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04-24-00

Beer Review #326 Natural Selection Ale

I can always count on Flying Dog Brewery to have a new beer available when I go to the store. This trip’s selection is Natural Selection Ale, which a a beer brewed by Flying Dog, but made in collaboration with Evolution Craft Brewing Company. I really can’t say enough about both of their breweries and the fact that they joined forces for a beer makes me down right giddy. This beer rocks in at 7.6% ABV and was made in three parts. Part one was the original beer which was then (Part two) taken and aged in cherry wood barrels at Evolution, and finally (Part three) dry hopped with Galaxy hops at Flying Dog. It seems like a lot of work and beer movement to make a beer, but I love when new things are tried out in the craft beer world.

This beer pours a hazy brown color. Hazy might be a bit nice, this beer is downright cloudy. It has a thin off-white head that sticks to the edges of the glass. The nose is nice and hoppy with the right amount of sweetness mixed in. The hops have a bit of a floral punch and really present a full, rich aroma.

On the first04-24-03 taste you get just a slight amount of sweetness in the front but it is quickly followed by a large train of hop bitterness. The hops provide a nice kick of bitterness but also contribute a great citrus/tropical flavor to the beer. There are some hints of wood behind the hop wall, but you really have to look for them. The beer is very clean with a great hop centerpiece. The hops stay through the end of the beer and leave on a clean, but slightly grassy end note.

I very much enjoyed this beer. I thought it was the right amount of different and showcased dry hopping very nicely. I love collaboration brewing and this is a solid example of how it can work out well. Grab em’ if you see them.

 

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…)

08-03-02

Beer Review #305 Nouveau Rouge

08-03-03I know that I just reviewed a Evolution Craft Brewing Company beer but my buddy brought this one down a few weeks ago and I just had to talk about it. I never heard of Nouveau Rouge but my buddy Mike is usually good at finding rare, delicious beer. The bottle has this to say, “almost two years in the making, our sour red ale is an ongoing project that pays tribute to the sour ales of Flanders. Tart and earthy with notes of vanilla and tannin from our oak aging process, this complex ale is layered with unique character.” It comes in at a respectable 6.3%.

The beer pours a brownish red color. There is zero head to this one and it has a haze to it. The nose is sour/tart and edges on being vinegary. There is also a nice dose of oak mixed in. Usually beers that have this type of smell have a complex flavor profile so I was really excited to try this beer.

On the first taste I actually got a slight sweetness on the front end. The sweetness fades into a nice oak flavor that is mixed with some hints of vanilla. The sourness then comes in and stays. On each sip after the first, I was not able to find that initial sweetness. The tart flavor isn’t the strongest that I have ever had, but it mixes nicely with the oak flavors and it provides punches of sourness as you move through the drink. The sourness lingers on the tongue well after you have swallowed. This beer is very lowly carbonated with helps some of the flavors play out different than if it were more highly carbonated.

I really dig this one. It has a nice sourness to it but it is balanced with a malt body. The complexity can be found in the oak/tart interaction and the different levels of tartness you get while drinking the glass. I’m a big fan and I would be happy to stumble upon a bottle of this at any time. (more…)

07-31-02

Beer Review #304 Lot No6

07-31-03 I have yet another beer from Evolution Craft Brewing Company for review today. They are my favorite emerging brewery a the current time and I have really been impressed with the quality and number of beers that they have been putting out. I first had Lot No6, a double IPA, a the Good Beer Festival at few years ago, but not until recently have I been able to get bottles locally.

Lot No6 pours a nice orange color with a normal white head. It looks like a typically double IPA but the head lasts for a long time for a 8.5% beer. The nose is full of rich hops and malt. Citrus is the primary hop aroma pouring out of this beer, but some pine can also be found. The hops smell full. By that I mean that I mean that the hop smell shows the full aroma profile of the hops used. It provides a wonderful complexity and makes this beer a joy to smell.

A slight malt flavor can be tasted on the front end of this beer with bits of bread and caramel. The malt has just a moment to shine as the hops come in and flood out everything else. Citrus, namely grapefruit, is a feature flavor component of this beer and then the hops fade into a pine flavor. As with the nose, the hops are full and round.

To me, this is exactly what a Double IPA should be. It has a nice malt body with powerful hop flavor. I just love this beer and I can’t wait to get more of it. If you haven’t had the joy of experiencing this beer yet, I suggest you do. You will not regret trying this beer. (more…)

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…)