Saturday, September 3, 2011
For dinner in Buffalo, some friends and I decided to go to the Blue Monk, as it came highly recommended. On the beer menu, I noticed that they had the Southern Tier Cuvee Series One, and the waitress told me that they received the keg by mistake and aged it for a couple of years before serving it. What great luck! The beer pours a cloudy orange-gold color with a frothy white head. The aroma consists of yeast, orange zest, lemon, and coconut. The taste is sweet and smooth with almonds and coconut immediately hitting the tongue. Orange, lemon, and yeast bring out a citrusy and biscuity flavors with some banana as well. The finish is dry with light pepper and hints of grassy and earthy hops, and the after taste leaves oak on the tongue. The alcohol content is 11.0% ABV. I felt lucky to try this beer after three years, but I was glad that I did. It was a rather complex brew, but the almonds and was a flavor that I am not used to being in a beer, but I really enjoyed it, especially with the coconut.
My fiancee ordered a glass of Pearl Street Grill & Brewery Billy Bonka, and the overwhelming chocolate aroma from the seat next to me encouraged me to order my own glass. First of all, I love the name as a play on Willy Wonka. The beer pours a black color with a frothy tan head. When smelling this beer, the words that entered my mind were “Holy chocolate, Batman!” It really is an infectious chocolate aroma, as it consists of dark Belgian chocolate, mocha, toasted malts, coffee, and cream. The taste is chocolaty and almost as powerful as the aroma, yet silky smooth on the tongue. There are bits of cream, toasted malts, coffee, mocha, and a dry finish with cocoa powder lingering on the tongue. The alcohol content is not posted online, but I would guess it to be around 6.0% ABV. Another beer I tried from Pearl Street, and another positive impression. If you are a chocolate lover, this beer is for you. While other flavors surface, this beer is about chocolate and chocolate only.
Friday, September 2, 2011
While killing time in Buffalo, my fiancee and I decided to stop in to Pearl Street Grill & Brewery. I ordered a glass of Sabres Edge, a Double IPA. The beer pours an amber color with a frothy off-white colored head. The aroma consists of grapefruit, tangerine, caramel, and pepper. The taste is bitter and citrusy with lots of grapefruit on the front end. Besides the grapefruit, tangerine and lemon takes focus before the finish brings out a dry and piny flavor that leaves some hop oil behind on the tongue. The alcohol content is 8.0% ABV. For my first beer from Pearl Street, I was quite impressed with their Double IPA. It wasn’t overly bitter, but I loved the hop oils and resins left behind on the tongue that let the flavor linger for a while.
Another beer I ordered on a recent visit to Ellicottville Brewing Company was the CATT County Cuvee. The beer pours a golden color with a thin bubbly white head. The aroma consists of banana, orange, and vanilla. While those flavors are detectable, the aroma is faint and light. The taste is smooth and sweet with a large orange and vanilla profile. Honey, banana, and pepper also provide some accents. The finish brings out dry oak and sweet vanilla flavors. The alcohol content is 8.5% ABV. This was a solid beer with plenty of flavors and without an alcohol burn on the tongue, so beware of the 8.5%.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
On my way to Buffalo, I stopped in to Ellicottville Brewing Company and the first beer I ordered with lunch was the Black Hops. The beer pours a dark brown color with a frothy off-white colored head. The aroma consists of coffee, toasted malts, light chocolate, pine, lemon, and pepper. The taste is dry and bitter with a solid chocolate malt profile, dry roasted malts, coffee, oak, pine, and pepper. Light lemon flavor comes out in the finish. The alcohol content is 6.0% ABV. The Black Hops was an excellent dry and bitter beer with a hop balance that counteracts the toasted malt and chocolate base.
I grabbed a case of Troegs Scratch 46- Naked Elf. This beer is a stripped down version of Troegs Mad Elf. The beer pours a an amber color with a thin filmy white head. The aroma consists of sweet Belgian yeast, cherry, and honey. While I realize that there is no added cherry and honey in this beer, it still carries faint hints of it. The taste is malty and very yeasty with a nice sweetness to it. There is a nice biscuity flavor building the base with with a touch of honey. The alcohol content is 7.8% ABV. There are some nice trace amounts of the Mad Elf beer in this without the chocolate, cherry, or honey added. It may not be as intense or have the alcohol burn, but it still makes a solid beer.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
I stopped in to the Troegs tasting room to pick up a case of the brand new Perpetual Imperial IPA (Imperial Pale Ale) in 22-ounce bombers. The beer pours a pale golden color with a frothy white head, helping it live up to the Imperial Pale Ale name and not the India Pale Ale name. The aroma consists of bitter grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, pine, pepper, spruce, and a bit of passion fruit. The taste is smooth and rounded on the tongue but nice and bitter with plenty of hops to tantalize the tongue. The hops bring out red grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, pineapple, and passion fruit. Some caramel peeks through as the backbone of the beer before pepper, pine, and spruce come out in the finish, drying out the tongue. The after taste is warming with a bit of alcohol on the back of the throat. The alcohol content is 7.5% ABV. I think Troegs hit the nail on the head with this Imperial Pale Ale. It has a very bitter and west coast feel to it with the slightest of caramel backbones that does not get in the way of the hop focus.
