Prescott Brewing’s Petrified Porter

Porter is one of my favorite beer styles. Porter is English in origin and is recognized by its dark color and bold flavor. While it is bold, many variations of the style are very drinkable and smooth. It tends to be very malt forward, but some varieties exhibit stronger hop characteristics. Petrified Porter from Prescott Brewing Company, in Prescott Arizona, is a great example of the style and a great beer overall.

This porter exhibits a color variation that I find appealing. Some porters have a reddish tint to them. Hold it up to a light, or look near the bottom of the glass, and it is easier to see this. I find the color beautiful, and you can see it in this beer. It also pours well, with a nice foamy cap that lingers and sticks to the edge of the glass as you drink it.

The nose is spectacular with tons of coffee and cocoa aromas. There is also a creamy element in the aroma that ends up smelling like milk duds or chocolate malt balls. There are also subtle vegetal notes from the hops along with vanilla and burnt sugar. As I continued to drink it, there was a faint hint of orange that showed up intermittently.

The flavor profile was very consistent with the aroma in terms of flavor and body. The coffee flavor is the most prominent, and rather than cocoa, it tastes more closely to dark chocolate because the bitterness of the hops pairs up with the cocoa component. The bitterness is very well balanced, however. The mouthfeel is slightly thin but that lends to the drinkability of the beer.

The finish is somewhat short but rich. The same coffee and chocolate notes remain along with a pleasant bitterness that quickly fades off. The quick finish leads you back to the glass rather quickly.

Porter’s tend to be paired with rich foods because of their medium to heavy bodied nature. Any braised dish, barbecue, sausage, stew, and chili are good options. Porter is also a fantastic beer to drink with sweet foods and desserts. While the flavors are bold, it is highly drinkable and has a relatively low ABV. It is a wonderful drink on its own as well.

Loving That Citrazona IPA

Barrio Brewing company in Tucson Arizona has crafted a fantastic India Pale Ale featuring Citra Hops, the hop darling of beer brewers and drinkers everywhere. Coming in at 6.6% Alcohol by volume (ABV) with 68 International Bittering Units (IBU’s), this beer is an excellent expression of both the IPA style and the ever-increasing quality of Arizona’s microbrewing community.

The first impression of any beer is the color. Citrazona IPA pours beautifully, with creamy foam and gorgeous copper color.  It is slightly cloudy, but that can be expected with some IPA’s. I find cloudiness is sometimes an indication of a more substantial mouthfeel. The carbonation was perfect. I didn’t find it to be overly effervescent.

The aroma of this beer was delightful, and both the hops and malt shone through in the nose. The initial aroma components were precisely what you would expect from Citra hops. Tangerine, grapefruit, orange, and lemon burst out the glass. As I continued to explore the aroma profile, the malt components came to the fore. Lovely aromas of burnt sugar and treacle, along with a delicate herbal component. I was slightly disappointed that the malt aromas competed with the Citra Hop Aroma. That was mostly an issue with what I have come to expect when drinking a beer with Citra Hops.

The flavor did not disappoint. The beer was perfectly balanced, without too much sway between flavors. The aroma foreshadowed the flavors in the beer, with the citrus and malt components mentioned above, only intermingled to the point where it became difficult to pick them out individually. Each of the constituent flavors joining together to create something entirely new. The mouthfeel was pleasant somewhat heavy but balanced nicely with the effervescence. As I continued to sip this beer, the herbal qualities became more pronounced. I detected a slight fennel or anise flavor that was surprising.

The finish carried on the herbal notes. It lingered on with a pleasant bitterness, reminiscent of angelica or wormwood. Fennel and orange notes mingled with those bitter herb flavors.

This IPA was a very pleasant surprise. It broke out of the mold in some ways but managed to deliver a mix of expectation and surprise. I would drink this beer with something salty. Bitterness and salt tend to complement each other. It is a wonderful accompaniment to spicy chicken wings or pizza with lots of chili flakes and parmesan cheese. You can find this beer on tap locally at Edge of the World Brewery. No telling how much longer it will be there, so hurry in and try it.

Bringing Manhattan to Short Creek

The Manhattan cocktail, like the Old Fashioned, has a variety of fans. Some, rabid purists, never tiring of historical debate of the cocktail. Until, of course, they tip back one too many!

It amazes me that a cocktail with a total of five ingredients can inspire such passionate debate as to the mythology of the formulation. While it may prove tiresome for some, it encourages others to experiment with subtle changes that make a vast difference in the final product.

