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01-20-00

Beer Review #313 Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Style Ale

01-20-03Since I haven’t been posting too much in the past few months thanks to life, I have a solid backlog of beer reviews to get up. This beer goes back to the early fall, while the leaves were still on the trees and I remembered what warmth felt like. Seriously, this winter is brutal. Today’s beer review comes from my favorite up and coming (although they may have arrived at this point) brewery, Evolution Craft Brewing Company. They have a Migration Series of beers that are always interesting. When I saw a year old bottle of Chardonnay Barrel Belgian Style Ale at the beer store, I grabbed it up. I was lucky too, because before I left the store they were out. Such is the life and luck of a beer drinker.

This beer pours a nice burnt orange color with a slightly off-white head. Despite what my pictures show, this beer is clear. The nose is full of wine aromas. It is dry and “wine-grapy.” There is a slight heat to it which caught me off guard as this beer comes in at only 7.2%. I didn’t get a lot of barrel character on the nose nor did I get any bugs. The bottle says “a Belgian style ale aged in oak chardonnay barrels with brettanomyces.” I did get a few muted Belgian spices on the last whiff.

On the first taste I was hit by lots of Belgian flavors. There are some nice peppery notes along with the typical helping of Belgian spices. There is a great sweetness to this beer. It’s sweet, almost candy-like, in how it presents itself. As the sweetness comes in the wine character from the barrels comes in. It has a strong chardonnay flavor that dries out things nicely. The beer ends on a mix of Belgian spices and white wine.

This is a really interesting beer that I’m not sure if I dig or dislike. It reminds me a bit of my initial feelings on White Monkey. I only had one 750 ml of this beer and I feel that I would really begin to appreciate it after a second bottle. Looking back at my notes, it’s clear that I enjoyed this beer, but was caught off guard with it. I’m not a wine guy by any means and this beer strongly features something that I’m not familiar with. I’m a big fan of the Migration Series from Evo and I will continue to enjoy their experiments. (more…)

Beer Review #288 Brux

04-24-03I held off on buying this beer for some time. The local beer store had a number them sitting on the shelf for some time and I had a hunch that they would go on sale. Well they did (for $2 off) and I finally mustered the courage to buy one. Still cost $16 but that’s my limit for a 750 ml. Brux is brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and, according to the bottle, this beer is “a dry and complex Belgian-style ale refermented in the bottle with Brettanomyces bruxellensis.” While the beer may have been brewed by Sierra Nevada, it’s actually a collaboration between them and Russian River. Sierra Nevada seems to be doing a lot of collaborating recently.

Brux pours a light orange color. It is hazy and has a slightly off-white head. The nose is sour/tart with a bit of a sharpness to it. There are some light bready malt notes but not much else to be found. It smells like the Lego candies that I used to get from the corner grocery store when I was a kid (Google it if you’re not sure what I’m talking about because you missed out).

On the first taste I was actually struck more by the carbonation than anything else. This beer is highly carbonated and the bubbles attack the front of your tongue. Once I got past the assault, I got into the sourness. UnlikeĀ  a lot of sour beers, this one is sour from start to finish, or what I wrote down as a “fill sourness.” There are some grassy notes mixed in there but the sourness dominates.A little funk is in there along with some peppery notes to boot.

This is an interesting beer. I would love to try it in a few years when the Brett has a chance to work its magic fully. One final note, this beer is a sneaky. It comes in at 8.3% but tastes nothing like that. I was shocked at how I felt after my first glass. I’ll get my hands on another bottle at some point in the future but for now, I have other beers that I want to try. (more…)

Beer Reivew #213 Rayon Vert

Today’s beer review is our first from the Green Flashing Brewing Company based out of San Diego, Ca. They have really opened up their distribution recently as I have seen their stuff all over the MD, and PA beer markets. One of my coworkers loves their IPA and constantly encourages me to brew something similar to it. It’s a damn good beer, and when I saw that my local beer store was carrying something other then just the Green Flash IPA I quickly picked it up. According to the bottle Rayon Vert is a Belgian-style pale ale. Green Flash’s website has this to say about the beer,

If Green Flash were founded in historical Belgium, Rayon Vert would have been our flagship brew. A bold layering of hops finds balance from traditional malts. Bottle conditioning with fresh ale yeast and Brettanomyces finishes the beer, adding a delightful effervescence, dryness and continuously evolving character. Rayon Vert is Green Flash.

Rayon Vert pours a hazy orange with an incredibly fluffy white head. I actually had to stop halfway though my pour, and let the head settle for a few minutes before I could finalize the remainder of the pour. The nose has lots of citrus hops that hit you right off the bat. I was surprised by how tangy this beer smells and there is even some orange mixed in there. One odor that I wasn’t sure of was a slight plastic smell towards the end. I’m not sure if that was the Brett, or something else, but it was the only thing that took away from the nose on this beer.

Upfront, Rayon Vert as a really nice sweetness which is followed by a weak hop component. The hops don’t bit the way that I expected from the nose, but just fade in and slightly dry the beer out. Towards the end this beer was a bit grassy, which wasn’t a bad thing. There was also a tangy flavor to this beer, which I am going to attribute to the Brett. There is not a ton happening in this beer, but there are some bold flavors that lead to a well balanced beer.

There are a ton of good flavors in this beer. While the tangy flavor might not be for everyone, I enjoyed it. I want to go back and try this beer again at some point so that I can get another chance to experience it. I feel like this might be a beer that you have to experience multiple times to fully understand. (more…)

Beer Review #212 Saison Rue

I wish I had more money, because I have fallen in love with The Bruery and their wonderful beers. I’ve only had three of their beers to date (including today’s), but I have really enjoyed what I have had. They all have a unique and distinct taste that I have really enjoyed. The only problem I have is that their beers only come in 750 ml bottles in my area (not sure if they do anything else) and they are a tad bit on the expensive side compared to my normal purchases.

Saison Rue is a “Belgian style ale” that is “brewed with rye and brettanomyces.” Brettanomyces or Brett as it is often called is known to cause some “funk” in beers. Basically it is a wild yeast that has been “used” in Belgian brewing and often can sour or add a farmhouse quality to a beer. The reason I put used in quotes in the previous sentence is because the yeast occurs naturally in the air in parts of Belgium, and traditional Belgian brewing dictates that the wort is cooled on shallow copper tables which are exposed to the air. The yeast in the air gets into the wort and you have spontaneous fermentation happening. With modern brewing we know exactly what is going on, but hundreds of years this little nugget was all a mystery.

On to the beer review! Saison Rue pours a clear golden-orange color with a fluffy white head. The nose is slightly sour with some heavy wet straw odors. There are some farmhouse spice smells in there as well. I didn’t get any hops which is not surprising considering the style of beer.

On the first sip I was really happy to find that there was a nice malt flavor. The flavors were clean and earthy at the same time. A slight sour taste then comes in but it is not an overwhelming sweetness; just a light touch. The malt is mildly sweet but it gets cut right at the end of the beer as the Belgian spices kick in. There is a really nice balance of farmhouse and sour notes in this beer.

I really dig this beer. It is simple while being complex. There is a lot going on in this beer but it doesn’t seem like it as first. As this beer warmed, the flavors and odors really came to life and took this beer to another level. I highly suggest this beer to anyone looking for something special. This one will be on my repeat list for sure. (more…)