Posts Tagged yeasty

Expose THIS to Your Taste Buds

Ninkasi Expo 58I started seeing this beer from Ninkasi a few months ago and I thought, “Hmm, I love the brewery…I haven’t had this one from them…” Then I came to the realization, “I should try this!” And so it was that Ninkasi Expo 58 Belgian-Style Golden Pale Ale came into my possession.

It poured a fizzy clear pale yellow color with foamy head that left loose lace that slid down the sides of the glass easily. Yeasty and sour aromas mark this beer as definitely a member of the Belgian family. There was also some malty sweetness at the end. It tasted very yeasty and bright, with light body and mouthfeel. The Ninkasi Expo 58 topcarbonation was refreshing and light. Some sourness came on toward the middle, with some tangy lemon flavors afterward. It finished with the same yeastiness.

This was a refreshing, tasty beer to start the spring season.

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Berry Bruiser

JulianBlackandBlue_fullContinuing non-beer experience from earlier last month, I had another cider from Julian Hard Cider called Black & Blue. Now, normally I don’t like to eat or drink things whose name tells me what it could potentially do to my body, but this one was tame enough. It was just a cider, after all.

It poured a deep purple-red color with again very little carbonation. It smelled, appropriately enough, like tart black and blueberries. It also smelled a little yeasty. There was a surprising amount of carbonation at first. Then the blueberry flavor came through big time. The tartness of the berry flavor was a lot to take at first, but it soon mellowed out and an almost sticky sweet berry flavor washed away any other flavors that were in there. It finished with a little of the stickiness, but with a nice blackberry flavor lingering afterward.

Even though I liked it well enough, I think ciders JulianBlackandBlue_backare just a little underwhelming for me overall:

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“Like Double Cherry Pie…”

Julian Cherry BombContinuing my New Year’s focus on some things not beer, I had another cider from my trip to Julian, CA. This one was cherry-infused and one with which I had almost the greatest hesitation going in. I am always leery of cherry flavors, as most of them remind me too much of cough syrup I had to take as a kid. Immature? Maybe, but it’s my thing… anyway, on with the show.

This one poured a dark red amber color with no noticeable head. It looked a lot like juice sitting in the glass. The aromas were yeasty and sweet, with tart cherries after and a very faint sourness. The taste was cherry up front all the way. It became tart very quickly after taking the first sip, though not so much as to overpower with any kind of pucker factor. The sweet cherry flavor came back right after, though the tartness persisted and lingered through the finish.

This was a surprising cherry drink that reminded me of anything but cough medicine. It was refreshing and not overly sweet, as I feared it might be. Still, nothing spectacular:

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Apple of My Eye

Julian trip montageIn this new year (happy new year, by the way), I decided I need to start exploring my “new” hometown area a little more. Not wanting the downtown experience, with all the hipsters, run-of-the-mill bars and any kind of defined scene, I decided to head east to Julian, CA, home of some rather popular hard cider you may have seen on the shelves at a store near you.

This trip took me through two Indian reservations, four valleys and a lot of windy mountain roads, ultimately bringing me to the sleepy little community of Julian. This historical town is in the high desert east of San Diego. I learned some interesting tidbits in the local museum there, such as the town’s founding by three Civil War soldiers because land was much cheaper than in post-war Georgia. Some good food and interesting things along the main drag there in Julian, but we’re here for the beer, right?

Well, not to disappoint, but the drink of choice in this area is cider, mostly due to the vast apple orchards in the valleys around there. Enter Julian Hard Cider. Their process is very simple, brewing only with fruit juice and yeast. There is something to be said for simplicity in craft brewing.

The…brewery (do they “brew” cider?) is harder to find that I thought it would be, considering it sits Julian Hard Cider montagein a town of fewer than 2,000 people. Like most breweries I have encountered, it inhabits an industrial warehouse-style building about three miles off the main drag. It is connected to an indoor mall of sorts, with a Mexican restaurant, craft studio and some other odd shops. I drove past it a couple of times before figuring out where I needed to be.

Walking in, to the right was a wide open gallery-style area with all the shops along the outside, an arcade in one corner, and a sitting area in the middle with couches and a couple plush chairs. It was kind of an odd assortment to me. But not to be deterred, I headed in for some sampling.

Julian Harvest Apple CiderAs you can see above, the good folks at Julian Hard Cider pour samples of their entire collection of 5 ciders, but I will talk about only one of them here: Julian Harvest Apple Cider.

This is the lightest of their offerings, though each holds steady at a surprising 6.99% abv. Harvest Apple poured completely clear, with only the slightest hint of gold from the apples and only very few tiny bubbles from the carbonation. It had a sweet yeasty aroma, much like that of champagne. There was only a light apple smell and a touch of fermented sourness. It tasted very fresh, with the apples foremost, then the yeasty champagne flavor kicked in. After that, a tart sourness came through, finishing dry with tart apple flavors.

This was a refreshing drink, but it reminded me far too much of champagne, which, in turn, reminds me of a headache.

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