in Germany, we will rely on his expertise with the German beers to sample.  I’ll have to make some German food to take.

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