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Beer Review #281 Dos Costas Oeste

04-04-02I have a new beer to talk about today and one hell of a story behind it. My wife actually picked out this bottle from a bottle shop near my parent’s house. We both love The Bruery and I have been itching to try something from Cigar City Brewing. She saw that this beer was a collaboration between the two and made it ours. The bottle has this to say about the beer, “a high gravity ale with coriander, ginger, and sweet orange peel, aged on grapefruit wood spirals.” It comes in at 9%. All of that sounds well and good, and then it came to opening the beer…

As soon as I opened this beer it escaped the bottle like a rocket, think coke and mentos. It splattered all over my kitchen ceiling, my countertops, and well, most of my kitchen stuff. It was clear that this bottle had an infection of some type that caused excess sugar that brewing yeast cannot process to be fermented. After an annoyed clean-up I had 4 oz. of my 750 ml bottle left. Awesome. I do want to note before I dive into the review that reviewing infected beers is not really my style. It clearly is not what the brewer intended it to be, but my 4 oz. was drinkable. So I reviewed away.

UPDATE: I contacted the brewery and they explained the situation to me. The folks at Cigar City (the actual brewer of the beer) did a wonderful job of making the situation right. The beer was recalled but some distributors have not returned what they were asked to. I have since contacted the bottle shop where I purchased it to let them know that they have potential bottle bombs on their shelves.


Dos Costas Oeste explodes pours a cloudy tan orange. There is no head thanks to what I noted above. The nose is sour with some slight hints of grapefruit. I also got some notes of pineapple, orange, and what I’m calling tropical funk.

The taste is funky. There is a slight toasty flavor upfront and then sourness comes in behind. The grapefruit from the wood spirals is also there but I didn’t get any notes of wood from the spirals. As most of the carbonation went out of the bottle when I popped the cap, the beer was pretty flat.

Even though this beer was infected and even though I only got a small bit of what I bought, I still like the overall flavor in this beer. It is very different and it didn’t taste infected. I’m not sure if it was supposed to sour like it did, but I didn’t think that it took away from the flavor at all. I wish I had a full bottle of this one to try and I hope that I get to taste a proper batch of this at some point in the future. Just remember, if you see this on the shelves and it has Dec 2012 on it, stay away and tell the store that it has been recalled.

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…)

Beer Review #194 Mischief

I received this beer as a Christmas present from my in-laws. I’ve been meaning to get some beers from The Bruery of¬†Placentia, CA for some time, but something else always caught my eye first. I really like the style that this brewery bring to its bottles. Everything is clean and classic looking but has a sense of sophistication to it. According to the bottle, Mischief is a “Belgian style ale, golden and hoppy.” It also comes in at 8.5% which means this one is a sipper. From a marketing prospective, Mischief is a great name for a beer. If you have been reading this blog for any period of time you will know that I am a sucker for good marketing, and this beer has all of its bases covered in that department.

Mischief pours a nice golden color and has a soapy white head. This beer is naturally carbonated in the bottle, and the back label specifically mentions to leave the yeast out of the beer. My first two pours were clear, but the last bit came out hazy thanks to the agitation. The nose is very dry smelling. There are some dull and/or aged hops present along with some Belgian spices. The hops are citrusy, but understated. I also got a bit of a tart aroma that faded into a wet hay smell. Overall I would describe this one as earthy with a kick of hops.

On the first taste I noticed some slight lemon-like sourness that was quickly followed by a nice punch of hops. The hops were grapefruity and ended in a light pine flavor. The Belgian spices came through wonderfully on this beer. They¬† were perfectly balanced and really added some nice depth of flavor to the beer. So often Belgian-style beers are over the top spicy, this one has the perfect touch. This beer is dangerously drinkable. It goes down easy and doesn’t have a single harsh component to it. Everything compliments each other nicely leading to a great balance. I’m going to have to try some more beers from The Bruery as this beer was a treat. (more…)