Wednesday, October 29, 2014

#282: Wild Beer Co. » Somerset Wild

Wild Beer Co. » Somerset Wild (Sour Pale Ale) ABV: 5.0% | Rating: 8.6

This is my first foray Wild Beer Co.'s strikingly packaged series of brews. I picked up three wild/sour ales from the UK-based crew while in Buffalo, each adding it's own unique flare. This particular, self-described sour pale is spontaneously fermented with the yeasts & bacteria found on the grounds of their Somerset orchard.

The head rises quickly, still in the bottle, stopping just short of making for some unwanted clean-up. Poured up, there's voluminous, but quickly fading white head eagerly bubbling atop a transparent, white-wine like body.

Lively champagne and dry, farmhouse cider notes are out in stride, carrying along a whiff of pale hop bitterness.

The flavors are extraordinarily tart and dry. Not necessarily astringent, instead overtly crisp and clean. Crisp Gala and other tart apple flavors quickly dance with green grape and soft lemon notes.

Somerset Wild is highly acidic throughout and looses carbonation relatively quickly. On the second glass, it's a touch sweeter with a hint of earthy tones, but still clean with just the slightest mouthcoat.

Overall, an interesting brew. Not the most notable wild, but well-executed. I can't say I've stumbled across many English spontaneously fermented brews from an orchard, so points for creativity. Recommended for any fans for Dogfish's hybrds, dry farmhouse ciders, or aridly dry white wine drinkers.

#281: Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof » Leipziger Gose

Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof »  Leipziger Gose
ABV: 4.5% | Rating: 8.8

The resurgence of Gose-style brews has absolutely been one of my favorite trends of the last two-three years. Falling from one of the most popular beers in Germany, to almost extinct just a few years back; it's now on it's upswing among a diverse range of American craft breweries. They vary from savory to astringent and all the glorious subtitles in between. Leipziger Gose, from Germany, hearkens the original style, brewed with traditional ingredients plus lactic acid, cilantro, and salt.

Leipziger serves up with a darker, straw-colored body, topped by a fading, fizzy head with a touch of lace. Soft and fragrant, the nose presents a wealth of coriander with a touch of sourness. A few more whiffs even portray curious hints of fruit punch and cereal.

Down the hatch, it's smooth and drinkable; a perfect old-school balance of salt, coriander, and acidic tartness. Notes of lemon and balanced white and black pepper hang in the background, all wrapping up with a gentile mouthcoat and mildy dry finish.

A great starting point for anyone curious in getting into Goses. Not as bold as say, Westbrook's, instead a glimpse into the delicious past, from a style almost lost to the ages.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#280: Maine Beer Company » Lunch (IPA)

Maine Beer Company » Lunch (IPA) | ABV: 7.0% | Rating: 9.2/10

As mentioned a few weeks back, a stop in Buffalo isn't usually without a stop at The Village Beer Merchant, where I snagged this bottle o' Lunch.

This praised brew pours up a hazy amber color with white, fluffy head all emitting a beautiful bouquet of grapefruit alongside soft floral notes, smoothed with a mild sweetness.

Dry, cool, and refreshing, Lunch is a mid-weight IPA with plenty of character. As easy to drink as an all-day variety, but quickly diversifying with a richer with a slight creaminess in the mouthfeel.

Bitter, biting hops hit the palate up front, followed by a quick flip of sweet & smooth flavors, then back a gain with a drying finish. An effortless, well-tuned beer, Lunch blurs stone and pome fruit flavors with bold Warrior, Amarillo, Centennial, and Simcoe bittering characteristics. It's clean with distinct notes of pine appearing further in with pith & rind peaking in here and there, but never getting dank.

Lunch is highly enjoyable, but not as jaw-dropping as its reputation, in my humble opinion. That said, I'll probably pick is up any time I see it and would absolutely recommend to any IPA fan.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

#279: Perennial Artisan Ales » Aria & Saison De Lis

After a lovely wedding of one of my earliest Ithaca friends and few hours destroying my fear of rollercoasters at Darien Lake, my partner and I made our way to the fantastic Blue Monk in Buffalo. This, my second time at the Belgian-inspired gastropub, I had far more time and flexibility than the first while I was on tour.

