It has occurred to me that the idea of “me drinking at home and doing a long blog post” just doesn’t manifest itself as often as it once did. I think I need to start writing more about some of the beers I drink while I’m “out,” or else I won’t have much of a blog. Maybe one day I’ll break down and buy an iPad, in hopes of blogging on the fly, live from beery dens like Abraxas or the Funky Buddha. In the meantime, though, I’m going to launch a series of short blurbs, specifically related to those times when I want to talk about beer(s), but don’t have enough material or time to sit down and write a lengthy article. So, without further blather:
Tart of Darkness – The Bruery
This is a “soured stout” that I’d been anxious to try. It reminds me a lot of other darker sour beers from the Bruery, like Marron Acidifie and Oude Tart – it’s not just tart, it’s out and out sour. As a sour beer, I think it’s excellent, but in evaluating the overall concept, I can’t help but think that an opportunity was missed. I would have liked to taste more “stout” and less “sour” – I wasn’t getting much of that deep, roasty flavor profile. Instead, it tasted more like a very puckery Flanders Brown.
Fruet – The Bruery
This is the Bruery’s 4th anniversary beer, a massive 15.5% ABV Old Ale aged 100% in bourbon barrels. Previous iterations of their anniversary beer were blends, with some proportion aged in bourbon barrels and some not, so I was curious to taste the impact of the full-on bourbon treatment. It wasn’t as bourbon-addled as I expected it to be. Sure, the calling cards are there – coconut, vanilla, wood – but the bourbon aspect didn’t smack me in the face. It’s a very rich beer with hints of chocolate, raisins and rum in addition. What made it a little tough was the fiery alcohol – going down, it did burn the old gullet somewhat. That’s to be expected with a young 15%’er, though. This one has an excellent future, as the alcohol will calm down in time. I’d like to give it another try in 3-6 years.
Cucumber Saison – Cigar City Brewing
I remember about a year ago, Miami’s now-defunct Sustain (R.I.P.) held a Cigar City beer dinner. I didn’t get to go to that one, but as I recall from reading Twitter, the Cucumber Saison, yet to be bottled at that time, was all the rage. Now it’s bottled, and now I understand what all the fuss is about. In short, it’s a hoppy saison brewed with cucumber. Given that cucumber confers a pretty delicate flavor, I was expecting the hops to completely overwhelm it. To my surprise and delight, the hops didn’t overwhelm at all; they only complemented the cucumber. There’s no mistaking it; you won’t have to search for it. The hop varieties used here are Citra and Sorachi Ace, two of my favorites. Sorachi, developed in Japan, yields a clean lemon-zesty flavor, while Citra, as the name implies, is very fruity, with grapefruit and orange leading the charge, a host of tropical fruits following behind it. You don’t get a lot of the green, dank piney aromas and flavors with these – which is most likely why they lend themselves well to a cucumber saison. Highly recommended. Our unanimous choice for a food pairing with this one was a spicy mango gazpacho we tried at Fairchild’s Mango Festival several hours earlier – but as with all saisons, this will be quite versatile at the table.
That’s it for now. Do I have you all ready to go out and grab a few beers yet? Cheers!