The fundamental ingredients in a Manhattan are whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, ice, and garnish. I count ice as an ingredient because there is simply no way to make the drink desirable without it, and much of the technique rests in the amount of time you allow the liquor and garnish to interact with the ice.

The way somebody approaches making a cocktail gives a valuable insight into their character. From the nitpicky purist that dares not stray from “historically accurate” ways of making it, to the more relaxed individual that would serve it on the rocks, playing it loose with newfangled bitters, homemade vermouth, or some artisanal whiskey.

As with the Old Fashioned, I fall somewhere in the middle.

Whiskey choice should be the focus of your attention. I prefer rye whiskey for this drink, but a bourbon Manhattan is nothing to scoff at. Rye tends to be more spicy and fruity, although there is a broad spectrum of flavors to be had from brand to brand. If you are on a budget, try Old Overholt. It is a great value and a stable platform for the drink with nice spice and smoke characteristics that complement the sweet and herbal notes of the vermouth.

Overholt can be had for $15 or so, locally. It is not particularly good to drink on its own which is why we have cocktails. Other solid options include Bulleit Rye, High West Rye or Double Rye, and Wild Turkey Rye.

For Bourbon options, consider Knob Creek, Four Roses, and Buffalo Trace. Some people like Canadian Whiskey, which is said to be the preferred prohibition era choice, but I find it too friendly.

As for Sweet Vermouth there are a few options worth exploring. My go-to vermouth is Dolin, which is reasonably priced and nicely balanced; neither too sweet nor herbal. Dolin is widely available, but also tends to be less concentrated. Other higher-end options will be more concentrated in flavor, which will change the calculations in terms of the desired result. Locally, you will likely find Martini & Rossi, Noilly Prat, and Dolin.

For the remaining ingredients, be sure to source good clean ice. Don’t settle for the opaque variety from the home freezer. Either make some fresh larger cubes with good water or find some block ice. Smaller ice can prove troublesome because it will melt faster and dilute the drink more quickly.

Garnish with either a maraschino cherry (Luxardo preferably) or a citrus peel. Orange is probably your best bet. Angostura bitters are the standard Manhattan option, but experimentation is always encouraged.

Now, down to mixing! In a mixing glass combine three dashes of bitters, one ounce of sweet vermouth, two ounces of rye, then fill with ice. Stir for at least thirty seconds, stir more if you are using a higher proof whiskey or prefer it more diluted. Strain into a chilled coup or martini glass and garnish with a cherry or citrus peel. Gently spritz the peel over the top if you go that route.

Be aware; this drink is rather potent, as is my love for it.

 

An Old Fashioned Approach to Cocktails

I love cocktails. Specifically, classic whiskey cocktails. The cocktail tradition has its roots in the United States as a result of the horrendous quality of liquors that were produced in the wake of prohibition, which forced the alcohol industry into the seedy underworld.

Needless to say, rum runners, bootleggers, and mobsters felt no responsibility to deliver quality; only a steady stream of booze. Spirits of dubious provenance were often unpalatable, and sometimes dangerous or even fatal. History reveals that the United States government even had a hand in poisoning alcohol—causing a series of sickenings and deaths—to discourage people from consuming the then illicit substance. A vibrant culture of mixology sprung out of the sheer necessity of making those sub-par alcohols palatable.

Classic cocktails tend to fall into two primary categories, the aromatics and the sours, with boundless subcategories branching off in all directions. In the aromatic category, you will find cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, Manhattan, and Sazerac. Aromatic cocktails consist of liquor, a sweetener, and bitters.

Sour cocktails include the Whiskey Sour, Daiquiri, and Margarita. Sours consist of liquor, sweetener, and citrus juice. Bitters began as herbal tinctures, and later became flavoring agents for cocktails. The undisputed grand-daddy of all aromatic cocktails is the Old Fashioned, making it the perfect place to start our foray into the world of amateur mixology.

Believe it or not, there is a robust and ongoing debate between historical purists and boozy young whippersnappers as to the appropriate way to make an Old Fashioned. In its simplest form, a sugar cube, bitters, and dark spirit mixed and served over a single large ice cube. At the other end of the spectrum, you will find a drink that consists of various crushed fruits, sugar, soda, bitters, and whiskey.

