Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Tropical Tripel – Cigar City/de Proef Collaboration

de-proef-tropical-tripel-bttl

9.5% ABV
Purchased through Rare Beer Club and poured into goblet glasses.

This limited release collaboration between Belgian brewers De Proef and Tampa-based Cigar City pours a clear mandarin orange with a minimal bright white head.  Tropical Tripel was “aged on oak chips with coconuts and peaches”, and the nose offers a pina colada-style aroma of tropical fruits, including oranges, guavas, pineapples, and coconuts, with hints of Belgian farmhouse yeast.  It is strong and sweet on the palette as well, dominated by distinctly overripe fruit flavors like oranges, tangerines, guavas, and bananas, along with a touch of hop bitterness on the aftertaste.  The fruit adjuncts definitely heighten the candied fruit and hay taste of a Belgian tripel, but while this brew is thirst-quenching and flavorful, the overwhelming sweetness quickly becomes stomach-turning.

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TropicalTripel

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Oud Bruin – Grand Teton Brewing Company

OudBruin_bttl

6% ABV
Purchased at Final Gravity ($10.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This anniversary-related re-brew from Victor, Idaho-based Grand Teton pours a ruby-tinged copper with a minute, off-white head.  Oud Bruin has an interesting and fairly inscrutable nose of wood, caramel, mixed berries, and pie crust.  The taste is richer than the aroma suggests, emphasizing bread and toffee flavors, and without any significant tart or fruity notes.   Some Belgian esters and a touch of hoppiness come in on the finish, but the most dominant flavor here is the caramel/toffee malt overtones, balanced out by buttery yeast.  I’m usually an enthusiastic fan of the Grand Teton Cellar Reserve series, but Oud Bruin is more curious than satisfying, and needed more carbonation to prevent its fairly neutral flavor profile.

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OudBruin

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Centennial IPA – Founders Brewing Co.

founders_CentIPA7.2% ABV, 65 IBUs
Purchased by beer sherpa Matt S. in the State of Michigan and served in taster glasses.

This highly lauded IPA is from Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Founders, a brewery that rarely if ever makes an appearance on Sacramento-area taplists and bottle shop shelves.  Their Centennial IPA – named after the brew’s primary hop source – pours a deep honey gold with a minimal eggshell-white head.  Big citrus and floral notes come off the nose, but it’s still a more restrained aroma than one would get from a West Coast IPA.  The first swallow offers a mixture of citrus and rye spice up front, a fantastic frosted hops flavor in the magnificently dry middle third, and a polite wallop of pine resin and citrus peel on the impressive finish.  Centennial IPA is a beer that tells a story, going through numerous phases and hitting several different notes, all of them true.

toasts-4.5    4.5 Toasts

Founders_CentIPA

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Heelch O’Hops – Anderson Valley Brewing Company

lHeelchOHopsBottle

8.7% ABV
Purchased at Curtis Park Market ($6.99/22 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This Double IPA from Boonville-based Anderson Valley – makers of the venerable Boont Amber Ale – pours a solid cantaloupe gold with a mid-sized dusty white head and thick lacing on the glass.  The nose leaps out of the bottle on first pour, dominated by frosty pine and bitter-sweet citrus, mostly lemons and grapefruits with some candied orange and dewy grass.  Pine sap bitterness and grapefruit zest obliterate the tongue on first swallow, making a monstrous impression on the palette in the vein of West Coast hop bombs.  Although it gets a little more buttery and cracker-y on subsequent swallows, Heelch O’Hops is drinkable but not for timid palettes, and yet it’s not particularly nuanced either.

toasts-3.5    3.5 Toasts

HeelchOHops

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Cerasus – Logsdon Farmhouse Ales

cerasus_logsdon_btl

8.5% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shop ($20.49/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into globe glasses.

This barrel-aged Flanders Red Ale from Hood-River, Oregon-based Logsdon pours a rusty red with a cloudy body and a sizable pink champagne head.  The understated nose contains mostly the fresh Oregon cherries promised on the bottle, offset by breadiness and a grace note of caramelization. Marvelously restrained tart cherries greet you on the first swallow, backed by a refreshing sweetness, with a just little sourness remaining on the tongue.  Cerasus was brewed with two pounds of cherries per gallon, and although the cherry flavor is omnipresent, it is never sickly sweet.  Instead, the emphasis is on the sublime interplay between the rustic fruit flavors and the farmhouse yeast strains, with a neutral seltzer-y note keeping them all in perfect balance.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Logsdon_Cerasus

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Panil Divina – Barrel-aged version

 

panil_bttl6.5% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($20.49/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into flute glasses.

This “Spontaneously Fermented Italian Ale” pours a honeyed gold with a large and extremely fluffy white head, and an angrily agitated body similar to champagne.  The enticing but not overpowering nose is a farmhouse morning of lemons, grapefruits, and dry grass.  Panil Divina smells like fresh country air and tastes like fresh farm produce – it offers a refreshing lemon taste on first swallow, with grapefruit and tangerine on the retreat.  Bitter melon, sour grapes, and barnyard funk flavors emerge in the satisfying aftertaste of this beer, which was fermented in open air with several yeasts and aged in French Oak.   It’s not as dry as you would expect, and is surprisingly balanced and thirst-quenching for such a high-maintenance brew.

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Panil

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