Sunday, April 28, 2013

April Beers Sampled

Yesterday I attended The Big Ass Tap Takeover at Parry’s Pizza featuring beers from Avery Brewing Company and tried a few I had not tried before.    During the event I met Adam Avery and he toasted the event at 11:30 with a new release from Avery.

Samael’s 2008 (14.5% ABV and 41 IBU) is and oak-aged English strong ale and was from Mr. Avery’s personal stash.  It was excellent and the aging has only improved the beer.

Trogdor the Burninator (7.6% ABV) is a smoked doppelbock and I thought this was an excellent beer.  You could taste the smoke at just the right level.  Very well-balanced and it went well with the sweetness of the doppelbock.

3Point5 Pale Ale (3.5% ABV) is a session pale ale that is new from Avery and we had a complimentary serving with the event toast.  It was a highly hopped, bitter beer and one that could be consumed throughout the day with the low ABV. 

On a different trip to Parry’s Pizza, I enjoyed Elevation Brewing’s First Cast (6.5% ABV and 75 IBU) an IPA.  It was the first time I have tried something from this new Colorado brewer and I will try to sample more form them in the future.

Stone Brewing has created some new Imperial IPAs that are entitled “Enjoy by Month.Day.Year” that have limited distribution and are meant to be consumed fresh and by the date listed on the bottle.  I was able to find one at the local store and it is a very good IPA.  If you are lucky enough to find one I recommend purchasing some, as these are very good IPAs.  The one I had was Enjoy by 04.20.13 (9.4% ABV and 88 IBU).

Smoked Beers (Rauchbiers) and BBQ – A Great Pairing

April was a busy month at the homestead as we moved to a hotel for an extended weekend as we had the hardwood floors refinished.  We had previously scheduled a beer dinner that weekend and decided to host it at the hotel and it worked really well.  The theme was smoked (Rauchbier) and BBQ.  The menu was pulled pork, brisket, wings, beans, and coleslaw.  Guests brought over appetizers and desserts.  The beer paired very well with BBQ and it was a nice evening.  

Round 1 – Aecht Schlenkerla – Bamburg, Germany
Weizen (5.2% ABV and 20 IBU) – a beechwood smoked wheat beer
Marzen (5% ABV and 30 IBU) – a beechwood smoked Oktoberfest / Marzen
Urbock (6.4% ABV and 40 IBU) – a beechwood smoked Bock
Eiche (8% ABV and 40 IBU) – an oak smoked Dopplebock Christmas release

Round 2 – American Craft Beer
Stone Smoked Porter (5.9% ABV and 53 IBU)
Stone Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Beans (5.9% ABV and 53 IBU)
Stone Smoked Porter w/Chipotle Peppers (5.9% ABV and 53 IBU)
Stone Oak-Smoked Old Guardian Barleywine (11.4% ABV and 70 IBU)
Left Hand Smoke Jumper (8.9% ABV an 50 IBU) – an Imperial Smoked Porter

I enjoyed the Weizen and the Marzen best from round 1 and the tasters agreed that the Weizen was the top choice.  I enjoyed Smoke Jumper the best in round 2 and it was a toss-up between the tasters for Smoke Jumper and Stone Smoked Porter w/Vanilla Beans.  Smoked beers or Rauchbiers paired very well BBQ and the rich chocolate desserts we had that evening.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Tasting - Crooked Stave, Magic Hat, Empyrean, Lagunitas, Odell and Russian River

Time to catch up on a few weeks of tasting different beers.  These are from Colorado, Vermont, California, and Nebraska.

Crooked Stave is based in Denver and the focus is on barrel-aged beers and the use of brettanomyces.  Chad Yacobson, the owner and brewer, of Crooked Stave wrote his Master’s on the topic and I have been wanting to try his beers for some time.  He offers a subscription program that is sold out and when I saw a couple of bottles at the store, I promptly purchased them.

Surette (6.2% ABV) is a wood-aged Farmhouse Ale and it is one of the best, if not the best beer I have tasted this year.  The sourness is perfectly balanced and this is a fantastic beer.

Vieille (4.2% ABV) is another Farmhouse Ale and I could not find much information on it.  It is a very good beer – I liked Surette best.  However, Vieille is an excellent beer too.

Magic Hat is based out of South Burlington, Vermont and I picked up a mixed 12 that contained the following beers.  They offer many different varieties and are now in Colorado.

Wooly (4.5% ABV and 20 IBU) an English Special Bitter brewed with spruce tips that is OK.  I am not a big fan of spruce tips in beer.

# 9 (5.1% ABV and 9 IBU) a Fruit beer that is OK – I am not a fan of fruit beers.

Encore (6.4% ABV and 35 IBU) an American IPA that is very good.

Heart of Darkness (5.7% ABV and 30 IBU) is an excellent Stout.

Empyrean Brewing Co. is based in Lincoln, Nebraska and I had not tried anything from them before.  Their packaging was very good and I thought their branding on the package and labels was excellent.

Fallen Angel (5.5% ABV and 17 IBU) is an easy drinking Sweet Stout and is very good.  I will try other products from Empyrean.

Lagunitas is based in Petaluma, CA and they are opening another brewery in the Chicago area.  Lagunitas is one of my favorite brewers and they consistently make excellent beer in many different styles.  They have a very robust seasonal list and when I saw WTF, I picked it up.

Wilco Tango Foxtrot or WTF (7.83% ABV) is a Double / Imperial Brown Ale and is just fantastic.  Brown Ales are easy drinking and some consider them “ho-hum”.  I like a good Brown Ale and WTF is an excellent one.

Finally, my family took me to Parry’s Pizzeria and Pub a couple of weekends ago for my birthday and I had two very tasty beers.

Russian River’s Damnation (7% ABV) is a Belgian / Golden Ale that is incredible.  Russian River makes some very good beer and it is on rare occasion that I find one in Colorado.  When I do, I purchase it.

Odell’s Amuste (9.3% ABV) is an Imperial / Double Porter and is very good.