I am happy to report that the latter manifestation of the drink has mostly died out, along with some of the other questionable style choices of the era in which it was devised. If you happen to find yourself in a bar or restaurant that serves the latter manifestation, do not walk—bolt to the nearest exit! No good for yourself nor humanity will come of patronizing such a wretched and cynical establishment.

For us amateur home bartenders who wish to serve a good cocktail to our friends, family, and the odd stranger, I have charted a safe, reasonably high quality, middle of the road course. This approach is anchored soundly by a solid choice in whiskey.

Choose a good quality Rye or Bourbon whiskey. Rye is often presented as the more traditional choice, but ultimately your individual preference should guide the decision. Knob Creek is my go-to, and they distill both rye and bourbon whiskeys. Knob Creek Bourbon is 100-proof but is exceptionally smooth as a sipping bourbon. The benefit to higher proof whiskeys is that they tend to be bolder flavored and they won’t dilute too quickly. Other good options include Bulleit (Rye and Bourbon), Makers Mark, Wild Turkey, and Buffalo Trace.

The next hurdle will be sugar. The classic approach is to muddle a pure cane sugar cube with bitters in the bottom of the glass and build it up from there. This method can sometimes cause the drink to be too hot at the beginning and too sweet at the end because the sugar doesn’t incorporate and settles at the bottom. I often use simple syrup, it is much easier and provides a more consistent result from glass to glass. Angostura bitters can be found at most supermarkets. Use good ice, don’t settle for the stale opaque variety that can be found in the home freezer. It will rob the drink of its aesthetic beauty, offend your guests, and perhaps rob you of a portion of your dignity. Yet another choice is whether to use orange or lemon peel as a garnish (there is a difference).

So those are your ingredients; whiskey, simple syrup, bitters, ice, and citrus peel. For equipment you will need, rocks glasses, a bar spoon, mixing glass, strainer, and a measuring device (jigger and spoon or shot glass). For a single portion, begin by filling a rocks glass with ice. In a mixing glass, combine 3-4 dashes of Angostura Bitters, ½ ounce of simple syrup, 2 ounces of whiskey, and a good amount of ice.

Stir for 30 seconds or more to allow the ice to melt and dilute the drink while marrying the flavors. Strain into the rocks glass. Next, peel a long ribbon of orange or lemon, and squeeze over the top of the glass, spritzing the aromatic oils over the top of the drink. Run the peel along the outside rim of the glass and place it inside the drink.

This should result in a supremely palatable drink. Feel free to adjust to your taste; some find it is better with less simple syrup. If you prefer the drink a bit stronger, don’t stir it as long or use larger ice cubes. This is the basic framework for numerous other drinks and will give the new home bartender a good opportunity to learn how to balance the drink.

As you practice, you will notice that the ingredients begin to dictate the process. The ice begins to shout out at the exact moment the drink has been sufficiently stirred. The oranges and lemons vie for your eye with their glistening peel, laden with hefty pores packed with aromatic oil. The condensation on the outside of the glasses whispers the precise moment they are ready to host the liquid. Or maybe that’s the whiskey talking.  

 

Hop Trip Beer Review

Of all the brews I have had, Deschutes Brewery tends to make the ones that wind up at the top of my list. Whether on tap or from the bottle, their beers are incredible. Hop Trip Pale Ale is a seasonal offering which boasts fresh hops, utilized within hours of harvest. This is a hop forward brew, featuring Bravo, Centennial, and fresh Crystal hops. It comes in at 5.7% ABV and 53 IBU’s. As with all other bottled beers I’ve had from them, they are bottle conditioned, meaning that carbonation happens in each individual bottle rather than carbonating before bottling. I love what this adds to the beers. While there can be some variance from batch to batch, the result is a more natural result, with effervescence and head retention that I find superior to other methods.

The beautiful caramel color is a spectacular first impression. It is clear with fine bubbles that float elegantly to the foam cap, with all the majesty of a fine glass of champagne—only prettier. The head retention is perfect, forming a thick cap that clings to the edge of the glass as it sinks nearer to the bottom, as if fighting to hold the glass full in futility. Aesthetically, this beer is right on the mark.

The aroma holds a medley of olfactory delights. The aroma notes seemed inverted, with the subtler hints manifesting in the beginning, giving way to the foundational aroma components throughout the remainder of the glass. The first hints were of melon and honeysuckle. It seemed to be a combination of the fresh hops with a slight malolactic component from the yeast. As I continued to examine the aroma, the yeast component came to the forefront, manifesting as yoghurt. A slight honey component presented itself as well, the only malt component that I could discern as I waded through the hop notes. At this point, I was blasted with citrus notes. Strong aromas of grapefruit and lemon took the helm and remained throughout the rest of the session.

