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.

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