CELLAR SERIES: Double Eye PA – Mikkeller

mikkeller-double-eye-bttl14.0% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($6.99/11.2 oz. bottle), cellared for 11 months, and poured into taster glasses.

This super-sized double IPA from Mikkeller pours a cloudy butterscotch color with a tight, dirty white head and some flecks of yeast floating on the surface.  It has a super-strong nose of boozy citrus, mostly oranges and tangerines, along with some lemon and wood notes.   The first swallow is a wallop, with butterscotch, hard alcohol, and kindling wood most notably emerging, but there is also a grass and pine bitterness on the finish.  Double Eye PA goes through a number of flavor phases, and while 11 months in the cellar has not dulled the intensity, it does re-emerge from its slumber as more an intensely hopped blonde barley wine than an Imperial IPA.  However, the complexity and masterful storytelling have not diminished, as everything from blonde caramel, crackers, citrus fruits, brown sugar, honey, and whiskey makes an appearance on the tongue.

See our original review here.

toasts-5-small   5 Toasts

MikkellerDoubleEyePA-Cellar

toasts-5-small   5 Toasts

Scotch Silly Barrel Aged – Brasserie de Silly

ScotchSillyBarrelAged9% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($15.49/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This barrel-aged Scotch ale from the Belgium-based Brasserie de Silly pours a prune-ish brown with a tight, off-white head.  The boozy nose offers alcohol-doused caramel chews, plums and other dark fruits, as well as raisins and other dried fruits.  Barrel Aged Scotch Silly has a relatively light mouthfeel for the style, with some woody bitterness on the aftertaste, and an alcohol flavor reminiscent of apple brandy.  There is a bit more toffee on later swallows, with slightly more nuanced raisin and dried apricot flavors coming to the fore as it warms in the glass, at which point the alcohol taste begins to resemble dark rum.  It is quite tasty if you’re in the mood for a big beer, with flavors that get progressively better.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

ScotchSilly

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

Tripel B – Adelbert’s Brewery

tripelb_adelberts9.3% ABV
Purchased through Rare Beer Club ($/25.4 oz.bottle) and poured into goblet glasses.

This bottle-conditioned Belgian tripel from Austin-based Adelbert’s pours a cloudy cantaloupe juice orange with a minimal, bright white head.  It smells of grass, toffee, some farmhouse funk, melon, cantaloupe, and tropical citrus.  There is a lovely warmth and restrained sweetness on the first swallow, with the expected tropical and melon flavors given a biting contrast from the peppery Belgian yeast.  Adelbert’s Tripel B is very heavy for a Belgian tripel, reaching more into the realm of a strong Belgian gold.  It’s not a boozy beer, but while some cracker-like grains, spice, caramel, and marmalade flavors are present, the overall taste is fairly neutral and tiring on the palette.

toasts-3   3 Toasts

Adelberts_Tripel

toasts-3   3 Toasts

Coming Home 2013 – Grand Teton Brewing Company

CHHA13-bottle7.5% ABV
Purchased at Capitol Beer and Tap Room and poured into goblet glasses.

This year’s Grand Teton winter seasonal is brewed in the style of a Belgian dubbel, and it pours a burnished gold with a tight, dirty white head.  The sweet nose offers fairly standard-for-the-style aromas of dark fruit, Belgian candied sugar, red apple, and a little caramel and butterscotch.  Toffee and caramel flavors take the lead on the first swallow, backed up dark fruits, and fading into an unexpected crispness on the finish that makes Coming Home 2013 lighter than a classic Belgian dubbel.  A little bit of spice comes in on subsequent sips, but it mostly holds the sweet fruit and toffee flavors throughout, indicating this beer would be a compatible mate with non-chocolate desserts.

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

ComingHome2013toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

The Czar – Avery Brewing Company

avery_bttl10.3% ABV
Purchased at City Beer Store in San Francisco (22 oz. bottle) and poured into mini globe glasses.

This beloved Russian Imperial Stout from Colorado stalwarts Avery pours an espresso black with a tight, dust-colored head.  Czar has a nose that promises dessert-like decadence – chocolate pudding, chocolate cupcakes, and bananas, with a little bit of black coffee on the periphery.  The first swallow follows up on that promise, with a big taste of moist chocolate banana nut cake welcoming the tongue, very rich and delicious.  There is a little coffee bitterness deep into the finish, and dark fruits, toffee, and wintry spices emerge as the glass warms, but that’s only if you’re able to resist subsequent sips long enough to allow those flavors to take shape.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Avery

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Top 10 Beers of 2013

Top10-2013

We were lucky enough to drink so many great beers for the first time in 2013, we had to find ways to pare this list down to a reasonable number.  For that reason, we decided to omit from consideration any beers that we tasted solely through the generosity of others.

For example, our friend Nick leapt into the world of beer trading this summer, and he was kind enough to allow us to taste such Beer Advocate Top 100 mainstays like Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Three Floyds Zombie Dust, Heady Topper, and Perennial Abraxas.  Meanwhile, our beer bar owner friends Clay and Rob gave us the opportunity to sample such legendary beers as Three Floyds Dark Lord (a 2010 vintage that was truly the best beer we had all year), Allagash FV13, and Cascade’s Kriek and Vlad the Imp Aler.  Our Michigan native friend Matt brought us Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and Founders Centennial IPA back from a holiday trip home.  None of those beers were considered for our list.

For the sake of inclusion, we also left off any new vintages of classic beers we’ve tried before, such as Black Butte XXV, The Abyss 2013, or Dark Horizon 4th Edition.  Additionally, we omitted any beers that only one of us was able to try, such as Drake’s Blue Bottle Coffee Imperial Stout, the Danish “Atheist” Imperial Stout Gudelos, Jester King Black Metal, or the Harviestoun Old Dubh 18 Year.

Within those parameters, these are our consensus best beers that we tried for the first time in 2013:

Top 10*

  • AK Alive! (Mikkeller/Anchorage)
  • Breakfast Stout (Founders)
  • Double Eye PA (Mikkeller)
  • Farkin Wheaton w00t Stout (Stone)
  • Imperial Biscotti Break (Evil Twin)
  • Pupil/Apprentice IPA’s (Societe)
  • Pure Hoppiness (Alpine)
  • Saison-Brett (Boulevard)
  • Salty Beard (Solemn Oath)
  • Triple Olde Gnarlywine (Lagunitas)

*In Alphabetical Order.

10 More Amazing Beers

  • Almanac Beer Company sour beers
  • Berserker (Midnight Sun)
  • Café Racer 15 (Bear Republic)
  • Czar (Avery)
  • Dark beers by Clown Shoes – including Vampire Slayer, Very Angry Beast, Blaecorn Unidragon and Porcine Unidragon
  • Hop Zombie (Epic)
  • Prairie Bomb (Prairie)
  • Sans Pagaie (The Bruery)
  • Steel Dawn (Columbus)
  • SweetWater B.A. IPA (SweetWater)

Burnt Fog – Track 7 Brewing Company

7.6% ABV
Purchased at Track 7 Tap Room ($3/8 oz. pour) and served in pint glasses.

This smoked porter pours a murky dark brown-black with a mid-sized, white sand head, and boasts a delectable aroma of pan grease, hickory smoke, and blackened bacon.  True to its name, Burnt Fog is filled with charred and smoky flavors on the first swallow, most notably in the form of burnt leaves, bacon, and mild tobacco.  It remains pretty sweet and drinkable throughout, never too heavy or smoke-choked, with some walnut-like bitterness on the finish.  Track 7 Brewing’s take on the smoked porter doesn’t offer the fleshy flavors of BBQ-ed meats so much as the char, smoke, and grease residuals, with coffee grounds, candied nuts, and English-style malts also making appearances.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

BurntFog_Track7

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

3XIPA – Device Brewing Company

3x_label10.5% ABV
Purchased at Capitol Beer and Tap Room ($7/13 oz. pour) and served in tulip glasses.

This debut beer from Sacramento newbie Device Brewing Company pours a clear, honey gold with a tight, off-white head.  The nose offers the sweet smells of wet grass, pears, and other stone fruits drizzled in honey, and the first swallow indicates that same sort of sweet character is ahead.  That initial impression quickly gives way to a hop bitterness that is mostly herbal and piney in nature, with a browned toast touch to the aftertaste.  3XIPA gets grassier on subsequent swallows, with a dose of alcohol burn entering the profile towards the end, although it remains fairly honeyed throughout.  Device is only brewing four styles out of the gate in order to hone their technique, and that attention to detail is evident in this promising triple IPA.

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

Device3XIPA

toasts-4   4 Toasts

William Shakespeare “Pour-trait”

Shakespeare

Dogma – BrewDog

dogmabttl7.8% ABV
Purchased at City Beer Store ($xx/22 oz. bottle) and poured into oversized wine glasses.

This “ale brewed with honey, kola nuts, poppy seed and guarana” from Scottish brewing legends BrewDog pours a brackish brown-black with a vaporous sandalwood head.  Dogma has an aroma that is surprisingly sweet, with some chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, caramel, and rustic bread grains – ultimately, it smells like chocolate pumpernickel bread.  The first swallow is powerful and perplexing, with an unusual mix of chocolate, thistles, seeds and rye, but it finishes clean with light, flowered honey flavors.  Less chocolate and more nuts enter the picture on subsequent sips, with a taste similar to Coca-Cola liberally spiked with honey and spices settling on the tongue. It’s a very odd beer, but also quite tasty as a cold-weather curiosity.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Dogma

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 464 other followers