Posts Tagged imperial
During our New Year’s trip to Ohio, we went to Yellow Springs Brewery. This super small industrial warehouse was off a side street you would have had to be looking for to find. A standard industrial building of painted white brick on the outside (with accompanying food truck), it had yellow and orange walls inside on one side with grey cinder block on the other. There was an art exhibition going on with the art on the walls, which left painfully little room to navigate. The tasting counter at the back had corrugated metal behind it. The brewing area was to the left behind a windowed wall with a door. Tasting tables were strewn throughout, seemingly haphazardly. There also appeared to be no real system to the line, with people backed up into the entrance to the place.
My first sample of Yellow Springs product was the Bloodsmoke Barrel Aged Imperial Red (11% abv). This tasty concoction poured deep red in color, with thin, sudsy head. It smelled malty and sweet, with a hint of dark fruit. The taste threw all the sweetness up front, with a load of malts and some fruitiness. Light-medium body and light carbonation did little to clear the sweetness, but it was still not overpowering. It finished slightly sticky sweet and malty, with a bit of fruit trailing. Despite the sugar load, I enjoyed this one.
Next, I got myself the Birkensocks Amber Saison (5.5% abv). This one poured cloudy red-orange, with sudsy white head. It smelled slightly sour, but that was about it. There was nothing else to distinguish the aroma. The taste was mild and tart, followed by some yeasty, bready flavor up front and a touch of fruit that could have been citrus. Light in both body and carbonation, this beer finished somewhat sticky and tart, with some fruitiness trailing.
3I finished the evening at the brewery with the Framework Stout Nitro (6.1% abv). This one poured black, with surprisingly thin brown head. It had very mild, bitter chocolate on the nose. The taste was just as mild. There was a chocolaty bitterness up front, with some roasted malts into the middle. It had medium-heavy body, light carbonation and finished very chocolaty and bitter. A bit too much chocolate for one beer.
The North Park neighborhood in San Diego is home to a ton of cool shops, eateries and breweries. One brewery that had a tasting room in North Park was Rip Current Brewing. Based a little less than an hour north in San Marcos, their tasting room was a small corner shop with roll up doors on either side of a very small entry door. A long tasting bar ran the length of the place with both low- and high-top tasting tables scattered at both ends. There was a kitchen with an order window at the back behind the tables. Unfinished wood behind and underneath the bar helped carry the beachy/driftwood theme of the place. The walls were covered with a beach mural, with a display case on one wall containing vintage beer cans. The counters facing out of the roll up doors to the street had cool neon blue accent lights underneath.
It being the Christmas season and I never being one to spoil an opportunity to get into it, I decided to try a flight of dark, roasty beers I thought would warm me up on a cool night. I ordered four and they came in a plastic surfboard-shaped holder. First up was the Palomar Chocolate Porter on Nitro (6% abv): This poured a deep, dark crimson-brown color with thick off white head. It smelled chocolaty and rich. The taste was mild at first, with some chocolate coming through. There was a tiny bit of smokiness that surprised me. It was light into the middle. Light-bodied and lightly carbonated, it finished smooth and light with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. Good, but a little underwhelming.
Next I tried the Barrier Reef Nut Brown (5% abv): It poured rich amber in color with barely any head, but what there was stuck to the glass. It smelled malty sweet, with a touch of barley and lots of roasted malt aromas. The taste was mild and malty. There was a little bit of bitterness, but the malts completely buried it. The middle was light-medium, with light carbonation. It finished light-medium with the same heavy dose of roasted malts.
Then came the Deep Crimson Imperial Rye Red (8.3% abv): This one poured bright amber-red in color with persistent white head. It smelled somewhat sour and bitter with only a little maltiness. The taste was malty and slightly sour at first. Light carbonation kicked in toward the middle, which was malty and bitter. Medium body lead to a light finish with the sourness returning.
Last, I tried the Delaminator Smoked Doppelbock (7.8% abv): It poured dark brown with tan head that left moderate lacing on the glass. It definitely smelled smoky, though not overpoweringly so. There were also malty, chocolate and molasses aromas. It tasted boozy, malty and a little sweet. Some of the malt flavor turned to roasted malt flavor toward the middle. Light in both carbonation and body, it finished sweet, warm and malty. Even though I don’t normally care for sweeter beers, this s just what I needed to end my night.
With San Diego Beer Week closing in on us next week, we have Halloween to keep us company this week. With this in mind, we celebrate the scariest beers we can find. San Diego Brewing Co. was more than happy to oblige with their Monster Mash 2015 (8.6% abv):
This “scary dark ale” (read: “imperial stout”) poured black, with thick foamy brown head. Dark fruit and raisin aromas dominated the smell, with some spice and brown sugar making it through. The taste was mild at first, then I tasted spicy dark fruit. It was little bitter going into the middle of the drink. Heavy-bodied with light carbonation, it was smooth to the finish, with more dark fruit flavors and a tartness I had not tasted before. Nice and dynamic for a stout.
Have a happy and safe Halloween!
In the same parking lot as Pacific Brewing, there is another small brewery called 2 Kids Brewing Co. This is a funky little place, with yellow and lime green on the walls, eclectic art on those walls, including a clock, which is unusual for a brewery to want you to know how long you have been drinking. Three patio tables are all that fits right in front of the tasting counter, which is manned by a very quirky, but nice bartender who was more than happy to talk about their beer with me. There are three brew tanks to the left and a walk-in freezer right behind the bar. That’s about it in this very utilitarian space. They have a delivery deal with the neighboring sushi place, same as Pacific Brewing.
Searching their board for my tasting selection for this visit, I settled on one made with my very favorite hop variety: Hulk Smash Single Hop IPA w/Chinook. They don’t mess around at this brewery: they pour imperial pints! For $5! Why am I yelling?! Unfiltered, this one poured cloudy and golden with sudsy head that slid down the glass. Mild and malty aromas combined with very light fruity hops to make me excited to taste it. The taste was just as mild as the aroma. Malty flavors came through first and some very light hoppiness followed. The middle was a little sour and bitter, but was nothing to take away from the great piney Chinook hop flavor. The finish was a little dry and only very slightly hoppy with some malts trailing. This was a great, dynamic beer.
In my continuing celebration of fall, I came across one from one of my favorite breweries. Coronado’s Punk’in Drublic Imperial Pumpkin Ale is just an ok example of this paragon of the fall season. I have had a number of regular pumpkin ales, but never the “imperial” kind. Turns out, this makes little difference to the actual taste, at least in this case.
Punk’in Drublic pours a pleasing dark red color with large bubbles in the carbonation and the quickly dissolving head that is characteristic of this kind of beer. The first thing I smelled was a sweetness. “Uh oh,” I thought. “This is the standard pumpkin pie ale I always seem to find, instead of one that actually tastes like pumpkin.” Luckily, I was wrong on that, though it did not necessarily make it a better beer.
It didn’t taste as sweet as the smell indicated it might be. It was very mild, with some bitterness up front. Then a little malty sweetness came through, moving back to the bitterness lasting through the finish. That was about it for the experience of this beer.
I just tried one of the Crown series from one of my favorite local breweries, Coronado Brewing Company. Red Devil, as you might guess from the name, is a red, but this one is “imperial”. Seeing this last word on any beer draws me to it immediately, but it got me wondering what I was actually buying. It turns out this is a throwback to the days when the English brewed beer for Russian royalty. It is basically an extra alcoholic, more hoppy version of whatever style to which it is tagged. This one is no exception.
It pours a pretty deep red with a somewhat soapy, off white head. It smells very hoppy, with hints of malty, earthy tones. The taste–oh the taste. It hit me pretty hard at the top with all of the hops, but mellowed down as I drank it. It had a pleasant maltiness and a slight floral taste, with a warm alcohol finish. At 8.8% abv, it is surprisingly easy drinking, though you will definitely feel the booze.
Definitely worth a try.