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The Beermonger: Beer Odds and Ends

Posted on Jul 23,2008
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Beer - Alexandria Virginia

The Beermonger: Odds and Ends
By Nick Anderson, the Beermonger

There doesn’t seem to be a lot happening this week as far as new arrivals go, so I figured I’d throw out some recommendations on beers I’ve tried lately. As always, I’ll be tasting beers this Saturday at Rick’s Wine & Gourmet from 12-5 PM.

-Avery 15th Anniversary: I first tried this at the SAVOR event in D.C. a couple of months back. Just when I thought we weren’t going to have any for sale here in Virginia, a very small amount arrived last week. This was a fascinating beer; a Belgian-style Farmhouse Ale brewed with figs, hibiscus flowers and white pepper, not to mention 100% Brettanomyces yeast. ‘Brett’ is a wild yeast that is in many cases considered a defect in wine (though I’ve always found it simply a ‘unique characteristic’). Many Belgian beers use Brett to intentionally give their beers a sour, funky note that grows more exaggerated with the amount used. In the case of Avery 15th Anniversary, the ingredient list and subtle hop addition bring balance and elegance to what would otherwise be something of a one-note beer.

-Brasserie de Silly Scotch Ale: The best Scotch Ale I’ve had in a while is, naturally, from…Belgium? Yes, the Silly brewery delivers a wonderful take on a classic style with their Scotch Ale. Strong without being overpowering, malty without being too rich, with that malt showing some sweetness without being cloying—this is a beer I’d been wanting to try for some time now and it didn’t disappoint.

-Weyerbacher Simcoe Double IPA: I took one of these home last week intending share it with a friend who is just getting into craft beers. He’s discovering the joys of the hop and this sounded right up his alley. Unfortunately we never got around to opening the bottle (don’t weep for us; we still managed to get some solid beer-tasting in). So a couple of days later, when I was peering into the fridge, I thought “It’s been a while, why not?”
I’m glad I did. I had completely forgotten how good this beer was and how much I enjoyed it. Simcoe is a varietal of hop that was developed to give off more of the oils that contribute citrusy, resiny flavors and slightly less of the bittering alpha acids. Simcoe is usually used to punch up the flavor of a beer without making it too bitter. Weyerbacher took this Simcoe hop and made a single varietal DIPA from it. This is just about the most drinkable extremely hoppy beer out there today. Pick it up if you get a chance.

Stone 12th Anniversary: I know, I wrote about it last week but that means I got a chance to try it later on. Wow. That’s all I can say. Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. What an idea, and done well at that. Right now the chocolate is mainly showing itself as a bitter mouthfeel, with the slightest hint of sweetness on the front of the palate. The oatmeal and malts take over from there, showing roasty notes that settle as a dull roar, like tides rolling in. Fantastic now, I believe by this autumn and winter that the chocolate will become more prominent and the overall feel with smooth out some. If you can stock up a few bottles for now and a few for later, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Clipper City Hang Ten Weizen Dopplebock: This was a new seasonal from Baltimore’s biggest and best brewery last year. There was some talk upon its release that it was too sweet, too malty, too much. I understood the concern but thought some time in the bottle would bring out the brewer’s intentions. Then, about four months later, I opened a bottle in the store and instantly wished I had taken my own advice and bought a case for myself. The initial sweetness had settled and the beer had taken the character of a fine, strong, malty Hefeweizen. Which is, of course, exactly what it is. This years release is not as exaggerated in its youth as last years was; hopefully it ages as gracefully as its predecessor. Either way buy for now or buy for later, because when this limited run is gone we’ll have to wait until next year.

See you all next week.

Cheers,

Nick Anderson
Beermonger, Rick’s Wine & Gourmet

Nick Anderson is the beer buyer (“Beermonger”) at Rick’s Wine & Gourmet in Alexandria, Virginia. He keeps a running blog at www.beermonger.net


 

 



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