Posts Tagged raisin

Abbey Road South

Abbey pano

No, not the Beatles album from 1969… This was a craft beer purveyor in the South Park neighborhood of San Diego that billed itself as a pub. I don’t know if it necessarily met my personal definition of “pub,” but it was a cool place. Laid out in an L-shape, this relatively small bar/eatery sat at the intersection of the two main streets in town. It was fronted with large windows and roll-up doors, with tap handles hanging from the ceiling above. A small three-sided bar was located toward the back, with lots of mostly low-top tables in between the bar and the front door. Three TVs and a large projection screen adorned the little wall space that remained. Off to the left was a pool table and to the right outside was a small, narrow patio that faced the street away from the front door.

Craftsman saisonI had one beer while I was here: Craftsman Fireworks Saison (6.5% abv). This beer poured oddly dark, as most other saisons I had ever had were very light in color, with light white head. Aromas were malty sweet with a slight sourness and some fruitiness that I could not identify. It tasted malty sweet at first, then some fruit that tasted like melons and raisins came through in the middle. Light body and lightly carbonated, it finished somewhat sweet, with a touch of tartness to keep things interesting.

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It’s Pronounced “Merkin”

Firestone Velvet Merkin

Well, now that Thanksgiving is over, happy December, everybody!

I have already regaled you with my experience with Firestone’s Velvet Merkin during San Diego Beer Week, but it got me wondering: it is delicious cold; what would it be like warm? After all, I, a certified cicerone and the Firestone rep at the event I met while enjoying the cold one at KnB spent some time trying to warm our glasses with our hands while drinking it. So, I was able to get a couple of bottles of it and left one in the cupboard and one in the fridge. Here is what I found:

Warm, it poured much as it did from the tap, with brown, foamy head. It smelled immediately of chocolate, followed quickly by the characteristic bourbon, a little coffee and raisins. The taste was very smooth, with bourbon first, then some almost fruity sweetness and none of the raisin from the smell. It finished warm, with lots of boozy bourbon on the finish.

Velvet Merkin topCold, the head dissipated much more quickly. There was none of the coffee aroma that came through in the warm pour, but all the chocolate, bourbon and raisins came through. The taste was a bit sweeter than with the warm, with little influence from the bourbon anywhere until the end. Lots of raisiny sweetness dominated the majority of the drink, with a surprising lack of bourbon flavor.

The verdict: Still a fantastic beer, cold and warm. I would still prefer it warm, as chilling beer tends to hide flavors and make it a little less dynamic.

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