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Monday, October 13, 2014

Feminist (Monkish Brewing)

I liked Monkish's Rosa's Hips Belgian-style dubbel so much that I ordered a pour of their Feminist Belgian-style tripel at the next pub we visited.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This brew was orange-colored with a pink tint. It had a white ring of bubbles for head. I have no idea why, and this doesn't track to the taste, but it smelled like ginger spice to me.

Taste: The hibiscus was the upfront flavor. Tangy and delicious. It had a slight orange pithy bitterness to it. It was like a floral tea. It wasn't too sweet at all. It was really smooth. The light flavor hid the 9.4% ABV well.

Rosa's Hips (Monkish Brewing)

After finishing up a delcious and filling meal at Simmzy's Pub, I ordered this light and refreshing Belgian-style Dubbel. This was the first brew I'd had from Monkish Brewing and I enjoyed it quite a bit. They are a small brew operation out of Los Angeles. I have to add a visit to their tap room to my list for the next time we're out there.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This orange-tinted brew had a white ring of tiny bubbles for head. It smelled bitter, pithy.

Taste: It was sweet and floral with a grapefruit flavor. It was refreshing and light, while satisfying my taste buds with a complexity and balance I find in some of my favorite brews.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Winter Wookey (Firestone Walker)

With the weather cooling down, I figured it called for a good warmer. I had this Proprietor's Vintage Series strong ale at Simmzy's Pub in Manhattan Beach this past spring. While definitely not a springtime brew, it hit the spot for a long travel day. (Not that beer should be constrained to seasons.)

Firestone Walker never disappoints, and I couldn't turn this brew down. I'd had Wookey Jack before, and this definitely took it to a new level.

Keep your eyes out for this blended strong ale this cold-weather season. It may make an appearance at a pub near you.

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This brown brew had a white head that settled into a ring of tiny bubbles. It left a slick on the top. It smelled very sweet, earthy, and boozy.

Taste: It was sweet with a perfect bitter balance. It was a touch spicy. It had a richness it could only get from that sugary malt. It was heavy. It was delicious. My mouth is actually watering writing this post, six months after the encounter.

From the Firestone Walker site:
Our newest blended strong ale, Winter Wookey, comes just in time for the California winter this year. A blend of Wookey Jack and un-oaked Double DBA, Winter Wookey brings dark chocolate covered dried cherry, candied apple, orange zest and toffee flavors together in a complex, warming blend. Deceivingly drinkable for its size, Winter Wookey balances a big, malty body with a complementary spectrum of hop aroma and bitterness.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Four Fathers Festival Follow Up

Four Fathers
1555 W Lincolnway | Valparaiso, IN

I had a couple of Four Father's brews at the 2013 Porter's Perfect Pint that were quite notable. In a sea of beer, I actually went back for seconds. When I found out they were opening a spot in the old Figure Eight taproom I was excited to try it.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Chocolaty Brew Line Up

With dark chocolate almond brownies waiting for me, I decided to scour my backlog for chocolaty brew notes. I was surprised to find a few over the past months.

I'm starting out first with a completely not beer beer. I have a friend that gives me her crazy leftovers. It's like when someone says something smells gross and you take a whiff. It's always an adventure. From contaminated pumpkin ales to not-so-typical nutty pecan brews, I never know what I'm going to taste.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Fall is Upon Us: Squash, Cranberries, & Stews

It's October, and I'm finally ready to admit that fall is upon us. Those advertisers pushing the "final days of summer" had me shaking my fist in the air. Now that autumn is undeniably here, I'll embrace this, my favorite season.

It's time for festivals. Arts and crafts. Warm stews outside. Cider and hayrides. Orchard visits and fireside nights. The days are slowly getting shorter, and it's time to get ready to hibernate. I will say I'm less in the mood for fall days, leaf raking, and wardrobe turnover after such a brutal winter and mild summer. But I'm getting ready for pumpkin pie, cranberry chutneys, and beef stews.

