November 8th, 2010 beckel
Today I have what is sure to be a fine brew from Russian River brewing out of Santa Rosa, CA. Russian River is widelyÂ recognizedÂ for their many sour beers as well as their hoppy beers, particularly the highly sought afterÂ PlinyÂ the Elder. Supplication is brewed with a total of 6 yeast varietals. Initially fermented with an Abby Ale yeast. Conditioned with Rockpile wine yeast, Brettanomyces, Saccharomyces, Pediococcus & Lactobacillus. If that weren’t enough this Brown Ale is aged in OakÂ Pinot Noir barrels with cherries. I am always pleased to see breweries who properly label & date their brews and Russian River goes a step beyond with a rather well updated bottle log with detailed notes about date brewed, date bottled, yeasts used and even additional comments on process or flavor profiles. This bottleÂ labeled 04×5 is part of the 4th batch brewedÂ 12/23/2008, bottled 12/14/2009 and was the first batch to use their new smaller profile 375ml bottles. As you can see this bottle was barrel aged for almost one year and has been bottle conditioning for almost eleven months. I have been lucky enough to have a number of brews from this fine establishment but do not recall ever sampling this one, so let’s get to it.
Upon opening a lovely pop erupts and carbonate starts to build in the neck of the bottle. I quickly poured it into my glass and watched as a lovelyÂ bouquetÂ of off white head was easily produced, spanning about two fingers. After fading serious lacing is still present and creates an attractive presentation contrasting with the modestly translucent deep ruby hue of the beer. Upon first whiff you are immediately presented with sour cherries, tart Brettanomyces esters and a nice blend of herbal and earthy esters of oak,Â Pinot Noir and more. Flavor is of rich cherries, both tart and semi-sweet. Wonderful acidity and sour yeast esters blendÂ phenomenallyÂ with the malt base. Truly a fantastic beer with gentle malty sweetness playing alongside tangy, sour esters, caramel, cherries and soft bitterness. Mouthfeel is mildly puckering, rather dry and the body is medium. Coming in at a reasonable 7% ABV this is a beer I could drink all night long if only it were less expensive and distributed in Minnesota. If you enjoy sour beers you are likely to enjoy most of what Russian River has to offer and this one is no exception. A beautiful brew that shows how multidimensional beer can be. A wonderfully inspired mix between a Flemish Brown Ale and a Kriek. If you enjoy sour brown ales and cherries you will be inÂ heavenÂ with this beer. If you’re lucky enough to live where Russian River is distributed; give it a shot and ride your bike. Then send me some more. 🙂
October 19th, 2008 beckel
Today we ventured to the land of Wisconsin because it is Sunday and our state has made the conclusion that is better to not accept out tax money on this beautiful fall day. Though there is little room in my fridge for this beer I will surely be writing about a number of beers you can not get in my fine state of Minnesota in the near future. I am ever so excited to get to the Dogfish Head and Stone but we will start with a brewery that I have enjoyed and been wanting to expand my knowledge of, New Glarus. Here we have Fat Squirrel a Nut Brown Ale that was inspired by all of the fat squirrels that the brewmaster Dan Carey saw on a walk home from the brewery one “springlike” winter day. Brewed with six different varieties of Wisconsin grown malt and hops from Slovenia, Bavaria and the Pacific Northwest this beers flavor profile should be unique. This beer pours a nice unfiltered roasted brownish red color. Producing about an inch of just off white head that settles quickly. Aroma is of toasted malts and a bit of hazelnut that transitions to a slight alcohol scent. This is surely a brown ale, the flavor is overwhelmed by lightly toasted malted barley of a number of varieties that creates a slight hazelnut hint to this very well balanced and flavorful beer. In addition to the roasted flavors a nice slight bitterness smooths out the taste of this beer in the finish. Like Spotted Cow this beer is very tasty and has a number of nice flavors but is also immensely drinkable having a light body and mouthfeel. Coming in at 5.8% ABV it has been easy to drink a number of these on this nice fall night. If you like a well balanced brown ale that has a robust toasted malt profile but is well balanced and easy to drink you will certainly appreciate this beer. Would likely be accompany a nice beef stew wonderfully. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
August 25th, 2008 beckel
This time we have Rocky’s Revenge from Tyranena Brewing, an American Brown Ale. Apparently a portion of this beer is aged in bourbon barrels so it will vary from batch to batch. This bottle pours a nice very dark brown color, hinting at black and the darkness allows no light through. Head is a solid inch with a slightly tan color that retains for a few minutes. Aroma is nutty and of dark somewhat coffee like malt. Upon the first taste you can tell how dark of a brown ale this really is, strong malty flavors are dominate but simple and nondescript, as you continue drinking a citrus bitterness wraps up the flavor, quite different. The mouthfeel of this beer is light and somewhat carbonated, quite drinkable even though a dark beer. This beer is rather interesting decently well balanced, but dark and malty with a strange sourness in the finish. I am curious to try more of this beer to see how the cask aging impacts different batches but I won’t be holding my breath. A decent brown ale, if your into simple malty beers with something extra this is probably a decent choice. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 17th, 2008 beckel
Last night was the Surly event at Mackenzie commemorating their new Surly Brewing neon sign. On tap was some rare Surly Two, Coffee Bender and a firkin of cask aged CynicAle. I was very excited to try the Two and was certainly not disappointed. Aroma is of dark malts and a tad sweet. Tastes of sweet cranberries initially but after taste is of mildly dark malt. Deep dark color, quite black. Medium mouthfeel. I was a bit hesitant to buy this beer when they were selling the 750’s because I expected it to be overpowering on the cranberry note but I was pleasantly surprised by its subtle sweetness and grand balance. I am not particularly a fan of coffee but I believe any Surly beer deserves to be tried. When I got this beer I immediately noticed how strong the aroma was of coffee. Color is very dark and mouthfeel is meduim but surprisingly light. The flavor of this beer is that of an Bender infused with espresso, slightly malty. Quite good, but too heavy on the coffee flavor for my tastes. It was my buddies birthday so we only had about a half hour and I was only able to get a sip of the cask aged CynicAle before we left to Ichiban (mmm sake) but it was quite good. The color was a bit deeper and more orange than usual and the fermented fruit flavors were a good deal more notable. Good stuff, wish I could have had more. Get surly, drink Surly and ride your bike.
July 15th, 2008 beckel
This is my first beer from Cold Spring Brewery out of Cold Spring, Minnesota who have been brewing since 1874. It was brought to my attention by the fine folk at Brew52.com. This beer is a bit different than most, their website states that it is 1/2 porter and 1/2 bock combined into one nice brown ale. Pours an interesting dark brown color with hints of rose when brought to light. The head on this beer is very minimal, under an inch and light in color. Aroma is interesting, traditional bock malt scents are predominate but it smells a tad bit like a porter. The flavor is even more strange than the scent, quite malty, almost sweet but more caramelized. The mix of these two beer styles gives a very different flavor, pretty decent, but a bit boring. Mouthfeel is medium. I’m glad I got only one of these beers in a mixed six pack, but I think after drinking a few in cooler weather this beer would potentially have a bit more to offer. If your a fan of malt or different brown ales this may suit your tastes. Give it a shot and ride your bike.