Archive for the tag “3.5 Toasts”

Brotherly Love – The Commons Brewery

BroLove-commons-bttl10% ABV
Purchased at Final Gravity ($11.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into goblet glasses.

This “bourbon barrel aged Belgian dark strong with sour cherries and cocoa nibs” pours a dark and brackish espresso brown with a marshmallow-like, sawdust-colored head.  Hard alcohol and barrel wood aromas assert themselves on the nose, with dark cherries, dark chocolate, and some citrus peel on the periphery.  Wood and alcohol take the lead on the tongue as well, although here those flavors are given depth by the cocoa nibs, as well as a little bit of tartness from the cherries.  Still, the most robust flavors (freshly cut wood and bourbon neat) seem to come straight from the barrel, and the fact that the Portland-based brewery The Commons used a Belgian dark as a base may have given the alcohol-soaked staves more to latch on to. Brotherly Love has a powerful firewater character, but there is also some nuance and craft, and despite being a little overwhelming, the flavors of this beer are still quite good.

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

BrotherlyLove

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Black IPA – Hop Odyssey Series – Green Flash Brewing Company

green-blackipa-bttl

7.2% ABV
Purchased at Curtis Park Market ($6.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into Green Flash tulip glasses.

This plainly named hoppy dark ale from beloved San Diego brewers Green Flash pours an espresso bean dark brown-black with a mid-sized and slowly fading tan-colored head.  The expected Black IPA aromas of leafy hops and burnt toast are present, but the supporting smells favor dark fruits and berries over the usual coffee-like roast.  Green Flash Black IPA offers an excellent mix of fresh hops and scorched grains on the first swallow, with a bitterness that is reminiscent of coffee without necessarily matching its flavor profile.  Fresh and assertive hop bittering helps to offset the chalkiness that can sometimes creep into black IPAs, and fans of the style should appreciate this beer, even if the flavors are a little overstated.

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

GreenFlash-BlackIPA


toasts-3.5
   3.5 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

Black’s Dawn – Cismontane Brewing Company

cismontane-blacksdawn_bttl8.5% ABV, 50 IBUs, 30 SRM
Purchased at City Beer Store in San Francisco ($5.99/16 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

This imperial coffee stout brewed by Rancho Santa Margarita-based Cismontane pours a licorice black with a bubbly brown sugar head and a nose of chocolate-covered coffee beans, caramel, wood, and dark fruits.  Black’s Dawn leads with strong coffee and hay, with mocha coffee and a prominent bitterness coming to dominate the back end.  The finish is pretty clean, with neither the syrupy residue you often find in strong coffee beers, nor the velvety and decadent texture of many imperial stouts.  Instead, the lasting impression is of wood, smoke, and a profound coffee and hop bitterness, along with touches of vanilla and an unusual grape or berry note that I can’t quite place. 

toasts-3.5    3.5 Toasts

Cismontane_BlacksDawn

 toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

 

As Follows – Stillwater Artisanal Ales

stillwater_bttl9% ABV

Purchased at Davis Beer Shoppe ($13.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This “eschatological ale” (no one told Baltimore-based Stillwater Artisanal Ales that the Mayans were full of it?) pours a bright but opaque pale gold with an extremely dense, shocking-white head.  As Follows offers a nose of barnyard funk, bread, peach, and a little bit of butterscotch, fairly Belgian-y in all with some subtle spice notes.  The taste is decidedly un-sweet and very rustic, with a taste and light mouthfeel reminiscent of seltzer water, along with an aftertaste of funk, rye, garden herbs, and some touches of spice and wood.  It’s a very subtle and drinkable beer that doesn’t quite live up to the price tag, although it could be a hit amongst beer geeks with sensitive palettes.

toasts-3.5    3.5 Toasts

Stillwater_AsFollows

toasts-3.5    3.5 Toasts

 

Mad Meg – Jester King Brewing

9.6% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($12.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

This “farmhouse provision ale” from Austin, Texas-based Jester King pours a murky tangerine with a billowy ivory head and an understated nose of banana, bubblegum, guava, and Belgian funk.  Its first swallow is a crisp mouthful, combining the snap of rustic spices with the fruity effervescence of champagne, along with enough dusky farmhouse bite to keep your interest on the long alcohol finish.  Mad Meg is an unusual and not entirely successful brew, with an atypically hefty ABV for a “traditional” saison, but it manages to be simultaneously aggressive and approachable.

  3.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

  3.5 Toasts

Lost and Found (The Lost Abbey)

8.0% ABV
Purchased at BevMo ($7.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

Lost and Found pours a ruddy, raisin brown with an insubstantial, light brown head, and smells of sour fruit, sweet wood, and a prominent yeastiness.  The taste is heavy on fruits and a mature sourness, but there is also a solid ale backbone.  Although the bottle advertises this brew as “Ale Brewed With Raisins”, the raisin taste is not especially notable upfront, only barely peaking through the bitter-sour aftertaste.  This tastes like a barrel-aged beer, most likely with wild yeast added, and the contribution of the raisins is probably towards the earthy, textured mouthfeel.  The flavor profile is filled with complexity – some Dubbel-like features, hop bitterness, chewy yeast, back-end sourness – that rises and falls in waves across the palette.   Lost and Found does seem to go flat pretty quickly, yet it’s too heavy for anything more than slow sipping and moderate consumption.

   3 1/2 Toasts

Her Notes:

   3 1/2 Toasts


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