Archive for the tag “4-4.5 Toasts”

Friendship Brew – Green Flash/Brasserie St-Feuillien – SoCal Taster

5.7% ABV
Purchased at the Green Flash Tasting Room ($4/13 oz. serving) and poured into tulip glasses.

This black saison was brewed in collaboration between San Diego County’s Green Flash and Belgian stalwart Brasserie St-Feuillien.  It pours a murky black with a tight, cola-colored head, and a lively nose of Belgian yeast, nutmeg, dried figs, and black olives.  Friendship Brew offers unique farmhouse flavors on the first swallow, tempered by savory spices but fairly devoid of barnyard funk.  The taste never quite gets sour, but there is a tantalizing, ever-present tang, while dusky spices confound the tongue and peppery yeast settles on the palette.  There is a rye-like structure and a surprisingly light mouthfeel to this dark farmhouse ale, but Friendship Brew is well-hopped enough to stay true to the Green Flash ethos while remaining a mysteriously pleasing beer. 

 

   4.5 Toasts

 

   4 Toasts

BRUX – Russian River/Sierra Nevada

8.3% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($15.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into flute glasses.

His Notes:

This collaboration between NorCal brewing legends Russian River and Sierra Nevada pours a burnished gold with a sizable off-white head.  The bottle describes Brux as a “domesticated wild ale”, and indeed it offers the expected barnyard funk aromas along with some citrus zest and tangerine.  It is spectacularly dry on the palette – the body is visibly similar to prosecco – with notes of citrus fruit, melon, and grass. There is some funk on the tongue, but the lasting impression is a dry, cracker-like bitterness offset by oranges, tangerines, and melon.   Brux has an interesting, fruit-forward complexity, with bready yeast flavors (and even a little saltiness) on the retreat, but the higher-than-average ABV makes it a little heavier than necessary.

  4 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4.5 Toasts

Ballast Point – Sextant

6.4% ABV
Purchased at California State Fair ($9/16 oz. bottle) and poured into plastic cups.

His Notes:

This oatmeal stout brewed with copious amounts of Café Calabria coffee pours an impenetrable onyx with an almost nonexistent sand-colored head.  Silky coffee dominates the nose, but it also possesses notes of licorice, plum, and rich loam. Sextant’s strong taste follows suit – nuanced coffee flavors mingle with vanilla bean deserts, and those tastes are offset with earthiness and given depth and creaminess by the addition of oats.  The finish is long-lasting and fairly powerful, but also tasty and well-balanced – coffee is the predominant flavor, along with more vanilla and black licorice.   I imagine this brew would stand up very well to barrel-aging.

  4.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4 Toasts

Foret Blanche – Brasserie DuPont

5.5% ABV
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($12.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into pint glasses.

His Notes:

In honor of Belgian Independence Day today, we sampled this Belgian Witbier from Leuze-en-Hainaut-based Brasserie Dupont, the same brewery that produces Moinette Blonde.  Foret Blanche pours an extremely pale gold with a champagne-style white head and a spring-summery nose of lemon zest, apricot, and various grasses.  The fresh, lemony flavor is thirst-quenching but not mouth-coating, with a clean finish and a dewy mouthfeel.  There are some tasty but unimposing citrus and tropical notes throughout, making this a perfect brunch beer in place of a peach mimosa, or a lawnmower beer in lieu of a lemon shandy.

  4.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4 Toasts

Victor and Victoria – Allagash

In a break from tradition, His and Hers Beer Notes sampled two separate companion brews from Portland, Maine’s Allagash Brewing Company – He sampled and reviewed their red grape-infused Victor, while She sampled and sketched their white grape-infused Victoria.

9% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea ($9/10 oz. pour) and served in tulip glasses.

His Notes – Allagash Victor:

This strong Belgian ale was brewed with 100 pounds of red Chancellor grapes (its companion Victoria was brewed with 200 pounds of Chardonnay grapes), and it pours a glassy burnt orange with a white marshmallow sauce head.  Allagash Victor captivates the nose with complex and ester-y aromas of peach, Belgian yeast, and candied sugar. The grapes come in on the first swallow, but they are instantly followed by sublime raisin and complex barnyard and tropical flavors, with some lovely melon and cucumber on the aftertaste.  This is a thought-provoking brew, light and thirst-quenching, but mysterious and tantalizing at the same time.

