Archive for the 'Specialty' category
Second up on our week o’ cans is this selection from Surly. Now, Surly is a very Minnesota beer. In my couple of weeks in Minneapolis, I’m seeing this stuff everywhere. It’s the kind of local beer that, even though it’s a good craft brew, it will find it’s place amongst the taps of even your less-discriminating pubs. This is seemingly because it is so well-entrenched in the hearts of the Minnesotans that even your Bud Light swilling locals will pick up a pint. It’s good to have a beer that people associate with home, and Surly seems to be that beer here (along with Grain Belt, a substantially lower quality cousin).
This particular beer, the Coffee Bender is *not* anything I’ve seen on tap around Minneapolis, but I’m intrigued. My impression is that this is coffee blended with beer, as opposed to coffee brewed with beer. This, in itself, kinda turns me off. However, Surly speaks of their cold brewing technique for the beer – it’s a technique I’ve seen used to good results in iced coffees, so I’m curious to see what this does with a beer.
The pour of the Bender is very dark, but not at all as viscous as I expected. Rather, it pours quite lightly, churning up a thin caramel head that quickly dissipates. In the nose, this may as well be a bag of coffee beans. The aroma is intense and rich and could stand along any of the other better-known coffee brews out there. The initial flavor of the beer is lightly sweet, but doesn’t smack you in the face. However, it quickly grows to a substantial coffee flavor. Compared to most coffee beers (which are, admittedly, mostly stouts), the mouthfeel of the Bender is flaccid. It’s a light beer, it flits through the mouth easily, and it doesn’t have a tendency to stick to the tongue. That being said, this packs quite a lot of coffee flavor into a rather light ale. This is chock full of coffee flavor with just the slightest malty flavor to let you know there is beer involved. In the coffee beer market, most brewers are trying to do the biggest, most syrupy beer they an pull off. What Surly has pulled off is creating a coffee beer that is sessionable. It’s appealing, light, and refreshing – and it tastes like coffee. I think there are a lot of people out there who would really enjoy this, and I’m one of them. It might be easy for some to chalk this up as a lesser cousin to the Terrapin Wake-N-Bake Stouts or the Founder’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout. However, I think those folks would miss the goal of the Coffee Bender – actually making a beer that wouldn’t be out of place early in the morning (not that we condone that or anything)…
Spring is finally upon us, so this beer review will fall under the “better late then never” category, since the beer is a Christmas Holiday beer. I had the beer back in the throws of winter, but, as is my “style”, I am just getting around to placing my review into post form. The first standout feature, and hopefully not the only one, of this beer is the brewers behind it. This is a collaboration beer between Stone, Nøgne-Ø, and Jolly Pumpkin. All three brewers have made exceptional beers in the past, so lets see what happens when they combine forces.
The beer poured a jet black into my snifter, with a head that was of the “small-white-bubble-islands” variety. A big pine aroma hit my nostrils first, reminding me of Stone’s Black IPA. Through this thick pine aroma I also gleamed some typical Christmas beer aromas of coriander and ginger. In the mouth the beer runs smooth, and the pine taste, unsurprisingly, was the bully of the bunch, beating back all the other flavors to near unnoticeable quality. One strange flavoring I did notice was something I noted as “pasta flavor”. Was this a gasp of malt trying to make itself known? I am not really sure. The beer finished big and bitter.
I was not overly impressed with the beer personally, and probably a reason I took so long to post my review. The Allstrom brothers reviewed this beer back in late February for their Volume 11 Issue 8 Weekly Dig beer article (page 14). I did not read the review at the time, having already had the beer and not wanting to “taint” my review with their thoughts. Having just finished writing my review however, I gave their review a read.
I am not even sure we are talking about the same beer! Maybe my nose was off the night I had this, or I got a bad bottle, or the fact everyone tastes things differently. Whatever the reason, they really enjoyed the beer (with qualities I never noticed). So if you find this beer lying on a shelf somewhere, I recommend giving it a shot. It might not have done anything for me, but I’m not going to completely disregard the beer either.
As an ending aside, I enjoy this collaboration trend in brewing. It keeps things very interesting for the beer drinker, and I hope to see its continuation along with its expansion.
