Skip to main content
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…)

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 #278 Rum Barrel Golden Ale

03-26-03Evolution Craft Brewing Company of Salisbury, MD is undergoing a lot of change. I remember when they started in Delar, DE/MD as a small brewery, but now they are quickly expanding. They always seem to have something new out and their distribution is growing slowly. It’s been really interesting to watch a brewery start from nothing and grow at the rate that Evolution has. As part of that growth, they have gotten into barrel aged beers under the name Migration Series. With the brewery located in the eastern shore of Maryland, geese are a staple of the area, and the series name/logo work perfectly.

Rum Barrel Golden ale comes in at a rocking 10.5% ABV. According to the bottle, I have bottle number 754 of 1200 bottles produced for this particular beer. The bottle says, “ale aged in oak rum barrels,” which isn’t a surprise given its name. This beer was also released last year, but I just got around to opening it up now. It pours a dark golden to orange color. It has a thin off-white head and is super hazy. There is a nice yeast cake at the bottle of the bottle once you muster the courage to drink enough of a 10.5% beer to get there.

03-26-04

The nose has a good rum smell with some spiced rum odors mixed in there. It is very sweet on the nose and there isn’t a drop of hops to be found. I was half expecting a more complex nose, but it is not surprising that rum and spiced rum aromas dominate. On the first taste I got a nice mix of rum flavor and sweetness. This beer is super sweet and there isn’t much that dries it out. The spiciness that I noticed in the nose comes in at the end of the beer to clean it up a bit. A good amount of oak flavor mixes through the beer with hints of vanilla and wood resins.

This is an interesting beer. There is a lot going on and the oak flavors that mix into the beer are exactly what barrel aging should be about. The oak compliments the beer, but it is not the star or overdone. I just wish this one dried out more than it did. It stays really sweet and it made getting through the 750 ml bottle a bit more of a challenge than I would have liked. Overall this is a good beer and with a few tweaks I think it could be a real winner. (more…)