Monday, April 16, 2012

Nodding Head's Spring Fling

It's the middle of the month which means it's time for Nodding Head's Second Saturday event! This month's theme was Spring Fling though I'm not really sure how it relate to the the beers. But, whatever. Since I can't drink the theme, it's the beers that matter and there were a few gems this time.

I started with a glass of Sour Cherry Ostap.
As expected, the nose was full of sour cherry notes. However, the body was much more mild and not quite up to par with the aroma. Hinted of the cherry tartness in the finish but a mild bitterness took control throughout the rest. As I drank more, I started to wish the cherry was a little more present with the bitterness being a bit less but it did get a bit better just with getting used to the base flavors.

Up next was George's Phunk, my favorite beer of the day by quite a bit.
Mildly tart nose, very inviting. Excellent first sip, super flavorful. A sharp sourness started it off with some mild vinegar and then it moved into an almost cherry tartness. Pretty amazing sour, rivaling the best ones from Phunkabration. As I drank more, I started to get some vanilla as my palate got used to the sourness, making it all the better. Also amazing is that it was 9% but I didn't even get a whiff of alcohol.

Next was the Equinox, a blend of Spring Ale and year old Saison de la Tete placed in an old cask of J.W. Lees Harvest Ale.
If you click on the link to Phunkabration above, you can see a version of Saison de la Tete from the phunk barrel which was incredibly murky and really not that great. Sort of made me not super excited for this one but it turned out to be pretty tasty. Interesting nose, sort of bitter. Mildly flavored but what's there blended together incredibly well. Hints of vanilla, a nice sweetness, and then some bitterness to clean it up. I'm not doing a terribly good job describing it but think of a saison with less spiciness and some vanilla and you'll get a better idea.

Next is Nodding Head's world famous (or at least it should be) Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weiss.
For a long time, the berliner weiss style was pretty rare but Nodding Head decided to brew one anyway a number of years ago and it's finally becoming more popular in the US. At this point, it's one of their most famous beers and many people look forward to it being available again every Summer. Sweet and apple nose. Body followed with a mild tartness mixed with some nice sweetness to keep it from being overpowering. Just a really delicious example of the style. Some people may like it a little more tart, but I feel like this strikes a decent balance for the crowds Nodding Head can see. Also, they offer something called Woodruff syrup to add to it if you want which is also part of the historical nature of the style. Of course, the syrup made it taste like Lucky Charms to me so not sure I'd suggest it but it's there if you want it.

The last beer on the list (though not the last beer I had since I had a second George's Phunk) was the regular Spring Ale which their brewer, Mike, said was basically a Philadelphia style Pale Ale.
Grapefruit nose without much bitterness behind it. Malt and breadiness were at the front of the first sip followed by a little bit of bitterness. Basically continued that way though the flavors blended a bit as I got more used to them. An easy drinking beer for the warmer spring and summer months and something good for the less adventurous that visit the pub.

I was pleasantly surprised by this event. As I said, the theme didn't really scream originality, but they still managed to kick out some real winners. The George's Phunk was remarkably good and well balanced with the Equinox being an interesting experiment that worked out pretty well. Always nice to see the Ich Bin Ein Berliner Weiss back on draft and it's a great choice if you don't want to get drunk as it's only 3.5% or so. That should be around most of the summer so stop in for a glass and discover the style if you've never had it. Totally worth your time. Next month's Second Saturday is going to be experiments with ginger and lemongrass so that should produce some interesting stuff.

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