Next up is what to wear when holiday weather starts to chill the fingers that hold the beer. Mount Tabor’s Checkered Flannel Brown Ale.
In an attempt to cover all the beer styles out there, let’s head to Michigan and New Holland Brewing for, “Cabin Fever is a roasty brown ale and a hearty, comforting companion for long, mind-bending winters.” Just don’t go to that cabin with Annie Wilkes.
My favorite and (I think) lucky number is 9. So when I saw the label for the latest anniversary beer from Double Mountain Brewery of Hood River, I knew that I would have to search it out. The Divine is “a bourbon-barrel aged brown ale of ethereal character. The strong brown ale base brew left to meditate in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels for the better part of a year. The celestial slumber brought forth wondrous flavors and aromas of wooden vanilla, toffee, caramel, black licorice, and dark fruit, accompanied by a pleasant bourbon warmth.”
I had not been a beaming fan of the last chocolate beer that New Belgium produced, but the imprimatur of Ben & Jerry’s and the addition of cocoa and vanilla powders to this beer was enough for me to buy it.
The ice cream beer (as I will call it) pours a medium brown color with a reddish streak to it when held up to the light. The aroma is a lovely milk chocolate. I don’t know if I would equate it with brownies, per se, but it is very nice. The mouthfeel is light but there is a swirl of both chocolate and vanilla that is redolent of a milkshake along with a toasted malt note as well. I am also catching a bit of salt intermittently too. And part of the proceeds of the beer towards combating climate change.
This practically begs to be paired with ice cream. Maybe not Ben & Jerry’s which might overwhelm it, but maybe a nice plain vanilla bean.
The last golden stop is at 7th Settlement of Dover, New Hampshire who won gold in the American Brown ale category for their 1623 Almighty Brown.
7th Settlement Brewery is named for Dover, New Hampshire which according to the brewery is “the oldest permanent settlement in New Hampshire, and 7th in the New World.”
Their tag line of “Don’t Buy Beer from Strangers” is a succinct buy local plea that I think should be a nationwide mantra.
Now if I was tasting their beer, I would be sampling the following….(by year)
1623 Brown Ale then the 1896 wheat before moving to the Rear View Roggenbier then going on to the Amarillo Evening and their Milk Stout to round it out.
We head to Temecula and Wiens Brewing for this review. Far Post Brown Ale conjures up images of soccer fields to me but the brewers have other ideas. Envisioning arrows and banners and battle.
This ale starts with an aroma of chocolate lava cake. Milk chocolate primarily. That doesn’t follow into the flavor though there is a touch of cocoa in the taste. It is light but still cake-y. And the label does not lie. It is quite the dry finish. I noticed a pucker in my mouth as I sipped away on this one.
I wasn’t sold at first but the chocolate keeps coming at you and I am starting to ponder which desserts to match with it as I drink.
Wiens beers are starting to pop up on L.A. beer shelves and are worth a look.
I finally broke down and brought up a Russian River beer, Supplication. Which the brewery website describes as a “Brown Ale aged in used Pinot Noir barrels from local Sonoma County wineries. It is aged for about 12 months with sour cherries, brettanomyces, lactobacillus, and pediococcus added to each barrel. Flavors from the cherries, Pinot Noir and oak balance each other nicely with a little funk from the brett.”
This beer has a 100% rating on Ratebeer. So it must be good. Here is my thumbnail review from 2010, “All I can say is TART. A great sipper filled with cherries in every sip. Only downside to me is that it really dries out the tongue. Had to have water handy to re-hydrate.”
The aroma of this beer is big. Kombucha style tartness just fills the nasal passages. This is, for sure, not a gateway sour. There is a bit of pie cherry in the nose but it is second fiddle to the sour.
There is a bit of Sweet Tart powdery sour notes in the first sip. Cherry is there as well. But there is something in the nose that just tastes off. Too vinegary at this point. If you search past the sour, there is a tiny bit of tannic flavor and a smidge of oak. But you gotta hunt that down.
The Verdict? I think this one passed prime and is sliding inexorably downward. The various bugs have gone too far with this particular bottle. Adding one off flavor that upsets the balance.
Here is the info about the beer and the charity that it will benefit: “As our contribution to the Ales for ALS charity this year, we’re excited to introduce “LOU.” Lou’s a hop forward American Brown Ale with hints of chocolate, caramel and roasted malt flavor. The beer features the proprietary blend of hops created by Loftus Ranches and Hopunion (heavy on the Citra and Mosaic notes) for the Ales for ALS charity. We’ll be releasing LOU here on Thursday, July 10, and $1 of every pint we sell for the duration of LOU (not just the one day) goes towards the ALS Therapy Development Institute. We’ll also be participating in the larger Ales for ALS event up in Alameda at Faction Brewing (July 26 INFO). We’re very proud to be able to do our part for such a great cause.”
Helping out while getting a great beer is an easy way to make the world a better place. So do it.
Evil Genius Beer Company Naughty or Nice? Brown Ale / Connecticut
“A spiced Winter Ale. Brewed with all-spice, cinnamon, and cloves, combined with our house Belgian yeast delivers the Yuletide season in a glass.”
I am feeling anxious because there is only 1 more 32 beer left in my ‘fridge now. But I am thankful to the fine folks at 32 Via dei Birrai for supplying me with such a generous amount of their finely calibrated beers.
That being said, we move on to Atra, A bit of a gusher when the cork popped but maybe that was me being too anxious. This is more a light Belgian amber. The flavors persist after each sip. I get some plum notes and raisin from this cola hued beer. Some zucchini notes too. Easy to drink.
Here is what their website describes the beer as….
beige, compact, fine and persistent head; brown; fine perlage.
roasted, with hints of coffee, chocolate, locust bean, walnut-flavoured liqueur, and touches of damp barrel staves, light liquorice, ripe medlar and caramel.
gently bitterish due to the roasted barley, which also imparts aromas of coffee, caramel and chocolate. Beer with typical Belgian light watery body.”