Archive for the tag “Stillwater Artisanal Ales”

Lower Dens – Stillwater Sensory Series, Vol.1 – Stillwater Artisanal Ales

stillwater_Bttl6% ABV
Purchased at Davis Beer Shoppe ($6.99?/12.7 oz. bottle) and poured into tasting glasses.

This “ale brewed with hibiscus” pours a clear, pale yellow with a bountiful bone-white head and a nose of citrus, grass, flowers, Sour Patch candy, and a subtle farmhouse funk.  It’s marvelously refreshing on the first swallow, with a just a prickle of sour citrus cutting through the balanced barnyard sweetness.  The hibiscus flowers enter the frame on the superbly dry finish, along with clove-heavy Belgian yeast, cracker-y notes, and a touch of honeydew melon.  This stellar “Vol. 1” of Stillwater’s Sensory Series (each bottle comes w/ a QR code that when scanned links to the “full sensory experience” – i.e., a 13-minute psychedelic jam by Baltimore indie rockers Lower Dens), is light and drinkable, but packed with complex flavors and spices.

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Birra Etrusca Bronze – Dogfish Head

Birra-Etrusca-Bronze8.5% ABV

Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($13.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into mugs.

Another one of Dogfish Head’s “historical beers”, this marriage of archaeology and brewing is an attempt to recreate the ales of pre-Christ, pre-wine ancient Italy.  Birra Etrusca Bronze pours a clear bronze with a decent, dirty-white head and plenty of fizzy carbonation.  There are some incredibly funky-in-a-bad-way aromas on the nose, including raw flour, dehydrated fruits, and a touch of pilsner-y sweatsock.  Utterly curious upon the first swallow, with a mix of intense grains (thanks apparently to the use of hazelnut flour and “heirloom wheat”), along with a slightly tangy, cider-style aftertaste.  This beer presents an odd and unpleasant mix of flavors, both nutty and slightly tart, that only grow more off-putting the more you drink.   It’s simultaneously a fascinating historical project and thoroughly undrinkable.

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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.

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