It's ALIVE! (Mikkeller)

Ok, so I have quite a few unique brews to write about. We'll call this brew week or some such thing. Let's say it's in honor of the GABF. We stopped at Valparaiso's Old World Market a few weeks ago to look around. While we were still stocked up on cheese from a trip to Wisconsin, we still had room for sun-dried tomatoes, prosciutto (straight off the leg), and wine. We tried to avoid the beer corner, but it was hard to avert our gaze. They expanded their beer selection quite a bit since the new owners took over a few years ago. I didn't pick up the pumpkin beers. I left a grappa barrel-aged brew on the shelf. But when I saw the rhubarb release of Mikkeller's It's Alive, I couldn't help myself.

Rhubarb (left), Lychee (right)
Mikkeller puts out their Wild Belgian ale infused with fruits and veg that take it up to a new level. I had a small bottle of the lychee release in my basement. Between the lychee and the rhubarb, it was time for an It's Alive! night.

Look and Smell: This straw-colored ale had a pinkish hue. It smelled slightly sour, but not overpowering. It had a bubbly, white head that left a layer on the top as I drank it.

Taste: It was incredibly effervescent. It had a delicate tartness to it. A sweet tartness lingers. It still has the earthy qualities of the rhubarb. It was a good mix of flavors. The tart from both the yeast and the rhubarb added a complexity of flavors.

Look and Smell: This dark gold-brown brew had a frothy and bubbly off-white head. It smelled like fresh lychee, no mistaking it. It had a musky aroma.

Taste: They lychee flavors were showcased. It was tropical, balanced with an oak flavor. It was musky with a rich grain taste. It was floral and fruity. It was a wonderful combination of flavors.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Posca Rustica (Dupont)

I've stopped keeping beer notes on every brew that touches these lips. That said, some are always worth noting. I had this brew this past spring. I was headed out to the Uptown/Andersonville area for the Koval Distillery tour. Being that close to Hopleaf, I had to stop in for lunch and some delicious brews. I had the wonderful and delicious √225 Saison Zymatore (Brasserie des Franches Montagnes).

Mr. K ordered this wonderful herbal, spiced Belgian ale by Brasserie Dupont. I normally don't write about other people's brews, but this was worth getting a post out about. I have a bottle chilling of it chilling in my fridge as I write this, ready to go with my homemade pizza. I think it will go well with the sweet homemade goat milk mozzarella and heirloom tomato sauce. (My foodie is showing.)

General Thoughts
Look and Smell: This honey-colored brew had a frothy, white head that settled to a thin ring that lingered. It left thick lacing on the glass. It smelled like lemon with a grassy, herbal fragrance.

Taste: It had an herbal, honey taste to it. Not like a ricola though! It was mellow. It was like a wild-flower honey. It was delicate, but flavorful. It's a great year-round brew. It's light and citrus enough for the summer months, but the herbal quality makes it a good brew to welcome autumn.

From the bottle....those wacky brewers:
The year is 63 A.D., at a Roman encampment near the present-day Belgian town of Bilcqy. Nervium Flavius, a Roman soldier recently posted to Gaul, is thirsty. He approaches Eburane, the young woman in the encampment's popina. He demands his posca, fully expecting to get the sour wine drink loved by all legionnaires. Eburane says she has no posca, but—exhibiting the Belgic knack for adapting to foreigners and their tastes—quickly adds she has Posca Rustica, a local-brewed version. 

Too thirsty to argue, Flavius gruffly quaffs the strange, blond, frothy drink. It's not sour, but herbal and wonderfully spiced. It is the Cervesia of the local tribes, the Eburani, Nervii, and Ambiani. Instead of complaining, Flavius gladly finished the delicious ale. The beer becomes the favorite among all the legionnaires. To this day, you can hear their joy every time a Belgian toasts my saying "Proost!" It comes from the Roman soldiers' shortened cry, "Prustica!" for their cherished drink of Gallo-Belgica, Posca Rustica!