With my seemingly endless blog posts about Wicked Weed and AB-InBev, I seem to have pushed nearly everything else aside. But now, the big news has passed, and we can start getting back to normal. My BiR list is so backed-up that today I will bring you not two, but THREE entries! Let's dive in!
First up is a collaboration between Charlotte's Unknown Brewing Company and Greenville, SC's Birds Fly South Ale Project. 10-Minute Vacation is a lager (4.3% ABV) flavored with Muscadine grapes and dry-hopped with Mosaic and Equinox hops. The pale yellow lager with a light-to-medium body brings a mild sweetness coming from the grapes that ramps up as the lager warms. The grapes and the sweetness from them really serve to smooth out a great deal of what would be pretty considerable grainy notes and hop bite. Both of these things do still exist, but are knocked down in intensity, with the grains being found earlier in the drinking experience, while the hop bite comes through at the very end.
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is famous for its 60-, 90-, and 120-minute IPAs, and makes a number of other quality brews, but Raison D'Extra is something else. A ramped-up version of their Raison D'Etre Belgian-style Dark Ale, D'Extra comes in at a massive 16-18% ABV! I had the opportunity to try the 2014 version recently, and the booze notes, while present, are surprisingly downplayed in a mid-teens ABV beer. Pouring a cloudy icea tea color, D'Extra is dominated by raisins, cherries, plums, and other dark fruits. There is a fair amount of sweetness, along with some tobacco notes, and some other spiciness (perhaps cinnamon?). I got a small sample (4 oz.) of this beer, and it was really good, but I wouldn't want too much more than that sample glass. I could see it becoming overwhelming.
Finally, I went back to one of my old favorites, Highland Brewing Company, and St. Terese's Pale Ale. It pours a clear golden color, has a medium-to-heavy body, and comes in at 5.1% ABV. Lots of different hop flavor notes are present in this Pale Ale, including lots of citrus, some grassy or leafy notes, and a bit of pine. There is also a slight sweetness and some bready malt notes, along with the slightest hop bite. I found this to be a really enjoyable pale ale, as I've come to expect from Highland.