The flavor profile was well balanced, with the strong malt profile working as a perfect counterbalance to the hops. This beer is almost 200 calories per 12-ounce bottle, which suggests some residual sugars and carbohydrates, which also contribute to the rich mouthfeel. The citrus and grapefruit notes of the hops were the most prevalent flavor, with some cereal flavors from the malt. Brief suggestions of the malolactic notes showed up in the flavor profile along with a tropical fruit note of guava. The fresh crystal hops in the aroma are brilliantly showcased in perfect balance with the flavor profile. The finish was long-lasting and very enjoyable. Strong citrus flavors of lemon and lime lingered playfully, tempting the lips to make another advance to the glass.

This beer is a pleasure to drink on its own, but would make a wonderful complement to bold flavored foods. I couldn’t help but think of how good this beer would be with a bowl of fresh tortilla chips, ceviche, and mango salsa. The citrus flavors would work harmoniously with one another, and some heat and salt would be a wonderful counterpoint to the bitterness of the hops. Pick up a six back of this beer as soon as you can. They only make it once a year during the hop harvest.

Humphreys Hefe

Hefeweizen style beers are a mainstay on most brewery lineups. The German style ale is both flavorful and approachable, making it a great beer for the would-be craft beer enthusiast and the hipster beer snob alike. While some breweries push the Hefeweizen style to incorporate new flavors and ingredients, there is something to be said for a solid classic hefe. Humphrey’s Hefe from Lumberyard Brewing Co. in Flagstaff, Arizona, is just such a beer. This beer comes in at around 5.6% ABV, and the flavor profile is precisely what one would expect in a hefeweizen while being well balanced and supremely enjoyable.

Upon pouring this beer, the first thing to pop out at me was the color and clarity. It was a light straw color and had just a slight haze, even after stirring up the sediment that tends to settle at the bottom. It seemed more effervescent than most hefeweizens, and the head consisted of large suds that stuck around fairly-well.

The aroma was right on the mark stylistically. The aroma and flavor components in Hefeweizen tend to come from chemical compounds called esters and phenols which come about during the fermentation process. Esters impart fruity flavors and phenols tend to impart spicy flavors. This beer was rich with the classic clove and banana characteristics that the style is known for. Apart from these two aromas, I found it difficult to detect anything else, other than faint hoppy aromas that didn’t manifest distinctly.

Banana bread was the first thing that hit my mind as I took my first sip. There was a malty component that came together with the banana and the spice components to give that impression. It had a creamy mouthfeel that further accentuated the banana characteristics. I found the flavor to be a bit more complex. There were brief hints of white pepper and coriander that would briefly rise above the clove flavor. At times the clove would give way to nutmeg. There was a bit of brightness as well that tended to present itself as lemon but would fade back to a sharpness that was less discernable. All the while, the subtle bitterness and maltiness created a solid backdrop for the other characteristics to play around.

The finish lingered with a slight sharpness and pleasant bitterness. The spicy notes kicked around for quite some time as well. This beer is a great representation of the Hefeweizen style. I would pair it with German fares like brats, schnitzel, potatoes, sauerkraut etc. It would go perfectly as an accompaniment to a charcuterie board with cheese and cured meats. The spicy characteristics and sharper flavors would cut through the fat of the cheese and cured meats, offering a nice counterbalance.

 

Omission Pale Ale

I tend to have a bit of hesitation when it comes to gluten-removed beers. Most that I’ve tried were lackluster at best. Many gluten-removed ales are made with sorghum, which doesn’t impart the same flavor as barley malt, a foundational flavor component, and sugar source. Omission Pale Ale is different. It utilizes barley malt, thereby keeping that classic barley malt flavor profile while removing gluten through a special process. If you didn’t know that it was a gluten-removed beer, there is nothing in the flavor that would lead you to believe there was anything different about it.

The color of this beer is alluring. I was taken back by the gorgeous copper orange color which was slightly cloudy. It retained a thick layer of foam, which is always a selling point for me, both for aesthetic reasons and aroma development.

