Monday, March 26, 2012

Wednesday Beer Share

Once again I took the PATCO out to the wilds of NJ (okay it was only Collingswood but going to NJ is scary) to share some beer with my buddy Craig. He had just spent some time in Florida visiting Cigar City to buy some Hunahpu's, their crazy imperial stout, and I picked up a Midnight Sun Arctic Devil, a barrel aged barleywine, when in San Francisco.

We decided to start with the Cigar City Hunahpu's. This is aged on cacao nibs, ancho and pasilla chili peppers, cinnamon, and madagascar vanilla beans. As I said, pretty crazy.
Roast and chocolate in the nose with an unmistakable whiff of the roasted chili peppers. Nice and thick body. Started with some smoke and bite from the roasted peppers, then smooth chocolate took over, and then finished with more spiciness and the cinnamon. The aftertaste moved between cinnamon, chocolate and roasted peppers, back and forth. One of the most complex aftertastes I've found, really impressive. The full glass continued that way and was pretty easy drinking for a 10+% stout. Really glad Craig shared this with me.

After that we opened my bottle of Midnight Sun Arctic Devil. This one was just a straight English Barleywine aged in whiskey barrels for about four months.
Wow, super inviting nose. Caramel, a light touch of whiskey, and fruity sweetness. Just awesome. After the first sip, the first thing I did was check out the ABV on the bottle just because it was so smooth and it turned out to be 13.5% and I couldn't believe it. I didn't expect anywhere over 10% at the most. Hiding an ABV like that is pretty amazing. Tons of caramel and sweet fruit, like plums and apples, followed by some vanilla and oak to smooth it all out. Hints of the whiskey come out but it's really well integrated and the barleywine holds up to the barrel incredibly well. Just a fantastic beer.

As much as I enjoyed the Hunahpu's the Arctic Devil really blew me away. It was just damn amazing. Not to say the chili and cinnamon in the Hunahpu's weren't really well integrated and well used though. Really, both were impressive and I certainly wouldn't be upset to drink either again. This time was also quite a bit more controlled than last time which was nice. Made for a much easier Thursday.

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