Friday, April 20, 2012

Beer Tasting 5

I've been lax in having my friends over for some simple sharing of beers so I made up for it last week. If you're interested, you can read about the first four at these links: one, two, three, four. For those that are new to my beer tastings, the basic idea is I invite some friends over and they all bring something they've wanted to try or just something they find on the shelf and then we share them. Pretty simple. Sometimes people choose beers based on the label, some times they actually want to try something specific, and sometimes it's their homebrew. Really, it's just an excuse to get together and make some of my friends try new things. Heck, my friend Jeff picked up a bottle at the Sam Adams brewery in anticipation of one of these nights. It's nice to know I have an affect. Hmm, effect? Affect? I probably should just use a different word. Oh well. (edit: My wife has informed me it's effect. So grammar issue solved.)

Here's the first set of bottles we opened. Really like the barrel structure of the Samuel Adams bottle on the right.
I opened the Sly Fox Christmas bottle first which was actually brought to the previous tasting but we never got a chance to drink it.
Cinnamon, allspice, hints of clove in the aroma. Basically what's expected from a spiced winter beer. Sweet body with some more of the spice coming through. Pretty good for what it's attempting to do.

Next was the Lavery Belfast Smoked Porter. Lavery is apparently from PA. Who knew.
Since it's a smoked porter, big campfire and bacon nose as expected. Sweet body followed by burnt wood, ash, and some more campfire smoke. The sweetness definitely helped keep the smoke from being overwhelming but it was still strongly present. The small sample was good and I know my friend James liked it but I wonder if a full glass would be a bit much. Maybe if I ever see it on draft somewhere I'll be able to find out but for now we'll just have to wonder.

We opened the bottle of Russian River Damnation 23 next which was brought by Eric by way of a friend of his from California.
I got to try this previously at the Russian River brewery, but had a terrible cold so couldn't taste much of anything. Nice to get a second go at it. Slightly oaky nose but pretty mild. Slightly spicy base with a little more oak but not super different from regular Damnation.

I didn't get a picture of this but Jeff brought a bottle of Samuel Adams Stony Brook Red which he picked up at the brewery in March. Nice of him. Tart raspberry nose starts things off. At first, some buttery flavors from the oak barrel appear followed by more tart berry flavor. It wasn't overly tart which would make it a good first for an intro sour though some may still find it a bit much. Hard for me to say.

At this point, we opened the first of Pete's three homebrews, a saison.
He said this took second place at a competition which, after trying it, I could totally understand. Nice smooth saison nose, some sweetness mixed with a little spiciness. Peppery and sweet body followed with a decently dry finish. Basically everything you'd look for in a saison, quite good.

And now we're finally on to the second set of bottles.
The first of the bottles opened was another of Pete's homebrews, his Galaxy Pale Ale, a pale ale made with galaxy hops. Hence the name for those following along.
Nice grapefruit nose without any bitterness. The galaxy hop sure is inviting. A citrusy, orange juice flavor followed with just a tiny bit of bitterness in the finish. The only thing this needed was a bit more body as the actual beer was a bit thin and watery. The bright hop flavor help bring it up to a good beer, but it could be great if that issue is fixed. Pete mentioned that he had a similar thought and was going to experiment with some changes for the next pale he brews.

Next was a bottle from Unibroue, their Terrible (say it as if you are French to get the full name). It said it was "aged on Lees" which apparently is just a fancy way of saying bottle conditioned.
Almost a saison like nose though sweeter with slightly less pepper spiciness. Sweet body with slight hints of clove from the yeast. I'll be honest, it was a bit sweeter than I was looking for after trying all the previous beers and quite yeasty. Not bad, just not the right time for it I feel.

The second to last was the Rogue Mogul Madness, some sort of Black IPA or something. There wasn't really a style listed on the bottle. Sweet nose with some piney hops. Mild pine and caramel and a little roast followed. Basically an average beer, nothing special but nothing wrong with it either.

And finally the last beer, another homebrew from Pete, his Biere de Garde.
Sweeter than his saison but it still had a little bit of the spiciness hiding in there. The body followed with some bready sweetness and some very slight spiciness. Again, really nice drinking and quite tasty. He really did well with the three new beers he brought to this even if the pale needed a little more body.

So yeah lots of words about lots of beers. Even being off the shelf stuff, it's great fun getting to try lots of different beers since I can only buy and open so much. It's always interesting to see what people pick out and bring along with them. Plus we get to try Pete's homebrew stuff. All in all, it's a super fun night and I look forward to the next one.

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