Mead Review – Two from Nectar Creek

I am known to be ambi-beverage-ous so I was happy to receive two mega meads from Nectar Creek. Both Super. Mure and Cyser.

Starting with the Super Cyser, which looks a bit like honey in my glencairn. The aroma is apple-y and not sweet. The honey comes on strong in the first sip. But the apple is not far behind at all. A bit slick on the tongue but not in a cloying way. For something that is 14%, it is not super bitey.

The SM with blackberry has a more pronounced aroma. Berry comes through for sure. This one tastes way sweeter to me. I get sugar, then blackberry, then a smidge of honey. I do like the berry, it tastes natural and fresh. But this is the one for the sweet tooths.

Which one the casual mead appreciator would like comes down to sweetness tolerance. If you prefer dry then the Super Cyser is the choice, if you are looking for a dessert partner, the Super Mure is the pick.

Magazine Day – Final Gravity # 03

Previously on Beer Search Party, I reviewed issue # 01 of the beer ‘zine, Final Gravity. That memory made me pass on # 02 but the list of articles intrigued me for # 03 so I ordered it up and here are my thoughts.

Will I be back for # 04? The answer is yes. I found the stories in this issue landed with me better from the opener about Ola Brew and their ingredient buying, to going gluten free or Ayurvedic and especially the Spanish local beer from Cooperativa Cervesera Cadaques were all fun little peeks into locales that made me want to go there. I still don’t understand the art interludes all that much because they don’t tie into beer. A beer comic would fit in my opinion, a lot better. Strangely, the weakest piece was from one of the editors David Nilsen and the most emotional was from the other editor Melinda Guerra.

Review – Anchor Christmas Ale 2017 & 2018

The last two bottles of Anchor Christmas Ale. A bit melancholic this is. Sad to have Sapporo be such a Grinch.

But time waits for no one or no brewery so before these go too far, time to crack them open and taste….

2017 – I got an aged barrel, slightly sour smell when popping the cap. A bit of cherry aroma as well. Pretty foamy latte head of foam. Super dark brown color tinged with red. Initial taste is a bit smoky but also bubbly. Mouthfeel is light and what I am left with is a cola note.

2018 – this year pours a bit more red in color and the foam is a shade whiter. Much less aroma upon opening. Initial taste is much hoppier even after 5+ years. Tastes much less lighter than the previous year despite only being .02 higher in ABV. Like a red ale this.

The 2018 is more straightforward while the 2017 is more complex in flavor but I like that streamlined red ale a touch more.

Review – Sawtelle Sake

I have wanted to dip my toes into Sake for a while now but I wanted to have a medium grasp of gin and bourbon first.

I found a Los Angeles brand, Sawtelle Sake – Clear Skies which “is a Nama (unpasteurized) Junmai (pure/no-additive) Ginjo style of sake with a 60% polish ratio made from rice sourced locally in California. Clear Skies is deeply aromatic with notes of citrus and melon.”

I decided to try both chilled and warmed to see what, if any difference it would make and, it did.

Chilled, there was a subtle floral aroma with a little alcohol burn at the end.  Viscous at first but dry overall.  A bit of tea tannin with citrus and honey.

Warmed, the alcohol was more pronounced and it was sweeter but pleasantly it had a distinct, wonderful pear flavor.

Review – Two Hazies from Brouwerij West

Doing a hazy double dip with Brouwerij West….

Frizzonaire with Citra, Enigma and Cashmere – hazy if not murky appearance. little sawdust and Concord grape on the nose. very soft mouthfeel with that grape taste there in the leas with some prickly hop bitterness popping here and there. as it warms a bit, I get a subtle hit of peach and creamsicle.

Next up is Scissor Run with Amarillo, Huell Melon and Ekuanot – this is very berry bright upon opening the swirling labeled can. a lighter yellow shade of haze in the glass. getting a berry, peach combo here. a little brisker upon the palate, but still soft mouthfeel. a little more piney bitterness as well.

Hard to pick a winner here but based on my haze guideposts, Frizzonaire hews closer to the line for me.

Review – Grüvi Mocha Nitro Stout

Not a big fan of the un-groovy name, Grüvi but I was interested in a N/A Nitro Mocha Stout. “This creamy non-alcoholic brew is a smooth yet full-bodied ale with notes of coffee and chocolate. The addition of nitrogen makes tiny bubbles and helps us create an ultra-creamy beer that pours like a dream.” It even shows how to do an aggressive pour.

Did not get a big nitro pour from the can. Maybe it needs that widget that I did not hear in the bottom of the can. As with most non-alcoholic beers, this is pretty thin, which is really evident in a stout. Past that, there is a bit of a Mexican Hot Chocolate vibe off of this. Of the three adjectives on the packaging, it is a bit creamy, kind of smooth and roasted for sure. Overall, kind of disappointing.

Review – Skyduster IPA

Still trying to catch a bead on who or what Skyduster Beer is or where they are. No idea where Mission Junction is. But it is the liquid that matters, so let’s test out their West Coast IPA…

Described as “firm, yet restrained bitterness, this beer is aggressively hopped with Citra and Mosaic.”

Packaged in the stovepipe 19.2oz can and weighing in at 7% abv, this is a pretty good West Coast IPA. Did not know what to expect from this brewery. Has an initial bright and grassy aroma with a hint of citrus to it. Initial taste is a pleasing leafy and vegetal with a nice level of bitterness to it, A bit pillowy but as it warms takes up more West Coast notes.

Review – Kumquat Saison from Smog City

I have been looking forward to the 2023 version of Smog City’s Kumquat Saison for a bit of time. And now, is the time to take from the ‘fridge and taste it.

2023 marks the 8th year that Smog City Brewing Co. has joined forces with Food Forward for the release of Kumquat Saison. 600 pounds of kumquats were plucked from fruit trees in backyards that otherwise would not have been used.

Food Forwards’ efforts to end food insecurity are helped with each can sold as a portion of the proceeds from each 4-pack of Kumquat Saison will be donated to Food Forward as part of Smog City’s 1% for the Planet Community Impact Series.

The saison pours a bright yellow color.  Nice and tart on the tongue as that kumquat citrusy flavor shines through. Light on the palate with a bare hint of the Saison yeast coming through.  The malt base is right where it needs to be to let the fruit lead the way.

RTD Reviews – Rod & Hammer

SLO + Whiskey + RTD craze = a taste test of California Whiskey cocktails from Rod & Hammer. Mule vs Mai Tai.

The Whiskey Mule is spicy first and foremost. Strong and good ginger ale used here. But it does not have three Bourbon notes that I expect. No oak. No vanilla. No coconut. It doesn’t taste alcoholic either which is sneaky because this is 11%.

The Whiskey Mai Tai had a nice Tiki flavor start. Almost baked pineapple. There was a fruit punch aroma to this though that the kid in me liked. Whiskey was discernible this time but still really a background player.

I do like the word centric labels and the rough hewn colors and feel an even with a lack of Whiskey flavors coming through, I would be interested in trying their distilled spirits.

Beer Review – The OG Infinite Wishes from Smog City Brewing

Yes, variants are fun. But, let’s focus on the base or as Smog City Brewing calls it, the OG of their barrel-aged Infinite Wishes.

This imperial stout is aged in bourbon barrels for a year. Here is my take on the 2023 version…

…IW23OG (sorry for the clumsy acronym) pours jet black with espresso swirls on the surface. I get a little syrup nose to start with just a skosh of wooden barrel. For such a high ABV beer, it is more sparkly than silky. Getting a bit of dark chocolate flavor. A little sweet and a fair share of char as well. Barely an alcohol burn at all when sipping. Really good and really simple.