Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lagunitas – Brown Shugga

I had listened to a few podcasts and read a few reviews that had highly recommended Lagunitas – Brown Shugga' (9.9% ABV and 52 IBU) and I had this one on my list to obtain the next time is was available.  Brown Shugga' is a strong ale that is brewed with brown sugar and is released in October of each year.  From reading the website, Brown Shugga' was a “failed” attempt to brew a batch of Olde Gnarlywine and the brewing team added a bunch of brown sugar in an attempt to rescue the batch.  While the rescue failed, the birth of a new beer was realized and it has become a favorite that Lagunitas fans look forward to each year.

American Strong Ale -BeerAdvocate

Appearance – Deep amber red with very nice carbonation.  There was a two to three finger head that did not recede quickly.  This beer is perfectly clear too.  There are some alcohol legs on the sides of the glass too.
Aroma – Carmel sweetness was the first thing I noticed.  Then I detected citrus fruit – think of zesting a lemon and an orange.  The citrus was not overpowering and very complimentary.
Taste – Unlike anything I have every had and it is excellent.  It tastes just like it smells with a combination of caramel, citrus, a little resin, and some biscuit with a nice dry finish.  A very tasty beer.
Overall – A  Brown Shugga' is a very good beer and is just plan tasty.  Be careful as this one is high in ABV and the alcohol is well-hidden.  A couple of these will do.  This is one to add to your list as it is a unique beer and it is very good.

Website description – "How Come you Taste So Good?? Boatloads of Pure Brown Sugar in Each Batch, That’s How! The Rich, Roasty and Mysteriously Drinkable Ale might best be described as... Irresponsible. It Leaves a Lot of Stories in it’s Wake."

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Left Hand - Warrior

Left Hand Brewing Co. is based in Longmont, CO and I visited the tasting room in August.  Warrior (7.6% ABV and 69 IBU) a fresh-hopped IPA was not on the menu yet and this is a seasonal release, just after the hop harvest.  Fresh-hop beers use unprocessed or fresh hops in the brewing process and these are only available in the fall.  Warrior also features locally grown Cascade and Warrior hops and I really enjoy something made with fresh local ingredients.

American IPA - BeerAdvocate

Appearance – Perfectly clear and pale gold with a one-finger frothy head.
Aroma –  Caramel and grain from the malts and grass, fruit and citrus from the hops.  Very subtle and nuanced aromas.  I could tell this would not be a “throat-ripper” IPA and would focus more on balance.
Taste – Tastes very similar to smell with good caramel / grain and then fruit, citrus and a touch of grass / herb.  This is an easy drinker and very balanced.
OverallB+  Warrior is a tasty IPA and I really like the use of local ingredients.  Left Hand focuses on taste and balanced beers and Warrior is a very good example of how Left Hand brews beer.  Very approachable, well-balanced, and easy to drink.

Website description – “FULL OF FRESH HOP FLAVORS, this fresh-hopped IPA has become an annual cult classic. Brewed only once a year using fresh whole flower Colorado grown hops flown in from Rising Sun Farms in Paonia by Schwall and Spears Hop Freight Service. A strong malt foundation complements the bright floral hoppiness, allowing for a well-balanced, drinkable IPA.

Ska – Autumnal Mole Stout

Ska is based in Durango, CO and these guys started brewing home brew in high school.  The ended up going into the brewing business and they make some very tasty beers.  When I saw Autumnal Mole Stout (5.5% ABV) and was release at the Autumnal Equinox.  Mole Stout is brewed with peppers, cocoa and spices.

Chili Beer - BeerAdvocate

Appearance – Dark with a one-finger dark tan foamy head that receded quickly.  No light would get through this beer.
Aroma – There is a lot going here on the aroma side – peppers / chilies, chocolate, coffee / espresso, and subtle spices (cinnamon / nutmeg).
Taste – Very much like it smells and while there is some hesitation on my part for fear of a high Scoville rating, Mole Stout focuses on pepper / chili flavor and not heat – yes.  Chocolate, coffee, and spice are present too and make for a well-rounded beer.  Stout provides a perfect base for what Ska is doing.
OverallA-  This is one of the best Chili Beers I have had.  It would be excellent to use in cooking and I think it would be a very good combination with Southwest cuisine. 

Commercial description – "The Autumnal Mole Stout is an ale brewed with cocoa nibs, spices and three varieties of chile peppers: Mulato, Ancho and Hatch green chiles, (also known as Anaheim Peppers.)"   Note – There was no description found on the website.