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Deschutes Hop in the Dark C.D.A.

July 21st, 2010 beckel

While this is the first beer from Deschutes Brewery I have gotten around to writing about it is certainly not the first I have enjoyed. Hailing from Bend, Oregon Deschutes first hit our market a few months ago and has been a welcome addition with tasty year round brews such as their Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Black Butte Porter which are available in both 6-packs and very reasonably priced bombers at around $3. Today I have a brew from their Bond Street Series, a series of hoppy ales that started at their brewpub. Cascadian Dark Ales, India Brown Ales, India Black Ales; whatever we want to call them are definitely the style of the moment but simply from the aroma I already have high hopes for this ale. Lets see how it goes. This very carbonated ale quickly produces over four fingers of tight light chocolate bubbles that quickly open up into large bubbles even when carefully poured down the side of a glass. Color is a very dark brown hue that is completely opaque. Aroma is a lovely contrast of dark roasted malts and bright bursts of citrus and floral hops that can be smelt from a foot away. The play between aromas creates a variety of esters from chocolate to bitter dark malts that is quite enjoyable. Consumed at room temperature diverse notes of plum, grapefruit, lemon, orange, roasted malts, coffee, and a solid bitterness are present. Making for one diversely flavored ale. I put the bottle back in the fridge to see how the flavor would change served a bit colder and I must say the balance between smooth roasted malt and wonderful grapefruit forward citrus is much cleaner and more well defined. The contrast between gently sweet but equally bitter roasted malt and the wonderful bitterness and vast variety of citrus esters produced by the Cascade, Centennial and Citra Hops used in this ale are really quite fantastic. Body is full but not overly heavy with a slightly syrupy mouthfeel. At 6.5% ABV this ale is full of flavor, but not so strong you can’t have a few. For those interested in the style I think this was a very enjoyable and approachable take on it. If you enjoy buoyantly hoppy ales and roasted malts you might just be in heaven. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Deschutes Hop in the Dark C.D.A.

Town Hall Simcoe Double India Brown Ale

July 13th, 2009 beckel

So if it’s not obvious yet I kind of suck at blogging about things after the fact which is part of the reason I write about brews as I consume them when possible; though I further find it a good way to immerse readers in the tasting experience as it happens. So as I look here at my tasting notes from Town Hall’s Simcoe Double India Brown Ale which was released today I realized the previous two brews I have consumed and jotted notes down about I didn’t get around to posting about, guess I have some work to do. But on to the present topic. Town Hall has brewed a similar beer for many years but this is the first year they have used a single hop in the brew, a solid up and coming hop at that; Simcoe. This beer was served to me with an appropriate finger and change of white head. Color is relatively dark brown and quite attractive and somewhat opaque when brought to light. Aroma is quite amazing. Full of fruity Simcoe hops which usually reminds me of passion fruit though in the aroma of this brew it reminds me strangely of strawberry yogurt as well as some additional malty sweetness. Flavor is unique, sweet and malty with strong passion fruit notes from the Simcoe which is nicely contrasted by some caramely malt sweetness and some gentle bitterness that intensifies appropriately in the finish giving this beer a well rounded flavor. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is almost creamy though I think it’s mostly the flavor tricking me. Though this beer is on the sweeter side the caramel malt notes in combination with the serious addition of Simcoe is really quite drinkable and enjoyable. If you enjoy uniquely hoppy brown ales that pack a punch this will be right up your alley as it is 7.8% ABV. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Town Hall Simcoe Double India Brown Ale

Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

April 13th, 2009 beckel

Today I  get to enjoy the last two bottles of a beer I got some time ago from Wisconsin and am ever so pleased to have the opportunity to write about. As any of you who have sampled their ales will know Dogfish Head produces some exceptional brews and their India Brown Ale was the first of the style I had ever had the chance to try. Dogfish Head is brewed in Milton, Delaware and is unfortunately not distributed in my fine state of Minnesota, hopefully they change this sometime soon as I crave their beers on a regular basis. This beer pours a deep black color that is not translucent at all, allowing some red hues to barely shine through when brought to light. Head is creme in color and just under two fingers that lasts for a number of minutes leaving a bit of carbonation in a ring around the surface area. Scents of roasted brown malts and caramelized brown sugar are dominate with just a bit of alcohol and bittering hops on the nose. Some of the aroma characteristics of this beer are similar to that of a milk stout but less dark and more roasted, very appealing. Upon sipping this beer you get a good amount of coffee like flavor that is quite a bit more intense than in the nose but wonderfully balanced by the caramelized brown sugar and subtle hop bitterness in the middle and finish of this brew. The mouthfeel is smooth and almost creamy and the body is reasonably light for an ale. With a 7.2% ABV this is no small beer but it is very easy to drink as the roasted malt covers almost all of the alcoholic flavor. This is one heck of a flavorful Brown Ale that still manages to be incredibly drinkable. I would happily drink this brew any day of the year and I’m sure it will bring a  new level of appreciation for Brown Ales to anyone who finds the style a bit uninspired. While this beer may not be the first choice for hopheads it is a wonderful example of hops and malt making perfect harmony. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale