Monday, July 20, 2009

Back Burner Barleywine, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood New York

The bottle of "Back Burner Imperial Barley Wine Style Ale" that I had in my reserves was brewed early 2008. I kept it around to see how it would age and recently had the chance to enjoy the result of my patience.

It pours a hazy caramel with a caramel tinted tight head.

The aroma is burnt sugar and caramel right off, but not overly sweet smelling. Instead there are molasses tones coupled with mild hop.

It has a creamy full body and an unexpected spice on the palate/mid tongue where a peppery liveliness reveals itself. Molasses arrives at the back of the mouth with the burnt sugar. The very end results in more sweetness and the peppery spice lingers in the mouth.

The aftertaste reveals bitterness and malt that carries the spiciness. It's not as thick as expected, keeping the palate from getting overwhelmed.

Enjoyable aged or "as-is", it's a wonderful beer!


Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sinister, 10 Barrel Brewing Company, Bend Oregon

On a recent stop to pick up a Flying Pie Pizza, I had the chance to enjoy the Sinister (Black Ale) from 10 Barrel while I waited. A great way to spend a few minutes while waiting for a pizza -

It pours opaque with a small head.

The aroma is mild, but sweet malt is detectable with some mild hop.

Mild chocolate malt with a little sweetness greets the taste buds. It has a rich body with lots of character. Not overly heavy, it is an easy beer to enjoy by itself. It finishes clean with brown sugar and caramel malt at the end. From their website, I learned they use German de-husked black malt. It is also mentioned that this malt is free of astringency, which helps keep the beer from being overly heavy or sticky on the palate.

The aftertaste is mild richness with caramel and brown sugar. It finishes remarkably clean...


Friday, July 17, 2009

Hefeweizen, Beaver Street Brewery, Flagstaff Arizona

A great place to visit in Flagstaff is the Beaver Street Brewery - a great menu with great beers!

Their Hefeweizen pours a cloudy honey color.

The aroma exposes mild banana that rises first with subtle clove.

It starts crisp with a medium body, smooth with slight hop. Banana and clove are there, but very slight. There is a slight sourness in the finish.

The aftertaste is refreshing with slight banana and clove.

A very subtle hef, but very refreshing too -


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Drop City IPA, Trinidad Brewing Company, Trinidad Colorado

Flying along the highway between Colorado Springs and Taos, we took a brief break from the road in the small town of Trinidad. It's an interesting little town and we were lucky to meet the very friendly people at Trinidad Brewing Company. I tried their IPA...

It pours a brilliant amber with a big head.

The aroma has strong earthy hop - it's a nice full aroma.

It has a full earthy hop with a nice medium/full body. Bitterness builds strong, exposing the big earthy hop.

The aftertaste is bitter, lingering nicely...

If you happen across this small town, pay a visit to the brewery - it's a great way to spend the afternoon -


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Elk Lake IPA, Bend Brewing Company, Bend Oregon

Ahh, the Bend Brewing Company.... In a state with so many brewery options, this is a great gem.

It pours darker amber, hazy with a tight head.

The big aromatic hops reveal a mild pine.

The hop builds in the medium body, bitter with a mild pine on the tongue. It is flowery and hoppy 'til the end.

The aftertaste - bitter on the tongue, rests on the palate for awhile before having a clean finish. Bitter, but refreshing!

I brought a Hop Head IPA home in a bottle - We'll sample that another day...


Monday, July 13, 2009

Rio Refresco Pale Ale, Eske's Pub and Restaurant, Taos New Mexico

The second of the Eske's beers I sampled at their brew pub and restaurant in Taos, New Mexico was the Rio Refresco Pale Ale, which sounded good after a long hot day in the sun...

It pours a thick honey color with a nice big head.

The aroma is citrus with hop - and a unique aroma which - and I may just have been influenced by the dry environs - I detected a hint of agave.

Earthy hop builds, but it is not too bitter. It has a medium body, smooth with slight citrus and I swear, agave - if any one else tries this beer, let me know what you think.

The aftertaste is mildly bitter and dry.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Compass Cask IPA, Bristol Brewing Company, Colorado Springs Colorado

Our next beer (another brief departure from my month of darker beers) comes from the Bristol Brewery in Colorado Springs. A great little place I had the pleasure of visiting in May - When I was there, they had the Compass IPA on Cask.

It pours a honey color with a big head.

The aroma is mild grapefruit and citrus with mild yeast.

It is creamy with a medium body. Very smooth with a nice earthy hop that arrives toward the finish. The bitterness builds at the end - it's an easy drinker.

The aftertaste is bitter on the tongue lingering for awhile...

The cask mellow the bitter edge of the beer and it makes for a nice velvety beverage.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

10,000 Foot Stout, Eske's Brew Pub & Restaurant, Taos New Mexico

Back to the dark beers! Well, if you are ever in Taos, drop by the small but tasty Eske's Brewing Company. We sampled two beers, first, their 10,000 Foot Stout....

It pours opaque with a thin tight head.

The aroma is chocolate with deep roasty malt and mildly sweet.

It has a full body with deep dark chocolate. It is roasty with a building sweetness (cherry). There are oak tones as well...

The aftertaste reveals the bitterness with cherry lingering on the tongue making a slight sour tone appearing at the very end.


Surfer Summer Ale, Pelican Brewing Company, Pacific City Oregon

A brief break from my Christmas in July beers...Lets have a true taste of summer. I've posted many enthusiastic posts about the Pelican brewery, so let's see how their summer seasonal holds up....

