Archive for the tag “4 Toasts”

2013 Black Tuesday – The Bruery

black-tuesday-beer

18.9% ABV
Purchased through The Bruery online shop and poured into mini tasting glasses.

This already legendary bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout from Orange County-based The Bruery pours a midnight black with a vaporous, light brown head.  It smacks you with hard alcohol aromas upon the first crack of the bottle, but chocolate, coffee and wet wood notes emerge when you dial in further.  An eye popper upon first swallow, with the flavors working on two different levels – throat-clearing booziness on one end of the palette, spectacularly strong and nuanced chocolate and coffee on the other.  Black Tuesday is a masterful slow-sipper, and not as grossly sweet as some of The Bruery’s other big-ass brews.  The beer works wonders if you take your time with it, growing a little more peppery on the aftertaste, and with vanilla bean and wood growing stronger the longer it warms.

   4.5 Toasts

BlackTuesday

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Vintage 2014 – Grand Teton Brewing Company

grandteton_bttl8.5% ABV
Purchased through the Rare Beer Club and poured into tulip glasses.

This “rum barrel aged Belgian-style ale with spices” began as a blend of two Grand Teton beers – the Bitch Creek XX Double ESB and the 2014 Coming Home quad.  The resulting blend pours a rusty, date brown with a minimal off-white head, and offers a most unusual nose, an allspice and clove spice bomb set amidst classic Belgian aromas of dark fruits and toffee.  Vintage 2014 is extremely tasty and distinct on the first swallow – a fascinating mix of holiday spices, toffee deserts, and Trappist yeast.  There are strong spices, but they remain in perfect balance, and serve as complements to the overarching flavor of toffee apples and rum-soaked fruitcake, with orange peel especially lingering on the palette.  It is similar to a hot toddy served cold, and the beer is smooth and drinkable in addition to its novel complexity.

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GrandTeton

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Dark Pumpkin Sour – Almanac Brewing Company

almanac_drkpumpkin_bttl

7% ABV
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.

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Almanac_DarkPumpkin

 

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Fire and Blood – Ommegang

GoTbeer_bttl6.8% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($9.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This third Game of Thrones-themed beer from Cooperstown, New York-based Ommegang pours a rusty red with a massive, persistent, off-white head.  Through the thick froth, you can make out an interesting nose of dark fruits (especially plums) and chili peppers, along with some notes of Belgian spice.  Although this hoppy Belgian red ale has been spiced up with the addition of Ancho chiles (as well as spelt and rye), there is no major heat on the tongue or in the throat, just a consistent chile flavor accenting the base taste of apple, plum, and berry.  Fire and Blood is far more drinkable than you would expect from the description, offering delicious but relatively restrained Belgian-style flavors with a lot of depth and nuance.

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GOT

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Black Hand – Speakeasy

BlackHand_bttl6.9% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market in Sacramento ($6.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

This milk stout “brewed with cacao nibs” pours an impenetrable ebony with a short, brown head.  Big chocolate cake and heavy cream smells greet the nose upon first sniff, along with a curious mineral scent and a little bit of graham cracker, coffee, and milk chocolate.  The first swallow is dessert-y and delicious, with chocolate and milk mingling on the palette alongside a grassy taste that (if I know my old-guard West Coast breweries…) is probably courtesy of an amped-up hop profile.  The mouthfeel gets milkier on the finish, with flavors of chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, mineral water, and half-and-half also entering the picture.

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Speackeasy_BlackHand

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Sour in the Rye with Kumquats – The Bruery

bruery-sourrye-kumquats-bttl7.6% ABV
Purchased through The Bruery Provisions (25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into wine glasses.

This variation on Sour in the Rye was aged in oak barrels with kumquats, and it pours a muddy, peachy copper with a vaporous white head.  The somewhat perplexing aroma contains sour candy, a little vinegar, puckering citrus fruits, and oaky wine tannins.  Sour in the Rye with Kumquats has a surprisingly refreshing sourness given all of the elements in play, with the intense kumquat juiciness asserting itself on the second wave of flavor.  Oranges, lemon peels, and papayas are all present on the tongue in addition to the kumquats, and while the rye never emerges as an independent flavor, it does seem to have imbued the citrus flavors with an extra intensity.

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SourRye-Kumquats

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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.

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Device3XIPA

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Racer X – Bear Republic Brewing Company

racerx8.3% ABV
Purchased at Curtis Park Market ($7.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This beefed-up version of Bear Republic’s popular Racer 5 IPA pours a dried apricot orange with a tight white head, while the nose offers candied citrus, dank hops, oranges and peaches.  There is a nice, not-too-sticky sweetness on the first swallow, with apricot, peach, citrus fruits, grassy hops, and bubblegum all making appearances, along with some black pepper and cracker grains. The bitterness on the finish is on the sweeter end of the spectrum, and the settling flavors are bubblegum, peach, and orange, with just a touch of pine.  Racer X has a compelling and quirky finish for the style, with bubblegum, pie crust, wet grass, tangerine, and hops candy all showing up in this extremely drinkable DIPA.

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RacerX

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Hellion – Gigantic Brewing Company

gigantic_hellion_bttl

8.5% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($9.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This “dry-hopped Belgian-style golden ale” from the exciting Portland, Oregon brewers Gigantic pours a straw-like gold with a tight, bright white head.  It has the expected Belgian golden nose of strong grains, a little bit of barnyard floor, and some vague tropical notes.  The first swallow is rich with de-sweetened pineapple and papaya, building in candied flavor until subsiding into a wave of bitterness.  A nice, rum-like burn settles in on the long finish, along with some honeyed fruit, ginger root, and dry crackers.  Hellion is a very good beer, bringing a welcome earthy quality to this often overwhelmingly sweet style.

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Gigantic_Hellion

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Melrose – Beachwood Brewing

Beachwood_mel_bttlSoCal Beercation Edition

7.1% ABV
Purchased at Bottlecraft in San Diego ($8.75/22 oz. bottle) and poured into lowball hotel glasses.

Long Beach-based Beachwood’s complex and quaffable Melrose IPA pours a clear, light-honey gold with a wee off-white head and a fair amount of bubble agitation in the body.  The nose rockets out of the bottle upon the crack of the cap – magnificent, flowery, frosted-hop aromas, a little grass and funk, and melon zest aromas make you want to dive right in.  Pine and leaf flavors dominate the first swallow, fading into a restrained, rind-like bitterness that combines melon and grapefruit. This well-balanced beer offers more citrus on subsequent swallows, including unripe oranges and a little lemon, but it is a cracker-dusted grapefruit flavor that eventually settles on the palette.

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Melrose

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