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Three Floyds Apocalypse Cow

August 25th, 2010 beckel

Today I have another ale from Three Floyds that is sure to be impressive. Both their IPA Alpha King and their Imperial IPA Dreadnaught are fantastic examples of the style and now we have Apocalypse Cow a Double IPA with lactose which is brilliantly atypical.

Pours a completely opaque bright orange hue producing about two fingers of off white head that fades within a few minutes leaving a small amount of lacing around the glass. Smells of rich orange marmalade, soft floral notes, moderate bitterness and a gentle lactose sweetness that complements the malt quite nicely. Tastes strongly of smooth oranges, fantastically sweet milk sugar (lactose) and a lovely bitter finish. The body of this beer is medium and the mouthfeel has a wonderful creamy component but is still amazingly smooth. Consisting of soft creamy notes initially and then a tongue tingling bitter finish. Modest alcohol is noticeable but you would be hard pressed to notice that it is a solid 11% ABV. Definitely an unique approach to a very popular style and an enjoyable brew. If you dig hops and particularly oranges you will be all over this brew. It almost reminds me of a dreamsicle though not atrociously sweet and fantastically more bitter and complex. With most beers I suggest consumption on the warm side, particularly unique brews but in this case I prefer Apocalypse Cow on the colder side of the equation as it seems to balance better when you get more assertive hop notes.  If you are lucky enough to be near somewhere Three Floyds distributes I would certainly suggest giving this one a run for your money. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Three Floyds Apocalypse Cow

Three Floyds Gumball Head

August 23rd, 2010 beckel

While in Wisconsin for The Great Taste of the Midwest I couldn’t help but bring back a variety of brews that are unavailable in my fine state of Minnesota. So I figure I’ll start out with something simple, but fantastic. I stumbled upon this ale while at Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, Indiana for Dark Lord Day earlier this year and was ever so glad to have made it my first beer of the afternoon. Gumball Head is a wonderfully hopped American Wheat Ale that is brewed with red wheat and Amarillo hops.

Pours a pale apricot hue with just over a finger of white head that fades with in a minute or two. Fantastic notes of grapefruit, bright lemon, and other citrus play with gentle earthiness and smooth bitterness in the aroma. Clean flavors of wheat are complimented by zesty orange, grapefruit, lemon and a nice soft bitterness creating one fantastic brew. If you enjoy the use of wheat and a nice dose of hops you are sure to enjoy this refreshing ale. While very different from classical European wheat beers and even quite different from most American Wheat beers this ale is a welcome change in my opinion and in fact exactly what I have been looking for for some time. Assertively hoppy enough to make a hop head smile, but balanced enough to make some not realize exactly what they are experiencing. Body is on the light side and the mouthfeel is quite smooth making this a perfect summer drinker. At 5.5% you can easily enjoy a 6-pack throughout the day with no regrets. Unquestionably the most brilliantly hopped wheat beer I have ever consumed. If you are lucky enough to have this beer in your local liquor store you really have no excuse not to consume it regularly, and ship me some while your at it. Give it a shot and ride you bike.

Three Floyds Gumball Head

Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus

August 10th, 2010 beckel

Today  I have a very exciting beer from the historic Belgian brewer of Lambic Ales Cantillon. When I saw the post from The Four Firkins that they had gotten in some special Cantillon brews I rode over there as fast as I could, particularly because it was two days after the information was posted. Upon arriving I was pleased to see that they still had both of the brews I was looking for; Iris and Rosé de Gambrinus. The Rosé that I have before me was bottled on 13/?/20??, as the label is a bit worn off I will try and determine it’s exact bottling date in the future. Brewed with a boat load of raspberries this traditional sour Lambic is sure to be an exciting experience.

Pours a fantastic bright deep red hue reminiscent of the raspberries fermented with this ale. Head is about 3 fingers and a very clean light pink color. Smells of intensely of semi-sweet raspberries, wonderfully sour earthy esters and dry red wine characteristics. Taste is somewhat overwhelmingly sour at first. With notes of sweet and sour raspberries, cherries, soft vinegar, a variety of earthy esters as well as many citrus & acidic esters all at play. Some might relate the flavors of this ale to bacteria or bile, but as you continue to consume it the flavors are really quite nice and complimentary. Mouthfeel is very dry and puckering and the body relatively light. While clocking in at an average 5% ABV this ale is anything but, with the intense sour esters waking you up and warming almost more than high alcohols would. By no means do I have a vocabulary vast enough to do the variety of flavors present in this Lambic justice, but put simply it is quite amazing. If you are not accustomed to sour beers this will not be an easy introduction. It is so sour I can feel it’s acidic heat in the top of my throat and the bottom of my stomach. The mix of sour esters from the lovely wild yeast and the contrasting raspberries makes for a delightful beverage. While very scarce and expensive coming in at about $20 a bottle this brew is definitely worth sampling for those interested in proper Lambic Ales. As should be obvious by its notoriety and rarity. If you are lucky enough to find a bottle of anything from Cantillon you should do yourself a favor and bring it home to share with as many people as you can. Give it a shot and ride you bike.

Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus