Posts Tagged quad

Chuck Alek and the Super Flights!

Chuck Alek Interior PanoHappy New Year everybody! I hope you all had a safe and happy celebration. I celebrated with my very first mobile post and a trip to the desert east of San Diego. In the town of Ramona, there was a small strip mall with a brewery called Chuck Alek Independent Brewers. The door lead right to the tasting bar up front. There was not much fanfare at the tasting bar, except for some barrels in front of bar. The walls were white with a large dark red stripe in the middle. The Chuck Alek logo was stenciled into the gray concrete floor. There were picnic tasting tables to the right, with rustic-looking framed posters describing their beer. Some more barrels sat by the tables.

I had never heard about them before, but they certainly welcomed all who came to taste their beer. They had not only a 6-beer taster, but also a flight that includes tasters of all TEN of their beers! Not expecting this, I figured I may as well kick off the new year right and get the most well rounded idea of their offerings I could.

I started with the Flycaster Helles Lager (4.8% abv). It poured clean golden with only a little head. Slightly hoppy and floral aromas characterized this first one. It tasted light and sweet. A touch of malts came before the floral hop flavors came in through the middle. Light in both carbonation and body, this easy drinker finished clean, though somewhat sweet and flowers trailing.


Next, the Dowser Düsseldorf Altbier (5.4% abv). This one poured bright cloudy orange with small white head. It smelled malty sweet and rich. The first taste was malty with a little caramelized sugar. The middle is medium-bodied and lightly carbonated and it finished with the same flavors as the start. Not real dynamic.


Third, The Weiss (4.5% abv). It poured an almost neon cloudy yellow color with lacy white head. Lemons and a little hoppiness dominated the aroma. It tasted effervescent and sour. There was lots of lemon flavor into the middle. Light carbonation and body, it finished tart and sour. Not very interesting.


Then I tried the Cartographer IPL (6.6% abv). It poured clear pale yellow- like a Pilsner. There was little to no head and virtually no smell. Hoppy tasting up front, there was little else to distinguish the drink. Light-bodied and light in carbonation, it finished just as hoppy as the start. This was kind of a nothing drink.                                 


The midpoint of my tasting oddessey saw me try the Adventus Holiday Red Ale (7% abv). It poured like the Dowser, with small white head. It smelled malty with only a touch of caremelly sweetness. The taste was malty at first. Then some piney hops come in toward the middle. Light body and carbonation, it finished hoppy, with a bit of malts to calm things down.                                  


Chuck Alek Tasting Flight The second half featured the dark stuff. It started with the 1933 Milk Stout Nitro (3.7% abv). It poured black with creamy tan head. It smelled of coffee and chocolate. The taste was full of coffee that carried through to the middle, which was a bit heavy and light in carbonation. It finished somewhat heavy, with lots of coffe and some bittersweet chocolate. I enjoyed the heavy dose of coffee in this one.


Next up, the 1850 Runner Running Porter (6.3% abv). It poured dark brown with foamy brown head. It smelled of coffee, chocolate and a little nuttiness. It tasted of chocolate at first. It was quite mild, so not much in the middle. Medium body and light carbonation, it finished with chocolate and some nuttiness.                              


The eighth taster was the Conductor Baltic Porter (9% abv). It poured deep dark amber with smooth tan head. It didn’t smell like much. It tasted mild and slightly sweet. A little chocolate and dark fruit flavors came on into the middle. Medium-heavy body and light in carbonation, it finished with lots of chocolate and molasses flavors.                              


Trading Co. Barleywine British-style Old Ale (11% abv)
. The biggest beer of the bunch, it poured like a fruit juice- cloudy and red-orange, with small white head. Fruity and sweet aromas characterized this one. The taste was rich and fruity, with a touch of booziness into the middle. Medium body and light carbonation brought a finish that was fruity, boozy and warm.


This monster flight wrapped up with the Trading Co. Quadrupel Belgian-Style Dark Strong (8.8% abv). It poured bright orange, with tiny white head. It smelled grapey and roasty sweet. Tastes included malty and winey flavors. There was lots of tart grape flavor into the middle. Light-medium body and light in carbonation, this last offering finished dry, winey and grapey. Interesting.


A fairly low budget location, Chuck Alek certainly had a promising lineup and a respectable philosophy. I just hope they are able to step up their offerings to make each one more dynamic.

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Belgian Randomness

IMG_2045 copyI saw this beer and had to try it. Generally speaking, Stone Brewing does not bring to mind a whole bunch of creativity in their brewing. Self-marketing, a lot of hops and some more self-marketing, perhaps, but when I see a quad on the shelf, I can’t help myself.

This brew’s name is a shout to randomness, perhaps in what they see as a departure from their normal brewing style. More likely, it is probably a reference to the fact that they included triticale, a kind of wheat-rye hybrid, into a brew traditionally made sans both wheat or rye. Stone’s Stochasticity Project (pretty slick site, too) consists of a collection of three beers: two Belgian trappist ales and a double IPA.

Quadrotriticale is the booziest of the bunch, at a whopping 9.3% abv. It pours a clear deep, reddish-brown color, with white head. The came with a maltiness and, as expected, a sour smell due to the type of fermentation used in brewing Belgian ales. These beers use what is called spontaneous fermentation, which is beer exposed open air to allow the yeast and bacteria essentially infect the beer. This is what gives this style of beer its characteristic sour taste, as well. Definitely an acquired taste for some, I enjoy it.

quad_foamThe taste was not as I expected. As I mentioned, Belgian ales are usually fairly sour tasting, but quads are far richer than their dubbel and tripel counterparts. The sourness was the first thing I tasted, followed by a richness that the deep dark color gave away at the top. The next thing to come through was the alcohol. The warmth was a very nice way to mute the sourness and made me forget for a second I was drinking a Belgian beer. The sweetness was the last thing I tasted, before the sourness came back on the aftertaste.

I enjoyed this beer. Overall, I would rate this beer:


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IMG_2031Belgian-styles are often described as complex, malty and perhaps a little sour (depending on the type). Tetravis from Sam Adams’ Barrel Room Collection is a quadrupel, or “quad”, which told me to expect a strong, rich beer. Added to the intrigue with this beer, was the fact that it was purported to have notes of raisin and currant. This did give me pause for a second, then it passed and I dove in.

The pour is a deep, dark red, with a cloudy complexion and thick tan head. Lots of bubbles streamed up from the very bottom of the glass, which told me this was going to be a very yeasty beer. Indeed, it smelled a little sour, malty, rich and sweet. The taste was a little hard to get at first, due to the thick cap of foam on top. Once it came through, I tasted sticky-sweet flavors of raisin and brown sugar, mixed with sourness that reminded me of some tart fruit, and finally lots of malt, which was in turn broken up by all the fizzy carbonation I saw on the pour. As it moved through my mouth, so too did a slight burn in the back of the throat, muted somewhat by the smooth warmth of the alcohol.

IMG_2034This was a very good beer that had a lot of characteristics I expected and even some I didn’t. I am glad there was no heavy currant taste, as that probably would have made me think I was drinking some kind of brewed grape juice.

Overall, I would rate this beer:


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