Thursday, July 2, 2015

Town Hall Life Imperial Red Ale

This week at Town Hall, there are three new beers themed for the 4th of July. Wait, did I say "new"? It seems that they did this 10 years ago, and the beers are the same. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. and red, a white, and a blue(berry ale). While I drink down a mini-growler, let's look back on my notes from July, 2005:

The name reminds me of a Sly & the Family Stone song, of the same name..."you don't have to die, before you live." How wise, Mr. Stewart... 

Only served in 10 ounce pours at the pub, somehow I have a whole 64 ounces at my disposal...goodness gracious! 

Dark crimson color, and clear, with a decent, long-lasting cap of off-whitish foam. 

Aroma is lush malt, tidy hops, fuzzy, warm, and strength peeks through and invigorates the overall feel. Ahhh!!! 

Taste: yes, let's! Huge fruit, fat malt, minimal hops, fierce alcohol...very warm...but it gets bigger and more complex as we sip it. We like it it casting a spell on us, making us want it more? What is this beer doing? 
Cherries and berries are at large, grapes and melons...and booze, too. 
This is a lush and tasty thing...rather wise that they limit it to such a small serving at the establishment...who knows what chaos would ensue were we to toss back a pint of this in one sitting?

This is a tasty, tasty ale, with enough of a potent sting to slay the demons of the day and let one relax in forgetting those torments. It's good like that. And so is Life, when we have a beer like this at our disposal.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

La Trappe Bockbier

Hey, check out what's on tap!

And I wrote these notes back in 2008, probably from a bottle.


Murky plummish purply-brown coloration, creamy beige/brown head, slipping into a thin ring.

Rich, ripe fruit hits the nose...raisins, plum, a bit of fig, dates?just a tad?...a touch of port...

Tasting: Snappy, then smooth. Mellow mouthfeel overall, but plump with malty flavor. Yeast and malt are king here, and we've got a very Belgian trappist-y Dutch-style bock. How many of those have you had lately?

More I drink of this, the more I like it...I'll repeat mellow again, and it's just that kind of deep satisfaction I get from the Trappist ales, an enveloping feeling, the seeps out from the consumption of the brew and into the very heart of the drinker.

Hmmm: IBU: 36. Malts: pale, caramel, munich, barley, wheat and rolled oats. Hops: Hallertau, Northern Brewer, and Spalt.

Lightly spicy, a little funky, but mostly a fruity affair, but uplifting, and exalting.

Am I tasting the silence? I might actually be!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Indeed Wooden Soul #2

I went to Indeed last week and got my first ever growler. I mean, growlette. Down with the growlers, up with the growlettes. I just never saw anything I needed/wanted on previous visits. And I don't go there enough to be there when those beers are on. You know how it is. Or maybe you do go there often, in which case you don't know how it is.

Anyway, here are the notes:

Indeed Brewing Company Wooden Soul #2. Second in Indeed's sour beer program. I don't have a lot of information about it at my disposal, currently, but I have this 750 ml growler, and I'm about to open it. I seem to be collecting them, these days. Bought this one on Wednesday of last week, June 24, opening it today, Sunday, June 28, 2015.

Appearance: clear and golden, slim head.

Aroma: tart. vinegar. vegetal. woody. Bit of Brett? Arresting and arousing.

Taste: bright, brash, bold. Flush with …wine barrel-aging. Souring yeast. Lean-bodied, long, sour finish. If you want sour, this is your key. Bracingly sour, blisteringly delicious. Intensely juicy. Low hops. Adequate malt. Perfect souring. Yum. I said it, and I'll say it again, yum, A third time, yum a dum dum.

Here's what they say: Wooden Soul #2 is a Sour Blonde Ale aged in Sauvignon Blanc barrels, sourced from Northern California wine country. This complex beer is a blend, fermented with four strains of Brettanomyces yeast and two strains of Lactic Acid Bacteria.

Brewer Adam Theis walks us through the selection and blending process, explaining, “We went through 32 barrels total, and for each of them we said either, ‘That’s good, that’s ready,’ or, ‘Let’s leave that one another six months and see what happens to it.’ We ended up with 16 barrels that we thought were at their best right now.”

