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Game of Thrones: Fire and Blood By Brewery Ommegang

(Editor)
 (Average)
Location: United States » New York
ABV: 6.8%
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Fire and Blood pours a dark red hue with a huge persistent off white head (about 4 fingers high).  The aroma has hints of Belgian yeast and bready/toasty malts.  Spice, pepper and dark fruit aromatics are also present.

The flavor is fairly clean with a surprising hop bitterness.  Bready malt and ripe fruit notes help to balance the hop bitterness.  Pepper and spice flavors are found towards the end of the taste.   Belgian yeast notes are found however they are not as prevalent as I expected.  The finish is both malty and bitter with lingering spicy notes.  The mouth feel is medium with medium carbonation.

I bought this bottle with some cautious optimism hoping this was not a gimmick beer.  Much to my delight, Ommegang once again delivers an outstanding beer.  This beer is versatile enough to be enjoyed on a warm spring day or complex enough to be paired with Mexican cuisine, especially Mole sauce.

Vieille by Crooked Stave

(Editor)
 (Average)
Brewery: Crooked Stave
ABV: 4.2%
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Vieille pours a hazy yellow color with a medium off white head.

Aroma is grainy with lemon esters and a faint horse blanket and yeast.  Faint grass hop notes.

Flavor is full of funk, barnyard funk that is.  Grainy maltiness and lemon citrus esters are noted. Brettanomyces is very prominent.

The finish is semi dry with a good bit of bitterness.

Mouth Feel is medium with medium high carbonation.

A fantastic take on the saison style with a farmhouse twist.

Surette by Crooked Stave

(Editor)
 (Average)
Brewery: Crooked Stave
ABV: 6.2%
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Moderate crackery malt; moderate peppery, yeasty phenols. Some earthy hops and a slight hint of citrusy sourness.

Light gold, a bit of haze, big white head, good retention, lace.

Moderate citrusy esters with some sourness. Moderately low yeasty phenols; some light bready malt; and a mold earthiness. Mild sweetness and moderate sourness contrast and balance each other.

Moderately- light body; no warmth, astringency, or creaminess. Mostly bitter, sour finish.

A refreshing, flavorful beer.  Grain bill contains barley, wheat, rye, oats and spelt.  Fremented and aged in oak with Brettanomyces and Lactobacillus this beer is tart and yeasty without being over the top.   One of the better Saisons I have had. Just funky enough.

Biere de Mars by Almanac Brewing

(Editor)
 (Average)
ABV: 7.2%
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Interesting beer that I came across while in California.  It caught my eye due to the fact that it was a farm to table beer brewed with fennel bulbs.  Very excited to try this unique seasonal.

Nose provides a nice amount of caramel malts with a good amount of Belgian candi sweetness. Not much of a hop prescience but do get a little grassy and earthiness.  Mostly gets hints of dates and plums.  Fennel isn’t present in the nose.

Palette provides a very complex Biere de Mars that I think is fantastic.  Only wish that I could enjoy locally during their spring release.  Fennel is certainly present but mostly get the Belgian candi sugars with a good amount of dates.  The plums are there but not as strong as I would have expected with limits the sweetness.

Finishes very smooth and malty.  Mostly get the fennel in the aftertaste along with some dates.  This beer would be perfect with Easter dinner or suggested on the bottle a hunk of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.  This is probably at the top or at least near the top of the list in regards to what I have tried within this style.  Highly recommend and would buy an extra bottle to enjoy during the first days of Spring.

Baudelaire by Jolly Pumpkin Brewing

(Editor)
 (Average)
ABV: 6.8%
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Light bready malt aroma, moderate sourness, low acidity, with some citrus esters and a light earthy/grassy/papery funk.

Hazy amber gold with a large nearly white head.

Moderate bready malt with a contrasting tart and acidic sourness. A touch of papery funk. Moderately low sweetness in comparison, but balanced. A mild bitterness, enhanced by a bit of pithy citrus.

Moderate body. a slight tea like astringency. No warmth. Moderate carbonation. Dry, Bitter, slight sour finish.

Delicious, if you like a bit of sour and funk. This beer won’t be for everyone, but it is in my wheelhouse. On the high side of funky for me, but otherwise a tasty and refreshing saison by a quality artisanal brewery.

