Posts Tagged malty

A Tradition of Moderate Excellence

Legacy PanoAt a strip mall pretty typical of the Mira Mesa area of San Diego county, you will find a storefront. “No way! Seriously??” I hear you asking incredulously. Yes, it’s true. This storefront in particular, however, houses what appears to be a small pizza shop that was converted into a tap room. Legacy Brewing, based in Oceanside, is a brewery founded on the old-fashioned approach to brewing: make good beer. The tasting room is not much to look at: just a storefront among many other storefronts. Inside, the floor is made up of large, dirty-looking floor tile and a fancy wooden tasting bar, fronted by padded wooden bar stools. Half of the wall is made of brick, lending an old-world feel to at least that part of the motif. There is a large branded mirror at the back of the place, with long tasting tables and short small top tables strewn about. There is a patio in the back that overlooks the neighboring mall tenants, with a strange putting green behind a black iron fence.

Oak Aged Scotch AleConsidering their focus on making good beer, I dove right in. I started with the Oak Aged Scotch Ale (8% abv): This beer poured dark brown, with thin white head. It smelled very malty, toasty and boozy. There was a bit of a sugary sweetness and a little spiciness, as well. It tasted malty sweet, with a boozy kick. The alcohol dominates a bit into the middle, though I still got a touch of sourness. Medium-heavy in body and medium carbonation do little to break up the malty booziness, but I still detected the same sourness as before. Were it not for the sour/tartness, this would have been too heavy on the alcohol. As it was, I appreciated how dynamic it was.

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Next up, I went for the Chesty Red (5.5% abv): This one poured dark amber in color, withChesty Red tiny bubbles and thin white head. It smelled malty, sour and slightly sweet. The taste was mostly malty, with some sourness and still only a little sweet. A touch of hops toward the middle helped differentiate it from its predecessor (the scotch ale from before). With medium body and light carbonation, there was not much to detract from the heavy malty sweetness. It finished exactly as it began. A bit too much, without much else to distinguish it.

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The tasting room is pretty basic, but all you need in a tasting room outside the brewery.

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Oktoberfest ist Vorbei

Helix Brewing sign

Oktoberfest may have officially ended October 4, but the folks at new start-up brewery Helix Brewing Co. in the eastern part of San Diego sure know how to keep the party going. I missed most of the festivities they held earlier, like a traditional stein-holding competition, but staff and guests alike were all still in a festive mood. There were Bavarian flag pennants hanging from the ceiling and wall outside, bartenders in Lederhosen and official Hofbrauhaus steins on the bar inside.Helix Brew Collage

Entering through the patio, the outside gave me the impression of walking into a warehouse or fish cannery. A corrugated metal roof and support beams wrapped in rope greeted me on my way in the door. There was a tree in a planter right in the middle of the patio, with party lights strung throughout that alleviated this somewhat. Inside, there was brick to the left and unfinished wood to the right on the walls. A concrete bar sat in front of the brewing area to the right with four small tasting tables in front of that. A large TV and chalkboard also hung on one wall.

Helix Red n ActiveWith no Oktoberfest beers on tap (??), I opted for the Red ‘N’ Actvie Hoppy Red Ale (5.2%). This beer poured bright amber, with thin white head that dissipated quickly. It smelled somewhat malty, with far less hoppiness than the name of the beer implied and a slightly fruity aroma. The taste, however, was hoppy up front. This continued into the middle, where some maltiness worked its way through. Medium-bodied with light carbonation, the maltiness continued to a finish that saw the hoppiness return. Unfortunately, there was no real dynamic flavor profile to this one. I wish I could have had an Oktoberfest…

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Oktoberfest Prost

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Glückliches Oktoberfest! Prost!

Oktoberfest server girl

“Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Girl” by Markburger83 at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hacker-Pschorr_Oktoberfest_Girl.jpg#/media/File:Hacker-Pschorr_Oktoberfest_Girl.jpg

Oktoberfest is upon us! This celebration of beer and everything Bavarian is yet one more excuse to partake in that most magical of malted beverages. Originally, the event had more serious purpose, but today we can enjoy it in a way that allows for the beer to flow without all of those formal overtones.

Hanger 2 OktoberfestI decided to stop by KnB once again, this time trying a Hanger 24 Oktoberfest (5.8%). It poured amber in color with medium-sized bubbles and sudsy white head. Malty and harvesty (yeah, I said it) aromas were about all that characterized the smell. The taste was mild and smooth. Some sweetness from the malts came through and a little bitterness toward the middle. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated, it finished with strong malty flavor and some of the same bitterness. Even though Oktoberfest beers aren’t known for being dynamic, the lack of distinction in this one was only mildly satisfying.

