Monthly Archives: October 2013

Unibroue Éphémère Cassis

unibroue-ephemere-cassis

 

I’ve previously reviewed Unibroue’s Apple variant of Éphémère, but tonight’s bottle is brewed with Black Current juice, Coriander, and orange peel. The result is a fruity beer that’s delightfully unsweet. The frothy champaign-ish head gives it a fizzy, carbonated texture, and there’s not much of a nose. The middle is spicy and heavily current flavored, but there’s an unusual lack of sugar that pegs the profile of this beer solidly in the “spiced ale” camp. It’s a medium bodied ale, and quite dry. The finish rounds out with some notes of plum, but again, without sweetness. Éphémère Cassis is a very unusual and enchanting brew.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Great Divide Oatmeal Yeti

great-divide-oatmeal-yeti

Oatmeal Yeti is an Imperial Stout based on Great Divide’s Yeti Imperial Stout, but with the addition of rolled oats to soften the bite of the roasted malt and raisins to give it some rich, almost Belgian fruity notes. It pours nearly black, like heavily used motor oil, with a thick, dark, chocolatey brown head. The notes I get in the nose are chocolate and figs and a hint of coffee. The middle is rich, heavy, smooth and dusty with the flavors of the oats, raisins, a bit of cherry, and some oak. The finish has more oak, some coffee, and sweet chocolate syrup. This is a big, heavy beer, that could honestly be mistaken for a meal. The alcohol content is fairly high too, at 9.5% ABV. I’ve reviewed a lot of good beer lately, and this is no exception. I love big oatmeal stouts and this is an outstanding example.

I give it a 4.7 out of 5.

NoDa Hop Drop ‘n Roll

noda-hop-drop-n-roll

 

Hop Drop ‘n Roll is an American IPA from the NoDa Brewing Company, right here in Charlotte, North Carolina. Hop Drop ‘n Roll is actually the beer that got NoDa started, way back in 2011. (I believe, anyway. I couldn’t find a definitive date.) The nose is remarkably heavy with pine. It’s strong enough to bring up scent memories of my childhood in the evergreen forests of the Pacific Northwest. The body is remarkably heavy for a non-Imperial style, and it offers massive flavor, leading with more pine and orange. As you move towards the finish, the texture changes to butter and the first sweet notes come into play with some sugary citrus. There’s a tiny hint of alcohol right at the end, which befits this 7.2% ABV brew. This is definitely a hop-forward concoction, and a masterful one at that. This is a fantastic example of an IPA.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

Dogfish Head 75 Minute IPA

dogfish-head-75-minute-ipa

75 Minute IPA is an occasionally brewed mixture of Dogfish Head’s famous 60 Minute and 90 Minute IPAs, with some maple syrup thrown in for uniqueness, and bottle conditioned. The head is creamy and hangs around for quite a long time. The nose is deliciously Dogfish Head IPA, with notes of pine and orange. The middle is silky smooth on the tongue and very well balanced between a piney hop bite and the sugary sweet maple syrup. The finish is smooth and mellow, with orange the predominant flavor. This is a really outstanding beer that will likely appeal to both IPA fans, and to those who don’t appreciate the bitterness of a standard IPA. Really, really nice.

I give it a 4.7 out of 5.

Victory Red Thunder

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Red Thunder is the result of aging Victory Brewing Company’s Baltic Porter, called Baltic Thunder in once-used wine barrels. What you end up with is fine, mature, boozy porter with more refinement than you’d get from aging in whiskey barrels. The nose is super malty and sweet, with notes of chocolate. The middle has cocoa, plums, and figs, and the finish has some grape notes and a bit of smooth alcohol befitting an 8.5% ABV beer aged in wine barrels. The body is quite heavy, and there’s a nice dryness to the finish. This is a wonderful porter, and should hit right in the wheelhouse for fans of barleywines and big malty stouts.

I give it a 4.6 out of 5.

Southern Tier 2xRye

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2xRye by New York’s Southern Tier Brewing Company is an autumn seasonal Double Rye India Pale Ale. Decoded, that’s an Imperial IPA made with rye. Now, I love IPAs, and I love Imperial IPAs, and I love rye-based ales, so this was bound to appeal, and it doesn’t disappoint. The nose is citrusy and floral. It has a medium to heavy body that is thick on the tongue. The middle is bursting with orange and pine. The rye becomes clearly evident in the finish, along with lemon and huge amounts of pine. This is a relatively big beer at 8.1% ABV, but there’s really not any booziness to speak of. It’s just a big, rich, flavorful Double IPA with loads of rye. Very, very good, this one.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

New Holland Oak Aged Hatter

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Oak Aged Hatter, one on New Holland Brewing’s Mad Hatter series is Mad Hatter IPA aged in Kentucky oak. It’s a medium bodied, medium alcohol level (7.12% ABV for the 2013 offering) brew, so it probably isn’t going to stand up to cellaring like a bigger aged beer would. That said, you still get a lot of flavor from the oak here. There isn’t much of a head or carbonation to speak of. The nose has molasses and licorice. The middle is woody, with more licorice, orange, and parsley. The finish is just a bit boozy with the signature vanilla flavor of fading oak and a bit more orange. There’s a lot going on here, but even so, it seems like it isn’t quite well rounded. It just comes of…A bit flat. There’s really nothing not to like here, but to me it’s a good beer, not a great one.

I give it a 4 out of 5.