October 5th, 2009 beckel
My fridge is awfully full (hard life I know) so I figured it’s about time I start playing some catch up. I found this beauty on the shelves of The Four Firkins earlier today and couldn’t help but pick it up. Left Hand is a delightful brewer out of Longmont, Colorado that makes some delicious brews, I particularly enjoy their Milk Stout and Jackman’s Pale Ale. Many breweries have been experimenting with Warrior Hops as of late but this years brew is a bit extra special. I quite enjoyed Left Hand’s 2008 version of their Warrior IPA and I’m sure this year will be no different because aside from a nice new label they have also brewed this batch with 100% fresh hops from local farms in Colorado. This ale pours a very translucent light red hue and produces about three fingers of tight off white head that lasts for many minutes, slowly dissipating and leaving a good deal of lacing around the glass. The aroma of this brew is absolutely marvelous. Smells of sweet citrus, floral and fruity hop notes that are incredibly robust, lots of passion fruit. Moderate bitterness is present but quite minimal for something brewed largely with Warrior Hops. Flavor is even more robust and complex than the aroma. Full of passion fruit flavors as well as other citrus and fruit hop notes. Malt imparts some additional sweetness but allows the fresh hop flavors to shine. Warrior, Cascade and Goldings appear to be the major hop varieties used in this brew and boy can you tell. A nice gentle bitterness is present mid sip and grows stronger as you finish adding a nice character to the flavor of this brew and showing you what Warrior Hops are all about. Though this is one hoppy brew it is more floral and fruity than bitter, which somewhat surprises me, but is wonderful and makes this 6.6% ABV beer approachable for even those who aren’t accustomed to serious IPAs. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is quite crisp. Frankly I expected this beer to be more bitter and less approachable but who cares about expectations. This is one tasty brew that has unquestionably been kicked up a notch by the use of fresh hops and will be a refreshing delight to all of us hop heads out there particular those who are getting a bit tired of being slapped in the face with brutal bitter hoppyness, not that I would ever complain. Definitely one of the most wonderfully balanced brews I have consumed with Warrior Hops playing a major role. Hop head or not. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
October 5th, 2009 beckel
So September was a long month with few posts. Full of wonderful beer events such as ABR, Where the Wild Beers Are and the always enjoyable Surlyfest. This year the day of Surlyfest was wonderfully warm, hot even. With enough sun to make even the most cynical Minnesotan forget that winter is approaching. No rain was present which was a lovely change from last years event. This year everyone received five drink tokens to get their massive .5L + steins full of delicious Surly offerings including Furious, Bender, Cynic Ale, Coffee Bender, Hell, and of course Surlyfest. A good show indeed, can’t wait for Darkness Day. Where the Wild Beers Are was an experiment in sour yeast digestion. Though I have them written down I have no where near the patience to transcribe all of the wonderful beers I consumed that evening. All I can say is as if a keg of Cantillon Iris wasn’t enough the forty or more other sour beers available certainly were. Cheers to Jeff and Tim for organizing this again, I can’t wait for next year. ABR consisted of all kinds of wonderful brew as usual including some impressive offerings from many of our local brewers. But by now you’ve read everyone else’s ABR post so lets get to the beer at hand.
A Small Portion of the SurlyFest Crowd
Omar Cycling the Evening Away
Lining Up For Beer at Where The Wild Beers Are
De Proef Flemish Primitive Flight
A Small Sampling of the Wonderful Brews Consumed
Coors Light Can at ABR
Tyttebaer which translates to lingonberry (sometimes referred to as Scandinavian Cranberries) is a collaborative brew between Nogne O and Mikkeller both wonderful brewers of Scandinavian origin. When I first heard about this collaboration I was incredibly excited by the concept of a Wild Ale brewed with an interesting fruit such as lingonberries particularly as they are a fruit very commonly used in the regional cuisine of the brewers. Upon finding this beer at The Four Firkins Sean had nothing but good things to say making it even easier for me to shell out the hefty $15 dollars or so for this lovely green labeled .5L bottle. Pours a beautiful red hue that is similar to the color of a cranberry and very opaque. A solid four fingers of off white head with a slight pint tint is produced, consisting of large bubbles that dissipate quickly. Aroma is full of incredibly pungent fruit aroma of lingonberries that consists of both sweet and sour notes. Grains are difficult to detect but a bit of wheat smoothness is notable. Tastes largely of lingonberries with a deliciously mild tart note produced by a combination of the fruit itself in addition to Brettanomyces Yeast and Lactobacillus. A small amount of sweetness is present and the wheat dominate grain bill really allows the flavors to shine. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is rather dry which is quite nice. With a solid 8% ABV and delicious cranberry like flavor this ale is sure to satisfy even with its price tag and very limited availability. Probably not the beer for those who detest fruits being used in brews but a wonderful introduction into quality Lambic or Sour Ales that won’t burn your tounge off with over the top sweet or sour notes. Unquestionably a delicious beer that shows the skills of these wonderful brewers. Give it a shot and ride your bike.