  4.5 Toasts

Her Notes – Allagash Victoria:

  4 Toasts

Biere du Soleil – Brasserie d’Achouffe

6.3% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea ($7.50/10 oz. pour) and served in tulip glasses.

His Notes:

This “summer seasonal” from the venerated Belgian Brasserie d’Achouffe pours a hazy cantaloupe orange with a minimal bone-white head and a nose of citrus zest, hay, and fermented grapes.  There is more citrus bitterness on the palette, but the edges are rounded out by softer fruit flavors like melon, peach, kumquat, and orange, with a welcome background of farmhouse funk.  Biere Soleil isn’t a particularly challenging brew, but it’s certainly tasty, refreshing, and fairly complex for the style.  It’s a very pleasant warm weather saison, with very little of the icky mouth-coating sensation I often associate with citrus-forward summer beers.


  4 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4.5 Toasts

La Terrible – Unibroue

10.5% ABV
Purchased at Corti  Brothers and poured into globe glasses.

His Notes:

Quebec-based Unibroue’s La Terrible pours a ruddy black with a fluffy but quickly retreating desert sand-colored head, and a nose of black licorice, pepper, and rustic bread.  This Strong Belgian Dark Ale possesses a very complex palate that mixes raisins, nutmeg and pepper spices, dark fruits, spun candy, and coffee.  La Terrible leaves an immense bread and dried fruit impression that lingers pleasurably on the tongue, and takes on more and more complex bitterness the longer it sits.  A strong but contemplative slow-sipper, this would be a magnificent desert beer to pair with heavy deserts like caramel brownies or rum cake in place of coffee.

  4.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4 Toasts

Oro de Calabaza (Jolly Pumpkin)

8% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea Bottle Shoppe ($13.49/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

This Biere de Garde from Dexter, Michigan-based Jolly Pumpkin pours a pale, cloudy hay-yellow with a vaporous white head.  Oro de Calabaza has a pungent but utterly inviting nose of pepper, old oak, sour grapes, and musty wild yeast – classic barnyard funk aromas, but slightly sweeter.  Golden honey-sweet flavors mingle with the souring effects of brettanomyces and oak barrels (the standard for all Jolly Pumpkin beers), but it’s all very measured and balanced and pure.  There is also some lemon zest, mild spice, tangy fruit, and wood from the barrel-aging, and although sour-ness dominates the aftertaste, it’s consistently textured and eminently drinkable.

  4.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

   4 Toasts


Anniversary Barley Wine Ale (Uinta Brewing)

10.4% ABV
Purchased at Davis Beer Shoppe ($8.99/4-pack of 12 oz. bottles) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

Salt Lake City-based Uinta’s Anniversary Barley Wine Ale pours a ruby-brown with a fairly substantial tan head.  It offers a surprisingly delicate nose of pine needles, barrel wood, and a little tropical fruit, not quite the expectations for an American barley wine. There are more piney hops here and less of the syrupy sweetness common to this style of beer, with touches of raisins and brown sugar, although the expected fermented wood flavor edges in on the long and warm finish.  Anniversary Barley Wine Ale has sweetness and strength, but it’s refined and mellow, sneaking up behind you rather than attacking you head-on.  (4 toasts).

  4 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4.5 Toasts


Autumn Farmhouse Pale 2011 (Almanac Beer)

7 % ABV, 29 IBUs
Purchased at Taylor’s Market ($16.99/25.4 oz. bottle) and poured into tulip glasses.

His Notes:

Brewed with pesticide-free plums from the Central Valley, Almanac’s Autumn Farmhouse Pale pours pale honey gold with a fluffy white head.  The utterly appetizing nose blends Belgian yeast and barnyard funk with orchard fruits, including plums that smell like they’re bursting out of their skin.  There is a little more spiciness than expected on the tongue, but it’s backed up beautifully by bittersweet plum and citrus rind flavors.  Although there are fewer of the farmhouse/saison qualities than the nose would suggest, this beer is fruity and refreshing from first sip to last, and the addition of unrefined wheat lends it a distinctly summer-y feel.

  4 Toasts

Her Notes:

4.5 Toasts


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