Archive for the month “April, 2013”

La Gold – Birra San Martino

lagold_bttl7.6% ABV
Purchased through The Rare Beer Club (around $23/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into globe glasses. 

This “strong honey bock” from up-and-coming Swiss brewers Birra San Martino pours a murky raisin brown with a mid-sized, dirty white head.  The distinctive and fairly promising nose of La Gold offers chestnuts, raw flour, twigs and leaves, and some dark fruits.  Nuts and grains appear first on the tongue, fading nicely into richer flavors like caramel, flowered honey, and plum-y chocolate.  La Gold has a unique flavor that is earthy and contemplative, and yet still quite drinkable, with complex waves of roasted nuts, cereal grains, and hints of honey, plums, and raisins washing across the palette.  La Gold gets more flower-y as it warms, with wild berry notes coming on and less of those richer caramel flavors.  With a little more sediment in the glass, some barrel root beer and sarsaparilla enters the frame.  What a beer!

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts


toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Heavenly Feijoa Tripel – Lips of Faith Series New Belgium/Dieu du Ciel! Collaboration

feijoa_bttl9% ABV
Purchased at Nugget Market ($8.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into goblet glasses.

This Lips of Faith collaboration between Colorado legends New Belgium and Montreal-based Dieu du Ciel! – brewers of the excellent Solstice d’Hiver barley wine – pours a heavily burnished gold with a slight white head.  The strong nose smells of fermented barnyard grains, Belgian yeast, and the hibiscus flowers promised on the bottle.  However, it’s a tart, super-sweet tropical note that dominates the palette, presumably from the addition of feijoa (aka “pineapple guava”), eventually fading into more of those strong, spicy grains.  It’s definitely an original brew, and I have loved other Lips of Faiths beers (including the new Cascara Quad), but it’s also pretty one-note and too sweet for my tastes.  (2½ toasts)

toasts-2.5   2.5 Toasts


toasts-2.5   2.5 Toasts

Jack D’Or – Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project

jackdor_bttl6.4% ABV
Purchased at BevMo in Elk Grove ($7.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into wine glasses.

This saison from Cambridge, Mass.-based Pretty Things pours a cloudy pineapple yellow with a fairly slight white head.  The nose gives off hay, copious grains, lemon and grapefruit citrus, and hardly any Belgian-style funk.  Jack D’Or is more grounded on the tongue, with the expected Belgian yeast flavors offset by an immense bill of grains and spicy hops.  Bananas and cloves dominate the front end, with more grains backing them up, and a piney-spicy bitterness on the aftertaste.  It’s a decent drink, but also a real mouthful for a mid-ABV saison, and certainly too heavy and aggressive to be called refreshing.

toasts-3   3 Toasts


toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

Coming Home Holiday Ale 2012 – Grand Teton Brewing Company

ComingHome2012_bttl10% ABV
Purchased at Davis Beer Shoppe ($10.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

This Grand Teton holiday seasonal pours a clear redwood brown with a nearly nonexistent light tan head, and a nose dominated by dark fruits (mostly plums and grapes), as well as apricots and wet wood.  It’s much woodier on the tongue, offering classic barley wine flavors like barrel oak, brown sugar, and caramel upfront, and culminating with peppery yeast in the aftertaste.  Coming Home 2012 combines American-style strength with some interesting Belgian textures and bottle-conditioning, resulting in a relatively light and un-sticky beer given the style and ABV.  It’s an excellent version of a classic style with some unique twists, as apple pie spices and an almost IPA-like abundance of piney hops complete the flavor profile.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts


toasts-4   4 Toasts

Double Eye PA – Mikkeller

mikkeller-double-eye-bttl14% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shop ($6.99/11.2 oz. bottle) and poured into tasting glasses.

Legendary Danish brewer Mikkeller produces this eye-popping 14% ABV Imperial IPA, which pours an opaque cantaloupe orange with a tight white head, and a strong nose of orange, hard alcohol, and pine needles.  Double Eye PA is perfectly brutalizing upon first swallow, with alcoholic citrus and butterscotch candy taking the lead, and a palette-crusing pine bitterness bringing up the rear.  This remarkable brew goes big on every possible flavor profile of a Double IPA – sweet, bitter, pine-y, citrus-y, boozy, and with strong suggestions of butterscotch and caramel.  Each small sip packs a wallop of diverse flavors, making a monstrous impression on the taste buds, and yet the end result has a curious sort of balance.  Take your time and let this beer do its work.  One caveat: there is copious yeast sediment in the bottle that can dilute the flavors, so be careful not to overpour.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts


toasts-5-small   5 Toasts

Black Albert – De Struise Brouwers

lBlackAlbertBottle13% ABV
Purchased at Davis Beer Shoppe ($9.99/11.2 oz. bottle) and poured into tasting glasses.

Oosvleteren-based Belgian brewers De Struise produce this masterful 100 IBU “Royal Stout”, which pours a deep-space black with a tight, brown sugar head and a body that looks as thick as molasses.  Black Albert’s beckoning nose offers heavy aromas like licorice, bark, and red wine barrels, but with some surprisingly bright floral and citrus notes, almost like African coffee.  The taste is absolutely delicious – dark chocolate and citrus, as well some caramel and licorice – while the body is remarkably light and the aftertaste lingers pleasurably on the palette like great coffee.  This beer is not particularly boozy considering the 13% ABV, instead offering a whirlwind of complexity, including touches of milk chocolate, orange, and red wine, in an utterly drinkable package.

toasts-5-small    5 Toasts


toasts-5-small    5 Toasts


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