The next L.A. beer to review is technically Long Beach, but I am gonna sneak it in because it is not only in a bottle (what’s that?) but also a Biere de Garde from Liberation Brewing.
After wrestling the cork out without hurting myself, I get a beer with a slightly toasted aroma, almost Quad like in taste and texture with a mineral finish to it. The label art and name are part of the reason that I bought it. Floating and on fire, very 2021-22. It pours with a luxuriant head to it that leaves some nice lacing on the bowl of the glass. There are some Belgian esters with a touch of fruit to them here.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. A different style is great to break up the hop monopoly.
First beer box in the mail prize goes to AleSmith! And it is a long name. Speedway Stout with Madagascar vanilla and Ceylon Alba cinnamon.
This stout pours a pitch black. Lovely coffee cream head and lacing as well. I wondered, as I opened the can, would the vanilla out sweet the cinnamon? Or would the spice blow away the creamy notes?
To me, the two disparate ingredients meld together. The cinnamon has a red hot thing going on but it is tamped down by the vanilla making the mouthfeel less spiky. It is almost as each sip highlights one then the next sip focuses on the other.
Thankfully both flavors represent making this a grand start to the 2022 Speedway year.
Ogopogo gathered a flock of brewers for their IIPA, Strategic Partnership…
Here are my tasting notes…
Right off the bat, fruit punch, concord grape and bubbly as well. Light for the style at 8.5% I kept waiting for a hit of alcohol or some form of heaviness but it never came. There was a little hop speedbump but the big fruit notes zoom you past it in a jiff. The label does make me note what “lupomax Citra” brings to the table as well. Two thumbs up here and if you are looking for fruit without the haze, this is for you.
I always try to leave space for a beer that I received at Christmas, this year that beer is …a combo of partners Dogfish Head and Sam Adams.
This is a big one. First hit is maple and lots of it. Not sugary though, more dry. It is an odd duck. I get some notes of Utopias peering through but that maple is the keynote. The cheeks warm after just a couple sips but the alcohol is not a large presence. I do get some tobacco / coffee ground combo. Chicory maybe. Due to the cost per bottle and the ABV, this is a special occasion beer.
Time to finally review the 2021 version (or 47th version) of Anchor Brewing’s holiday seasonal.
2021 pours a dark brown almost black with a nice latte rim of lace on top. Upon first inspection the aroma is citrus meets mulling spices. Very holiday indeed. There is more of a hop hit this year. Within distance of a black IPA. Nice roasty finish. A very filling beer. If my poor memory serves, this is one of my favorite iterations of this classic.
I am accustomed to the big Belgian bottle of St. Bernardus Christmas Ale so it took some getting used to it being in a twelve ounce can.
Here is how the brewery describes this Quad, “St.Bernardus Christmas Ale is an intensely dark beer with a full, yet slightly fruity flavour, overflowing with the tastes of winter and zesty seasonal aromas. Aniseed notes are complemented by hints of creamy caramel and fire-roasted chestnuts. This zestiness shows no signes of abating, pushing through to a magnificent finish of dried fruits and chocolate.”
Will the can compare to that? And will my comparison bottle taste similar, let’s get to the results…
A little toffee, a little fruit. Bang on fruitcake with this. There is a nice bite to it as well. It is too light for chocolate and roasted nuts aren’t there for me but has a zest and a malt backbone to it that means it could easily pair with practically any food course from salad to turkey to dessert. Just lovely.
I keep a rolling five years of the Firestone Walker Anniversary Vintages and this year marks the last of the 22oz bombers.
As a reminder, this anniversary blend was devised by Scott Hawley from the Paso Robles winery, Torrin. It is 40% Parabola aged in Bourbon barrels and new oak, 20% Stickee Monkee aged in Bourbon and Brandy barrels, 17.5% Velvet Merkin, 12.5% Bravo and 10% Helldorado, all Bourbon barrel aged.
It pours a dark brown with a bit of a reddish tint. As you would expect, Bourbon is on the nose. It is still a touch hot in the initial sips as well even after five years in the box. It is sweet as well with a fruit note that I can’t quite catch (maybe cherry). There is a bit of dark but not roasted malt character as this tastes like an amplified brown ale.
I have been staying away from sours for a bit. 16oz of acid can wreak havoc on a stomach. But I was intrigued by the Carmen Miranda hen on the can of Juiced from HenHouse so I put it in my cart.
The duo of Kiwi and strawberry seemed good for an unseasonably hot SoCal day. It is quite tart up front. More in the Americanized style since the salt and wheat don’t really feature. This is designed for fruit. And I mostly taste? Lime. There is a tiny bit of berry sweetness tucked inside but not a lot. As you drink more and if you pay close attention, the kiwi and strawberry are there but you do have to look for it.
I like the label with the daughter and dad surfing plus the flowers and orange/red colors. Part of the reason why I bought it on a recent visit to Kilokilo Brewing.
Pours a really light yellow color. Has a great tropical aroma meets grassy character. Quite light but not lacking in any character. Really interesting and almost wine like.
Prior to my trip up to the Central Coast, I snagged a variety pack of the Tropical Mind Haze Variants from Firestone Walker.
Starting from left to right with the Tiki Smash which is a winning combination of coconut and pineapple. I thought I was drinking pineapple juice for a moment. The bitterness is really low and I am not getting any mango notes to speak of, but it has the tropical nailed.
Next up is Hopical Crush with no specific flavors mentioned on the box. This has a lovely citrus aroma. Big navel orange flavor complemented by a grassy bitterness. I also get a bit of vanilla.
Lastly is the Citrus Cyclone, made with real tangerine. Comes across at first as like a Radler. That tangerine comes through in the aroma. Bitterness is buried beneath the juice note. Nice and refreshing but I would call it more a pale in profile.
Tiki Smash is my winner.