Here are my notes from my tasting at 55 Degree Wine & Beer Store and from BJ’s.
The Foret really was alcohol from aroma to taste. Kind of tinny and not as complex as Saison Dupont which is the gold standard for Saisons. Between the two, I would always go for Dupont.
Ahh! St. Bernardus. Their Wit is the gold standard in this category. Sparkling. Effervescent. Tasted like oranges. Pitch perfect. In comparison, I also had BJ’s seasonal Nit Wit. Great name. Mediocre beer. Not much flavor. Just sort of sat there. Unfortunately, that is pretty much the same review I could give for every BJ’s beer. Nothing remarkable.
The McChouffe Brown was good. Nice and solid. Not much aroma. Nice earthy flavor though. A little chewier than most browns.
Mission IPA. I saw that it was made in San Diego and thought HOP BOMB! But this is restrained. You can really smell the hops but when you take a drink, it is a balance of malt and hops. Very nice.
Lastly, the St. Peters Old Style Porter. Very nice Porter. I liked it. Nice and drinkable. Not too smoky but not too light either. Another balanced beer.
I give a large shout out to the folks at Free the Hops. They finally got the restrictive beer laws in Alabama changed!!!
According to the NY Times, “..You see, until last week, merchants in Alabama were not permitted to sell beer with an alcohol content that exceeded six percent. Alabamians could buy all the bourbon, vodka and Thunderbird wine they wanted, but mildly strong beer? Forget it.” and furthermore “…But now that has all changed. Last Friday, Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama signed a bill that raises the alcohol limit to 13.9 percent, although the container-size limit will stay in effect.”
Andechs Monastery is one of the most beautiful spots on earth to be brewing. And they have been there since 1455!! On the top of a hill, west of the big city of Munich, out in the countryside (almost).
They have a great cavernous beer hall. Plenty of outdoor seating. A great giftshop with incredible prices. Fish and pork aplenty and many excellent beer choices depending upon the season. Their darker beers go excellent with the pretzels and pork.
Spezial Hell and Dunkle Weissbeer being my favorites.
I just finished reading Sam Calagione’s book about entrepreneurship and brewing so I thought I would showcase one of his beers that I wish I could find out here on the west coast. The Black and Blue is made with blueberries and blackberries in the signature Dogfish style. They start with a Belgian Golden then pour in the fruit to make this a big & assertive beer.
Though I am bummed that Black and Blue and Fort and other limited releases aren’t readily available there is good news. 60 Minute IPA and 90 Minute IPA is showing up in BevMo’s and Whole Foods has been carrying Midas Touch so grab some while you can.
I was in the celebratory mood because Eagle Rock Brewery passed another permit hurdle today so I went over to the nearby Verdugo. I tried the Sour Wench from Ballast Point.
This is a beer brewed with blackberries. Sam Adams also has a new Blackberry Wit so I guess that blackberries are the hip fruit. This offering isn’t particularly sour nor is it super fruity. It is right in the middle. Thanks to the berries it is more interesting than other beers and it does have an awesome red look to it.
Not really to my taste however, but I can see how this would be an excellent starter for someone who wants to try fruit and/or sour beers.
This is a nice looking red-amber ale. As you may have figured out by now, I am a sucker for brewery special releases. This one is a nice Belgian dubbel. With part of the proceeds going to the St. Joesph Abbey. Not much aroma but it does carry an alcoholic punch. Not bad but it could use a little more spice to counteract the alcohol and malt.