My wife actually picked today’s beer out and we ended up splitting the 22 oz bomber that it came it. H.E.R.O is brewed by DuClaw Brewing Company and this beer is brewed for charity. The H.E.R.O (really annoying to type that out) stands for Honest, Excellent, Robust, and Original. The proceeds of this beer may go to charity, but the creation of it is thanks to a homebrew contest that DuClaw holds. This beer comes in at a respectable 7.5% and, as you can see by the name, it has some stuff going on.
H.E.R.O 2012 Chocolate Chipotle Stout pours a nice deep black with a tan head. The nose first hits you with good bits of chocolate and a bit of sweetness. I didn’t get any chipotle component when smelling this beer nor did I get any hops.
On the first taste you really get wowed by the chocolate and caramel combination. The two flavors just play nicely together and create a rich, fulfilling sip. A slight roast creeps in at the end to remind you that this is a dark beer. The chipotle flavor comes in at the end. It’s hard to notice at first but as you drink the beer sip by sip, the chipotle flavor increases nicely.
This is a pretty nice beer. It’s something different and balanced. I’ve had chocolate and spice beers before but I’ve never had one that has this much restraint in the spice. Some might not like it for that reason but I find it enjoyable. The spice isn’t a star, it adds complexity and interest. This is a nice beer and a great cause, or as some call it a win-win.
As I have previously mentioned, Uinta Brewing Company is one of my favorite “new” breweries. They are one of the Top 50 Craft Breweries by volume, so I’m not alone in thinking that they make some quality beer. Today’s beer is a pale ale that comes in at just 4% ABV. A sessionable pale ale, wonderful.
Wyld Extra Pale Ale pours a very light orange color. It is slightly hazy and comes with a thin white head. The nose is packed with a strong hop aroma. There is a good amount of pine resin aroma along with a bit of citrus hops. This beer smells very aggressive for a pale ale and very hop forward. The hops are very clean and bright, which is something that I always like to see in a beer. I didn’t get much in the way of sweetness or malt character from the nose.
Unlike the nose, this beer has a nice malt taste up front. A very nice clean hop flavor permeates the malt and gives a good does of pine flavor. Usually I shy away from straight pine in hops, but this pine is softer and more rounded. It’s not a “Christmas tree ale,” but it should how full the pine hop flavor can really be. The hops end on a bit of a grassy note. I’m not sure how this beer manages to combine clean hop flavor with grass, but it works.
I really dig this one. It is wonderfully balanced and tastes like a beer that is much bigger than it is. As I said, this beer is sessionable. Drinkable, check. Sessionable, check. Full of flavor, check. I really could enjoy this beer year round and regularly. I don’t often give beers the re-buy nod, but this one gets it. Continue reading →
Samuel Adams (Boston Beer Company) released their Imperial Series of beers when I was in college. I tried a few on draft at the time and liked most of them. I’m still not sold on the Double Bock but that’s a review for a different time. I finally got around to buying all four of them again for another round of tasting. In the past I have reviewed their Imperial White, and today I’m going to knock out their Imperial Stout.
Sam Adams Imperial Stout pours a black (real shocked /sarcasm) with a thin, tan head that quickly fades. This beer comes in at 9.2% so head retention is not to be expected. The nose is deeply roasty with a “dark sweetness.” You can tell it is a big, thick beer from the smell. There is a little heat along with a good helping of anise rising out of this one. Finally I got just a hint of some aged hop bitterness at the end.
On the first taste you get a good smash of caramel and toffee. It then moves to a bitter roasty flavor, like a really strong coffee that has been cooled down. The anise is in there as well along with just a bit of heat. I didn’t notice any hops when tasting that one as the roasty flavors took away any ability to taste hops.
This beer is chewy, thick, and wonderful. It is a really nice Imperial Stout. The balance is great and the flavor components match and compliment each other. This would be a great benchmark for what an Imperial Stout (non-hoppy of course) should be. This is a perfect sipper in my house. Continue reading →
One of the most random style categories out there is Grand Cru. Most beer categories have a set range of numbers, color, and other things that are pretty specific, but Grand Cru is wide open. I’ve have everything from sour to peppery. Green Flash Brewing Company makes a Grand Cru and that’s what we are looking at today. Let’s see what direction they decided to go with this open style.
Grand Cru Dark Ale pours a dark ruby color. You can’t see through it as first glance, but when held up to the light you can see that it is clear and changes the source of the light beautifully as it travels through the liquid. The head is a light tan color and soon fades into the beer below.The nose starts with a good malty, caramel base. It then morphs into a nice helping of dark fruits, most notably fig and plum. It ends on a slightly spicy note.
On the first taste the first thing I noticed was the drop of heat. This beer comes in an at a massive 9.1% ABV so it’s not surprising that alcohol shows up. The caramel smells follow through to the flavor and add a nice splash of sticky sweetness. A nice raisin flavor develops in the caramel and carries through until the end of the sip. Grand Cru Dark Ale has a spicy Belgian finish that has a bit of clove on the end.
This is yet another Grand Cru that is different from what I have had in the past. It is nice and smooth. It’s a little sweet but overall it’s pretty well balanced. This is a style that I want to explore more as I love the variety and combinations of flavors that different breweries put into it. Continue reading →
I have yet another collaboration beer for review today. This time it is the return of Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada with Rhizing Bines. This is actually their second collaboration beer with Life and Limb being the first. According to the bottle this is “an Indian Pale Ale brewed with Bravo + 644 hops.” I had no idea what 644 hops were but apparently they are an experimental strain that doesn’t have a name yet, just 644. This bad boy comes in at 8% and has some attributes of both breweries. As another note, this beer uses Sierra Nevada’s torpedo dry hopping technique in addition to Dogfish Head’s continual hopping.
This beer pours a clear light orange color with an ample, slightly off-white, head. The nose is decidedly hoppy. The hops are bright and clean and just smell awesome. I don’t know if the Bravo hops or the 644 hops contribute to the aroma more, but whatever it is, I dig it.
A slight caramel flavor kicks off the first sip. A clean hop profile comes in that adds a good dose of bitterness, but not a punch. For a beer that has bright hops, this beer isn’t as hoppy as the nose would make you think. It is hoppy, but it says in balance with the malt body. The hops are this beer are really nice. This is a unique flavor that comes out of them that I just can’t put my finger on.
This is a very nice IPA. The hops are kept in check but allowed to exhibit their unique qualities. I enjoyed this one a great deal. I hope these two breweries keep up the collaborations as the beers have been darn good. Continue reading →