Thursday, April 27, 2017

Stillwater Artisanal Brewery: A Saison Darkly

Let's start off with an admission that I do not know what schisandra berries are, but the label says A Saison Darkly has some in it. I checked out some available information about Brian Stillwater, a DJ turned brewer, who believes that terms like "saison" are philosophical labels and not stylistic, so I immediately abandoned any preconceptions I had about the name of the beer. At first sip I thought it was the closest to a Belgian Quad, but lighter, may a Trippel with darker coloring, which by the way is a mahogany-ruby, with a scant head. There's also some interesting carbonation. As the glass sets on my desk, I can see a narrow fountain of bubbles coming up in the exact center, nowhere else. There's a melange of dark fruits plus some apricot, a teeny, tiny bit of cinnamon and brown sugar. The 8% ABV imparts very little heat and there's almost some whiskey notes, although it doesn't claim to be barrel-aged. Overall a pretty decent nightcap.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Odell's Mountain Standard Double Black IPA Barrel -Aged

I recently received a gift card for a beer/liquor store a short walk from our new home. This little beauty was one of the brews that I picked up while utilizing my gift. I've had Mountain Standard Black IPA  before, but I have a weakness for Bourbon Oak Barrel Aged beers, so this made the cut.

Mountain Standard Barrel Aged pours a deep ruby-black with no head to speak of. At 10.6% ABV I detect some comfortable alcohol heat, but not overwhelmingly so. The oak and the bourbon meld to give the whole shebang a creamy finish. As it warms up the aroma & taste of dark fruits: raisins, figs, black cherries, pop out. There's also a little apricot and dark chocolate.

Definitely a sippin' beer.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Thunderhead Brewing's Cropduster Mid-American IPA

It looks like they've changed the labels somewhat: Leatherhead Red was "Gridiron Ale" - pretty harmless, but not very descriptive; Cropduster appears to have been called "Herbicidal IPA" - not too appetizing!

The color is an orange-amber with a towering beige head that sinks down to a fluffy island atop the brew. Willamette and Cascade hops impart a sharp, yet smooth hop character with citrus notes and pine bitterness.

I'd recommend trying a glass with some barbecue or fried fish rather than unaccompanied.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Thunderhead Brewing's Leatherhead Red Mid-American Red Ale

Whoo-hoo! Beer #3 of 6 in the Thunderhead Brewing Variety 12-Pack, Leatherhead Red pours an amber-apricot-ripe pineapple hue, with a three-finger foamy head that slowly recedes to a lacy cover. It's listed as 40 IBU - Thunderhead doesn't advertise the type of hops, but whatever they are, they impart a piney, somewhat astringent note. Despite being billed a a red ale, it tastes more like an IPA, due to the hop-forwardness. I tend to expect red ales to be maltier and less hoppy, but other than not conforming to style expectations, this is a pretty decent beer. Even though it's not red! Nice label for Husker game days!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thunderhead Brewing's Schaben's Mid-American Pilsner

Beer #2 in the Thunderhead variety pack. It's always a challenge to find something new and exciting in a beer style that every beer company produces millions of each week. Schaben's pours a bright golden hue, with an impressive four-finger fluffy white head, not quite read-a-newspaper-through clear, perhaps unfiltered. Lagers aren't supposed to be rich with subtle flavors and aromas like ales, but Schaben's has a distinct, yet understated flavor that outshines the mass-produced brews. There are hints of baked bread, and a bit of coriander, and maybe some lemon peel. Very smooth, clean and refreshing. A great substitute for the giants.

[One thing I didn't notice until tonight is that each can, right around the lip, lists the ingredients: this one, in the traditional German style has only water, barley, yeast, and hops]

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Thunderhead Brewing's Cornstalker Dark Wheat

I reviewed this beer seven years ago, but I wanted to review it anew, especially since I have five other Thunderheads in the fridge. They're calling it a dark wheat, which would make it a dunkelweizen style, however the rich thickness, malty sweetness and frothy tan head over a deep chocolate brown makes me want to classify it as a porter. There's a lot of chocolate in the mix, as well as some vanilla. The 5.7% ABV makes it very sessionable and the measly 12 IBUs makes it attractive to the hop-phobic. As it attains room temperature I'm catching some coffee notes and a smidgen of brown sugar or perhaps molasses.  Decent porter; I'd buy it again. Support Nebraska brewers!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Innis & Gunn Scottish Stout Oak Aged in Irish Whiskey Barrels

I thought that this looked interesting. Innis & Gunn has several oak aged stouts and dark ales available at N Street, and being a fan of Irish Whiskey, I thought I give this one a try first. I've never had a beer that claimed to be a Scottish stout before, but I would assume, since Scottish or Scotch ales tend to be strong and smoky, and that stouts tend to be dark, heavy and malty, that a Scottish stout would be a combination. I was not quite correct. There is a hint of smokiness, but well hidden. The oak aging, however, does come through, and the Irish whiskey does add a nice smooth finish. There's also some hints of vanilla, figs and black cherries. It's the opinion of the Ill-Gotten Booty Board of Governors and Haberdashers that a well-made ale should not be hijacked by any one particular flavor, but all the component parts should blend together harmoniously. This particular brew succeeds in that regard. High marks from IGB.