This past weekend I had the chance to stop by the Jolly Roger Taproom, the pub at Maritime Pacific Brewing. The food there is excellent, but we are talking about drinks here, so lets get to that. They have 14 beers on tap, including cask conditioned ales served using beer engines. For my beer, I chose the Bosun’s Black Porter served on nitro.
A blend of malted barleys, wheat, and U.S. Goldings hops, this porter pours a opaque black with a fairly thin cream colored head. There are a ton of roasted malt aromas, but not much else on the nose. On the tongue there are the dark, roasted malt flavors accompanied by some slightly smoky oat and just a hint of chocolate. The hop flavors are very subdued, almost detrimentally so. The finish is very dry with a hint of coffee and minimal bitterness. Overall, I think it is a pretty decent porter. If you find a bottle, pick it up and give it a try, but probably not worth seeking out if it is not readily available. Cheers!
Part of the fun I have with beverages is trying things that expand my palate. I never really used to be a fan of beer, but lately I have been noticing that I am starting to enjoy a wider variety of the fermented libations. Stout in particular was a class of beer that seemed to turn me off. I’m not sure if it was the color, or maybe I just never had any good stouts, but I am proud to say that I love stouts now. Recently, at the Copper Hog (one of my favorite Bellingham bars) I had the chance to try the Full Sail Black Gold Bourbon Imperial Stout. It is amazing!
This 11.4% abv Imperial Stout, is just one beer in a long line of brewmaster reserves released by Full Sail on 10 week rotation. It is essentially their Imperial Stout, which is then aged for a full year in bourbon casks, which adds some great vanilla, caramel, and oak flavors.
Like most imperial stouts, the Black Gold pours inky black with a reddish brown head that dissipates fairly quickly. This is a beer with some great aromas. There are the typical dark malts, some vanilla, and a fair amount of the caramel and bourbon oak aromas from the barrel aging. The Black Gold has thicker, more creamy mouthfeel than most other american stouts. A slightly drying finish with little hop aromas. The taste is very full. Dark chocolates, coffee, caramel malts are the predominant flavors, with some vanilla and hoppy bitterness rounding it out. All in all, I would have to say that this is probably one of the best stouts I have ever tasted. If you can get a bottle, don’t hesitate to try it out. Cheers!
This week we are looking at Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles, and I promise that this will be the last belgian beer for a while.
Trois Pistoles is a strong dark ale, similar in style to Chimay Grand Reserve. This beer pours a very dark reddish-brown with a quickly dissipating tan head. Lacing is virtually non-existent. It has strong aromas of dark fruits such as plums and raisins, as well as roasted malt with a hint of spice. The flavors that accompany each sip mirror the aromas. Lots of dark malt, some chocolate, and Unibroue’s distinct yeast profile to round out the taste. Neither hop aromas or flavors are really present in this beer, which makes it a little lacking, and while their yeast seems to work well in most of their beers, it seems to fight the overall style in this one.
While I like most of the Unibroue offerings, this one seems to stick out a little from the rest and not in a good way. While similar in style and flavor to the Chimay, this beer doesn’t quite reach that level of awesomeness. I would drink this beer again, but there are others that I would probably choose before this one. Cheers!
Continuing with my belgian beer theme, this week we are sampling Chimay Grand Reserve.
The Chimay Brewery is a Trappist brewery founded in 1862, at the Scourmont Abbey in Chimay, Belgium. A Trappist brewery, is a brewery that produces beer brewed by or under the supervision of Trappist monks, and the purpose of the brewery must be directed toward assistance and not toward financial profit. Although there are around 175 Trappist monasteries, there are only 7 that produce beer (six in Belgium and one in the Netherlands). The Chimay brewery produces three widely distributed ales and a patersbier exclusively for the monks. All of their beers are made from water, malted barley, wheat starch, sugar, hop extract and yeast. Malt extract may be used in their darker beers for coloring.
Chimay Grand Reserve is a belgian dark strong ale with a complex malty sweetness. There are aromas of dark cherries, with no noticeable hop aroma. The beer pours a very dark copper brown color with a huge, dense, tan-colored head. The beer is refermented in the bottle and is fairly hazy due to the presence of the yeast. It has malty, dry flavor with almost no hop bitterness for a beer of this strength with the alcohol content providing some of the balance to the malt. High carbonation helps to add to the smooth mouthfeel that goes down smoothly. At 9% abv, this is a dark, very rich, complex, Belgian ale. One of the best examples of a Belgian dark strong ale. Highly Recommended. Cheers!
I just love Unibroue beer. Every one of their beers has something different, but all are some of the best examples of Belgian style beer produced in North America. And for good reason as Unibroue employs belgian born Gino Vantieghem, former brewer at the Chimay Trappist brewery, as their head brewmaster. Of all of the Unibroue offerings, La Fin Du Monde is quite possibly my favorite.
La Fin Du Monde is a belgian style tripel, which pours pale golden with a quickly dissipating thick head. La Fin Du Monde’s aroma is strong, with candied fruit and banana flavor, offset by the spice of cardamom, nutmeg and cloves. All of Unibroue’s offerings are brewed “on lees”, which means that they are only partially filtered, and they are refermented in the bottle which produces a higher concentration of proteins and yeast. This adds a bread-like vanilla scent that ties everything together nicely. This beer has a very champagne-like mouthfeel with a dry aftertaste. Although it has a abv of 9%, this beer is an easy drinker and pairs really well with some blue cheeses, seafood, and chocolate desserts. Cheers!