Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($10.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.
Pinchy Jeek is “brewed with pumpkin and spices and aged in Wild Turkey bourbon barrels” by Anderson Valley, and it pours a black-and-tan color with a mid-sized, beach sand hand. The nose is sweet, transfixing, mysterious, and autumnal, a candied and complex aroma that boasts pumpkin pie spice, toffee, vanilla, and a hint of whiskey barrel. Spices hit the palette first, a warming glow of nutmeg, cinnamon and pumpkin, with the Wild Turkey kick and Tootsie Roll sweetness riding in on the second wave of flavor. It’s a fascinating and rewarding brew, maple sweets and savory spices in perfect harmony, and an essential beer for the fall.
Purchased at The Rare Barrel and poured into tulip glasses.
This “golden sour beer aged in oak barrels with ginger” pours a pineapple-juice gold with a bright white head, and it boasts a lovely nose of candied ginger, alongside touches of grapefruit and oak. The first swallow is extremely ginger-heavy, and while that may not be to everyone’s taste, the flavor is strangely unoppressive and the beer finishes clean. A grapefruit- and lemon-heavy citrus pulp flavor puckers the tongue on the finish, and the beer remains delicious and even throughout, with an overall taste similar to sucking on a lemon drop and a ginger hard candy at the same time. It should be noted that although the portions were poured evenly, the beer in Darcey’s glass, in addition to being darker, murkier, and less carbonated, was more citrus-forward and less ginger-y than my pour.
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe and poured into mini tasting glasses.
This dark pumpkin beer was aged in pinot noir wine barrels, and it pours a Dr. Pepper dark brown with a tight, soda fizz head. It has that unmistakable “Almanac sour smell” of sour candy, citrus, wood, and wine, causing my mouth to instinctively pucker, although there is a little extra roastiness on this particular brew. The fall/pumpkin aspect breaks through on the first swallow, lending an unusual depth of flavor to the beer, with wine tannins, candied pumpkins, and autumn spices coming to the fore. The taste of red wine settles on to the palette far more impressively than any pumpkin or spice flavors, making this a suitable substitute for red wine with your turkey dinner or fall dessert.
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($16.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into an oversized wine glass [cage of emotion].
This “barley wine aged in oak bourbon barrels” is from Coronado Brewing in San Diego, which of course in German means “a whale’s vagina.” Old Scallywag pours as silky smooth as the beard of Zeus, a clear and dark maple with a tight tan head. The aroma is a formidable scent. It stings the nostrils…in a good way, with waves of bourbon, dried and dark fruits, roasted nuts, barrel wood, brown sugar, and maple candy enticing the nose like a jazz flute solo. I wanna be friends with it. It’s delicious on the first swallow, more English than American barley wine, with brown sugar sweetness, wood bitterness, and a bready texture dominating up front, and ending as clean as a nice pair of slacks. Some apple and tea enter the picture as the beer rests on the tongue, and the overall effect is not unlike a wood-fired apple pie drizzled in scotchy scotch scotch. Beer drinkers assemble!
Purchased through Rare Beer Club (25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.
This unusual offering from London-based brewers Meantime pours a dark, muddy amber with an almost nonexistent white head, with a thin halo of off-white foam circling the inside of the glass (we initially thought the beer was skunked). The nose promises a tart, caramel apple-like sweetness, with crisp green apple playing off of burnt toffee and caramel aromas. That interplay between tart and sweet is also present on the first sip, which offers much more carbonation than suggested by the flimsy head and brackish body. Meantime Weizen Double Bock gets richer and less tart as it warms, rounding out the flavor profile with black pepper, wood, brown sugar, red apples and other red fruits, and wine tannins.
Gifted by Nick M. and poured into globe glasses.
This imperial stout “infused with cacao nibs and aged in bourbon barrels” was brewed by Nashville, Tennessee-based Blackstone, and it pours a thick, oily black with a sliver of a brown head. Black Belle has an exceptionally rich and dessert-like nose of dark chocolate-covered coffee beans, toasted marshmallow, cola, and some booze. The alcohol is even more upfront on the first swallow, but the magic of Black Belle is that it expertly manages to offer all of the flavors of hard alcohol (i.e., chocolate and coffee take more of a supporting role to vanilla and toast) without any discomforting throat burn.
Here’s our latest beer notes for Eat Drink Films: Heretic Brewing Company’s Chocolate Hazelnut Porter. Cheers!
Purchased at Curtis Park Market (22 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.
This “Dynamic” India Pale Ale from Walnut Creek-based Calicraft Brewing was “brewed with blackberry root and orange peel,” and it pours a murky tangerine color with a sizable off-white head. Dried fruit and a honeyed sweetness are the first to appear on the nose, with apricot and cantaloupe especially prominent. There is an unusual, seltzer-y flavor on the first swallow, along with a very definite berry and bitter root presence, and it ends with some nice citrus and pine bitterness. As more is consumed, the bitterness on the first flavor movement becomes less and less pleasurable, too closely resembling cocktail bitters, although the pine and citrus finish still satisfies.