Review – 2 from Brewyard Beer Co.

We start this Brewyard Beer Co. two-fer review with Kalinga Pilsner which is really crisp with a lovely balanced flavor of the Calamansi. Citrus with a twist. Pours a super clear dark yellow. The malt and fruit take turns as the lead. Plus the label design is excellent.

Next onto the Star Wars inspired Ube Wan and boy that is a strange color of beer.  Has a Kool-Aid quality. This beer has me divided. There is a candy, milkshake quality that is good in small doses which this beer has in not small doses but there is just enough bitterness here to cut it back a bit. 

3 on 3

Since I had three Black Tuesday variants from The Bruery, I thought it appropriate to have instead of just my line opinion, three total. So, here goes…

Guest reviewers Jennie and Richard and I cracked open the Vanilla double barrel and the initial reaction was not good. Overly sweet and masking the bourbon barrel of the original while being 1.2% higher in ABV. I found it unbalanced and overly sweet.

The Maple double barrel got better though still mixed reviews probably due to the fact that the maple was less pronounced and was in better balance with the base beer. It too was 1.1% higher in ABV. I liked it better than the vanilla getting a pancakes and syrup vibe.

The Port Barrel variant was the most complex. Different adjectives flowed which was a good sign. Considered overall a sitting by the fire with a snifter beer. I thought it showed off the barrel better and had Belgian and cider characteristics.

Not great was the main takeaway with Maple and Vanilla a distant 2nd and 3rd overall and the Port version winning mostly because it wasn’t as sweet as the other two.

Review – Merry Christmas from Anchor Brewing

Pours with a big fluffy espresso head. Very spice forward this year. Touch of woodsy here as well. Little sharp astringency as well. Like the roast character which adds a nice heartiness without making it too rich. This is the opposite of a dry beer.  I think this is a higher ABV than in years past hitting the 7% mark. Really like the Three Graces on the label. Such simple and effective artwork. 

19 vs 24

Each year, I buy the latest Firestone Walker Anniversary Blend and also bring out the oldest one that I have. Then I review them. Here is old vs new for 2020.

24 – big tan head quickly bubbles away to practically nothing but super dark brown. Sugar and fondue on the nose. Getting rum and sugar flavor wise. No burn on this at all.  Very smooth but there is a bit of cola bubble too. Tiramisu / custard notes send this into dessert territory. 

19 – dark brown with bubbles. Caramel in the aroma and the first big hit of flavor.  Still an alcohol burn here which makes it a bit prickly.  There is a tiny bit of spirit barrel flavor coming through as well. Still well carbonated after five years. My little cap popped off and flew across the room. 

Featured Review – Curuba from Cerveceria del Pueblo

On Tibet the fourth and final CdP beer to be reviewed this month, and it is a tart fruited Ale, Curuba. This beer pour some a hazy IPA orange color. Tartness is at a really nice level. Nice zing but the fruit notes which are mostly berry, do not get overwhelmed. Balance is there. Getting strawberry, almost Starburst notes. Pretty close but this slides into a second place finish to the Gaviota coffee beer.

Black 2020, sorry, Black Tuesday

When I saw that the classic Black Tuesday was going to be put in 16oz cans, I was happy. I will be even happier when they come in adorable little 10oz bottles.

So, I typed that intro before I received a mega bounty of Black Tuesday 2020 which included cute little 10 ounce cans of three different variants!

You’ve got your maple, vanilla and Port barrel-aged versions but those will wait until November. Can’t rush a beer that hasn’t been rushed.

First, let’s talk the original. Almost drank it straight out the can like a libertine. It is boozy. But not as hot with alcohol as I feared. There is a burn. At 19+%, there is going to be one. But this drinks smooth and might well smooth more with extra aging. I get raisin and fig and big bourbon notes swirling. I can totally see why other flavors would appeal as additions to this.

It may be passé to say that we as beer fans need to hew close to our roots but there are relatively few beers that I believe need to be tasted each year. Black Tuesday is one of those beers.

Review – Down Sunset from LA Ale Works and Sunset Beer Co.

Let’s take a drive down Sunset Boulevard with a quick review of the collaboration beer from Los Angeles Ale Works and beer shoppe extraordinaire, Sunset Beer Co.

This West Coast IPA pours a vibrant orange color. There is an orange peel and pine aroma that leads to a juicy hit of tangerine for me. That is followed by a weird malty meets metal taste that is out of step with the early flavor of citrus. At the tail end is a bundle of bitterness that takes the flavors in another direction again.

Featured Review – Ambar Amber Ale from Cerveceria del Pueblo

How will the third CdP beer fare in the rankings? Let’s find out…

You just do not see amber ales out in the wild often, so I was anxious to try Ambar. Pours with a big fluffy head that disappears super quick to practically nothing. Nice golden orange color. I get a light toffee aroma from this one. First taste is sweet but the bubbles scrape some of that away to leave a pleasant malt flavor.

Ambar outpaces the pale but falls short to the coffee beer due to that sugar forward note.