20 November 2008

Rare Beer Notes

JWLees Harvest Calvados cask (a wooden pin on the bar): the ambrosia you expect. Just shut up and order this, and dig for the apple cider character.

BFM Abbaye de Bon Chien and La Mandragore: Had AdBC a while back with the brewers when they were here--a funk-fest, interesting but too tart to be fun for me. The Mandragore is, according to the label pasted on the tap handle, a dark ale on lees, "smoked and roasted, sweet and full-bodied"..... I call false advertising. It's ridiculously light-bodied for 8.0%, a good hint of smoke but almost wiped out by the tart Belgian palate. Call it a tart Belgian rauchbier.

Southern Tier Creme Brulee: Thought I had this, obviously not. This is what I would expect if you made a vanilla/chocolate liqueur and watered it down. The flavor--caramel, vanilla bean, and lactose sugar in a milk stout--is terrific but smacks just a bit too much of artificial flavors, like a trashy schnapps watered down.

Smuttynose Brett & I 7.0%: quite nice and drinkable for a Belgian Strong Pale. VERY smooth and tasty, just enough Belgian to be interesting but a good bitter finish.

Birra de Borgo Genziana 5.5% Italian saison w/ coriander & gentian: a nice spicy summerweight, not sure anyone could I*D the spices but delightfully "green" (think cucumber/lettuce, not raw beer) and almost Thai in character. Bring me a hot Indian curry with this!

Dogfish Head Palo Santo: They say brown ale, I say porter, extra dark. VERY woody and creamy, sort of sweet with a tannic edge that leans vegetable or astringent. Stone fruit, cherry-laced expresso, leaqning towards barrel-aged stout that isn't bourbon...... maybe red wine or port? Would I have more? Hell, yes, but only in the right frame of mind and palate.

Dogfish Head Theobroma 10% brewed w/Aztec cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, honey, chiles and Annatto (fragrant tree seeds, it says--go ahead and internet-search it yourselves): pale amber, almost bright. This is yet another case where I think Dogfish went crazy for crazy's sake. It's a good beer, and were I drinking it in Mexico or even arid Arizona I might wax eloquent, but here and now it disappoints. Maybe it has something to do with the cold weather outside for the past week or so? This would work excellently in Frisco Grille in the summer, but not here and now.

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