Posted: November 6th, 2009 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Beer Reviews, Specialty, Stout | No Comments »
Ah, fall in Portland. The season for darker, interesting, and wacky beers. Bring on the stouts, the bourbon-barrel releases, and the winter warmers!
Roots Brewing has released a chocolate habañero stout; a stout brewed with chocolate malt, chocolate wheat & five pounds of coco nibs in the mash, boiled for two hours during six pounds of organic free trade semi sweet chocolate syrup made by Alma Chocolate is added. After fermentation they dry hopped with 100 chopped habañeros. For those of you not in Portland, Alma Chocolate is a local chocolatier that makes fantastic, interesting, fancy chocolates.
On first pouring, this beer has a chili pepper aroma along with dark malt notes — just as you might expect — and a medium head that dissipates fairly quickly. This isn’t an oily Guinness, it’s more in the vein of a dry Irish stout. It is completely black, not even a hint of wan Portland afternoon light gets through this pint.
As it warms, the flavors definitely improve. On my first taste, this stout was dry, not very chocolatey, and I couldn’t taste the habañeros at all. Now that it’s been warming for a little bit, there’s a definite spiciness up front and in the finish. Swishing it around in my mouth makes my gums tingle with spice – both weird and interesting in a beer. If you’re expecting this to be a sweet chocolate stout like Young’s Double Chocolate stout, you’ll be disappointed. This has more of a cocoa nib chocolate character rather than a bittersweet chocolate flavor. The sweetness is more apparent after 30 minutes of warming, so come in for a pint and relax a while to let the flavors come out.
The spice level definitely grows over time, more of a nice slow burn that lingers than a sharp up-front heat. I can also taste the chilies in the finish, which give a slightly toasted note to the flavor.
All in all, this ended up being a pretty interesting stout. I’m not sure the habañeros were necessary, though the warm tingle on the back of my tongue is nice on a blustery Portland day. I almost want the chocolate to be more prominent or sweeter since it’s muted by the black malt of the stout and the chili flavors. However, this had the potential to be a really weird beer, and instead it was a tasty and interesting beer.
Keep up the experimentation, Roots!
Posted: April 16th, 2009 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Beer Reviews, Craft Brew, Pale Ale, Specialty, What's that in your fridge? | Tags: coriander, ginger, Pale Ale | 1 Comment »
Since I’m still on the lookout for good ales brewed with ginger, I had to grab a bottle of Laughing Buddha’s Ginger Pale Ale. It’s brewed with ginger and coriander, so be ready for it to taste a little like a grand cru. The aroma is strongly of savory ginger, some spice, and a hint of malt. It pours clear and the color of copper-tinted honey. It’s not over-carbonated, and has a medium bubbly mouthfeel much like you’d expect from a pale ale. The ginger flavor is definitely present, both up front and in the finish, but isn’t astringent.
This is actually an ideal beer for a warm spring day – full enough to take the chill off you when the wind blows, but light and crisp to compliment the warmth of the sun on your face. I could see it pairing nicely with sushi, or even udon. Something that doesn’t have strong spices that would overwhelm the ginger notes.
It reminds me a lot of the experimental ginger hefeweizen I brewed a couple of months ago, only more carbonated. I hope that my brew gets a bit more bubbly!
Also, it turns out that Laughing Buddha had to change its name to Trade Route Brewing due to a legal dispute. Since the brewery is in Seattle, I’ll have to check it out the next time I go north.
Posted: May 11th, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Beer Reviews, Craft Brew, Golden ale, Specialty, What's that in your fridge? | No Comments »
Such cute little bottles!
We were shopping at a local wine store that happened to have an interesting beer selection, and I was drawn to the cute little three-pack of Belzebuth
bottles. The label claims this is “the most unique beer in the world” so I had to get it. Them’s drinkin’ words!
Belzebuth is a gorgeous golden color in the glass, much like a mead or even a cider. There’s little head on pouring, though a little foam remains around the edges of the glass. The bubbles are fine like a quality champagne — which I’d expect from a fancy French beer! Of course, Brasserie Grain D’Orge is located just south of the Belgian border in the Flanders region of France, so this is barely a French beer in my mind.
Of particular note is that this beer is 13% alcohol, a fact prominently stated on the neck label. This had me prepared for it to be quite sweet, which it is. Lots of candy sugar flavor in this one, almost sticky and sickly sweet at times. The sweetness is a little better as the beer warms and the malt flavors become apparent.
If you don’t let this beer warm up before drinking it, all you taste is sweet up front with a metallic finish. Kathy said, “The aftertaste tastes like fish. Ew. You can drink this one.” To me it didn’t taste like fish (and I hate fish flavor), it just had a strong metallic finish. Once it’s warmer, the finish is more fruity and spicy.
Because of the sweetness, this is not a fast drinking beer. I’ve been sipping mine for at least an hour now and still have a bit more to drink. On account of the alcohol level and the sweetness, this wouldn’t be a beer I’d put in regular drinking rotation. But it makes a good dessert beer, that’s for sure!