Thursday, October 12, 2017

Double Down Gose IPA by Fort Collins Brewery

This is a fusion of two styles: India Pale Ale (yes, yes, everything is an IPA these days) and a Gose. The Gose style (pronounced Gō-sah) originated in Goslar Germany, but was also popular in Leipzig. It's made with 50% wheat, and has salt and coriander added. It's moderately sour.
Double Down is light and refreshing, pouring a golden hue with a thin white head. You can definitely taste the salt and coriander, with lemon peel notes. I'm not sure why it's an IPA, I'm not detecting much hoppiness. I just read that Fort Collins Brewery sold out & will be closing its doors, so you'll likely not see this beer around for much longer.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Goose Island Oatmeal Stout

I've had Goose island's oatmeal stout before, but I apparently never reviewed it. Well, they've included it in this employee pack and I'm reviewing it today. (The old label appears below with the snifter glass).

As with most oatmeal stouts, Goose Island's is heavy & creamy, pouring midnight black with a tall tan head. They're not doing anything fancy, just rolling out a great representative of the style. There's the usual suspects: coffee & chocolate notes, along with some roasted grains and medium hoppiness. There's also an unexpected sweetness that is imparting a maple aroma as the beer warms up. Pretty solid, should hold up well during the upcoming cold months.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Goose Island Altbier

Altbier is a hybrid style of beer that originated in Düsseldorf, Germany. Like Kölsch, the style that hales from Köln (Cologne), altbier is basically an ale that is top (warm) fermented, but then matured in a cool place, like a lager. This brew pours a caramel hue, with a light tan one-finger head. At 42 IBU's, it's fairly hoppy, but not astringently so, more piney than anything else. Light coffee and chocolate notes, but not so obvious that it detracts from the basic beer base. There's also a little bit of generic citrus to round things out. This is a pretty decent altbier. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Goose Island Fulton Street Blend Coffee Ale

Fulton Street Blend is one of those beers where the appearance is deceiving, like a black IPA, that you expect to be stout-y, I've always expected any beer with coffee in it to be a porter or a stout, i.e. DARK! They're calling it a coffee-flavored blonde ale, and it's only 20 IBUs, but it's got a bite like you'd expect from a pale ale. Naturally there's coffee in the flavor mix, but subdued, shyly hiding behind the skirts of the hops. I'd drink this again. Added flavoring, but melds well with the underlying beeriness.

Goose Island Coy Wolf Dark IPA

First of four beers in the "employee" 12-pack, it's billed as a "dark IPA", but more like a hoppier-than-usual pale ale that ain't so pale. Coywolf pours a toffee color with a three-finger tan head. They say that the hops are experimental, and they're different than anything that I tasted before. Not piney, not grapefruity, more like pumpernickel rye than anything else. There's also some mild toffee notes as well as some cocoa/hot chocolate and caramel. Oddly, there's also some lime. Very different. Flavor comes from the hops and not from added flavorings; IGB approved!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Beer Styles: Barleywines and Imperials

It seems that we never run out of ales to talk about! Today's Ill-Gotten Booty Beer Styles post will focus on the high alcohol content beers.

Barelywine is a style of ale that is mainly known for it's high alcohol content, and usually has a sweet "wine-like" character and a quality described a "alcohol heat". They are typically aged, smoothing out the bitterness of the hops. I always feel like I'm sipping some fine whiskey when indulging in a barleywine. Other names have been used for this style over the years, including "old ale", "strong ale", and "stock ale". North Coast Brewery produces a high ABV ale called "Old Stock".

The color of a barleywine can vary quite a bit. Typically they are a caramel brown or mahogany, but never opaque. Occasionally they can be golden or amber. The color, as with most beers, has little to no effect on the taste or strength. IGB likes to have a barleywine in early Spring when the snows have ended, but you still get some cold days.

The adjective "imperial" derives from the British beer style "Imperial Russian Stout". Similar to how the original IPAs (India Pale Ales)  were higher ABV & IBU versions of the Pale Ale, Imperial Russian Stout was a higher ABV & IBU version of the popular Stout, itself an offspring of the Porter style. Several English breweries were doing a brisk business in Stouts and Porters in the Baltic region; according to legend the Czar was partial to a particularly rich brand of Stout and put in a special order. Due to its association with the imperial household, it became known as Imperial Russian Stout. The style was reborn during the 21st century craft beer renaissance with several breweries producing their own versions of the style. They tended to be rich and creamy, very hoppy, and at least 10% alcohol by volume. Gradually though, the adjective "imperial" came to be used to describe any style that had a higher than usual ABV. An Imperial IPA might be an IPA with 11% alcohol rather than the usual 7%. So anytime you see "imperial" these days, translate it to "more alcohol".  Other adjectives that do the same job are "double" and "extra".

Other high alcohol beers include Scottish Wee Heavy and Belgian Quadrupel, these will be explored in separate blog posts.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Rahr and Sons Oktoberfest Märzen Lager

Pours a copper hue with a two-finger light copper head. malty, yet hoppy. Faint hint of coriander and nutmeg, but that may be my imagination! Pretty decent, 7/10 on the IGB Märzen Scale.

(Sorry, but Märzens, being lagers, don't tend to be super complex, but this is a solid example of the style)