This is a collaboration between Left Hand and Terrapin, two breweries I like very much. But I must admit that I have been ducking and dodging this beer for quite some time. The name, label art and ingredients scream “abrasive” and I just really don’t want to taint my favorable impression. But I’m tired of opening my fridge and having this beer stare back at me so here goes…
This beer is a very deep, dark, brown; almost black. It has a roasted malt and mild chocolate aroma that is very different from what I had imagined. I expected a sharp, earthy smell but that just isn’t the case. The taste is just as surprising. It has a very round mouthfeel and there are a lot of chocolate notes that coat the tongue. The earthiness I expected in the smell does evolve in the taste as the liquid pass through the mouth. Again, the initial taste is very rich but then it separates and exposes floral flavors that tickle the side of the mouth. Oh, but we’re not done. Then this taste disappears for a split second before the aftertaste rears its smokey head. It’s like they created a stout/porter hybrid with some hop characteristics. I wouldn’t say it’s on my list of favorites but I will say it’s on the list of beers that have impressed me. It is very complex and well balanced, all while using some unorthodox ingredients. Well done Left Hand and Terrapin, I look forward to your next venture.
It tastes sorta like this…
Last, but not least, from our friends at Beer of the Month Club, we have the Eku 28. Now, I happen to know that this is a serious beer. I actually first tried this beer in Maryland at a friend’s house – THEY actually got this from a different (and, I’m sure, inferior) Beer of the Month Club. At the time, I was a bit earlier in my beer-lovin’ career, but I still found it very interesting. This one clocks in at about 11% ABV, is considered by Michael Jackson to be a “4-star World Classic”, and can’t be cheap to produce or purchase – for these reasons, I’m very impressed that BOMC chose to include it in this month’s offering when they could’ve easily cut corners and given us something less interesting. Hats off to you, BOMC, for spending the extra cash to give your customers something really worthwhile…
This one pours a lovely dark ruby golden color with an off-white head that is super dense, flares up, and then dies down to a thick ring around the glass. In the nose, this is a flavor explosion. There is a ton of horehound candy flavor here, layered on top of some maple syrupy sweetness. Frankly, smelling this stuff feels like drinking a beer – it’s just that thick. In the mouth, this is stuff is bonkers. It’s super complex and super big. The primary flavors are sweet and rich. Initially, there is a thick maple sweetness that quickly gains some additional bitter notes, rendering it more of a horehound candiness, as indicated in the aroma. As this progress through the mouth, some bourbon flavors seem to develop as alcohol and a sharper sweetness come to the forefront. As this finishes up, the aftertastes flashes out with a very syrupy sweet flavor that surges up into the nasal cavity and then sticks around for ages. Long after this is gone, the big thick mouthfeel covers the entirety of the tongue and tends to coat the throat and back of the mouth. This is certainly not a session beer. Rather, this will be killer as a dessert beer or a late night apertif by the fire – I might even recommend enjoying it in a brandy snifter, ’cause it’s just that big.
I like a Christmas Ale, spice, spice and more spice. This is a French Christmas Ale and is the third beer we’ve had from the Brasserie Duyck, all of which have come from the BOMC. It’s also the third beer from this month’s delivery, coincidence? I think not. Ok, truth be told, it really is a coincidence but kinda cool if you think about it.
This beer has an amber hue that lightens toward the bottom of the glass. This beer has similar aromatic characteristics to the Pickled Santa. However, this time the smell of orange isn’t deafeningly sweet. There is a milk chocolate aroma that wraps itself around the orange and again I can compare it to a piece of candy, a tootsie roll pop this time. This likeness carries over into the taste but it isn’t as robust or bright. The candy-like flavor is attached to a smokiness that dampens the sweet flavors and in my opinion compromises the taste. The smoke serves as a transition point from citrus to toasted malt but in this case it creates unbalanced flavors that don’t compliment each other. There also appears to be a ginger and pepper-like characteristic that stands out during the last 1/3 of the taste, but for no rhyme or reason. This beer confuses me. They boast that there were no extra flavorings or spices added during the brewing process but to that affect I feel the brewers tried to create a complex beer without influencing the outcome. That my friends leaves a lot to chance, which is awesome when the stars align. Unfortunately, in this instance they did not.
Magic Hat sent Ben, Dave and I 2 more beers to review from their winter line up. I’ll begin with the Braggot, the winter offering from the Odd Notion line, and then proceed to the Roxy Rolles. The second sounds like a bad roller girl name.
