Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Wanna Be Your Dog Days Of Summer No More - Amadeus Biere Blanche

It's pretty sad when you can tell summer is winding down because the highs are in the low 100's instead of hovering around 110.  What isn't sad is when you start to smell and feel that very subtle hint of fall in the air. With dreams of long bike rides and low electric bills dancing in my head, I'm here to tell you, I'm loving that feeling more than usual this year. 

Since my palate, to some extent, seems to change along with the seasons (this is not to say I can not, and do not many times enjoy a Hefe in December or a Impy Stout in August), and maybe because I'm just really looking forward to fall more than usual, I'm going to review one final summer beer as a somewhat premature goodbye to a season that I usually love (but this year simply tolerated), and begin to prepare my taste buds for the heftier outings.

On to the beer at hand.  For me the Amadeus Biere Blanche is a perpetual passover beer; not in the religious sense, but in the sense that I always see it on the shelf, but seem to walk by and never really give it a second thought.  I do suppose that there is a certain spirituality to beer choosing, and if so, then this one is definitely not the prodigal son as far as appearances go.

I'm not completely for sure why I've never purchased this beer.  Perhaps it's because it is a French beer, and I've never been overly stoked on French beer.  Maybe it's because the movie Amadeus annoyed the absolute hell out of me (there's no way Mozart was that fucking obstreperous), but who knows?  What I do know is that the French can make good wine, write good books and race bikes like nobodies business, but as far as good beer goes, they definitely have some catching up to do.  Let's see if this one helps them down that path.

A pale yellow-orange pour puts out a boisterous white head that diminishes slowly, and ultimately ending in a thick, cumulus cloud-like covering.  A few wide swathes of lace linger around the glass. 

Smells lemony and malty with a nice sweet bread backbone along with some clove and candied sugar floating around.  Very complex.  Let's hope the palate experiences the same.  Tastes grainy with a squirt of lemon and not much spice.  Tanginess is just right.

Body is weaker and drier than I was hoping for, especially considering the depth of the bouquet.  Subsequent pulls do however open things up and reveal a bit of welcomed spice and a lemon cookie yeast.

This one is off the charts easy drinking, although the body and taste suffer a bit secondarily.  Overall there is nothing to be ashamed of with this brew, and it serves as a fine bookend to a summer full of great lighter-bodied beers.   

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Great Divide Smoked Baltic Porter

We are getting a lot more seasonal, special run, and one-off beers here in Oklahoma, and that tells me more people are buying good beer and making it worthwhile for brewers to ship their goods to our fair state.  I hope the momentum continues, and I see no reason why it shouldn't.  That being said, the market for beer is in a transitional period, so nothing should be taken for granted, which means now you have a good excuse for having a beer right now! 

Black at the middle and lightening up to a dark reddish brown at the edges.  The foamy tan head breaks apart slowly, and unselfishly leaves a lot of its sticky self behind.  An initial whiff brings to the nose some molasses, dark chocolate, cocoa and a very distant wood pit charred smokiness.  Sweet and dark chocolates mix with dark fruits, black licorice, cocoa, more molasses and a huge hit of smokiness that envelops it all.  Creamy in the middle, and a thinner than expected body leads to a straight medium mouth-feel.  Has a woody edge on the throat, plenty of candy stickiness to the lips, and the alcohol is well-concealed. 

Good showing from one of my favorite breweries, but could use a bit more body to substantiate the complexities of aroma and taste. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cuvee 3 . . . And The Beat Goes On

Lots of positive news surrounding this one, so without further adieu, let's pop the cap and dig it. 

Oh my god will you take a look at that huge, thick, off-white head! Just sits there like meringue on a coconut cream pie (my absolute favorite dessert), slowly crumbling, and leaving magnificent waves and big whirls of lace that cling for dear life.

Color is burnt orange with light red hues. Aroma is a complex and bold fusion of Belgian barnyard funk, sweet malts, big light fruits (apples, pears, white grapes), spice, candied sugar, taffy and and a subtle bitterness that fits in for a consummate symphony of smells. Tastes fruity and grainy up front with a dryness that was a bit unexpected, but not completely unwelcome, and quite appropriate for the style.