Hazy and straw-colored, this beer has complex aromas of bright citrus, melon rind, and barn yard funk. Refreshingly tart, Wooden Soul #2 is light and effervescent, with notes of sparkling lemonade, granny smith apples, and dry white wine.

Wooden Soul #2 will be available for a limited time in the taproom! Come in soon for a taste of this second release from our barrel-aging program.

More about Wooden Soul

Sour. Funky. Wild. Barrel-aged. Wooden Soul encompasses a stunning array of unique styles of beer, produced by the dynamic relationships between natural microorganisms when left to their own devices. Wooden Soul beers are developed using various strains of Brettanomyces, bacteria, or both, and almost all of the beers will spend some time aging in wood. There will be a spectrum of flavor and aroma produced from our wild yeast and bacteria. Some may be incredibly sour, while others may be more funky, fruity, or earthy. There is a certain degree of wonder and mysticism in our barrel room. The whole world could be explained scientifically, but sometimes it’s more enjoyable just to marvel at the unknown.

Founders Black Rye

You know what? I'd forgotten that this beer existed. I hadn't seen it anywhere, and I didn't remember ever drinking one. Then, a friend gave me a bottle, and I looked it up. Turns out that I'd written about a bottle back in January of 2005. Whoa, taking us way back. Here are those notes:

Deep black color, full cocoa/tan head..nice lookin'...I like it okay...

Aroma: rich and creamy, big, grainy, feeling, almost loud... very dark.

Taste: rich and full, very dark and tasty, posssessing exceptional grit, very full texture, hearty mouthfeel.

Medium bodied, so-so finish...kind of curious about the need for a beer of this kind, it doesn't satisfy like a porter or a stout. A nice drink, though not much to really remember.
Hurrah, Black Rye, ...

I'd file those notes under "unimpressed", to say the least. As for the bottle I had, still enjoyable, but nothing to get excited about.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Lynlake Hop X Double IPA

One of the problems with trying to keep up with all new breweries in town is that, well, you can't. I stopped into LynLake Brewing today in order to, once more, buy a growler on a Sunday. And I saw several new beers since the last time I visited them, three months ago. Three months? They are so close, it's ridiculous how I can forget about them, while I worry about checking out all the others.

So, now, let's open a growlette, growlino, no, these guys call them "roadies" (don't ask me why) …of a "double IPA" called Hop X.

Appearance: clear, bright reddish hue, solid, lingering head.

Aroma: ah! Just right. Citrus-y, floral. Bright, beautiful, lovely. Exactly what I want up my nose.

Taste: scrumptious. Juicy and fruity, hoppy as it gets. Bittersweet, where the sweet overcomes the bitter. Bitter hop attack still stays on top, but never quits. Long, fruity, bittersweet finish. Medium body. Strong hop flavor. Lush malt. Delicious.

Here's what the menu says: a not quite double IPA using a wide array of hops that provide strong resinous character. Pilsner and deep caramel  malt balance out that intense hop flavor with a roasty backbone. The use of Belgian candy sugar gives an extra kick of alcohol warmth while lightening the body. It's some of that real sticky icky. SRM 10, IBU 100, 8% ABV.

Is it some of that real sticky icky? Is it? Not quite. Could be sticky, ickier. Really could be. But, as is, it's pretty damned tasty, so cheers to that.

Ommegang Fleur de Houblon

Ommegang Fleur de Houblon Summer Ale. 6.8% ABV.

Appearance: clear-ish, light golden coloring, slim, but lasting ivory head.

Aroma: hoppy, fruity, floral, lively and uplifting. Little bit of spice, lots of bright and beautiful flavors.

Taste: Hmmm. Mmmm. this is nice upon nice. It's citrus, flowers, and parts of pine, kicked off with Belgian yeast, slices of lemon and lime, orange peel, grapefruit pith. Medium-bodied, light and easy-drinking. Slim-toned and gorgeous. Fierce carbonation. Hops-aplenty.

