Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Evil Twin (Heretic Brewing)

6.8% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($6.99/22 oz. bomber) and poured into pint glasses.

His Notes:

This red ale from East Bay upstart Heretic pours a murky maple brown with a decent off-white head, and offers a nice nose of pine needles, wild berry leaves, and wet grass. There is a good mix of bittersweet and tangy on the tongue, as piney hops mingle with understated berry flavors and a lingering grassy flavor.  Evil Twin has the profile of a traditional bold red ale (even if it lacks the ruby hue), but it manages to serve up big hop and malt flavors without decimating the palette –it should pair well with turkey burgers or grilled chicken.

  3.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

   3 Toasts


Top Sail Imperial Porter (Full Sail Brewing)

9.5% ABV
Purchased at The Davis Beer Shoppe ($11.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into lowball glasses.

His Notes:

Full Sail’s bourbon barrel-aged imperial porter pours an impenetrable black with an insignificant brown head.  The powerful nose whacks you with dried fruit (especially figs, raisins, and berries), old wood, vanilla, and hard alcohol.  Whiskey and dried dark fruits are also predominant on the palette, with only the bitterness of baker’s chocolate to remind you of this brew’s imperial porter roots.  Top Sail was aged in Kentucky bourbon casks for a full year, and the resultant beer is completely dominated by whiskey and oak barrel flavors.  It could use some more richness to balance out the alcohol fire, but Top Sail is still a solid slow sipper.

  3.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

   3 Toasts


Birch Bock (Alaskan Brewing Company)

8.5% ABV
Purchased at The Davis Beer Shoppe ($7.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into pilsner  glasses.

His Notes:

This Pilot Series release from Alaskan Brewing Company pours a beautiful burnt orange with a tight, off-white head.  The rich nose mixes strong and syrupy malt with mild wood and toffee aromas, and the eye-opening taste offers dessert-style fruit syrup, caramel, and toffee, along with a woody texture that is noticeable without dominating the palette. Brewed with real Alaskan birch syrup, Birch Bock is a strong and distinctive beer with a lingering, malt-heavy aftertaste, but it remains fairly balanced throughout.  Birch Bock doesn’t overdose on the saccharine malt like many bock beers, and the wood flavor is crisper and lighter than most beers of this type due to the use of birch instead of the typical oak or alder

  4 Toasts

Her Notes:

   3 Toasts


Oro de Calabaza (Jolly Pumpkin)

8% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($13.49/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

This Biere de Garde from Dexter, Michigan-based Jolly Pumpkin pours a pale, cloudy hay-yellow with a vaporous white head.  Oro de Calabaza has a pungent but utterly inviting nose of pepper, old oak, sour grapes, and musty wild yeast – classic barnyard funk aromas, but slightly sweeter.  Golden honey-sweet flavors mingle with the souring effects of brettanomyces and oak barrels (the standard for all Jolly Pumpkin beers), but it’s all very measured and balanced and pure.  There is also some lemon zest, mild spice, tangy fruit, and wood from the barrel-aging, and although sour-ness dominates the aftertaste, it’s consistently textured and eminently drinkable.

  4.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

   4 Toasts


Anniversary Barley Wine Ale (Uinta Brewing)

10.4% ABV
Purchased at Davis Beer Shoppe ($8.99/4-pack of 12 oz. bottles) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

Salt Lake City-based Uinta’s Anniversary Barley Wine Ale pours a ruby-brown with a fairly substantial tan head.  It offers a surprisingly delicate nose of pine needles, barrel wood, and a little tropical fruit, not quite the expectations for an American barley wine. There are more piney hops here and less of the syrupy sweetness common to this style of beer, with touches of raisins and brown sugar, although the expected fermented wood flavor edges in on the long and warm finish.  Anniversary Barley Wine Ale has sweetness and strength, but it’s refined and mellow, sneaking up behind you rather than attacking you head-on.  (4 toasts).

  4 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4.5 Toasts


Asylum (Left Coast Brewing)

11.8 ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($6.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into goblet glasses.

His Notes:

Asylum is an especially high-alcohol Belgian tripel from San Clemente-based Left Coast Brewing, and it pours a pale gold with an immense, frothy white head and extremely agitated bubbles similar to champagne (it took 10-15 minutes for the head to dissipate). There are lovely tropical fruits on the nose (especially pineapple, coconut shavings, and guava), but it’s the muscular grains that dominate the first swallow, alongside juicy pineapple, coconut, and a unique pepper spice flavor.  Hard alcohol comes in on the finish, along with chewy hops and a dry, cracker-like texture.  This brew offers some really nice complexity and a few unexpected twists and turns.

  4.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4.5 Toasts


Voodoo Doughnut Maple Bacon Ale (Rogue Ales)

5.6% ABV, 30 IBUs
Purchased at Alley Katz and poured into pint glasses.

His Notes:

This collaboration between fellow Oregon mainstays Rogue Ales and Voodoo Donuts pours a murky orange with a fairly sizable off-white head.  There is a strong maple glaze smell on the nose, sweet on the verge of treacle, with a little smoky bacon the edges. You get more bacon on the first swallow (several different types of smoked malts were used to create the bacon taste), followed by spot-on glazed donut flavors, with very little in the way of traditional hop/malt/yeast flavors.  It’s essentially a novelty beer, but it’s also surprisingly smooth and drinkable, and not as grossly sweet as the sugary nose suggests.  Still, this is a special occasion-only brew, and the ideal food pairing is probably an actual glazed donut.

  3.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

    4 Toasts


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