I visited Ramsey Wines & Liquors, but for me their beer selection has become the main event. Their beer selection is huge, and several times recently I’ve gone on the “beer finder” for one or another brew, and up pops Ramsey. Anyway, they have “mystery” 6-packs in a stapled brown bag, with two sorts at the moment. One is “Even More Hops” and the other is some name like “New for Spring.” Since I’m on a hop kick I picked up one of the former last week, and tried again this week. To my very slight disappointment, the latest one is exactly the same as the previous one, but that’s not much of a complaint.
One that I discovered and mentioned last week is Dale’s Pale Ale from Oskar Blues in Colorado. As I said before I would have been put off by the fact that it’s in a can, but more fool I. Good stuff, and now I have another. Perhaps more importantly, I got the 6-pack for $13.47 (how they pick that number I don’t know). Well, I saw Dale’s Pale Ale at Stew Leonard’s this week . . . for $9.99 per can! Can you say, “quite a deal”? I knew you could.
Another one in the 6-pack is Ballast Point Sculpin West Coast IPA, and as I mentioned, the funny thing was that the night before I bought the first mystery six, I had the Ballast Point Sculpin at The Dog & Cask. Excellent, rich IPA. That IPA is from San Diego, like Stone, a brewery of which I’m very fond. However, another item in the 6-pack is Stone’s Go To IPA, and I was disappointed by that one. It struck me as all hops and little else.
I had another one last week, Lasso from Great Divide, also in Colorado. This one I didn’t find very memorable, quite drinkable but not one I would choose again . . . but now I have the opportunity to see if I change my mind.
Today I had a Lancaster Hop Buggy Amish Grain Amber Ale. This was pretty nice, good hops with a slightly nutty edge. Not a favorite, but I won’t mind having another.
I have to look and see what the 6th beer is, I forget offhand. Meanwhile I took a detour, a very unusual brew from Austria called Samichlaus Classic from Castle Brewery Eggenberg. They note on the label that it’s brewed only one day each year, December 6, then aged for 10 months before bottling. However, it may then be aged for several years before release. I have to say I’ve never had anything quite like it. My very first impression was chocolate, followed by molasses, and the very viscous quality further suggests the molasses. It coats the palette and the finish goes on and on. I don’t know how they age it during those ten months, but I find a hint of oak so a touch of toast and vanilla. That could come from something else entirely, of course. They recommend storing and serving it at cellar temperature, so I only left it in the refrigerator for an hour or so. This pays off in depth of flavor. They call this a malt liquor. I don’t know—yet—what distinguishes a malt liquor from an ale. It’s obviously a long way from the cold brewing and storage of a lager.