I picked up a bottle of Great Divide Belgian Style Yeti from Stateline Liquors and I decided to share it with some friends. The beer pours a black color with a bubbly tan head that barely leaves any lacing on the glass. The aroma consists of chocolate, vanilla, Belgian yeast, and caramel. The taste is smooth and sweet at first with a large Belgian yeast profile. A dark chocolate flavors comes out after the yeast with some vanilla and caramel. A slight toasted malt flavor hangs out in the background and the finish is rather dry. The alcohol content is 9.5% ABV. While not my favorite of the Yeti series, I really enjoyed the Belgian yeast sweetness added in with the chocolate flavor.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
When I was at Stateline Liquors, I noticed some bottles of the Dogfish Head-Epic collaboration Portamarillo, made famous by the show Brewmasters. The beer pours an amber color with a frothy tan head with some nice lacing on the glass. The aroma consists of tomato, hickory, smoke, and toasted malts. The taste is malty and chocolaty at first with some tomato funk to it. I’m sure your familiar with that flavor, as it is exactly like eating a raw tomato. The beer has a nice grilled finish but is very light on the tongue. Hints of toasted malts are in there as well with some salt and earthy and dirt-like hops. The alcohol content is 7.0% ABV. I really liked the tomato accent to this beer, and it balanced it very well without making it like tomato juice, which is not a positive flavor for me. This beer really makes you think about being outside by the grill, and it also goes very well with pizza.
When sharing some bottles, my friend Adam brought over a bottle of Vanberg & DeWulf Hop Ruiter to share. The beer pours a golden color with a bubbly white head and plenty of lacing on the glass. The aroma consists of lemon, cream, and pepper. Nothing too complex in the aroma, but the smells are nicely done. The taste is smooth and creamy with a large lemon meringue profile and some pepper. The beer doesn’t finish very strong and is light, bringing back some more pepper flavor. The alcohol content is 8.0% ABV. Overall, the Hop Ruiter was a decent beer with great lemon and meringue flavors, but I feel it let off the gas a bit on the finish.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Following up on tasting the Sexual Chocolate, I opened a bottle of Foothills Bourbon Barrel Aged Sexual Chocolate that I received in a beer trade with Beer Club 4 Men. The beer pours a black color with a thin bubbly tan head, less of a head than the non-bourbon barrel aged beer. The aroma consists of bourbon, milk chocolate, smoke, vanilla, oak, and toasted malts. The taste is amazing, even in comparison to the regular version, with lots of vanilla and milk chocolate. I also picked up flavors of sweet toffee with bits of marshmallow. There is a very slight smoke flavor mixed in, but it is very subdued by the dry bourbon finish that is sweet and cherry-like. The alcohol content is 9.75% ABV. I thought this had a wonderful blend of milk chocolate with sweet toffee and marshmallow flavors. The bourbon subdued the smoky flavors and allowed the others to shine, giving that silky smooth “sexual” feel.
My buddy brought over a bottle of Allagash Odyssey to share. The beer pours a brown color with amber hues and a frothy tan head. The aroma consists of raisin, malts, caramel, toffee, fig, and oak. The taste is sweet and malty with lots of raisin right up front. It is evident that this is a very malty beer that has some caramel, toffee, and fig as well. The finish brings out some dry oak flavors, balancing the sweetness. The alcohol content is 10.4% ABV. The Odyssey is a dry and malty beer that is smooth drinking with great malt accents that kill the beer beer from being too sweet.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
As part of a beer trade with Beer Club 4 Men, I received a bottle of Foothills Sexual Chocolate. The beer pours a black color with a bubbly tan head. The aroma consists of smoked malts, chocolate, vanilla, oak, licorice, molasses, fig, and hints of toffee. The taste is smoky, much more than expected, with toasted malts, caramel, molasses, fig, vanilla, and licorice. Some sweeter toffee comes out in the finish and the after taste has lots of dry chocolate nibs and powder. The alcohol content is 9.75% ABV. I would say that despite it “sexual” name, it was much more smoky than expected. I was anticipating silky smooth milk chocolate flavors, but this is a wonderful chocolate based beer with vanilla and toffee.
As part of a beer trade with Lance Martin (Beers of the Night) and Alfred Hugh Leonard III I received a bottle of Wild Heaven Invocation, a Belgian-style Golden Ale. The beer pours an orange-colored golden color with a foamy white head. The aroma consists of yeast, orange, lemon, spices, pepper, and coriander. The taste is bitter and slightly smoky with some charcoal, pepper, and coriander. After the dryness and spiciness subsides some orange and lemon come out to smooth on the tongue. The alcohol content is 8.5% ABV. The smoky and charcoal flavor in this beer was unexpected, but enjoyable. It is much more dry than I anticipated, but I would recommend this to anyone.