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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 #164 Lips of Faith Super Cru

I decided to take a brief Thanksgiving hiatus, hence the lack of updates recently. I bought a bunch of New Belgium beers as soon as they started distributing in Maryland, and lucky for me, they decided to distribute some of their Lips of Faith Series beers as well. I reviewed Kick some time ago and during the holiday I finally had a chance to enjoy some of the other beers for New Belgium that I picked up.

Each of the Lips of Faith beers comes in 22 oz bottles and I have only been able to find three of them here on the east coast thus far. I know that they recently released a Sasion and an IPA, but they have yet to make it out here. As a side note, I love the term “Lips of Faith.” I has a bit of a cult feel, but also really screams beer nerd.

After my trip to Europe I returned home with a taste for sour beers. I had plenty of Rodenbach Grand Cru, which I assumed this beer was inspired after. You know that saying about assume? Well, yeah, I did it with this beer. This ale pours a nice burnt orange color with an off-white head. There is a slight haze to the liquid, but I’m a homebrewer so that doesn’t mean a thing to me.

The nose has a bit of malt along with a bit of heat. This beer comes in at 10% so heat is to be expected. I got some sour notes, but nothing like which I was expecting. On the bottle the screen printed label says “ale bred with Asian pear juice.” I honestly don’t know what an Asian pear smells or tastes like, but I (and my wife who knows what it tastes and smells like) didn’t get any pear. There was a slight Belgian spice kick, but nothing large enough to go on about.

On my first taste I got a bit of odd malt. The taste was grainy and had a strange bite at the end of it. My wife informed me that this was “pear mixed with beer.” I did notice some pear flavors of the traditional pear that I am used to. I also found this one to be a bit boozy. This is a beer that gets better as it warms up. There is an interesting balance of flavors but overall I think it works. Again I have no idea what Asian pear tastes or smells like and if you do, this beer could be greatly enhanced or ruined depending on your expectations. (more…)