The Braggot pours a hazy golden color into the 6oz tasting glass that Ben handed me. Right from the beginning I’m having difficulty understanding why this is a winter type brew. It actually smells pretty good, it has a smokey, toffee/coffee-like aroma. Smell and appearance aren’t jiving right now. I made the mistake of reading the description on the MH website and thus the rest of my review is tainted. I hate mead and since this beer supposedly has certain mead characteristics I can’t help but think I won’t like it. It has a clean mouthfeel but I can’t pick out a lot of flavor. There seems to be a roastedness to it at the beginning but then it gives way to a warming alcohol flavor, almost like taking a shot. There are some sour notes towards the end but mostly just clean liquid. It is thicker than I normally prefer but maybe I’m thinking this because I can’t shake the word mead from my mind. I’ll let Dave and Ben give you their opinion on whether to try it due to my lack of objectivity.
Next up we’ve got this Odd Notion Braggot. Frankly, I don’t really know what a braggot is, and I was informed to not read about this beer before reviewing it by Matt so as not to taint my impressions. So, I reckon we’ll just taste it and see what happens. This pours a rather lovely color – golden and hazy and just glowing in the desk lamp with a pillowy white head. The aroma is light and sweet with lots of honey. In the mouth, this is certainly a unique beer. The first thing I notice is that this is sweet and syrupy with a viscous mouthfeel for such a light-colored beer. I can tell right away that there is a lot of honey here, and it seems that some mead characteristics are coming in to play. I can tell you straight off that I am NOT a mead fan, so this is a demerit in my book. However, as the beer travels through the mouth, more beeriness shows up in the form of some light malts and maybe even just a tad of hop profile towards the back. Down the throat, we’re left with a weird amalgam of honey sweet and mild bitterness. To be honest, this isn’t for me – reminds me too much of a honey mead. However, if you like a good mead and attend renaissance festivals regularly, then enjoy!
(NB: I wrote my review off-line before reading either Matt’s or Ben’s reviews and I definitely have a different take on the beer. Interesting to see the three different takes on the beer right in a row. By the way, I have had home brewed mead, not my own, which I did enjoy, and I do not attend renaissance festivals.)
I am definitely looking forward to this brew. I have enjoyed past Odd Notion beers, and I know I am in for something at least different.
Brewed with honey and it has a honey color… nice. Not sure if it was from my pour but the head is pretty non-existent, with minimal bubbling. An enticing mixture of fruit (apricot), honey, caramelized sugar, chamomile, and slight alcohol vapors all reach out and tickle my nose. Whoa, was my first reaction on sipping the beer. All of the aromas, except the alcohol, come out in the taste. The beer is smooth through out the mouth, with a medium mouthfeel, which allows the tastes to have a good presence. The beer is on the sweeter side of the scale, with the honey and caramelized sugar tastes. The chamomile definitely comes through and provides a very different aspect to this beer. I personally have never had chamomile in a beer. Actually besides tea (I was getting over a cold, so I have been drinking a bunch of chamomile tea recently), I can not think of anything else I have had with chamomile in it. If you do not like chamomile, you will not like this beer. Not to say it overpowers everything, or anything, since I think it is balanced with the other flavors, it just is “there”. This chamomile is rounded out by a hint of vanilla.
This Odd Notion did not let me down… interesting, and good. This beer definitely gets a thumbs up from me, especially if you are looking for something different in your winter beer.
Nothing like watching the election returns and drinking limited release beer. This is a historical night in America folks, either we elect the first Black president or we elect the oldest first term president along with the first female VP. To commemorate this event I have decided to review Terrapin’s newest “Side Project” brew. It is a Wheat Wine Ale brewed with honey per the label. According to a recent review by Jeff Holland of Creative Loafing it has a “mead-like strength”. This makes me a little nervous because I abhor mead but I’m willing to give it a try. Plus I’ve had enough Terrapin brews to know I should always give them the benefit of the doubt.
This beer surely looks thick as it flows into my chalice. It pours an opaque pale, golden color with a very frothy head that quickly dissipates to what amounts to slightly more than a film. Wow, this smells delicious! It could pass as either a bold Bavarian style hefeweizen or a simple Belgian triple. It is heavy with coriander and spice with subtle licorice-like undertones. There is so much going on with the taste that it is almost impossible to pick it apart, but I’ll try. The citrus flavors and sugary sweetness touch the front of the tongue and then shoot to the top and back of the palate. The clove, pepper, and other spices tickle the gums and sides of the mouth while the honey and licorice flavors coat the back of the tongue and slide down the throat. All of this rounds out into an aftertaste that begins with banana and finishes with a slight bitterness – strange I know, but it’s a true story. Like I said earlier I was frightened by the “mead-like strength.” Fortunately it doesn’t taste like mead, so I’m guessing Mr. Holland was referring to the 11% abv. That being said, while the alcohol content is noticeable, it is quite palatable. This beer does have a mildly thick and sticky mouthfeel but the complex flavors and carbonation have a thinning quality that makes it much more drinkable than I would have imagined. It is no doubt a big beer and one that deserves to be enjoyed at length. The Gamma Ray is not for the faint of heart but for those of you that like a complex brew you’ll love this beer because you get a little something different with each sip. At this point I have no idea how this election will turn out but one thing’s for sure, I’m really enjoying this beer.