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Whatever Blows Your Skirt Up

Moylan's Kilt LifterBut don’t call it to a skirt! I received this beer as a gift from a friend who said it was really good. Any beer that sports a Scottish tartan and whose name includes the word ‘kilt’ definitely piques my interest.

This scotch-style ale poured cloudy red with tiny bubbles and thin, but surprisingly creamy off white head. It smelled slightly sour, with rich malty notes underneath and a hint of dark fruit. I tasted fruit up front, something like plum, though I could not place it, with some sourness and lots of malty sweetness. Medium bodied, it had a pleasing amount of carbonation. The finish was fairly heavy on the malts, with a little sourness.

Moylan's Kilt Lifter top

Over all, a little too heavy for me to drink this one often:

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Little Abita Mardi Gras

AbitaMardiGrasBock_fullHappy Mardi Gras! Today I have for you a celebratory libation from the good folks at Abita Brewing Company called Mardi Gras Bock. This was an interesting lager with some flavors I would not expect to find in a bock, which usually emphasizes just the malt and caramel flavors.

It poured a slightly hazy golden amber, with characteristic thick-looking head that dissipated quickly. There was a light smell of malts and some caramel at first, but then some very faint sweet fruit aroma, possibly of melon, that really surprised me. The taste was hard to describe at first with a medium mouthfeel, AbitaMardiGrasBock_toplots of carbonation and some roasted malt flavor. This was followed by the sweetness of the malts. Some bitterness came through next to break up all the malt, finishing with the malty sweetness lingering afterward.

Despite what may seem like an overabundance of malts, this was an interesting beer:

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Age of the Fist

IMG_1754I have had it on the back burner to write this one for a while now, but could never quite find the words. I still may not, but I’m going to give it the old college try. Iron Fist Brewing Co. is up in Vista, which is in Northern San Diego County, or so-called North County around here. I have never had any other beer from this brewery, but after trying this one, I’m not sure I need to. This lovely concoction is a smooth, not-too-light, but not-quite-heavy Belgian style golden ale that comes bottled in a capped 750ml champagne-style bottle. This is necessary (I assume) to contain all the malty deliciousness inside.

It pours a rich dark orange color, with bright white foamy head that really sticks around and lays like a light blanket on top for a good while. The smell is mostly that of the heavy sweet malts and very little hoppiness. The first thing to hit me in the taste is the sweetness coming from all the malts packed into this beer, which apparently is unusual for a Belgian strong ale. Generally, these beers are higher on the abv, with this one clocking in at 9.5%, and have a more hoppy profile than this one does. While I would consider 9.5%abv a pretty hefty alcohol content, it is anything but overpowering. In fact, I think it works well with all the malts to bring a warmth that I usually find with the holiday ales or wine. The lack of hoppiness isn’t a problem either, as long as you don’t expect a lot of them to come through. The finish is pretty much just that warmth from both the booze and malts, with the slightest hint of the sweetness.

While it is unfortunate that this beer is hard to find, at least for me, I completely understand and recommend snapping this one up when you find it.

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You’ve Got To Try This

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I thought about putting this one under The Journey, since I consider it part of my discovery of all the different brews out there, but I suppose it matters not. Anyway, I had the most wonderful concoction brewed by Samuel Adams that I have had (so far) the other day and just had to see if anyone out there had ever tried it before: Sam Adams Stony Brook Red. This one is from their “Barrel Room Collection.” This was the first I had heard of it, but always willing to try something new, I picked up a bottle from BevMo. At $9 a bottle, this one isn’t one I’d buy everyday, but still not too pricey.

It pours a surprisingly bright red color, with a little orange streaking through, with a kind of light tan head that dissipates rather quickly. It smells quite malty with a definite sourness to it. This being in a big fancy bottle from a specific “collection,” I expected this to be super rich and sweet, not unlike many other breweries’ anniversary collections. My expectations couldn’t have been further from the truth. This beer tastes much like it smells: super malty, but still refreshing, likely due to the sourness that permeates the entire experience without overpowering it. There is a slight fruitiness to it, without actually being sweet, which was a pleasant surprise. The finish is also very malty, without being heavy and the sourness lingers well after the beer is gone.   IMG_1534

All in all, I highly recommend this beer and I will be on the lookout for more from this great American brewery (Utopias, anyone?)

Cheers!

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