Sunday, February 20, 2011

Beer tasting celebration

My mother-in-law, Penny, asked me to host a beer tasting to celebrate her husband's achievement of full teacher certification. It was a heck of a time, and I succeeded in my task of getting through the whole tasting and then beginning to slur immediately afterward. Here's what we had, with notes and apologies to the websites that I lifted some verbiage from:

1.     Lindemans Gueuze Cuvee Rene
Gueuze – 5% abv – Brussels, Belgium
A traditional Belgian blend of young and old Lambics (spontaneously fermented), which are then bottled after blending, then aged for 2-3 years to produce a dryer, fruitier and more intense style of Lambic. There is no hop character. It is a golden turbid wine-like beer that balances a malty fruit and a complex yeasty acidity.

2.     Kira Wit
Witbier – 4.7% abv, Melle Belgium
A Belgian Style ale that's very pale and cloudy in appearance due to it being unfiltered and the high level of wheat used in the mash. Kira is brewed using barley malt and raw wheat and spiced with coriander and Curacao bitter orange peel. Sometimes served with a lemon, but if you truly want to enjoy the untainted subtleties of this style you'll ask for yours without one. Often referred to as "white beers" (witbieren) due to the cloudiness / yeast in suspension.

3. Bavarian Barbarian Square feet Wheat
Dunkelweizen – 5.5% abv, Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Similar to a Hefeweizen, these southern Germany wheat beers are brewed as darker versions (Dunkel means "dark") with deliciously complex malts and a low balancing bitterness. Fermented with a weizen yeast strain from the Andechs Brewery in Germany, Square Feet Wheat Dunkelweizen bears a taste of clove along with some fruity esters that include apples and pears.

4. Sierra Nevada Glissade
Bock – 6.4% abv, Chico, California
The Maibock style (or helles bock) of beer tends to be lighter in color than other Bock beers and often has a significant hop character with a noticeable alcohol around the same as a traditional Bock (German strong lager). Maibocks are customarily served in the spring and are oftentimes interrelated with spring festivals and celebrations more often in the month of May.

5. New Holland Imperial Hatter
DIPA – 9.40% abv, Holland, Michican
Take an India Pale Ale and feed it steroids, ergo the term Double IPA. Robust, malty, alcoholic and with a hop profile that might rip your tongue out, look for spots of citrus, pine resin, grass, and maybe even a little bit of onion, all of which come from the different varieties of hops added during the boil and fermentation. This Hatter came from a firkin – a non-force carbonated quarter-keg. 

6. Left Hand Fade to Black
Export Stout – 8.5% abv, Colorado
A special style of stout that is brewed bigger than normal for a long journey, the more traditional Foreign / Export Stouts will be found in the tropical regions of the world. Higher in alcohol with a very pronounced roasted character. Fade to Black shows some very aggressive coffee, chocolate, roasty, and even nutty notes. But not as nutty as Phil Mest.

7. De Struise Pannepot Reserva 2008
Quadrupel – 10.0%, Oostvleteren, Belgium
Inspired by the Trappist brewers of Belgium, a Quadrupel is a Belgian style ale of great strength with bolder flavor compared to its Dubbel and Tripel sister styles. De Struise Brouwers take on the style is every bit as complex and deep as the true Trappists. Look for overtones of dark ripe fruits and some vanilla from aging in oak barrels. 

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