August 3rd, 2009 beckel
Full Sail Brewing out of Hood River, Oregon is one employee owned brewery I highly respect but I don’t always get the opportunity to sample their wares. So when I heard they were producing a darker successor to their very sessionable Session Lager I was optimistic they would distribute it to our market. As luck has it The Four Firkins started stocking it a week or two ago and I had to grab myselfÂ a bottle to sample. This brew pours with a solid three plus fingers of light brown head when poured straight down the glass. Though there is plenty of carbonation present in this petite 110z grenade of a bottle the head is relatively loose and lasts only a couple of minutes. Color appears very black though incredibly translucent red hues are visible when brought to light. Aroma is of lightly roasty dark malts that contain some nice gentle caramel notes and a little bit of alcohol. Flavor is of slightly sweet dark malts with just a little bit of roastyness and finishes with a flat note I find in most lagers. The body of this beer is light and the mouthfeel is very plain and almost watery as I find many American Lagers. Very similar to their original Session Lager but with dark malts which I find a bit more intriguing and flavorful. Not my favorite style of beer but certainly a solid session brew and one that I could enjoy all day with a 5.4% ABV. If you are into lagers but prefer dark malts this might just be the beer for you. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
August 3rd, 2009 beckel
I have sampled and enjoyed Crispin Cider many times from their first tasting many months ago at The Four Firkins to festivals such as Indulge and the Saint Paul Beer Fest and their most recent tasting event at the Firkins this previous Friday but have never gotten around to writing about it so I figured it was high time. Crispin is a local company headquartered in North East Minneapolis that is currently producing their cider with the help of a cidery located in Norther California. Unlike many ciders on the market Crispin is made from pure apple juice and is fermented with a white wine yeast. The currently produce three varieties of cider Original, Light and Brut my favorite and the one I will be primarily focusing on here. They have also produced a beer called Honey Crisp which is a cloudy cider with honey added but have yet to produce enough to distribute. It was intended to be available shortly after the St. Paul beer fest but due to some production problems at a facility closer to home they were left with a bad batch that contained some lingering unfiltered yeast that made the brew unacceptable for distribution. We were able to sample some of a fresh batch at the Firkins and I’m pleased to say it was as tasty and unique as the last two opportunities I had to sample it and hopefully we should be seeing it sometime soon for our purchasing pleasure. Crispin whole heartedly advocates serving of their beverages over ice and I would concur so long as you don’t plan on sitting on your drink for too long. Serving over ice ensures that your cider is cold as can be and I will happily admit that gulping down some of this cold light bodied brew after hopping off your bike is a wonderful refreshment as that is exactly what I did on Friday. Crispin Brut pours an incredibly translucent slightly golden white wine hue. Aroma is of sweet apples with a gentle dry alcohol note. Tastes of fresh moderately sweet apples with a nice dry bite in the finish. The body is light as can be and the mouthfeel is incredibly clean and smooth. It is unquestionably one easy beverage to drink and with a 5.5% ABV you can enjoy many with no worries. I’ve never been one to drink a ton of cider but I often find it refreshing and this beverage is unquestionably the most refreshing, easy to drink, and overall tasty cider I have had the opportunity to consume. Not to demean the Eric Bordelet 2004 I just consumed because that stuff was great, but in a different category as far as I am concerned. If you have never enjoyed a cider I would encourage you to disregard that prejudice as to me this cider has no real comparable competitors; at least available in our market. If you prefer a sweeter cider go with their Original and if you want something lower ABV their Light is basically just their Brut watered down to 3.2% ABV. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
August 1st, 2009 beckel
Though this blogs focus is beer I certainly enjoy a variety of fermented beverages from a delicious single malt Scotch to a well crafted cider such as we have here. Yesterday The Four Firkins hosted a Crispin Cider tasting and while there I couldn’t help but go home with a good deal of cider including this bottle I have here in front of me that was suggested by Sean. From Googling a bit I have had a hard time finding much information on this brew other than it is brewed by a well known French wine maker, is certified organic and is brewed with a wild wine yeast so lets get straight to the tasting. Color is a typical translucent golden hue that you would expect from a cider. About a millimeter of white head was formed on my first pour but faded very quickly. On the second pour I was able to produce a solid finger and change that lasted for much longer but still only a few minutes before settling to the surface of the cider and leaving a nice white circle around the glass. Aroma smells mostly of wine alcohol which makes sense and a little bit of apples. From first impression the flavors in this brew are simply amazing. I get flavors of what I figure is wine yeast first followed by a gentle fermented note that reminds me of olives but is not offensive (particularly as I don’t care for olives) and is likely present due to aging. Then comes in a wonderfully sweet and smooth apple flavor that finishes dryer with some nice carbonation in the finish. The mouthfeel of this brew is smooth and creamy it is really quite amazing. Body is very light to compliment the 4% ABV and make this an incredibly drinkable beverage, I wish I had more. This is simply an amazing beverage that I am glad to have had to opportunity to sample. If it were more available I would happily consume it again to see what the other varieties and years yield. If you have ever enjoyed a cider or are partial to white wine and want to try something new try to find one of these brews. Bottle # 153/05. Give it a shot and ride your bike.