Archive for the category “4-5 Toasts”

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

 

toasts-4   4 Toasts

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.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

 

GOT

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Arctic Soiree – Grassroots Brewing and Anchorage Brewing Company

 

grassrootsanchorage_arctic_saison_bttl6% ABV, 12 degrees Plato
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($14.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This “ale fermented and aged in oak tanks with brettanomyces, lime juice and hibiscus” is another collaboration beer between Alaska-based Anchorage and Grassroots, a Vermont farmstead brewery.  Arctic Soiree pours a gorgeous, burnished color that is equal parts ruby red grapefruit flesh and ruddy apricot, with a mid-sized, bone white head.  It has a bright nose of barnyard must, brettanomyces, citrus juice, grapefruit, and oak tannins.  Sweet, candy-like citrus and white wine grapes push to the front on the first swallow, backed by tart and flowery notes courtesy of the lime juice and hibiscus.  Papaya, oak, aspirin tablets, cantaloupe, and other more rounded melon flavors emerge on later swallows.  This is a very refreshing and original beer, a worthy successor to last year’s Grassroots/Anchorage collaboration Arctic Saison, with none of the potentially offensive and discordant components over-asserting themselves.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

ArticSoiree

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

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.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Speackeasy_BlackHand

toasts-4   4 Toasts

Valley of the Hearts Delight – Almanac Beer Company

almanac_valley_bttl7% ABV
Purchased at Corti Brothers (12.68 oz. bottle) and poured into mini-wine glasses.

This “ale brewed with apricots, loquats, and cherries and aged in used wine barrels” pours a pale, citrus juice gold with a tight ivory head and some fruit flotsam in the glass.  Sour fruit aromas beckon you on the nose, with a fantastic fruit bowl of smells that includes grapefruit, kumquat, kiwi, sour grapes, banana, and even watermelon.  Valley of the Hearts Delight offers lovely tart and sour fruit flavors on the first swallow, but it’s refreshing instead of face-puckering.  Except for the steady presence of oak tannins, all of the flavors are fruity – pulpy pink grapefruit, sour cherries, assorted juicy berries, lemon zest, kiwi, and guava.  This ambitious and brilliant beer hits a wide variety of notes on the palette, and all of them are perfectly in key.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Almanac-ValleyHearts

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Vieille Artisanal Saison – Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project

vieille-bttl

4.2% ABV
Purchased at Capitol Beer and Tap Room (12.7 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

This “artisanal saison aged in oak barrels” pours a clear, pale grapefruit juice yellow with a slight, bright white head.  It lovingly socks you with major farmhouse and tropical fruit aromas in front, and those are backed up in the nose by sour apple, hay, and earthy hops.  Well-rounded citrus dominates the first swallow, ending with a juicy finish of wet grass, mango, and lemon peel.  There is not much sourness here, just some citrus-y tartness, along with green apple, pineapple juice, dry crackers, and hops.  Vieille is one of the best beers I’ve had from Crooked Stave, a delicious and refreshing saison with a delicate touch on the palette.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Vieille-CrookedStave

toasts-4   4 Toasts

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.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

SourRye-Kumquats

toasts-4   4 Toasts

The Czar – Avery Brewing Company

avery_bttl10.3% ABV
Purchased at City Beer Store in San Francisco (22 oz. bottle) and poured into mini globe glasses.

This beloved Russian Imperial Stout from Colorado stalwarts Avery pours an espresso black with a tight, dust-colored head.  Czar has a nose that promises dessert-like decadence – chocolate pudding, chocolate cupcakes, and bananas, with a little bit of black coffee on the periphery.  The first swallow follows up on that promise, with a big taste of moist chocolate banana nut cake welcoming the tongue, very rich and delicious.  There is a little coffee bitterness deep into the finish, and dark fruits, toffee, and wintry spices emerge as the glass warms, but that’s only if you’re able to resist subsequent sips long enough to allow those flavors to take shape.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Avery

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Oyster Stout – Upright Brewing Company

uprght_oyster_bttl6.25% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($11.49/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

This “stout brewed with oysters” from Portland, Oregon-based Upright pours a squid ink black with a thick, light-brown head, and a nose of licorice, bark, coffee-flavored chocolate, brown sugar, and slight sea brine.  Upright Oyster Stout has an exceptionally light mouthfeel, on the verge of watery, but that first impression is followed by an outburst of flavors.  The taste is powerful and inscrutable, touching on but not quite imitating flavors of chocolate, coffee, dirt, wood, barrel root beer, black licorice, sarsaparilla, and dark fruit tannins.  A touch of salty, oyster shell brine on the finish urges your palette towards the next sip, and this masterful and mysterious beer proves to be compulsively drinkable.

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Upright_Oyster

toasts-3.5   3.5 Toasts

He Said Tripel – 21st Amendment/Elysian collaboration

HeSaid_Tripel8.2% ABV
Purchased at Curtis Park Market ($11.99/4-pack of 12-oz. cans) and poured into goblet glasses.

This collaboration between San Francisco’s 21st Amendment and Seattle’s Elysian is a Belgian tripel brewed with pumpkins, tarragon, and galangal (aka Thai ginger).  It pours a light, peachy orange with a tight white head, and presents a lot of earthiness and spice on the nose, including pumpkin and gourd flesh, sweet potatoes, ginger, and other autumnal spices.  He Said Tripel feels lighter on the tongue than anticipated, with a nice effervescence on the front end that gives way to those expected autumn spice-bomb flavors, led by pumpkin, ginger, and candied yams.  Despite the potential here for a cutesy hybrid, the flavor profile is expertly balanced, with a little banana-like sweetness cutting through the heavy, lingering spice notes.

toasts-4   4 Toasts

HeSaid_Tripel

toasts-4.5   4.5 Toasts

Post Navigation