Body is a bit flay, comparatively speaking, and the aroma doesn't seem to be substantiated by the taste as much as the olfactory senses were led to believe. That being said, as it warms, more fruitiness begins to be felt on the tongue, as well as some spice and phenols that add complexity and help alleviate a near drabness.

I'm loving this beer, however, as with the Cuvee 2, a few tweaks here and there are in order.  Then again, that could be said for anything worthwhile ever created.

Also looks like we have some more Redbud goodness coming up soon, and there is absolutely no reason to think Chase won't keep improving on previous efforts and making damn good beers to keep us wanting more.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Collaboration Number 2 - White IPA

Boulevard and Deschutes combine forces to bring us more whacked out beermania with this concoction that fuses a Witbier and an IPA; two of my favorite styles, and two that I never even conceived would be blended.  Call me a bit skeptical, but also open minded, because I know that these breweries rarely lead a good beer man down the wrong path. 

This one has the standard and magnificent Boulevard signature head that defies death for as long as possible, then settles into pure white chunks of quilted lace.  Color is golden orange with yellow hues where the light strikes. 

To the nose I get some expected coriander, light fruits, a little yeast and light hops.  Tastes a lot like the Two Jokers Double-Wit, but has a definite hop presence, that does, however, take a backseat to the spices, complex fruitiness (oranges, apples, grapefruit) and yeast. 

Medium mouth-feel, and where you really get the hops is the edginess going down the throat, which becomes more prominent as the beer warms.  Overall this beer is superbly balanced, especially considering the disparate characteristics of these two styles.   

I don't find any radical differences with this one as compared to the Two-Jokers, but the nuances that exist, make for some very interesting drinking, and I highly recommend this one to anybody wanting to expand their palate and who want to enjoy a finely crafted and tasty beer from two well established and highly regarded breweries.   

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Discreet Charm Of The Belgian Style Yeti

Things just keep getting more and more surreal in beer land, and I love it.  Bunuel, one of my favorite auters of all time, if he were a beer drinker (and I admit he probably wasn't), and if he were alive (which he definitely isn't), would be proud, as there are so many styles blending and working together to form more new and exciting styles.  I beseech you hearty beer men, what is there not to like about that!

Ok, let's explore one of my favorite impy stouts, which in this incarnation, has a unique twist.   A firm dark tan head abates in its own good time, leaving a panoply of stranded lace around the glass.  Has the color of profound darkness.  Aromas of chocolate, mocha and candied fruit are present, along with the anticipated notes of sour fruits and Belgian yeast.  An exceptionally open mouth-feel is obvious up front, then I get some dark chocolate, light fruits, phenols and hops to the tongue.  No alcohol heat to speak of, and has a medium mouth-feel with a certain unique dryness.

Definitely an interesting take on the style, and leaves something to be desired in the complexity and character departments, but still a fine result from out-there experimentation on an already fairly extreme style, which just goes to show this American brewery isn't going to be satisfied with the status quo.

I'm sure some stuffy British Real beer proponents or die hard Reinheitsgebot advocates could find a million things wrong with the myriad  frontiers opening up for beer in this day and age, but you see, here in America we like pushing boundaries, and because of that sensibility, we're finding that some really fine fermented specimens are emergingSo its kind of like how I (excuse the politics) feel about the tea-baggers.  That is, if you want to live like it's a few hundred years ago, build yourself a time machine, and get the fuck outta my day and age.  Just be prepared to wipe your ass with a corncob.  And yes, if you were wondering, which I know you were, there is in fact a google result for "what did people wipe their butt with in the 1800's".   

So, on that note, I will bid you a fair adieu.  Cheers good beer lovers!  And thanks to Great Divide for pushing the boundaries. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wild Brew Revisited.

Second go of the Wild Brew with a new recipe, so let's enjoy the evening and dig in and compare the two. 

