Archive for the tag “beer review”

Pinchy Jeek – Anderson Valley Brewing Company

PinchyJeek_22oz8.5% ABV
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.

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PinchyJeek

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Sourtooth Tiger – The Rare Barrel

sourtooth_bttl5.2% ABV
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.

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RareBarrel

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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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Old Scallywag – Coronado Brewing Company (2013 vintage)

scallywag_bttl

11.4% ABV
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!

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OldScallywag2

 

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Weizen Double Bock – Meantime Brewing Company

meantime_bttl8.0% ABV
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.

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

 

Meantime

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The City – Calicraft Brewing Company

city_bttl

6.4% ABV
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.

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TheCity

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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.

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BrotherlyLove

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Talon Smoked Double Porter – Mendocino Brewing Company

talon_bttl

10% ABV
Purchased at Curtis Park Market ($6.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

This “smoked double porter” from Mendocino Brewing Company pours a black tea-like dark brown with a slight sandalwood head, while the nose mixes burnt kindling, savory smoked bacon, and just a little bit of Band-Aid.  That slightly medicinal aroma is thankfully absent on the palette, and instead the first swallow offers waves of maple, candied nuts, and some chocolate flavors, with a second charge dominated by bitter wood smoke.   The smoked bacon component is also present, but Talon mostly contrasts that maple and praline sweetness against birch and hickory woodiness, and the result should please fans of this style.

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Talon

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Rick and Robbie’s Spröcket Bier – Stone Brewing: Spotlight Series

sprocket_bttl

5.4% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($8.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into mini globe glasses.

This “black rye kölsch” is the first entry in Stone’s “Spotlight Series,” the winner of a blind tasting contest whose entries were sourced from Stone’s own brewers.  It pours a glossy, minor key black with a mid-sized sawdust head, and offers a welcoming nose of chocolate-y coffee, licorice, and black bread.  Sprocket Bier is surprisingly light and crisp on the palette, and also quite thirst-quenching, with the coffee and roasted nut bitterness riding in only on the finish.  The yeasty brightness of the kölsch is counterpointed by the beer’s dark and roasted qualities, and the whole thing is harmonized by the presence of rye, which also adds a nice snap to the aftertaste.  It is an excellent intersection of chocolate, coffee, yeasty dark bread, rye, and nuts, and it consistently maintains a light and lovely mouthfeel.

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Sprocket

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Cellar Series: Love Child #3 – Boulevard Brewing Company

Love_Child_No3_bttl

9.5% ABV
Purchased at Final Gravity ($19.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This bourbon-barrel aged sour ale from Kansas City-based Boulevard pours a ruby-tinged rust color with a mid-sized beach sand head, and a fair amount of flotsam in the body. Sour fruit aromas sock you in the nose, including SweeTarts, pineapples, tart berries, and red wine.  A big tartness also asserts itself on the tongue, but the beer finishes pretty clean, with grapefruit, slightly immature strawberries, green apple, and even lime coming to the fore.  Some of the barrel makes its way onto the palette on subsequent swallows, but the most accurate analogue to the beer is a sour apple-flavored Jolly Rancher.  We cellared this beer for 14 months before uncorking, and I did not recall it being this fruit-driven and boldly tart in the spring of 2013, nor this distinct and nuanced.  My suspicions were seemingly confirmed by the bottle itself, which includes icons indicating low fruitiness and medium sour-ness, although many Beer Advocate reviewers from the time of release mention green apples, tart berries, and the like.  Either way, this beer is fantastic, and should hold up in the cellar for at least another year. 

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

 

LoveChild

 

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