It pours a golden hue with a tight head.

The aroma is dominated by hop and white pepper with citrus zest and coriander.

It is a crisp beer with mild hop with very subtle spice in the body - mostly white pepper and coriander. There is also honey and mild citrus on the finish.

The aftertaste fishes very clean with hop freshness on the palate.

Flavorful more in the aroma than the taste, the ale is a light crisp warm weather beer that still offers some very nice flavors of summer! Great for a picnic!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Baggywrinkle Barleywine, Cisco Brewers, Nantucket Massachusetts

Baggywrinkle Barleywine...what more can you say? I check the Cisco Brewers website, which actually explains the name - Baggywrinkle being a nautical term, it's a good story - check it out on their site!

It pours a thick unfiltered molasses with a tight head.

The aroma is sweet malt with mild raisen and mild smokiness.

Big sweeet malt greets you right away. It is thick and velvety in the body. The sweetness lessens a bit at the finish, exposing more caramel molasses, raisen and heavy malt. It has a slightly bitter finish with Chinook and Northern Brewer Hops.

The aftertaste has caramel, biscuit, molasses and fig notes.

At 9.8% and in the 22oz, it's a great late evening sipper on the back porch....or front porch...or lawn...or somebody elses lawn if you don't have one...or the park....there are several flavors that develope as the beer warms.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, Great Divide Brewing Company, Denver Colorado

I enjoyed this one during a trip a bit ago to Colorado. It was my first time in Denver and we instantly migrated to one of my favorite breweries - Great Divide Brewing. On take was this - the Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout. This is a stout aged in oak chips with espresso added. A perfect addition to the Christmas in July series....

It pours opaque with a big caramel colored head.

The aroma is deep malt with chocolate tones. Coffee and mild smokiness are also there.

It has a thick full body loaded with chocolate and coffee roastiness. Deep malt residue on the tongue and palate. It lingers with layers of chocolate, coffee, malt and has a slight bitterness in the finish.

The aftertaste is thick alcohol and malt roastiness that carries for awhile.

A big robust beer at 9.5%....


Sunday, July 5, 2009

Oat, Southern Tier Brewing Company, Lakewood New York

Our next Christmas in July beer was one I sampled a bit ago - the Oat, an Imperial Oatmeal Stout from Southern Tier brewing. This is an August release, so look for it soon!

It pours opaque with a tight caramel head.

The aroma is big malt with thick molasses and sweet with burnt sugar.

It is a thick full body, sticky molasses right off. At 11%, the alcohol is fairly transparent. It is sugary but has a mild oak that puts some backing on the sweetness and keeps it from being overly sugar dominated.

The aftertaste is thick big molasses - the sweetness is completely rounded off by oak and alcohol - it is definitely a sipper. Enjoy from the 22oz bottle in a snifter. A slow drinker in the late evening, perhaps lounging on the hammock!


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Blue Finn Stout, Shipyard Brewing, Portland Maine

Happy 4th of July! Well I'm sure we'll all be out there enjoying our BBQ's and there are plenty of great beers to enjoy with them - The Terminal Gravity ESB, Spring Reign from Ninkasi, Shine Bock, Hop Stoopid from Lagunitas, Independence Hop Ale from Rogue and sooooo many more! Me, I'm going to use this holiday to kick off my "Christmas in July" tasting. Although I am still trying to catch up from May and June's beer tasting adventures which will be interspersed throughout the month, I will use July to taste some of the Barleywines and stouts that I held on reserve... Let's start it off with the Blue Finn Stout from Shipyard. Located in the "other" Portland (Maine) it is available throughout the Northeast in 12oz & 22oz bottles...

It pours opaque with a big caramel colored head.

The aroma is deep chocolate and roasty malt.

It has a big full body with chocolate and sticky mildly smoky notes at the end. Hop bitterness builds near the finish and keeps it lively on the palate. This also helps it from getting too sticky at the end.

The aftertaste is roasty chocolate and malt that hangs around, but again, doesn't get overwhelming.

So you may wonder why you'd want to enjoy a sticky heavy stout or barleywine under these beautiful summer skies? Well, wait until the sun goes down, the stars make their best attempt to shine through the haze of the city or blaze in the country skies. Sit back and sip on one of these upcoming beers and like enjoying a fine bourbon or cognac, take the time to contemplate the complex notes while reflecting on these summer days! For me, it's a great summer additive, a relaxing evening, enjoying friends, warm weather and maybe a little Chet Baker on the stereo...


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Meyer ESB, Thirsty Bear Brewing Company, San Francisco California

In San Francisco there lies many a great beers. During a recent trip, my friend Jason and I found our way to the Thirsty Bear, the first stop of many that night! They had a decent variety on tap and their menu looked good as well, but I went with the Nitro Conditioned (from a traditional "Firkin" keg) ESB.

It pours a deep copper with a tight head.

The aroma is very slight with some floral hop and light sweet malt.

It has big molasses right off with some sweet malt and burnt sugar developing in the body. This is rounded off by a soft floral hop bitterness at the end, but fails to completely curb the sweetness in the finish. Some may enjoy the finishing sweetness, I tend toward a cleaner finish rather than sweet and this one fell a little on the sweet side.

The aftertaste is burnt sugar with bitterness that builds. Sticky molasses dominates the palate.

If in the city, it would be worth the time to hunt the Thirsty Bear down and give it a try, since they aren't bottling...