The aroma consisted of strong notes of grapefruit and lemon. The aroma really surprised me. I had envisioned this beer lacking a strong malt component, not knowing the process that is used to remove the gluten from the barley. While there wasn’t much nuance in the barley aroma (sometimes it manifests in specific aromas like biscuit, bread, caramel etc.), it was distinct, as if you were hanging around in a brewery on a brew day. There were brief hints of cut grass and other vegetal components. Altogether, it was a very pleasant-smelling beer.

The surprises continued as I moved on to tasting it. Strong malt flavors were the foundation of this beer. Along with the strong barley, malt component was a molasses flavor that was very pleasant. Lemon remained as a strong component of the flavor. The bitterness was light and pleasant, making it a great choice for uninitiated beer drinkers. A slight papery flavor could be detected as well. It finished very shortly. The flavors did not linger for long at all, but it was predominantly the malt components that stuck around.

This is a great beer for everyday drinking, whether gluten intolerant or not. This beer is a testament to the brewer’s ability. It stands out from the pack of gluten-removed beer options as the best that I have had. It would pair well with any of your standard American food options, pizza, burgers, and wings. It is approachable and laid back with just enough complexity to keep it interesting.

 

November 28, 2017
Editor’s Note: This article originally contained the use of language, “gluten-free,” and has now been changed to “gluten-removed.”

Le Quatre Red Rock Brewing Co.

Le Quatre Saison from Red Rock Brewery, in Salt Lake City, Utah, was a fun find and drink. The Saison (“season” in French) is a farmhouse style ale that undergoes a unique brewing process. Historically, these beers were fermented during the winter to be consumed during the summer (thus the name). Most beers have a much shorter fermentation and aging period. Saison style beers fell out of favor until recently. The style has caught on with many American microbreweries and is now seeing a resurgence. The beers are known for their spicy and herbal characteristics, due to the addition of various ingredients beyond hops. I recommend drinking this beer from a tulip or standard wine glass to focus the aroma directly to your nose.

Le Quatre has a beautiful hazy straw color. It poured beautifully with abundant suds that collected into a thick cap of foam above the beer. I was disappointed to see the head quickly die and fail to be revived. I agitated it continuously while drinking to stir up the aroma. Head on the beer helps the aroma get up from the liquid and to your nose. This is important because much of the enjoyment of drinking beer comes from the aroma, which is why you should always drink craft beer from a glass.

The aroma profile was anchored by a strong yeast component. It smelled like freshly baked bread on my first approach. That quickly gave way to a wave of delightful spice and herbal notes. Coriander and a sweet lavender aroma made their way to my nose, lingering pleasantly even after setting down my glass. Those notes faded into a general herbal aroma, a lot like the bulk spice section in a health food store. A pleasant, sweet, honey aroma was detectable as well.

The flavor was surprising due to the sweet aromas of honey, lavender, and coriander. It was quite dry and there was a considerable spice component to the flavor profile. I tasted coriander and cloves. The yeast component was present with a subtle breadiness and a light mouthfeel. It took a moment to settle into the flavors because I had set the expectation for sweetness and was met with something completely different. It is a very dry beer. There was a faint sour component as well. Many farmhouse style ales have this type of flavor component, often due to bacteria that are sometimes added to create that effect, but came about originally because of the conditions the beers were historically brewed in farmhouse conditions.

The finish was yet another surprise; it swung into bitter flavor direction. It lingered for quite some time with elements of lemon peel and what registered to me as Campari or Angostura bitters.

This beer was a fun one! It was the first beer I had tried from Red Rock Brewing Company, and it did not disappoint. Saison’s are now out of drinking season (they are being brewed during the fall and winter) but don’t hesitate to grab one. Now that the brewing cycle isn’t dictated by seasonal weather conditions you can pick them up year-round. Drink this beer on its own to fully appreciate it. It is quite nuanced and I can’t imagine a food pairing that would make it better.  That is just a suggestion of course!

 

Burnt Mountain Brown Ale

The Zion Canyon Brewing Company in Springdale, Utah, makes some delicious brews. No trip to Zion National Park is complete without a stop at their brewpub at the mouth of the canyon. There really is nothing like a cold draught beer after a good hike. I have tried several of their beers, and I am always impressed. One that I hadn’t tried (a style that I am not generally fond of), was their Burnt Mountain Brown Ale. It was a very pleasant surprise, being very approachable and flavorful. It was served on tap, in Utah, so it was more akin to a session ale (meaning lower alcohol content) but it was delicious nonetheless.

