I have no theme this time, just an eclectic grouping of beers that I have tasted recently. Well, if there’s a minor theme, it’s of three countries producing great beer, in this case Germany, Belgium, and the United States.
We start with hazy gold from Munich with a big white head, especially if over poured as I did. It has a tangy, yeasty nose with a sweet spiciness. The flavor is like a malty, spicy marzipan though not as sweet, with a medium thick body and mouthfeel. Malt dominates the finish and some spicy hops assert themselves again. A bit of a classic. 5.5% ABV
From Brouwerij Bosteels in Buggenhout, Belgium, Kwak pours chestnut amber with a bubbly yellowish head. The aroma is of rich yeast-roll malt and toffee. The flavor is sweet caramel and massive malt with a cinnamon spice note, not FROM cinnamon but from other spices and hops. This big flavor flows into the finish then a dark fruit element like raisins emerges and lingers. One of my all-time favorites. 8.4% ABV
“A Malty, Robust, Jobless Recovery Ale”
WTF? Deep brown in the glass with a reddish tinge and a foamy cream-colored head. It leads with a strong cracker and caramel malt nose with a spicy hop bite. This is followed by a super malty flavor with a roasty undertone and slightly silky mouth feel, again with hops nibbling at the edges. The finish continues malty with distinct bitterness coming in. I don’t know whether this particular bottle came from Petaluma or from Chicago. 7.85% ABV, 59 IBU
“We’re not quite in the Red, or in the Black . . . Does that mean we’re in the Brown?!”
The classic Belgian yeasty nose arrives as soon as the cap comes off, delivering banana and spices. Fortunately, what we call “banana” in beer passes muster with those who can’t stand the fruit itself! This pours pale amber suggesting a tripel, and the flavor follows that malty estery profile, but it’s not as strong as a tripel. Basically it’s the single that you never get from the Trappists. The malt flows richly into the finish with a sort of marzipan note. Elegant. 6.8% ABV This is brewed in the Stella Artois brewery in Leuven, Belgium, and is proof that AB-InBev can preserve some high-quality beers (so there’s hope for Elysian, perhaps).
Troegs Scratch #177
Featuring Mosaic hops, this Pennsylvania beer is a pretty peach-amber with a generous fine grained off-white head. The nose is tricky, muted hops with what seems like saison yeast. The flavor also plays with styles. It has light to medium body, crisp, almost apple-like after having some ciders but not because I had tasted the ciders. It has a gentle spicy hop flavor with plenty of malt. Some honey sweetness sneaks in on the finish with some bitterness way out on the end. This might even work for someone who does not yet like hops. Sneaky too. Seems like a session IPA but 7.0% ABV.
From Chicago, this pours amber with a big fizzy off-white head. The nose delivers lots of bakery malt with earthy, spicy old world hops. The flavor is of unsweetened caramel malt with a solid shot of hops producing a savory hint. Bitterness emerges on the finish, still in balance with the malt. It’s an American IPA, but it strikes me as a European IPA, an imperial version of the classic British IPA. 9% ABV