Posts Tagged mosaic

Ghost of Hops Past

Rhinegeist MosaicFinishing up in Ohio, I wound up trying a brew from Rhinegeist, a Cincinnati brewery running out of a far older brewery that shuttered during Prohibition. The Mosaic Pale Ale (5.6% abv) was a great introduction to a brewery I had never tried before. It poured opaque golden, with thick sudsy off white head. The smell was super hoppy, with lots of floral and citrusy fruit aromas. The first taste was all hops, with the same floral notes as the aroma. A touch of malt came on into the middle. Light body and light carbonation lead to a somewhat malty finish, with more of the floral hoppiness trailing. This was a very smooth pale.

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Spring is in the Air!

St Archer-backlit

With the first day of Spring upon us, I thought it would be nice to take a break and go to a stalwart of the sunny San Diego beer scene. Even though Saint Archer Brewing Co. has not been on the beer scene very long. founded in 2013, it was recently acquired by MillerCoors. Despite the backlash against this transaction, for my money, they make pretty good beer. I have never been one to drink (or avoid drinking) on principle, so perhaps that makes me less than credible to some, but I am still willing to give them my business until they or their beer gives me a reason not to.

Saint Archer FlightThis particular visit started with the Mosaic IIPA (9% abv): This beer poured clear, pale yellow with minimal white head. It smelled sour and fruity. The taste was hoppy right away, with some fruitiness and a little malt flavor. Light-medium body and lightly carbonated, it finished hoppy and somewhat sour. I love mosaic beers, but this one was nothing particularly special.

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Next was the Scottish-Style Ale on nitro (7% abv): The Scottish Ale poured deep amber with super thick, creamy white head. It smelled somewhat sour and malty, with a touch of fruitiness. The beer tasted hoppy and fruity, with a somewhat malty backbone underneath. Medium in body and light carbonation, it finished fairly clean, with a nice smooth malt profile.

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I finished up with another nitro selection in their Irish Stout (4.2% abv): This last one poured black, with thick creamy white head that settled down to a loose foamy layer on top. It smelled mostly of bittersweet chocolate and roasted malts. The taste was light and mild, with lots of chocolate. Medium-bodied and lightly carbonated, it finished equally mild, with just the chocolate bitterness trailing.

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Gettin’ Cultured

Culture signIn the San Diego community of Ocean Beach, there is a bunch of shops down one of the main drags in town. In one of these samey-looking storefronts, I went to a great craft brewery and tasting room called Culture Brewing Company. It had a very strong beach vibe, with lots of driftwood on the façade and sandy concrete- perfect for sandy people just coming from the beach two blocks away. Inside, it was somewhat artistic, with carefully crafted barrels for cocktail tables, kegs and furniture made from barrel staves. Culture collage

Bathroom hallwayThe front of the brewery was large and open, with a roll up glass door and a tasting counter looking out to the sidewalk and street beyond. Local photography adorned the righthand wall, while a good-sized tasting bar sat to the left. The brewing area straight at the back of the room had large viewing windows to allow guests to join in (visually) with their craft. To the left of the brewing area was a long, creepy-looking hallway that led to the bathrooms. The whole place had a nice open floor plan, but no air conditioning.

The ambiance immediately got me excited for the beer. First, I tried the Mosaic IPA (6.6% abv). This poured an opaque golden color with tiny bubbles and foamy white head. It smelled slightly hoppy and fruity, but I detected no other aromas. The taste was light, fresh, and fruit-forward with a malty backbone. Light carbonation and body helped keep things Culture Mosaic IPArefreshing, with some hops toward the middle. It finished with some sweet maltiness trailing, but none of the hops or fruit from before. I had hoped for more from this one, but a good everyday beer:

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Next up, I saw they were running a fundraiser for one of their brewers who was very sick and the proceeds from one of their beers went to help him with treatment. Lager-ita (abv not available) poured opaque pale yellow with soapy white head. Aromas were sour and skunky, much like the cerveza Mexibeer style, which the bartender told me this drink resembled. The taste was light and refreshing, despite the aromas. It helped that I already knew what I was getting into with the cerveza style (always ask before tasting, kids!). Some hoppiness, but mostly sour, cerveza-Lager-itaesque flavors dominated through the middle. It was light-bodied with light carbonation and finished just as light, with the same sour/skunky flavors from earlier in the drink. I considered this a typical cerveza, but it was refreshing.

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Despite the average beers, I very much enjoyed this brewery: great atmosphere inside and out. The staff was very helpful, the art exhibited in the photographs on the wall and the seats under our butts definitely gave this place a lot of character. I will definitely be back.

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Spring is in the air…and my glass!

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I will admit that I don’t drink Karl Straus beer much, as it tends to be a bit pricey and many times I am unable to find anything but IPAs (though this second reason is not unique to Karl), but when I heard about the special at Karl Strauss for a $10 growler that included a fill… well, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Plus, I recently discovered that mosaic hops in a beer make for a great flavor profile.

This one comes from Karl’s Coastal Reserve series, which currently includes three others: Big Barrel Double IPA, Blackball Belgian IPA, and Boardwalk Black Rye. The one I tried was the Mosaic Session Ale. Session ales are essentially lower alcohol beers (no higher than 5%) that define themselves by their drinkability and allow the consumer to have multiple of them without putting them on the floor or knocking out their taste buds.

Much like its counterpart at Ninkasi, this one pours a clean, golden color with not much head. The aroma is grassy and a bit flowery, with some tart fruit like grapefruit, that can’t help but make me think of springtime. The taste quickly shows off the grassiness that shortly after it gives way to strong tart grapefruit flavors. At first I was reminded of a really hoppy IPA, but there was none of the hoppy bite, so it went down easily. The finish leaves mostly tart, slightly sour grapefruit. The only downside to this beer is a slightly sticky, sugary cotton mouth feeling; not tremendously off-putting, but just a little unexpected from so mild a beer.

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   I’m giving this beer a:

        4

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Arts and Craft Beer

IMG_1930 Sort of like a Wheel of Fortune puzzle category, no?

Even though it’s only available between January and April, I was able to get my hands on this lovely concoction. Another from Ninkasi, Mosaic is an ale made with a single type of hop. In this case, that happens to be the mosaic hop. Primarily used for aroma, this little goody is said to impart “a complex array of tropical fruit, citrus, berry, herbal, earthy and pine characteristics.” (www.hopunion.com, 2014). But we’ll get to the smelly bit later. First, the pour.

As you can see, it pours the deep clear golden color of a pale ale, with bright white, loose foam at the top. Not much activity in the way of carbonation in this one. The aromas coming from this beer were a bit fruity and there was a hint of pine. I also detected a bit of fresh-cut grass in there, as well. I entered into the tasting with a bit of trepidation. Anyone who has read this blog knows hops and I are rarely on good terms. I must say, though, that I am becoming better able to stomach the good old fashioned IPA a bit more than I used to, so the tide may be turning for me.

IMG_1931On the first sip, I caught the fruit flavors coming through– mostly grapefruit, some orange-like flavors, and maybe a little lemon for good measure. Then came the herbal pine taste. This was not unpleasant and a little surprising. It is always good to keep things interesting. The smooth maltiness this beer offers helped tone that down to a pleasant mildness that followed. That same pine taste did creep through in the aftertaste, though it faded a bit to a pretty mellow finish.

I was pleasantly surprised by this and was left with an overall warm feeling from this beer.

I would rate this beer:

                       4

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