The color was a rich chestnut brown. I found the color appealing, but it was very cloudy, likely from being unfiltered. While this may not be desirable to some, it didn’t bother me. If there aren’t large particles floating around, I don’t mind it. Cloudiness can also be an indication that there will be a creamier mouthfeel.  The head retention was poor, even after agitating it vigorously, only sticking around for a minute.

The aroma consisted of dark components like coffee and toast at first. There was a sweetness in the aroma that manifested as pomegranate at times, and dried fruit, like dates and apricots. The aromas seemed to morph quickly into other things. The hops came through in a vegetal note of alfalfa or grass. The aroma was sweet, suggesting burnt sugar, honey, and caramel at times. It was interesting to experience the aroma profile develop as I continued to approach the beer. At first, it seemed a little boring, but it quickly opened up as I continued to agitate it and get some of the aroma compounds floating from the bursting suds and into my nose.

The flavor was surprising because of the sweet and fruity aromatic notes. It was much drier than I expected, which was pleasant. It makes it a great beer to pair with food. Coffee and toast were the main flavor components. There was a yeasty component that came across as tannic. Briefly, I detected a black tea element in the flavor. Chocolate and bread flavors followed that, with brief hints of pomegranate. The pomegranate flavor came on the heels of the tannic, black tea notes. It tasted a lot like the pith of pomegranate, but very subtle. It had a good solid mouthfeel. The finish is where the hops became evident. It had a very long finish that was pleasantly bitter and clean. Green strawberry lingered on my palate and gave me the urge to go back in for another sip.

While this beer is not a powerhouse of bold flavor, it is reasonably complex and enjoyable. It is a great beer for a good pizza. Stop by River Rock Roasting Company and have it with one of their pizzas. While this beer is a safe bet for food pairing, I would be careful not to pair it with bold foods. Anything that has a hint of sweetness and acidity, would be great. Your standard autumn fare is great for this; soups and brothier stews would pair well.

Wasatch Devastator

After the last beer review, I decided to try another Wasatch beer. Devastator is the first real “craft brew” that I can remember drinking and enjoying. Back then it seemed a very strong beer, leaving me hardly able to finish two of them. The name and description of the beer are fun. The label features a red eyed ram, surrounded by fire, tearing through downtown Salt Lake City. The description on the can reads, “If you’re going to sin, sin big. With 8% alcohol by volume and a creamy richness, this brew has developed a serious cult following. Imagine that—a cult following in Utah?” This beer is irreverent on nearly every level. In a state where they only allow low ABV beer to be sold outside of the state liquor store, where alcohol consumption is tightly regulated, and the reason is abundantly clear, this beer takes on the establishment in a way that is entertaining and lighthearted.

The beer is a dark reddish-brown color that is free of cloudiness. It has large suds and poor head retention, even after a vigorous pour and agitation to see if I could get it to stick around. This ale smells sweet. The first impression I got was dates and raisins. I got a whiff of ancho chiles, strait from the bag when they are still fresh and pliable. There was a slight yeasty component; I’m hesitant to call it an off smell because it wasn’t unpleasant. Having brewed beer, I recognize the smell to be from the yeast. There were aromas of pumpernickel bread, followed by a slight orange aroma and nuttiness. I could smell this beer all day long. It is extremely pleasant on the nose and much different than the pale ales that I typically gravitate towards. I couldn’t detect any specific aromas that I could attribute to the hop additions. It seemed that they hopped it very lightly, only enough to offset the sweetness.

Most of the sweet aroma components were present in the flavor. It had a roasted malt component that seemed to morph into toffee and honey. I noticed a dark pipe tobacco flavor, black Cavendish tobacco would be a good reference to the flavor. Figs and raisins were also present in the flavor profile after a few swigs. The mouthfeel was thick and rich. With the higher alcohol content and residual sugars, it’s no wonder that it feels so rich. There was no bitterness that I could detect. In fact, I felt that it could be hopped more aggressively.  The finish was very short with the sweet dark flavors quickly dropping off. Half way through the beer, I could feel the higher alcohol content.

This beer would be a good pairing for foods that have a sour element, like brats with sauerkraut, or a Reuben sandwich. I would pair it with sweet items as well. It would make a good dessert beer. Indian curries would lend themselves excellently to this beer. The sweetness and dried fruit components would mesh well with the strong spice elements you find in those dishes. While it is quite sweet, I wouldn’t say that it is strong bodied. It is a great beer to pair with food, and that might bring out some hidden characteristics. I am going to try it with lamb curry soon!