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07-14-02

Beer Review #300 Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale

07-14-02For this site’s 300th beer review, I figured that I should post about a special beer. It also so happens that today’s review covers one of my favorite local breweries, Evolution Craft Brewing Company. They make some fantastic beer that is always fresh and hits the spot. Bourbon Barrel Dark Ale is part of their Migration Series of beer, which are seasonal and always barrel aged. My bottle happened to be #795 of 1400 bottles produced. This winter 2012 edition has the following to say on the label, “a dark ale aged eight months in oak bourbon barrels.” It also comes in at 10.5%. This might not be a summer beer style but good is good anytime of the year.

This beer pours a dark black with a tan head that quickly fades. It is too dark to see if it is clear or not, even when tipped and held up to the light. The nose has a light bourbon aroma that provides a bit of heat and warmth. A good helping of roasted malt and dark chocolate are being the bourbon and really provide some great malt notes. I got just a hint of oak, but not as much as I was expecting for a beer aged for eight months.

Roasted malt and dark chocolate come threw first on the first taste. And as a bourbon barrel aged beer should, this beer has kick of bourbon and oak. The bourbon is very mild and really blends well with the malt. The oak smooths out the flavor and helps blend everything together nicely. There is a slight hop bitterness at the end but nothing that is overly complex or strong. This one drinks creamy and thick. A true sipper.

I really dug this one. It is one of the smoothest and most balanced bourbon aged beers that I have ever had. The bourbon isn’t crazy intense on this beer, but adds a good amount of complexity and depth to a already great beer. I really wish there were more than 1400 bottles of this produced and I will be keeping an eye out for when the 2013 version comes out. (more…)

Beer Review #284 Grand Cru Dark Ale

04-14-03One 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. (more…)

Beer Review #44 Snow Cap Winter Warmer

Another seasonal beer found in Lubbock, I can’t believe it. I saw a review of this beer on Taste Buds awhile ago and, being that I’ve never had a Pyramid brew before, I decided this would be a good first offering. It comes in a short but stout bottle much like Sierra Nevada’s beers do. The label is pretty neat and has a whole heck of a lot going on. There are various winter sports on the label and they did a few little graphic design tricks to make it look interesting. When looking for the name of the brewery, I actually saw that it said Pyramid Breweries as there are locations in Seattle, Berkeley, and Portland. Somehow we didn’t make it to Pyramid during our honeymoon in Portland.

Snow Cap pours a nice dark ruby color with tinges of brown in it. It is perfectly clear and has a thick off-white head to go along with it. The nose of the beer is malty with some tones of dried fruit in there. I didn’t really get much in the way of hops, which for a Winter Warmer is a toss-up. There were also some roasty notes in there as well.

The taste of the beer is malty, which is to be expected seeing as how there was so much on the nose. There are some notes of chocolate in there as well which I was not expecting. There are some hop undertones but they are very restrained. And finally there is some alcohol in there as well. Snow Cap actually comes in at 7.0% ABV; just right for a winter warmer. It has a medium body on it as well. I think the biggest thing that I noticed is how dry this beer is. It seems more like an English style dark ale than a winter warmer. This beer is very drinkable as it is very subdued. All of the flavors mesh well with each other and it is excellently balanced. This is more what I was thinking when I want a winter warmer. (more…)