Monday, December 7, 2009

Post-Thanksgiving Beer Tasting

The lineup

So, the beer closet was starting to overflow and I didn't want all this good beer to go to waste. I got together some of my friends that appreciate good beer and had them come over for a post Thanksgiving beer tasting. I pulled the candidates out of the closet and put together a little score card for everyone to keep track of what they liked and disliked. The tasters for the evening where my friends Eddy, Matt, George and Jason. George was running a bit late(nothing new) so we decided to try out a Southampton Double White Ale. Everyone enjoyed it. Wasn't much more than a white ale so not too sure what the double is about. A little more alcohol but without much more alcohol taste.

Matt and George discussing the beers

Finally, George arrived and we got started on the actual tasting. Started things off light and herby with Bison's Organic Honey Basil. This was pretty different for everyone since most aren't used to having basil in their beer. No one was entirely turned off by it and everyone could see really enjoying it with some pasta. We followed it up a winner from Sam Adams Longshot Series, Cranberry Wit. This didn't have quite the cranberry taste that we were all expecting. Not a bad beer but not one I would be searching out again either. River Horse's Double Wit followed up the cranberry wit. People were torn on this one. Some of us enjoyed it more than the Southampton Double and some less. It didn't have quite the aroma of the Southampton but I thought the overall taste was better and more like a wheat beer.

Jason and Eddy

It was now time to leave the wheat beers and started it out with French Broad's Gateway Kolsch. This one did not go over well with anyone. I'm going to say that the beer was probably past it's prime which didn't help. This one got the lowest score of the night from everyone. With kolschs they are either amazing or horrible. I don't think I've ever had one I was really indifferent about. This unfortunately landed on the horrible side. New Belgium's Fat Tire, which followed, made up for it. This one got rave reviews from everyone. Although not the most interesting beer of the night everyone agreed this would be a great session beer. A good balanced beer. Not too heavy, not too light.

The starters

This is where things started to get into the funky side. We cracked open a bottle of De Proef Signature Les Deux Brasseurs Ale. T his belgian strong ale is a collaboration between De Proef and Allagash breweries. I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone really appreciated this beer. Through the funkiness of it you could pull out the apricot and citrus aromas. Eddy's quote of the night, "It smells like ass, but in a good way." Take that for what it's worth.

We brought things back down a little with a Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale. You can see my original review here. This one I think was a little past it's prime as well. Still not bad and got good ratings from everyone. Still would love to see this available all the time. We kicked up the hops a little more with Rogue's Yellow Snow IPA. This was another one that got rave reviews. Starts with a nice bitter bite and smooths out with some maltiness in the finish. From there we kicked it up another notch with Victory's Hop Wallop. This one had more of a piney aroma than the Yellow Snow. Less of a piney taste than smell. Bit of citrus comes out in it.

Headed over to the maltier side of things and to some bigger beers with Harpoon's Leviathan Series Quad. This was the winner for the night. Sweet and fruity with more of an alcohol taste then most of the other beers. Raisin, figs and dates shown through and everyone was made a fan. Moved along to the always interesting Allagash Four. Four malts, four hops, four sugars, four yeasts and fermented four times. Everyone enjoyed the layering that came out in this beer.

Special Guest

As we were getting to the end we tried out some beers that people won't be having again. We started it off with the Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head collaboration Life and Limb. There is a lot of hype around this beer and I was very excited to try this beer. The use of ingredients from each breweries family farms were used to make the beer I thought was a great idea. Maple syrup from Dogfish and barley from Sierra. The end product unfortunately left me feeling a little flat. Not that it was a bad beer just didn't quite live up to the hype. Nothing really stood out in the beer. The syrup part was very evident while the rest seemed to be covered by it. We moved on to another rare beer collaboration with the Stone/Maui/Ken Schmidt Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter. This one poured very dark. The coffee aroma was very evident. Tasted strong of coffee with some roasted nut and some coconut faintly in the finish. People were divided on this one. We moved on to Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout. This was like a melted dark chocolate bar. I quite enjoyed this one. We finished the tasting off with Mikkeller's Beer Geek Breakfast. This oatmeal stout isn't kidding with it's name. The oatmeal and coffee are very prevalent. Not as thick as other stouts.

Overall, everyone had a great time. Always fun to hang with good friends and enjoy some good beers. Look out for a Christmas/Winter beer tasting coming soon.

You can see the full list of beers and which ones are available in South Florida as well as what everyone's top five beers of the night were below.

TASTING LIST:
Bison Organic Honey Basil (available in South Florida)
Sam Adam's Longshot Cranberry Wit (available in South Florida)
River Horse Double Wit
French Broad Gateway Kolsch
New Belgium Fat Tire (available soon in South Florida)
De Proef Signature Les Deux Brasseurs Ale w/Allagash (available in South Florida)
Dogfish Head Shelter Pale Ale
Rogue Yellow Snow IPA (available in South Florida)
Victory Hop Wallop (available in South Florida)
Harpoon Leviathan Quad
Allagash Four (available in South Florida)
Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head Life & Limb (available in South Florida)
Stone/Maui/Ken Schmidt Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout (available in South Florida)
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast (available in South Florida)

Dave:
  1. Harpoon Leviathan Quad
  2. Allagash Four
  3. Rogue Yellow Snow IPA
  4. New Belgium Fat Tire
  5. Victory Hop Wallop
Matt:
  1. Harpoon Leviathan Quad
  2. Rogue Yellow Snow IPA
  3. Victory Hop Wallop
  4. Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head Life & Limb
  5. Allagash Four
George:
  1. Allagash Four
  2. Harpoon Leviathan Quad
  3. De Proef Signature Les Deux Brasseurs Ale w/Allagash
  4. Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head Life & Limb
  5. Victory Hop Wallop
Eddy:
  1. De Proef Signature Les Deux Brasseurs Ale w/Allagash
  2. Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head Life & Limb
  3. Allagash Four
  4. Harpoon Leviathan Quad
  5. Victory Hop Wallop
Jason:
  1. Harpoon Leviathan Quad
  2. Allagash Four
  3. River Horse Double Wit
  4. Victory Hop Wallop
  5. Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head Life & Limb

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