When I'd checked out their online menu, which has been updated just two days prior, there were a few Jacks Abby that were must-haves, but alas they were gone. However, I immediately shed my woes at the site of a variety of  Perennial Artisan Ales on the list.

Perennial Artisan Ales » Aria (Belgian-Style Ale w. Brettanomyces Bruxellensis)
ABV: 7.20% | IBU: 20 | Rating: 8.7

My first foray into Perennial kicks in with a fragrant nose of white stone fruits emitting from a hazy, honey-colored body, topped with thick, lacy head.

A sweet, soft flip of funk starts of the gentle palate experience. Lightly carbonated with primarily clean mouthfeel that's just every so slightly augmented with a rustic dryness. Warming flavors of green tea with honey and lemon threaded with mild notes of peach make for a delicate palate pleaser.

This brew is crafted with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis, providing soft, earthy and funk notes that give Aria a twist of complexity, but don't yield much sourness or dips into the extreme. A solid first experience from Perennial Artisan Ales.

Perennial Artisan Ales » Saison De Lis (Saison brewed with Chamomile Flowers)
ABV: 5.0% |  Rating: 9.1/10

It's rare that a non-Brett beer will beat a Brett beer as follow up with my palate, but here's that case. This Saison/Farmhouse brewed with Chamomile Flowers is a downright winner.

De Lis' hazy golen body and plentiful, lacy head reals you in, quickly followed by aromatic citrus and floral notes backed by firm yeasty, bready notes.

On to the palate, this is one tasty beer, bursting with flavor. It's mildly tart and plentifully floral, with soft notes of banana bread colliding with boozy esters, despite the low ABV.

Further through the glass, vegetal notes start to creap through the refreshingly crisp tartness & bitterness along with a hint of rosemary and chamomile. A unique, recommended brew.

Monday, October 6, 2014

#278: Port Brewing » Old Viscosity (Imperial Stout)

Port Brewing » Old Viscosity (Imperial Stout) | ABV: 10% | Rating: 8.8

I picked up this bottle of Old Viscosity online in 2013 or late 2012, after a highly colorful review of how thick and intense of a dark beer it is.

Old Visc pours up jet black as expected, crowed with a voluminous mocha head. The nose is unexpectedly milky for an oak-aged brew, full of oak notes as well with a touch of vanilla and cocoa.

Onto the palate, it's a bit more straight forward than the initial verbose description, though still a solid beer nevertheless. It's silky up front, easing into a deep, dark bitterness. The carbonation is far livelier than expected from a barrel aged brew. Roasted malts, mild coffee, and soft cocoa notes are present as well. Further through, distinct molasses and chocolate ice cream notes appear.

Overall, not as chewy as I'd expected, but still a weighty brew that is packed with dark bitterness.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Coming soon!

It still amazes me how vastly different the brand selection can be just a few cities over, even in the same state. Lunch at Blue Monk in Buffalo, meant a must-stop just a few blocks down to Village Beer Merchant, which last time didn't disappoint with finds like Madame Rose, Backwoods Bastard (draft) and other notable brews.

This time around, it's my frist pass at The Wild Beer Co., Maine's lauded Lunch, and the classic Leipziger Gose. Posts coming soon...

During checkout, I noticed an empty case box from BFM in the window and had to inquire if they had any in stock. My memory quickly blurred at the two other BFM offerings, when this 2006, Cuvee du 7eme anniversary ale came to my attention at a fantastic price. This will be an adventure at 8 years, but well worth it. Story coming soon...

Another enjoyable bottle share...

Another successful, small gathering bottle share this past week. The Maine Beer King Titus Porter and GRIMM Action Adventure definitely took the cake, while Bell's Third Coast, He'Brew Funky Jewbelation (one of my on-going favorites), and 21st Ammendment's He Said were all solid condenders. He Said is likely my new favorite pumpkin related offering, especially the Baltic Porter, which retains all of it's wonderful traditional notes, but thicker and meatier with the pumpkin addition and no bombastic pumpkin pie spices. 

Here's a quick pick from the call-out ones from September's as well. Bay & Pepper Your Bretts from Against The Grain was world-class phenomenal and the easy winner. It came off spiced, funky, slightly vegital and unique & amazing.