A few nights ago I reviewed Summtynoses’s version of the pumpkin ale style, tonight I look forward to comparing it Saranac’s interpretation. This Saranac varietal came in our latest BOMC package. It’s very easy to find in these parts during this time of the year…go figure. Both Ben and I have had this beer on multiple occasions as parts of variety packs so I was actually quite surprised it hadn’t been reviewed yet. Truth be told we do drink for pleasure sometimes and chose not to put our thoughts on paper and I guess that is what happened in this case.
This beer appears to have a distinct color variation between top and bottom. The bottom of the glass holds a clear copper liquid, while the top has a much darker, ominous looking tone. The smell is much the same of all pumpkin ales, cinnamon and nutmeg. It isn’t as pronounced as the Smuttynose and it also has a roasted characteristic to it. There doesn’t appear to be a stark contrast from the Smuttynose with respect to taste, just a difference in how the flavors present themselves. A vanilla-ish flavor carries itself throughout the mouth and the carbonation is a little more harsh. Again the spice is not noticed until the middle tongue region. If you’re a fan of pumpkin pie you’ll enjoy this flavor, if not you’ll probably think it is a bit excessive. For beer purist this makes it very difficult to appreciate these specialty/flavored brews. There is little hop presence if any to this beer; thus this pumpkin ale doesn’t finish with the same bitterness as the Smuttynose. If I had to point out a flaw I would say it has a watery characteristic at times but for the most part it is a good beer. This is certainly an appropriate, although a bit gimmicky, addition to this month’s BOMC offerings.
Ben and I had the opportunity to attend a “talk” given by Peter Egelston, owner of Smuttynose, and Rick Tufts, co-owner of Triangle Brewing Co at the most recent World Beer Festival in Durham, NC. Both of these gentlemen make some pretty dang good beers and it was interesting to see their different perspectives related to brewing philosophy and marketing. Mr. Egelston has been at this a little longer than Rick, by about 20 years, so he has certainly seen the bleakest of microbrewing times and I’m glad he and his company are still around to enjoy the recent boom. Thankfully, Smuttynose is now distributing throughout NC because until recently I haven’t had any of their beers. I promptly bought their 12 bottle variety pack, in which I could not find a bad brew. Ben has reviewed all of them except the pumpkin ale so check the archives if you’re interested.
Pumpkin ales can be hit or miss, but as I’ve already said above, this one is right on the money. It has cloudy orange-amber hue with a fluffy white head that sits on the top like whipped cream on a pie. No doubt fitting given the style. It smells of cinnamon and nutmeg. Not a lot of pumpkin there, but enough to evoke Thanksgiving nostalgia. There isn’t a lot of sweetness to the taste. The spices take center stage after they cross the first 1/3 of the tongue. Before that there is no flavor to speak of, only noticeable carbonation. The cinnamon tickles the tongue and the top of the mouth. I’m picking up a bit of vanilla as well resulting in a light creaminess. There is a mild floral undertone that rounds out the overall flavor and leaves subtle bitterness in the mouth. This beer gets better as it warms so if you start drinking it and think I’m way off base give it a little time. I must mention again that I think this beer is quite delightful and delicious. There nothing complex about this beer but it’s nice to be able to appreciate how well the flavors mesh together. This is the seasonal addition to the variety pack so grab it soon or you may have to wait until next year.