The first Wild Brew poured a hazy grapefruit pink with edges of orange and a fluffy white head that stuck for a good while, eventually leaving a thin lace behind. Smelled rich with a big fruitiness and Belgian yeastiness and an afterthought of sweet malts. Tasted fruity and a bit sour with a nice enveloping of citrusy hop bitterness and a nice malt backbone. Had a slightly sweet edge with an earthy ending, and a medium body that went down smooth and a bit dry with a creamy core. Alcohol was well concealed and ostensibly leaned toward the Belgian strong-pale territory, and as I recall, a bit stronger in the hops area than most Belgian IPA's.

Fast forward a year and we still get a pinkish pour with the orange hues.  A large and resilient off-white head abates slowly in stop-motion fashion.   A bit of Belgian barnyard and citrus is noted.  You may ask yourself what is the difference in a Belgian barnyard and an American barnyard, or even an Italian barnyard, and I would tell you I have no fucking idea, so try it for yerself and see you lazy bastards.  Has less of a bitter enveloping than last years outing.  Mostly well-balanced, though a little more alcohol heat is noticed toward the end, but it still makes for some very easy sippin'.

Paired with sweet and spicy grilled pork chops, and a winning evening with great company was to be had.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hopheads Ball! IPA Day Reviews

After a long day of work, and temps back in the 105-110 range, as opposed to the 100 to 105 range (do you see a theme here?), the IPA day festivities at Tapwerk's were a very welcomed respite.  Beer-geek hopcentrics were in full force, as I noticed a ton of people enjoying the casked IPA's, as well as some damn good hop-inspired and infused food; a great sign the collective beer-geek palates of OKC are finally arriving.

Marshall Dry-Hopped Atlas IPA
First up was the Marshall Dry Hopped Atlas IPA, a beer that knocks a solid double regular style, but nearly grand slams firkin-like.  Saw a murky brown pour this time with a fine lace all around. I nooticed apricot to the nose and a chalkier mouth-feel. The sweetness was still there. A little hoppier and hotter than I remember, but smooth as hell. Excellent change up here.

My second choice was the Choc Double "ABA", an exclusive new release from our Krebs pals.  This one poured dark brown; bordering on black.  A thick tan head faded to a thick and consistent lace all around.  Smelled of earthy hops and sweet chocolate as a bonus.  Complex to the tongue with a little grain, tree bark, treacle, discreet dark fruits (plums, raisins) and big earthy hops to the tongue.  The 9.5% ABV heated things up nicely.

Had an open mouthfeel which became very edgy secondary to the alcohol and hops, although there was a cask smoothness underneath that helped even things out.  Became sticky after a while.  This one laid it all on the line and attacked with full force right up the middle, overtaking enemy lines, and leaving no dearth of casualties.  

Last but assuredly not least was one of my all time OKC on-tap faves, the Coop F-5, all dry hopped and cask conditioned as well.

Had a striking, prolific and pleasant grapefruit hop aroma for pure olfactory awesomeness.  Big citrus hops to the tongue with an open mouth-feel that I didn't recall from my past experiences.  Earthiness and a few sour notes work into the equation.  Sharp in the initial moments, but smoothed out at the end for a wonderful all around experience.   

Free T-shirts, abundantly flowing hops, and a bunch of very cool people leaves just one question to be answered (as a fellow Beer Advocate pointed out); when the hell is Barleywine day! 

Art of the Playlist: Paired with Brasserie Dupont Saison

skitter skitter skitter . adderall canyonly
aries . franco battiato
elbow grease . helms alee
no other way . white hills
please rain fall . the sea urchins
fabulous friend . the field mice
my secret world . the golden dawn
patterns . noah howard
manimal . the germs
another schizoid ambelism . godheadSilo
peace offering . growing
kpf und bauch . gorilla aktiv
captain caveman . lightning bolt
shot in the head . rusted shut
farewell . black motor
paper hats . this heat
to the sky . the cure
dancing naked ladied . the jesus lizard
two trains running . paul butterfield blues band
too many people . far out 
into another doom's pain . incapacitants

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Napa Smith Lost Dog

The fancy, noble looking Napa Smith labels have been staring at me for a few months, so I figured it was high time to give this new to Oklahoma brewery a shot.  Not sure why I've avoided Napa Smith brews far.  I wonder if it's that they might be too pedestrian in appearance?  I mean there's no satanic imagery, lusty provocation or end-of-the world artistry going on here.  Is it that there are just too damn many new but marginal breweries on the shelves these days?  Perhaps it's the fact that most of the styles of theirs I see are, let's say, less awe-inspiring as say a big phat ass hop-bomb with 356 IBU's and 25% ABV.

