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His and Hers Mid-Year Top 5

As we enter the second half of 2012, we also enter the second half of His and Hers Beers Notes’ first year.  We’ve reviewed nearly sixty beers in our first six months, including over a dozen brews that we’ve both awarded 4.5 toasts or more (what can I say, we’re picky about what we drink).  That left us with a lot of worthy candidates when we set down to compile our list of the top 5 beers we’ve reviewed so far, but the top two stood out right away.

1. Jack N Jolly – Drake’s

We sampled this barrel-aged wonder during SF Beer Week at The Page, where He successfully Roshamboed for the last two seats at the bar.  We’ve both been cultists to Drake’s barrel-aged masterpieces for a while, and Jack N Jolly is one of their best.  It looks like sewage water and tastes like Heaven – He gushed, “all in one swallow, it’s bitter, woody, fruity, roasted, toasted, and sweet”; She swooned over the liqueur-filled chocolate and toasted coconut flavors.

2. Sweet and Sour – HaandBryggeriet

This was intended to be a special treat from one of our new favorite breweries to celebrate our 50threview, and instantly became one of our all-time favorites.  He loved how this Norwegian brew’s “Sour Patch pucker” was counterbalanced by “the ripe orange and sweet melon flavors”; She loved that the taste of liqueur-soaked sponge cake was wrapped in the shimmery mouthfeel of champagne.

3. Trappistes Rochefort 10 – Abbye St. Remy

Abbye St. Remy’s classic Belgian quad inspired our senses to no end – He found wood and freshly pulled taffy in the nose, with cooked berries, toffee, and licorice on the palette; She discovered apple caramel tart and cherry brandy tastes inside of the “mango chutney color”. Sent to us by Kyle T.

4. Pliny The Younger – Russian River

A tipoff e-mail from Pangaea Two Brews helped us to beat the crowds for a rare post-Beer Week pouring of Russian River’s legendary limited release Imperial IPA.  He fell for “the complex mix of bitter and sweet notes on the palette” and the “dry, cakelike texture”; She thought the “clarified butter coloration” matched perfectly with the taste of biscuits and herbed butter.

5. Ovila Quad – Sierra Nevada

Another great Belgian quad, only this one came from Northern California’s own Sierra Nevada.  He felt that it had “a flavor profile similar to a smoky scotch or a mild brandy”; She found complex flavors of bourbon and cherry. Sent to us by Tricia D.

Cheers to six more months of great beer in 2012!

Pliny the Younger (Russian River Brewing)

11% ABV
Purchased at Pangaea and poured into miniature wine glasses.

His Notes:

The legendary limited release Imperial IPA from Russian River pours a clear, pale, hay yellow with a minimal white head.  It smells of citrus trees, melons, freshly cut pine, and a little bit of bubblegum.  Pliny the Younger offers a very complex mix of bitter and sweet notes on the palette, but it’s subtle and nuanced on both sides of the equation.  The pine bitterness is so fresh it’s practically zesty, with more pine needles than palette-wrecking pine resin in the long and lingering aftertaste.  There is a dry, cakelike texture to the sweetness, as well as a mixture of melons and citrus fruits, but it’s the oily bitterness that dominates the tongue as those other flavors fade.

  4.5 Toasts

Her Notes:

  4.5 Toasts

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