Posts Tagged strong ale
There is a local brewery right down the street from my work called Rough Draft Brewing Company. They don’t seem to distribute very widely, but I only started going to their brewery/tasting room a couple of months ago, so their brews very could well be in your neck of the woods.
As you can see, it’s just a pretty nondescript industrial office space. That is mostly the norm, though, for small brewery startups. Inside, however, is where the magic happens.
They display all of their wares in the lobby for visitors’ perusal. Directly behind where the picture to the right was taken is a hallway leading to a couple private party/meeting rooms and the warehouse where they store all the goodies that go into their beers.
Their tasting room is really well laid out: all the beer making going on right in front of the tasting counter area, with stools and comfortable couches. It’s a cool thing to be able to sit among the making of what you’re drinking. It makes me appreciate the work that went into it just that much more. After all, that’s what craft beer is all about: making and sharing this stuff we all love so much.
The beer selection is pretty good, considering the apparent size of the operation. They usually have about 10 beers on draft, ranging from a blond to a stout and the ever-present IPA. The draft board always includes at least one nitro selection, as well. For this event, they included two others: their second anniversary special called 2nd Draft Manhattan and a casked IPA called Group Project.
First up, I tried the 2nd Draft Manhattan. This one was a strong ale, clocking in at 9.3% abv. It poured a rich caramel brown color, with fine, slightly off white head. It smelled slightly sweet, though that could have been from the cherry they included with it. It also gave sour and grainy scents. The first sip brought all the alcohol this beer had to bear. It mellowed a bit after to the bourbon flavor you would expect in a Manhattan mixed drink. That was followed by a bitterness I did not expect, thought that could have been the masking effect of the alcohol content. It finished bitter with the lingering bourbon booziness leaving a warmth at the back of my throat.
I would rate this beer:
I am a sucker for anything served in a cask, so next I went for their other special brew: Cask Group Project IPA. This one is made with three kinds of hops: Amarillo, Cascade and Citra. Now, I have to admit ignorance when it comes to hops, considering my previous aversion to beers made with a bunch of them, but I couldn’t help myself. This one poured a deep cloudy golden. It actually reminded me of a wheat beer. It had fine off white head that coated the glass evenly.Putting my sniffer to the glass about knocked me over due to the copious hop content of this beer. After that subsided, it actually smelled pretty mild and only slightly floral. Tasting it, I was surprised at the slight sourness. Then all the hops slowly drifted back along my palate to the back, finishing with a hoppy kick. The aftertaste was a bit bitter with some interesting floral flavors.
All in all, not a bad beer. I was impressed by how they were able to pack so many hops into this beer without absolutely knocking out my taste buds.
I would rate this beer:
Last Thursday I went to my friendly neighborhood brewery/bar KnB Wine Cellars. I’ve written about them before and I continue to love this place more each time I go. This time I went for the third day of their 4 day long 5-year anniversary celebration. To commemorate this day they were tapping 3 of their own test batches, along with some new menu items. Since I love everything that I’ve tried on their regular menu (so far), I was pretty excited to try anything new they had to offer and they did not disappoint. Come along and let me take you on a little journey…
First up, I ordered a Figueroa Mountain Davy Brown (6% abv). This has a smooth, creamy head, with a medium-dark color. The taste is nutty and creamy, with light hints of caramel and a noticeable caramel aftertaste.
Next I wanted to try each of their KnB Test Batch beers, #3, #4 and #5. I didn’t get to try #1 or #2, which appear to have been IPAs (here is the only “review” of #2 I was able to find). I wanted to start low to high on the alcohol content and still be sober enough to enjoy them. I thought the best way to do this would be to order their beer flight sampler, which is pictured above.
I started the sampler with Test Batch #4, which was a saison (8.1% abv). This beer is a dark yellow, cloudy and very fizzy. The head loosely laces the glass and doesn’t stick around long. The characteristic sour smell of this beer may be off putting to some, but I found it kind of refreshing. Also, the sour taste of lemon and grapefruit, with a little peach mixed in was pretty good. The tart aftertaste stuck around a while and while it was not unpleasant, I felt like heartburn was likely. Surprisingly, it didn’t happen.
Then I went to Test Batch #3, an American strong ale (9.0% abv). A dark burnt orange and semi opaque, I was really looking forward to this beer. I waited too long to get to this one and the head had all but disappeared, but that didn’t seem to take away from the taste at all. It had a semi-sweet, very rich flavor. Its high alcohol content was really apparent cutting through after the initial sweetness. The aftertaste was about the same, though I was feeling the effects of the alcohol by then, so it may have just clouded my taste buds.
Next, I tried the Test Batch#5, an imperial stout (11.2% abv). This was super dark, with a semi-sweet, sugary smell. I again waited too long (20 mins) to get a good look at the full head, but what was left held lightly to glass. The taste was very rich and sweet, with brown sugar and mild spice (cinnamon?). The heavy, sweet aftertaste of caramel was appropriate for such a big beer, but in the end, the sweetness was just a bit overpowering for me.
I was going to stop there, but there was a Shipyard Smasher Pumpkin (9.0% abv) right there on the menu, taunting me. I couldn’t help myself. This beauty poured a surprisingly bright orange color, with an off-white, medium creamy head. It smelled sweet and spicy, with a noticeable pumpkin aroma. It had a very creamy feel to it and tasted a bit creamy as well. I could easily pick out brown sugar, pumpkin, cloves, a little cinnamon- pretty much pumpkin pie in a glass. The cinnamon aftertaste with some brown sugar and clove finished the beer nicely.
I should point out that while I don’t pretend to be a professional, or even experienced beer reviewer, I am able to pick out certain common elements. I may not always use the “correct” terms, but I hope it’s apparent that I do love and truly appreciate beer. Which beers are you most excited about?