Who knows?  And I guess it doesn't really matter, because the proof is in the bomber, and there's only one way to find out if my reservations were unfounded.  Now I know exactly what you scumbags are thinking; time to go to Beer Advocate and find out it's overall rating, but that's the wrong answer!  It's time to buy the damn thing and drink it so you can decide for yourself. 

Swampy reddish brown with a strong tan head that melts slowly into a layer or rolling and undying froth.  A patchwork of lace streams down the glass as the brew lowers.

Has complex and inviting aromas of burnt sugar, caramel malts, spice, and sweet and sour fruits; all presented in a refined manner.  Upon a first taste a  big creamy middle is the most obvious characteristic of this brew that I notice.  Beyond that I get some expected caramel maltiness, a bit of grain, an earthy bitterness, and passion fruit covered with sugar.  The palate is not as excited as the nose on this one, and actually goes to bed crying like it lost it's puppy...oh, shit, I guess it did!

Medium bodied and open at the end, but with that noted creamy middle.  Smooth with a little grain edge going down.  A tiny alcohol heat is felt going down the throat.  Feels a bit watery at times, but nothing to weep about.

The Red Ale is a style that I really have to be in the mood to drink.  And while The Lost Dog is not its best representation, it is a fine beer that makes up in balance what it lacks in overall depth. 

Next up: IPA Day reviews!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Redbud Redemption

I've been letting this one set for a few weeks hoping for some carbonation buildup, since early reports had this one suffering from the same malady as the Cuvee 1.  I really wish Chase the best, as I've been following him for a long time, and I know there's a lot of talent there, so let's see how this one pans out.   

Hard pour straight down the middle and no froth.  Here we go again?  Surely not.  Slightly hazy reddish orange in color.  A few bubbles hang lonely on the side. 

Aroma is a different story with bold sweet bready notes, cinnamon bread, and complex fruits such as apple, orange and pear abound.  Subtle phenols are noticed before certain, near-striking fusel alcohol wafts up and through the bouquet. 

More flavorful big fresh- baked sweet bread and more complex fruitiness abound.  Some noticeable oakiness and a little chalkiness move through the middle.  Some notes of bubblegum and taffy work themselves into the mix as the beer warms. 

A bit hot at the end, and as the session progresses it becomes a little sweeter than I generally like.  Creamy and a bit weighted down at times with a medium to heavy mouth-feel.   

Overall this is a damn fine sipper.  A handful of tweaks here and there and some rounding off of a few rough edges and you've got yourself the future of Redbud Brewing, a future which many will agree is very bright. I'm seriously looking forward to some more Redbud goodness.  Can anybody say Cuvee 3! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Juniper Black Ale

Had this beer a couple of months ago, and just now getting around to putting my notes together for review.  Yeah, I know, I'm a slacker!   

The American Black Ale is a style that has slowly but surely grown on me, and SN is a bastion of consistency, so needless to say, I greatly anticipated this one.

A very promising thick and dark tan head tops out quickly at the rim of the pint glass, making a waste a time sitting still before turning rocky and slowly crumbling while leaving a fluffy quilt of covering and a prominent lace.

Complex and invigorating aroma consists of malts, a bit of green tea leaves, burnt sugar and distant hops. Thick, malty and syrupy taste up front with an quick infusion of oily hops and a nice hit of caramel with more burnt sugar working into the fold after a couple of sips.

Striking but not too hot down the throat with a creamy middle that keeps things from going completely wild-fire on your ass, but just enough to keep the belly warm. Sticky and somewhat airy. This beer being well carbonated goes without saying.

Anxiously awaiting my next American Black Ale excursion, and already missing beer camp.