Reverb by Boulevard Brewing Company

(Editor)
 (Average)
Location: United States » Missouri
ABV: 7.7%
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The search for a respectable Imperial Pilsner continues.  So far I have not been able to find this style with balance and without some kind of twist that kills the search for a bigger pilsner.

Nose gives a nice balance of grain malt and grassy hops.  The hops are certainly on the low side with a tilt towards the malt.  I also get a hint of funkiness from the yeast that gives some hope this could turn out to be what I have been craving from this style.

Palette provides a very nice balance of grain/bread malts with grassy hops.  The malt certainly is stronger but barely which provides a fabulous balance.  Instead of some funky spice – I get a perfect dry oakiness like it was aged in French Oak barrels. Very smooth and refreshing but also bigger so it does not taste watered down like most pilsners.

Yup – finally found the Imperial Pilsner that I was hunting for for a few years.  Fabulous finish with a perfect amount of carbonation providing a fresh and smooth finish.  ABV at 7.7% provides a bigger beer that provides the added complexity of craft beer but refreshing like a refreshing pilsner.  Cheers to Boulevard once again!  I only with that I could find this beer in one of my local beer stores (have to get out of state).

Gran Am by Bear Republic

(Editor)
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ABV: 6.0%
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Bready aromas yield to more substantial hop aromas. Piney, grassy hops, a bit of citrus, not much else.

Golden beer with a small white head, little retention. Poor clarity, lace.

Some bready malt but the bitterness kicks in right a way. Some grassy and herbal hop flavors, a hint of citrus. Out of balance bitter.

Moderate body and carbonation. Dry, Very bitter finish.

Not my favorite from bear republic. Out of balance.

Florida Cracker White Ale by Cigar City Brewing

(Editor)
 (Average)
Location: United States » Florida
ABV: 5%
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Moderate citrus esters (pithy orange) and white peppery phenols. Moderate crackery malt. No hop, just Hints of a dull (secondary) spice.

Hazy straw yellow with a huge bright white head. Lace, good retention.

Moderate crackery malt and malt sweetness. No hop flavor, mild pithy bitterness. Lower amounts of orange citrus and peppery spice. Pithy lemon/citrus finish with some underlying spice. Balanced.

Light/Moderate body. Light effervescence.

A refreshing beer, especially seaside in Florida, but personally I find a bit too much pith and spice to be sessionable. May make a good mimosa though.

Victor Ale by Allagash Brewing Co.

(Editor)
 (Average)
Brewery: Allagash
ABV: 9%
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This bottle of 2009 Victor has been cellared for 3.5 years at between 55-60 degrees.  Pours a brilliantly clear amber color with an off-white head.  The aroma has notes of grape must and spices.  Bready and some caramel malt notes as well.  As expected no hop presence.  A hint of plum is also present.

The flavor is has a full grape must with complementing bread malts.  Mild caramel malts are also noticeable.  Clove spice helps to cut through the grape/malt sweetness.  Some yeast is present.  No hop flavor.  The finish leaves your palate with a dry grape flavor.  Mouth feel is medium with medium carbonation.

A very good “lighter” Belgian Strong.  I’m very surprised how this beer aged for 3.5 years developing it’s malty/fruity flavors yet no hint of oxidation.  I’d strongly recommend this beer for anyone’s cellar.

Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale by Goose Island

(Editor)
 (Average)
Location: United States » Illinois
ABV: 12.1%
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Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale pours an opaque dark brown color with a tiny off white ring of foam as a head.  The aroma is almost all bourbon and oak.  Vanilla and caramel/toffee notes are found.  Dark fruit flavors such as raisins and dates add to the complexity of this beer.  I did notice some metallic notes throughout.

This Barleywine’s flavor profile is full of bourbon notes and dark fruits (raisins and dates).  There are some caramel malt notes and molasses and brown sugar notes.  I didn’t notice much on the hop side but the alcohol helps to offset the malt sweetness.  This beer finishes very sweet and the flavors of this beer linger well after the last sip.

Mouthfeel is full with with high warmth and medium creaminess.

Overall this is one of the more notable Barleywine’s I’ve had.  Only downsides of this beer would be it’s availability and the price ($10.00+).   Definitely a must try for any fan of the style.

 

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