Earlier this year the Boston Beer Company, makers of Angry Orchard Cider, launched their all new Cider House Collection. Their first two forays into this arena are Iceman and Strawman.
At 10%abv, and 750ml in volume, these small batch ciders are modeled after traditional European cider-making processes, and use a blend of apples from the Northern Alps and Normandy. These ciders are then fermented with wine yeasts and aged in wooden barrels. So does all this effort, paired with a higher price tag, actually provide something you would want to consume? Let’s find out.
The Strawman pours a rich gold with a fizzy beige head. Lots of tart apple and oak aromas. The taste is tart, with lots of crisp apple, some vanilla notes and woody astringency. The finish is bone dry, very wine like, with just a hint of acetic acid. It would pair extremely well with pork belly, cream sauces and rich seafood. This is a cider that is decidedly different than the bulk of the mainstream american ciders, and if you treat it more like a wine than a cider, definitely is a decent value for the money. Cheers!
Alaskan’s new spring seasonal is a session version of their 2010 Double Black IPA Pilot Series. So how does this beer stack up against the competition? Let’s find out.
This beer pours very dark, almost jet black, with a thick and creamy mocha/tan head. First impressions from the nose was chocolate and some roastiness from the malts. Also present were some resin pine aromas from the hops with just a hint of citrus in the background. On the taste you definitely notice the chocolate and malt up front which then quickly fades into the hoppy bitterness and is coupled with grapefruit, lemon, and grassy flavors. The finish is long and mildly bitter, with some slight roastiness around the edges.
Overall, I really enjoyed this version of a Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale from Alaskan Brewing Company. If you are a fan of this style, you may be a tad disappointed as it is a little more laid back than others. If you are not a fan of this style, this is the perfect beer to help you change your mind. Cheers!
Guinness has a new beer in town, and it is breaking it’s age old tradition of brewing stouts by producing a black lager.
With the idea of recreating the distinctive flavor profile of their famous Stout, but in a crisper, refreshing style that will better compete with the other lagers being produced by some of the worlds biggest breweries.
Technically a Schwarzbier, the Guinness Black Lager pours just like their traditional stout, but without the rich, creamy head. The aromas are of gentle malt roastiness coupled with English hop aromas and a very clean yeastiness. The flavors are very guinness-like, with dry roast and bitter hops paired with the whistle clean lager yeast. The mouthfeel is clean and dry without any astringincy. All in all, a easy drinking lager that is sure to be welcomed by lovers of Guinness’s flagship stout. Cheers!
Known primarily for their excellent IPA’s, Ninkasi also has an excellent rotation of seasonal ales. The Imperiale is new for 2011, and is a 9.1% abv, 70 IBU, imperial stout brewed with 2 Row, Munich, Crystal, Carapils, Carafa and Black malts and hopped with Nugget hops.
It pours a jet black color with a thick cappuccino like head. On the nose, there are noticeable alcohol aromas, but the roast malt and hop aromas keep it in check. On the tongue this beer is a kick in the face, a boozy, malty drink perfect for a cold winter evening. It’s packed with roasted malt, dark plum, and a hint of coffee, with the sharp bittersweet hops balancing it all out. While this brew is incredibly well-balanced, it is also quite heavy and is very suited to be a sipping beer. It is complex, but simple enough for newer converts to the craft brew world. Cheers!
Mort Subite Blanche Lambic is a an amazing beer produced in Asse-Kobegem, Belgium, by the Alken-Maes Breweries group.
Brewed according to the centuries-old recipe of spontaneously fermented Lambic from malt, wheat and hops, this is a fairly dry, fruit-packed, 5% ABV ale that is incredibly smooth. It pours a light hazy yellow/orange, and reminds me a lot of an extremely yeasty witbier. The aromas are of lemon, loads of peaches, all highlighted by that rich yeasty smell characteristic of Belgian ales. On the tongue, the tastes are of sweet malt, wheat and spices, all complemented by that rich apricot taste. No hop aromas are present due to the aged hops used in Lambic production, although the finish has a slight pleasing bitterness to it.
If you have never quaffed a lambic before, then this is an excellent example to seek out for your first one. Be sure to grab a pint wherever you see it, because this is not a beer that sticks around. Cheers!