Category Archives: beer pick
Here’s a real gem: one of Quebec brewery Unibroue’s Anniversary series; No.16 from 2007.
Purchased in 2008, and opened in August 2011.
In the glass, it displays a handsome dark cloudy apricot-copper colour. The foam is antique white, ample at first before settling down to a 2mm ring with largeish bubbles and nice lacing. 4.5/5
The aroma is predominately sweet: dessert-bread, raisins, apricots, clementines, caramel, rhubarb, and a faint hint of licorice. The ghost of a hop aroma lies buried in the midst of the fruit. 4/5
The taste is quite nice. The fruit-tart dessert trope remains, but a nice tart-bitter snap at the end ties it together. I can only imagine that three years ago this brew possessed more hop bitterness as well as more prominent alcohol heat. Even as time in the cellar has mellowed it out, the 10% ABV is still letting is presence be known. 4/5
The mouthfeel is slightly sweet and packs a punch; this will surely flex its muscles if you’re not careful. The time in the cellar has not done harm to a wonderful scrubbing-bubbles carbonation. 3.5/5
Overall, this is an excellent cellarer and a noble brew. Fantastic on its own, if a bit daunting; it would also serve admirably as a champagne substitute, or with dessert — either cream-and-fruit based, or cheeses. 4.5/5
For the next instalment, another pint bottle lovingly and successfully returned via our luggage to Virginia.
The Brakspear Brewery of Oxforshire dates to the 18th century.
500 mL bottle purchased in Cambridge, UK in May 2011, brought back to the US and opened in July.
The minute I popped the bottle, I was transported back to the UK.
In the glass, it’s a handsome copper-amber with a nice glow. Little head retention, but I don’t care — it makes it look like a cask pull!
On the nose, wonderful hints of toast, brown sugar, faint fuggles, and lots of florals.
The taste is a perfectly balanced maltiness with a fine bitter snap to finish. Just a hint of butter in there, but it’s neither distracting nor detracting. It possesses the perfect balance of oily coating and spritzy scrubbing-bubbles.
At 3.4%, it’s the model of a well-balanced, superbly crafted session ale, and proof that high strength is no prerequisite for a great beer. The maltiness leans a bit heavy, but I’ve no serious complaints.
All round, an extremely agreeable Bitter and a pleasant companion for the evening. This would be ideal with Shepherd’s Pie, English Tikka Masala, or ye olde Fish & Chips.
From one of the best magazines now (or ever) published, some recommendations worth investigating.
Yes, we love a cold beer, especially when it’s a local brew. Here is a state-by-state list (all beer recommendations are courtesy of G&G Facebook fans) to help you discover a new Southern beer (or several) to try this summer.
Diamond Bear Brewing; Little Rock, Arkansas
Readers Recommend: Presidential IPA
Cigar City Brewing; Tampa, Florida
Bluegrass Brewing Company; Louisville, Kentucky
Kentucky Ale; Lexington, Kentucky
Readers Recommend: Bourbon Pale Ale
Abita Beer; Abita Springs, Louisiana
Readers Recommend: Purple Haze, Amber, Turbo Dog
Big Boss Brewing; Raleigh, North Carolina
Duck-Rabbit Brewery; Farmville North Carolina
Foothills Brewing Company; Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Readers Recommend: Salem Gold
Fullsteam; Durham, North Carolina
Natty Greene’s Brewing Co.: Greensboro and Raleigh, North Carolina
Readers Recommend: Southern Pale Ale
Wedge Brewery; Asheville, North Carolina
Flying Dog ;Frederick, Maryland
Lazy Magnolia Pecan Brew; Kiln, Mississippi
Readers Recommend: Southern Pecan, Reb Ale, Jefferson Stout
Thomas Creek Beer; Greenville, South Carolina
Readers Recommend: Appalachian Amber Ale
Ghost River Brewing; Memphis, Tennessee
Live Oak Brewing Company; Austin, Texas
Readers Recommend: Big Bark Amber Lager
Starr Hill; Crozet, Virginia
Readers Recommend: IPA
Today is the day when people’s thoughts turn to Ireland, clover, and Irish beer. Longtime readers of the blog may recall our exploration of this theme in 2007, but it’s a good day to revisit the topic in brief.
In the popular imagination, of course, Irish beer is synonymous with Guinness. This is understandable, given the firm’s noble history and huge global presence. Say what you will about Guinness, it’s still Irish-owned, and sometimes it’s exactly what’s called for. It’s light, easy-going, and great with seafood. Some good news from Guinness is that in the past few months they have finally begun to market the Foreign Extra Stout in the US. It’s the best thing they make.
However, to go no further than dry stout — to say nothing of Guinness — is to deny a noble, if largely unknown, brewing tradition its day in the sun. Yes, there’s Murphy’s and Beamish, now both owned by Heineken and, since 2008, brewed at the same brewery (we shed a tear at the thought). Barely deserving mention is Killian’s Irish Red Ale — which is neither Irish, nor Red, nor an Ale (it’s made by Coors).
No, we prefer to focus on the unsung heroes of Irish beer, which, given economy of scale, you’re unlikely to find on draught or in the market on this side of the Atlantic: but if you do, give them a go! The one non-mega-corporate (Guinness also makes Smithwick’s, in case you were curious) Irish beer you are likely to find in the US is O’Hara’s, from Carlow Brewing. Carlow is the largest of the current generation of craft breweries currently elbowing their way into the Irish beer scene. Carlow markets O’Hara’s in both a Dry Irish Stout and a Red Ale. Seek it out and have some. It won’t let you down.
If you’re in Ireland, may we recommend the Galway Hooker or anything from the Franciscan Well.
Otherwise, American craft breweries (and homebrewers, lest we forget!) offer their own noble contributions in the Irish vein: Harpoon makes a widely-available Red Ale, and the Three Floyds Brian Boru comes highly recommended.
At the end of the day, we issue only one direct request to the reader: please, please, don’t drink green beer. After all, if it’s light enough to successfully be dyed bright green, it’s probably not beer to start with.
On this blustery and cold December night, I decided to crack into my remaining bottle of last year’s (09-10) vintage, which has been patiently biding its time since last Christmas. And it is a glorious thing.
Served up in my Allagash footed glass, it is a remarkable beverage.
Appearance : Glorious golden amber with ample antique-white foam. 5/5
Smell: Biscuit up front with notes of vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, sour apple, and dry hops. 4/5
Taste: Wonderfully nuanced and balanced, lots of malt, a hint of sourness, and warming all the way. 4.5/5
Mouthfeel: Luxuriously oily, with the perfect amount of carbonated snap. Smooth and silky. 5/5
Overall: A perfect companion for those cold winter nights. This guy drinks like an old, long-lost friend. 4.5/5
The 2010/2011 edition has already been released, but if you happen upon any of last year’s, don’t overlook it!