Thursday was the Eye Wine Series night with two new ones, Eye Wine Red and Eye Wine White, as well as the previously released Le Baltique Baltic Porter aged in red wine barrels. Here' what the menu had to say: "These beers being with out GABF award-winning Eye of the Storm Honey Ale inspired by mead makers. Eye of the Storm incorporates copious amounts of honey, personally selected by our Brewmaster at a small Minnesota apiary. We aged this beer in both red and white wine barrels, requiring a very different maturation schedule than our whiskey barrel-aged beers. The distinct characteristics of the two resulting beers illustrate the importance of the barrel as an ingredient in all of our barrel-aged releases."
I chose to take home the red wine version in a growler because they are $18 apiece and I just didn't have the scratch on hand to buy everything I wanted. Isn't that just how it goes?
Eye of the Storm, eh? Sounds familiar. I'm looking it up on BeerAdvocate. Added to their database by me on 10-30-2007, nearly 10 years ago. What do you think of that?
10.5% ABV. Just for kicks, I'm going to share those notes on the base beer from then: Eye of the Storm, 10th Anniversary Beer, 2007
10% alcohol, 10 varieties of honey.
Slightly hazed orange coloring, slimmed white head.
Aroma is sweetness and citrus, honey and orange...which blossoms were harvested here? 10 of them, we know, but what kinds are a mystery. Flowery, almost, but not quite perfumey...with a solid malt base behind. Quite intriquing and utterly unique.
Taste: slick, and sweet, with a bold, big flavor. One of the fullest bodied of any honey ales I've ever had. There's a tidy hop buzz going on on top, and just the right malt ballast below, but this tasty honey base makes this ever-so delicious.
Supposedly 10% alcohol, for the 10 years of Town Hall, but I'm not feelin' it...yet...no, wait...it's starting to blaze!
Is it an ale? Or a mead? Or a honeywine? Or...???
Not that I care, it's just super-delicious in my book. Any time a brewer takes chances and comes up with some incredible new wrinkle in the folds of the beer style catalog, I'm on the cheering squad...but, only if it tastes as good as this!
Big carbonation in the mouthfeel with this one, bristling along the tongue, who knows what hops are at use, but the honey is larger in the profile of this guy. Full-bodied, with a big, thick, nearly viscous mouthfeel.
Dang, it's good! Wish their bottling lines were ready in time for this one, it's one to keep, and share, and have around for the good times and celebrations!
Damn! Wow! Cool! Other! One! Word! Exhortations!
So, clearly I was a fan of the original incarnation of this ale before the barrel effects took over. How's it once plunged into the red wine staves?
Town Hall Eye Wine Red. 10.4% ABV. American Strong Honey Ale aged in oak red wine barrels.
In the nose: Boom, boom, boom. Man, I'm not trying to cop John Lee Hooker, but whenever I catch whiff a powerful aroma, it just hits me like: boom, boom, boom, boom. Red wine meets honey in a fresh and fierce combination. Bold and expressive.
In the mouth: Sharp, sweet, boozy. Slick, sleek, tasty. Medium, light-ish bodied, long, sweet finish. Honey and grapes make a terrific tandem. Decadent. Indulgent. Yum, is another word I use. Luxurious. Did I say that one? It's almost as good as whiskey.