February 4th, 2010 beckel
Grand Teton Brewing as one might guess is located at the base of the Teton Mountains in Victor, Idaho. Making a number of solid ales including my favorite so far Black Cauldron an Imperial Stout, which I’ve been meaning to write about for some time. Double Vision is one of four bottled (and one limited draft) ales released in their Cellar Reserve series of 2009. While milling around The Four Firkins during their incredibly packed Unibroue tasting a few weeks ago I got to talking about the Cellar Reserve series with Sean and unable to make up my mind about which one to sample he suggested the bottle I have before me, Double Vision Doppelbock. Packaged in a lovely and very large 1 Quart 1.8 fl oz flip top bottle complete with a fancy tag with an additional description of the brew. Informing us that this ale was brewed to highlight the brewery’s “wonderful glacial spring water and was brewed in strict adherence to the Reinheitsgebot”. Which for those of you who do not know is the German purity law that requires beer to be brewed with only the four fundamental ingredients: hops, malted barley, water and yeast. They further go on to describe their proper bottle conditioning technique (KrÃ¤usening) of blending fully fermented ale with newly fermenting ale to create continued fermentation in the bottle as it ages. As well as some more statistical information such as its date of February 11 2009, its Original Gravity of 24Â° Plato (1.096), 18 IBUs, 8% ABV and last but not least its color of 46Â° Lovibond. If some of those numbers don’t mean anything to you a quick Google search should shed some light. While not necessary I always enjoy when brewers happily share additional information about their brews, be it simple statistics, ingredient information or even a little bit about their process. Onto the good part. This ale pours a very dark amber-brown hue that appears completely black in the glass until brought to light. Head is an attractive light chocolate brown color that starts with almost four fingers of tight silky bubbles that slowly fade leaving you with a small ring of carbonation around the glass but almost no lacing. Smells very much as I like a strong Scotch Ale or Doppelbock to. Full of sweet complex caramel and toffee esters, intense notes similar to malted milk balls, chocolate, soft coffee esters, gentle roasted malts and very light alcohol esters. Flavors are incredibly rich, dark pitted fruit esters are upfront, dates, plums & raisins, followed by a myriad of roasted malt esters, gentle bitterness, semi-sweet chocolate, molasses and a modest does of alcohol, particularly as it warms. Delicate hop esters are present but almost unidentifiable due to the rich dark flavors. With an 8% ABV this ale is appropriately alcoholic but has more than enough flavor to make you forget. Body is heavy and the mouthfeel is wonderfully thick and creamy but surprisingly smooth. Definitely one delicious Doppelbock that any fan of the style should appreciate and further encourages me to sample more of their Cellar Reserve Series. It may also suit the fancy of those into dark Belgian Strong Ales or even complex Scotch Ales. A lovely sipper for anytime of the year, particularly these colder months. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
November 3rd, 2008 beckel
Today we have an interesting beer with some interesting history. While browsing at Hennepin Lake Liquor I found a few of these bottles on discount and decided the only logical thing to do was give them a try even though I had no idea what I was getting myself into. After getting home and reading the bottle I realized that this beer is actually made by Left Hand Brewing from Longmont, Colorado who purchased Tabernash in 1998 also from nearby Denver, Colorado. As of this year the Tabernash name has been retired but Left Hand still brews this beer under their name apparently at a slightly lower ABV. With that said it will be curious to see how my bottle tastes as it has obviously been aged, but has no markings at all to suggest when it was brewed. The concept of a rye lager also intrigues me, so lets get to the beer. This beer pours a very nice completely opaque cranberry red color with no notable sediment. Producing a couple inches of light tan head of tight small bubbles that dissipate rapidly. The aroma of this beer is quite robust, dry but sweet cherry hits my nose first with gentle malt aromas mixing in with a slight alcohol scent in the end. This beer has an interesting flavor. At first I detect a somewhat sour cherry flavor that is rather quickly brushed away by a bittersweet flavor that seems to balance out nicely with the malted rye. This is a very smooth beer with a nice balance between sweet cherries and rye malts with a few off flavors here and there that seem to fade as I drink more of this beer. I will have to find myself a new bottle of this beer to determine if some of its slightly strange bitter and sour flavors are simply due to the uniqueness of this brew or due to potential over aging or perhaps improper storage. Slight alcohol and carbonation are noticed as I continue to drink which is sensible considering its 8.1% ABV. The mouthfeel of this beer is medium with its body a touch lighter. Overall I this is a very fine brew with some nice unique flavors and a wonderful balance that I didn’t expect, particularly from a lager. If you want a sweet but well balanced, somewhat lite but still full flavored brew this is absolutely worth your consideration. This beer would accompany a hearty meat and potatoes meal marvelously with its sweet but smooth flavors. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
October 13th, 2008 beckel
Today we have another ale from Rogue Brewing out of Newport, Oregon that is sure to be a delight. Dead guy ale, a Maibock is one of Rogue’s staple beers and has won to date 25 awards. So when I saw the double version I couldn’t resist picking it up particularly as my roommate who lived in Oregon for a number of years would be sure to want to try it as he first introduced me to Dead Guy Ale. I have a lot of faith in the brewers over at Rogue and I’m sure I won’t be disappointed not to mention the fact that this year Double Dead Guy Ale got silver in the World Beer Championships. Nicely packaged in a bright red 750ml bottle this beer is sure to attract some attention. This doppelbock cascades quite marvelously as you pour producing about 2 inches of very tight off white head that persists for a few minutes and leaves a bit of lacing on the glass. The color is a marvelous deep but bright red that is rather transparent. Sweet roasted malt aromas hit the nose just right hiding the slightly alcoholic hint, very nice.Â Wow from the initial sip of this beer it almost seems like there are remaining sugars that could be fermented further though that is obviously not necessary with its 9% ABV. Flavor is sweet but well rounded off with nice roasted malt flavors. As you continue to drink this beer you can pick up some of the bitterness that hits your palate towards the back of the mouth with this beers 72 IBU. Mouthfeel is light as is the body of this beer making it very drinkable. Rogue recommends pairing this beer with pork which sounds delightful to me but I think this wonderful ale would go well with pretty much anything particularly light meat. If you like roasted but sweet malty beers and don’t mind a touch of balancing bitterness and alcohol content you are sure to enjoy this beer. I would highly recommend this beer to any craft beer fan. Give it a shot and ride your bike.