Posts Tagged cask

It Was an OK Day At Sea

I recently found occasion to go back to Ballast Point to sample more of their ever-expanding list of experimental beers. As usual, they did not disappoint. Starting with the always good Sculpin on nitro (7% abv), this beer poured golden in color, with thick creamy white head. I detected sour and mild malty aromas with only some hoppiness. The taste was mild and light. Hoppy and creamy up front, it was light in body and carbonation, mostly due to the nitro. It finished smooth with some sourness and hoppiness. Not a lot going on with this beer, but a good everyday drinker.

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A little out of order, next up was Homework #5 Hoppy Belgian Ale (5.2% abv). This one poured rich golden-yellow as well, but with only a thin layer of white head. Sour smell at the front and somewhat sweet aromas at the back. It tasted malty sweet at first, then smooth into the middle. With light-medium body, it finished hoppy and mild. An adequate beer, but nothing really to hold my interest for very long.

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Ballast Flight

Then I tried the Sea Turtle Saison (abv not available, as they were too quick with the eraser after they ran out) made with green tea and mint: It poured a pale opaque golden color, with loose white head that did not stick around long. It smelled sour and tart, with some fruit aromas coming around the end. It tasted sour and effervescent up front, with a touch of hoppiness. The middle was light and smooth, finishing equally as light and smooth. There was not nearly the amount of dynamic, if delicate, flavor profile I expected from this one. Sure, I could blame it on the two prior tasters, but I thought this one was a little lacking. Points for effort, however.

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Lastly, I tried the one I was most afraid would taste like fruit juice, but had to try because it was from a cask: Tart Wahoo with hibiscus and lime (7% abv): It poured the color of cranberry juice, with lots of fizzy bright white head. Tart berry aromas dominated the smell, as expected. It tasted super tart from the start. With virtually no carbonation, despite the copious fizz on the pour, it was light. There was no real discernible taste through the middle of the drink, but finished a little sweet and tart. This was probably not one I would get again and, from the full glasses of folks around me who had already been there a while, I was not alone in this assessment.

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British “Flavor”

New English BrewingNew English Brewing is a VERY small brewery in the Mira Mesa/Sorrento Valley area. Their operation is pretty typical of breweries around here: just a stall in an industrial office park, with a rollup door in front that gives the impression of a self-storage warehouse. There was a British flag on the wall, with the tasting counter straight ahead and the fridge/storeroom behind it. Three tables are all that fit in the very small amount of floor space available.

What they lacked in space, New English made up for in beer selection. They had a lot of different beers to choose from. Not wanting to miss out, I decided to make myself a flight: two casks, a brown and a tripel.

I started with the casked Pure & Simple IPA. It poured a rich golden color, with foamy head that stuck to the sides of the glass. It smelled mild, with slight fruity and flowery aromas. Medium mouthfeel and light in carbonation were the first impressions I got on the taste. The middle was malty with some fruity hops and it finished somewhat dry with mild hops trailing.

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Next I sampled another cask offering: Humbly Legit IPA. This one poured a light golden with creamy, sticky white head. Aromas were floral and grassy; reminded me of springtime. The taste was equally as creamy as the pour led me to believe it would be. No identifiable flavors came through at first, though. Mild malty flavors lasted through the middle of the drink. Virtually no carbonation and medium-light mouthfeel, the maltiness faded to mild and dry sensations, with only a faint flowery hop flavor trailing. Not very strong on flavor on this one.

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Flight

After that, I moved to the Brewers Special Brown. It poured dark amber, with small, loose off white head. It smelled carmelly sweet from a heavy dose of malts. The taste followed right up with sweet carmel and malty sweetness, though more mildly than the aromas led me to believe. There was also a very slight taste of dark fruit underneath all the maltiness. Medium mouthfeel and light in carbonation, it finished very malty sweet and carmelly. Despite all the sweetness, I liked this beer.

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Finally, I made my way to the Troopers Tripple (not tripel as I originally thought.) This session IPA poured very pale yellow with fizzy white head that did not stick around long. It smelled hoppy and grassy, with some light fruit aromas. A strong dose of flowers met my tongue on the taste. I noted the medium mouthfeel and light carbonation next, followed by a malty middle, finishing with more floral flavors, with some fruitiness. It also left my mouth a little dry.

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So, not an overwhelmingly tasty collection of beers greeted me on this visit, but overall I enjoyed this brewery brought.

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Rough Draft

IMG_1985There is a local brewery right down the street from my work called Rough Draft Brewing Company. They don’t seem to distribute very widely, but I only started going to their brewery/tasting room a couple of months ago, so their brews very could well be in your neck of the woods.

IMG_1984As you can see, it’s just a pretty nondescript industrial office space. That is mostly the norm, though, for small brewery startups. Inside, however, is where the magic happens.

IMG_1986They display all of their wares in the lobby for visitors’ perusal. Directly behind where the picture to the right was taken is a hallway leading to a couple private party/meeting rooms and the warehouse where they store all the goodies that go into their beers.

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Their tasting room is really well laid out: all the beer making going on right in front of the tasting counter area, with stools and comfortable couches. It’s a cool thing to be able to sit among the making of what you’re drinking. It makes me appreciate the work that went into it just that much more. After all, that’s what craft beer is all about: making and sharing this stuff we all love so much.

The beer selection is pretty good, considering the apparent size of the operation. They usually have about 10 beers on draft, ranging from a blond to a stout and the ever-present IPA. The draft board always includes at least one nitro selection, as well. For this event, they included two others: their second anniversary special called 2nd Draft Manhattan and a casked IPA called Group Project. 

 

First up, I tried the 2nd Draft Manhattan. This one was a strong ale, clocking in at 9.3% abv. It poured a rich caramel brown color, with fine, slightly off white head. It smelled slightly sweet, though that could have been from the cherry they included with it. It also gave sour and grainy scents. The first sip brought all the alcohol this beer had to bear. It mellowed a bit after to the bourbon flavor you would expect in a Manhattan mixed drink. That was followed by a bitterness I did not expect, thought that could have been the masking effect of the alcohol content. It finished bitter with the lingering bourbon booziness leaving a warmth at the back of my throat.

I would rate this beer:

4

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I am a sucker for anything served in a cask, so next I went for their other special brew: Cask Group Project IPA. This one is made with three kinds of hops: Amarillo, Cascade and Citra. Now, I have to admit ignorance when it comes to hops, considering my previous aversion to beers made with a bunch of them, but I couldn’t help myself. This one poured a deep cloudy golden. It actually reminded me of a wheat beer. It had fine off white head that coated the glass evenly.IMG_1991Putting my sniffer to the glass about knocked me over due to the copious hop content of this beer. After that subsided, it actually smelled pretty mild and only slightly floral. Tasting it, I was surprised at the slight sourness. Then all the hops slowly drifted back along my palate to the back, finishing with a hoppy kick. The aftertaste was a bit bitter with some interesting floral flavors.

All in all, not a bad beer. I was impressed by how they were able to pack so many hops into this beer without absolutely knocking out my taste buds.

I would rate this beer:

4

 

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It’s BeerBQ Time!

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About once per month K ‘n B Wine Cellars has an event cleverly referred to as a BeerBQ. These are relatively small, intimate events, if for no other reason than the place itself is not large, at which they feature either brews from a local brewery, or beer that KnB itself makes from time to time. They always have great food, hence the barbecue part in the name, and it is always a good time.

Last weekend featured Hess Brewing. I had never heard of Hess before and I am always looking for new stuff to try. Lucky for me I was able to catch this one, as the beer I had was fantastic. Searching through the list of selections, I was nigh impressed by all the IPA and citrus flavored brews on offer (though I wasn’t completely turned off to the orange wit, but another time perhaps). My eyes landed on one and refused to look any further: Ex Umbris Imperial Oatmeal Stout in a cask. I am a big fan of oatmeal stout, due in part to its usual light creaminess that doesn’t fill me up like a normal stouts. I’ll have to look into why this is, as it seems very counterintuitive to have a beer made with oats be less filling than one without.

This beauty came as a dark chocolaty brown jewel in glass. Though not much head remained, what little was there was a somewhat thin dark tan foam. From other pictures I have seen, the head should have resembled that of a root beer float. No matter- I chalked it up to our server being busy and the beer likely sat for a bit before arriving to the table. I picked up definite coffee flavors in the smell, with some malty chocolate. The taste, per usual, was much as it smelled. I was hit first with intense coffee flavors, with the slightly bitter chocolate toward the middle. The finish was very malty, while both the chocolate and coffee flavors lingered.

A very tasty and easy-drinking beer, I could easily sip on this one, or multiples of them.

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