Monday, January 10, 2011

New Belgium - Blue Paddle and Alaskan Barley WIne Ale

New Belgium is best known for Fat Tire, but they have a number of good beers.  I had the opportunity to purchase single bottles while I was in Phoenix at Total Wine and I purchased a wide variety.  One such purchase was Blue Paddle – Pilsener Lager with an ABV of 4.8% and an IBU of 33.  I poured this into a Pilsner glass and let the head come up that quickly receded.  Blue Paddle poured a nice gold with good carbonation as a Pilsner should.  New Belgium describes Blue Paddle as “Climb on in and grab a paddle. Our first foray into lagered beers, Blue Paddle Pilsener-Lager, is a Czech style pilsener with a refreshing crispness from noble hops and a rich, malty finish. ‘Blue Paddle’ refers to the implement our warehouse manager’s Grandma once used to lovingly paddle his a** when she caught him stealing sips of her beer. With more body than a traditional Belgian pils, Blue Paddle is reflective of Europe’s finest pilseners.”  I had this with dinner and it nicely paired with roast beef, loaded baked potato and a salad.  This is a nice one and another good beer from New Belgium.

Off to Alaska for Alaskan Brewing Company’s Barley Wine Ale with an ABV of 10.4% and an IBU of 60 that I picked up at Total Wine.  I love Alaskan Brewing Co. and I had the opportunity to tour the brewery when I went to Juneau.  This one pours a dark amber / mahogany with little head.  This is a complex beer and the malt has a great caramel / toffee sweetness and it is very smooth.  The website describes the flavor profile as “Alaskan Barley Wine is a full bodied ale, deep mahogany in color and brewed with an array of complementing malts to achieve its high original gravity. Multiple hop additions in the boil and dry hopping during fermentation provide contrast to the big malt character resulting in the smooth balance that distinguishes this specialty brew. Like many fine wines, Alaskan Barley Wine may be aged in the bottle and gains deeper malt complexity and smoothness over time.”  I have tried many beers from Alaskan Brewing Company and this may be my new favorite over Smoked Porter.

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