I love seeing beers in packaging that is not usually associated with a style which is why it is cool to see that Los Angles Ale Works has put their Jazz Forever Bourbon Barrel-Aged beer in 12oz cans. The beer is described by the Hawthorne brewery as, “A smooth and choco lately blend of Imperial Stout, Barley Wine, and Roggenbock.”
This sounds like an intriguing combo of flavors from Deschutes. Lavender can be an overpowering aroma but I am not sure it is as powerful as a flavor component. Marionberries are great for sour, because they do not have the pucker that blackberries can have. Throw in that this is in cans and I am sold.
Our second canned beer from FigMtn is their Mosaic Pale.
Pours a dark orange. Initial biscuity malt strikes me. Orange rind aroma. Orange and pine bitterness. Medium hoppy for this drinker. As it warms the pine needle taste takes the center stage. Tastes fuller than 5.5%. Almost like a Red IPA which is one of my favorite sub-styles because of the heightened interplay of malts and hops.
Brewyard has a second can release in the pipeline filled with the C’s Chinook, Cascade and Columbus in their Younger influenced IPL. Look for it in one week on St. Patrick’s Day.
Finally back on track with a review of a non-hopcentric beer. Pils from Chapman Crafted from Orange, California.
Really refreshing. Light to almost the watery point. A nice bright yellow color. Getting almost a blonde ale vibe to this one and less pils when sipping but the aroma is straight up lager. A bit of corn taste malt lodges on my tongue.
In addition to reviewing a pair of San Diego beers that were new to me, I will also talk about two Bell’s beers. One is their 30th Anniversary, but first is the 16oz can of Best Brown Ale.
Best Brown is one of those beers that touches all the bases for the style without really exploding. It is a plain amber/brown color. It is a little thin tasting but there are multiple flavors that are encountered with each taste. There is an untoasty malt flavor that is augmented by a touch of sweetness and a little bit of peppery-ness.
Past that, is not much else. It is the type of beer that is gone before you know it and you have to reach back in the memory banks to remember what it was like.
Canned! Artwork of the Modern American Beer Can really illustrates what a good label and branding can do for a craft beer.
Just go to page 153 to see it. There you will find the first iteration of Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues. Barely recognizable from what is on shelves today except for the color scheme of blue and red.
That is the strength and weakness of this book. Canning is still young enough to not have a ton of design changes. But those changes that are there chart the growth of craft beer.
Comparing one brewery and their design to another is cool but too many designs are too jokey or too cluttered or the biggest cardinal sin to me, don’t highlight the brewery name enough.
My personal favorites from the book are below:
I almost wish that this was a glossy magazine that appeared quarterly rather than a one-time book. By the time this book was in my hands, more cans and different label designs have been out in the world.
SanTan Brewing has a canned Winter Warmer that has been released From The Vault! The beer “has been conditioned for a minumum of 8 weeks. The very first specialty beer ever brewed at SanTan. Arizona orange blossom honey is added before it is spiced with fresh ginger.”
Not only does Anderson Valley can their Gose, but they also can a spin-off. A Blood Orange Gose! Time to see how the Gose melds with citrus.
BOG pours a Tang orange color with absolutely zero head to it once the initial foam winds down. There is a certain orange jello aroma to this beer.
The taste has an initial bite to it. A slight tartness that fades into more of that Jello citrus note. Then the beer morphs into a salty drying note. Then a third taste of wheat and cereal pops in at the end. I am not getting the buttery part of blood orange that I really enjoy from the fruit. But this beer does not skimp on orange flavor at all.
But the salinity cuts through it to make this really well balanced.
I am a fan of the Gose style of beer. Unfortunately, American versions tend to include many additions of fruit and/or spices that stray from the original version.
But when I saw a canned version from Anderson Valley, I raised my hopes again that I might find a reliable source of Gose for the summer.
And I was not disappointed. The beers pours a dark orange color with a citrusy aroma. There is another smell in the background that I can’t put my finger on as well. The taste follows with an orange hard candy taste that has a touch of sour to it. This is a very crisp and refreshing beer. And the salt is like a light undercurrent with each sip.
Very similar to a Berliner Weisse but that salt adds just a little kick to the proceedings. I can see myself trying this a few more times during a hot LA summer.