Here's what the Brewery Ommegang says about it: Nothing is more evocative of summer than the beautiful aroma of flowers, and the favored flowers of brewers are hops. Our brand new summer ale, Fleur de Houblon (Hop Flowers), is brewed to bring the many elements of summer into a refreshing and easy-to-drink Belgian-style ale.

Fleur de Houblon is a rich gold color with distinct floral hops in the aroma that follow through in the taste. Whole-cone Bravo hops are used to impart their earthy, fruity, and floral aromas and flavors. The body and flavor are clean and dry, with pleasing complexity and spicy notes from both primary and secondary fermentation with our unique Ommegang house yeast.

Northgate Russian Imperial Stout

Northgate Russian Imperial Stout, NorthGate Brewing, Minneapolis, Minnestota. 2015 Limited Release. 7.2% ABV, 60 IBU.

Appearance: deep blackness, utter darkness, large, lush creamy tanned head. Leaves lace, looks lovely.

Aroma: Major fruit. Big bitter. Massive malt. Dates and raisins and prunes. Oh, my.

Taste: This is not an American-style, big bruiser of an RIS. It isn't sludge and coffee grounds, it's not chore to trudge through, it isn't an assault on the senses. It is what it is, and it's terrifically tasty. Coffee beans and berries, big, but mild and mellow, too. No ogre nor beast, not a bludgeoning behemoth. It's a cool one. Full-bodied, but never thick. Smooth, man, smooth and satisfying.

Again, this is not one to challenge Darkness, or Expedtition, or Founders or Old Rasputin, or Narwhal, or any of the big, bold, thick, rich RIS's that define the American style of Imperial Stout.

But, it's still damned good.

Minneapolis Town Hall PDX Double IPA

Town Hall PDX Double IPA. 8.8% ABV.

Appearance: Lightly hazed, bright golden/amber, slim white head.

Aroma: bright and beautiful tropical fruit aromatics: pineapple, mango, guava, etc. Along comes citrus, here comes lime and orange. Ah! I kind of like it.

Taste: Vibrant, intense hop bitterness loads the palate. Very dry. Medium-bodied, long, bitter finish. Bitter, dry, and fruity.

Guess what? I still kind of like it.

Once again, though, there's nothing on their website about it. Wish I knew a little more. Come on, guys, you can do this.

Brooklyn Black Ops

Brooklyn Black Ops, Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels, 100% Bottle Re-fermented, Brooklyn Brewery, Brooklyn, New York. 11.6% Alc. by Vol

Appearance: Utter blackness, solid stygian, with a slim ring of brown head resting above.

Aroma: bourbon barrel essence fairly screams out of the glass. Charcoal, black teasel molasses, vanilla, …now comes chocolate, caramel, …ridiculously rich. So much going on. I'm loving it.

Taste: all that and more climbs on board the palate. Deep and rich, dark and full. Here comes coffee, in walks cocoa. Big and smokey. Dark fruit rolls out, plums, raisins, etc. A lot of fire in this, a good deal of spark and simmer.

Compared to all of the beloved Imperial Stouts, this doesn't climb to the top rung. As it is, it's a-okay. Nothing wrong with it. Good beer, and you can drink it.

What's it need? Needs more more. I am a bit disappointed that I spent over $20 on a single bottle, due to the rarity and all, but was left wanting. It didn't dethrone Darkness, or knock down Expedition.

Time to read the label: nope, too long. I'll getcha a link.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Bull Falls Hop Worthy IPA

Here's one of those breweries I'd never heard of until I saw it on tap at Acadia Cafe. "Hop Worthy" is an odd name, and it doesn't feel like a pun. What could it mean? I have no way of knowing. Anyway, they're over in Wausau, Wisconsin, and we had it on tap at Acadia. (And, apparently others, based on the empty kegs in the basement.) I took these notes before the keg emptied.

Bull Falls Hop Worthy India Pale Ale.

Clear, amber colored, smallish, whitish head.

Earthy spicy nose, low bitterness, low fruitiness.

Tastes: starts off piney, then turns slightly sweet, and ending bitter. Medium-bodied. Malt sweetness is much higher than normal, bitterness rises up to match it. Not bad, but nothing to squawk about.