Okay, this is the 2nd day of some brewery pretending to be someone else. In this case, Pyramid Brewing out of Seattle has decided to be Buffalo Bill’s Brewing Company for this Pumpkin ale. I mean, I understand the idea, but these days I associate this too much with Anheuser-Busch and all of their craft-beer wannabes. Did it work out that well for them? Do you really need to do it? Pyramid? Really? You’re a pretty well respected brewery, and I’m not sure that this is necessary. At any rate, I’ll review it…
So, it’s the first pumpkin ale of the year for me, and it pours the expected dark golden color with a bit of amber thrown in. In the nose this is, well, quite pumpkin-y. It’s actually more along the pumpkin pie line, with heavy notes of cinnamon and holiday spice. In the mouth, this beer is just what it claims to be – full o’ pumpkin. Again, it contains a lot of cinnamon and spice that places this squarely in the pumpkin pie category. In fact, the spice is pronounced enough that I don’t get much else from this beer. It’s hard to say how I feel about this. It is a tasty beer, without a doubt. And, when you consider that it claims to be a pumpkin beer, we can’t fault it for having so much pumpkin flavor. However, I do feel like there are pumpkin ales out there that are altogether tastier and more refined, although they may contain less of the actual pumpkin flavor. So, I don’t know. If you like a pumpkin pie, and you want a beer that tastes just like pumpkin pie, then you’ll love this. However, if you’re into subtlety and want just a touch of pumpkin in your pumpkin beer, then steer clear of this one…
I’ve been hearing about Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! for quite some time now. I’ve always known them to make beers that are adventurous, hard to find, and highly revered. So, when I happened upon 2 of their bottle beers in limited availability down here at the Blue Light, I had to pick ‘em up (even though I really paid to much – c’est la vie). The first of these is one I was not familiar with – the Route des Epices, a rye ale brewed with peppercorns. Very interesting.
This ale pours a deep chocolatey brown with a thin caramel head with all sizes of bubbles circling around the top of the beer. In the nose, this isn’t very spicy or rye-y. Rather, the aroma is all big and rich, with lots of chocolate and caramel, leading me to believe this is going to be a super-rich beer. The first flavor of this beer is, indeed, very rich. We get a ton of caramel, good doses of chocolate, a bit of dark cherry and grape, and some nutty bitterness to round it out. This richness is also met with a nice malt backbone, giving this a big velvety mouthfeel to meet the rich flavors. On through the mouth, however, this beer gets VERY interesting. It eventually washes pretty clean in the mouthfeel, not leaving too much noticeable residue on the tongue. However, the beer then plays a magic trick as the peppercorns spring to life and start to tingle all over the tongue. All of a sudden there is a great deal of peppery spiciness and the beer absolutely springs to life with this tingling sensation that sticks around for several seconds, not really dissipating before your next sip of the beer, ‘causing the rich malt to wash away the spice and then quickly rekindle itself. This is a very unique beer, and the first time I’ve had a brew with peppercorns. I won’t say it’s the tastiest daily drinker in the world, but it is really good and completely worth trying out – it’s probably the most sensory experience I’ve ever gotten out of a beer.
As mentioned in my July 4th post, I picked up a Magic Hat variety 12 pack for the 4th festivities. Two of the beers present in the 12 pack had already been reviewed here at sevenpack: Circus Boy and #9. For the remaining two beers, Odd Notion and Hocus Pocus, I saved a bottle of each for ‘proper’ reviewing purposes. No time better then the present for those ‘proper’ reviews.
Three things tend to be a given when dealing with Magic Hat beers. First, original label artwork. I have always been impressed by the labels Magic Hat produces. They tend to be colorful and ‘interesting’. Second, bottle cap words of wisdom. OK ‘words of wisdom’ might be a slight stretch, but underneath each cap is a statement or saying, which I look forward to reading – “Don’t Eat with your feet”. Lastly, lack of style information, at least on the label. I never quite know what I am getting into when I first pop the cap of a Magic Hat beer. Sure it might be labeled as an “ale”, but that is a rather broad category of beverage. Nonetheless this seems to increase the ‘adventurous’ factor a bit.
The beer stands a clear brown with a slight red hue in my pint glass. A finger of white head graces the beer’s top, but it quickly fades to a paper thin layer, leaving no clues of its former presence on the glass walls. The first aroma to hit me is of fruit. Apricot to be precise. The more I sniff however, the more this aroma fades into a light presence of sweet caramel. I place the beer down for a minute or two and then start sniffing again. The same progression happens.
I take my first swallow and a completely unexpected taste hits my tongue. Smoke. Its not a strong smoke, more in the realm between toasted and smoked, but its sheer unexpectedness, seems to exaggerate its presence in my mouth. This flavor progresses to an enjoyable brown sugar and caramel sweetness as it traverses the rest of the mouth. This sweetness was a bit more expected due to the beer’s aromas. Though the beer is light in the mouth it leaves a rather pronounced after taste of sweet bread and malt. The aromas of fruit do not seem to amount to much within the taste.
This beer definitely struck me as odd. First, the starting taste of smoke came out of left field for me. Second, the aromas of apricot which faded during every session of sniffing, but would then resurface back to original strength at the start of the next, but amounted to nothing within the taste of the beer. Odd stuff.
I found the drink light and refreshing and was sad to have finished it. The beer has a pretty good chance at being a session beer, with its 4.2% ABV, but the sweetness might grow to be too much for some people. Even with the odd characteristics of the beer, I would definitely pick up Odd Notion again.
Following up my recent review of Stone’s XII Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout is Stone’s other recent release, Vertical Epic 08.08.08. This is release seven in the Vertical Epic series but I noticed the first one to be reviewed here on sevenpack. I am pretty sure I have seen 07.07.07 still on shelves and I have an 06.06.06 cellaring, so I should be able to expand our Vertical Epic reviews. Getting my hands on the full Vertical Epic however, is most likely out of my wallets reach.
With a hard pour into a chalice, only a thin covering of white head consisting of large bubbles covered the hazy, golden body. The lackluster head did not stop the aromas however. This beer had a lot going on. The most dominant of smells was of hops. This smell of hops progressed from a light tropical fruit note to a strong pine sap number. Intermingling with the hops however were aromas of flowers, honey, confectioner sugar, and yeast. At the end of the reviewing session these yeast aromas became more pronounced with clove and pepper taking center stage. I was very intrigued by this aroma, so I could not wait for the taste.
The hops, once again, took center stage. They started out floral and progressed into pine, seeming to skip the tropical fruits I smelled earlier. The pine taste is where the bitterness hits. Ironically I did not find the bitterness as strong as I thought it would be. This feeling changed through the session however, because the bitterness progressively got stronger. It was not just a bitter pine experience though. The bitterness was being ever so softly corralled by a honey like sweetness. This sweetness did not keep the bitterness completely in-check, and the taste was subtle, but it did help in some balancing. To finish there was also a certain syrupy smoothness characteristic to the rather light mouthfeeling drink.
Flat out, I enjoyed this beer. It is still a big hoppy beer (good), which tends to be expected from Stone, but it does have some subtle differences from being a straight old hop bomb (good). I think the real interesting thing will be how this ages. There is definitely enough yeast and residual sugars left in the beer for some “magic” to happen. The hops however scare me a bit, since they are not supposed to age well. (Then again I could be mistaken on that point, maybe only certain types of hops or hops in certain formulas do not age well. Any feedback on this point from our readers would be greatly appreciated.) I am definitely going to cellar a few bottles to see how it all turns out.
For those without Stone distribution around you (that sucks), Stone posts the homebrew recipe for each of their Vertical Epic releases on their website. If you can not buy it, brew it!
This is a beer that has been sitting in the beer fridge for quite some time. Unfortunately I did not mark the bottle’s label with the date of purchase, so I am not certain of the actual length of time. No real reason for the delay in its drinking, I think it just got intermingled with everything else in there (wine and other beer bottles) and got lost in the shuffle. Anyway, I decided to crack the bottle open to see what I have been missing.
A ton of carbonation is what I have been missing. This beer was a gusher! I stood by the sink for a good five minutes just sipping the carbonation as it came out of the top of the bottle (I did not want to waste any of the beer). Fortunately it was a rather controlled, but consistent, spewing of bubbles. If I had actually been able to pour this beer out initially, I am certain it would have been all head in my chalice.
Once the beer calmed down a bit, I was able to pour a nice brown bodied beer. The beer was topped with a light head, white in color. The aromas greeting me were of malt and fruit. The predominant fruit for my nose was one of raspberries. There were also mixings of blackberries, cherries and even some apple. These fruit aromas were not overwhelming however, and mixed well with the malt backing.
While sipping the beer the overwhelming thought I had was the beer was very similar to a Brut Champagne. I think the three factors for this were the beer’s drying quality, the steady carbonation, which played on the tongue, and the coalescing of the flavors. None of the beer’s aromas, which were not all that strong to begin with, stood out in the taste. I do not consider this a knock against the beer, because the taste was still enjoyable, but it was different. A slight deviation from the “Brut Champagne”- essence was a mild bitterness to the beer. This added a little more complexity to the taste, but was not distracting.
This beer would not be a frequent choice of mine, but I would have no issue picking it up again. Actually, if you have a celebration coming up, and you do not want to go the straight champagne route, this beer may fit the bill. Just mind the carbonation.