Beers in Review: A Collaboration and a Blend

Without a doubt, regardless of the style, if I see a brand-new/never-before-seen brewery cross my local beer aisles, I am undoubtedly going to pounce on that beer. Collaborations are likely the easiest way to find such breweries, and Collaboration 7: Oak-Aged Lager is no exception. While Boulevard Brewing Company frequently shows up in my area, my only exposure to Creature Comforts Brewing Company was, I believe, from one of Sierra Nevada's Beer Camp series beers. Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company? Never seen 'em. This collaboration checks in at 6% ABV and 16 IBU with a fairly light body, and is a hazy orange lager that tends to come out pretty fruity. In addition to many wine notes, especially the white wine side of the spectrum via Riesling grape juice, the flavor profile includes some citrus notes that bring a little bit of tartness to the lager. I also found some grain and corn notes in there, as well. The three breweries put a good amount of complexity into what is typically a fairly simple style. A very dynamic lager.

Next is a blending of words and beers from Rogue Ales. Hazelutely Choctabulous combines Rogue's Hazelnut Brown Nectar and Chocolate Stout. The result is very dark brown to near-black stout that is 5.7% ABV and 51 IBU. Both beers play well with each other but also shine through in the flavor profile, which primarily features the two key players: nuttiness and chocolate. It's plenty tasty, though nowhere near as sweet as I expected, given the brewery's comparing of the beer to a "chocolate candy bar". Still, a really neat and excellent offering.

Beers in Review: Here We Gose

Frankly, I spent all my brainpower coming up with a witty title. That up there, that's what you got. We'll get to the gose in a bit.

But we'll start with another offering from Rogue Ales. Charlie 1981 is an American Strong Ale (and it shows, sporting an ABV of 9.1%) that pours a reddish-brown mud color. I found this beer to be quite tasty. Vanilla notes, specifically vanilla bean ice cream, lead the flavor profile, giving way to lots of cherries, some plum, and other fruits. There was a slight note of straight-up alcohol that affected the flavor profile a bit, but otherwise I found this beer to be delicious.

Next is Prairie Flare Gose from Prairie Artisan Ales. As I poured it, it had a massive amount of head (at least 2 fingers in an 8 oz. glass). With a fair amount of bubbles rushing up through the glass, and the color, it very much reminded me of sparkling wine, though it was maybe a tad more yellow than most sparklings I've seen. This gose has a nice flavor balance of sweet and salty. The winey look carries into the flavor a bit, and the mentioned coriander is evident in the finish, while the orange/citrus note floats over the entire tasting experience. Fairly tasty, with no overpowering flavor note.

Finally, Elysian Brewing Company's Blood Orange Pale Ale. A hazy orange-gold color, the Blood Orange Pale is bright and citrusy with a very mild hop bite. There is also a hint of pine hoppiness, with a juiciness that opens up as it warms up a bit. There is also a citrusy sweetness that opens up later, as well. A decent pale ale, overall.

Beers in Review: Late-ish

I'm writing this at a later hour than I normally like to write, so let's just get into today's beers.

First up is the Honey Kolsch from Rogue Ales. Rogue's farm near their brewery in Oregon sourced the honey for this Kolsch from over 7 million bees kept on the farm. This beer pours a straw yellow, and is nice and light with mild sweetness, including a not-too-strong honey note. Doughy and yeasty notes are also prevalent, all leading the way to a nice biscuity malt finish. I found this beer to be quite tasty.

Next up is New Holland Brewing Company's Sundog. Pouring a deep copper color, I found notes in this beer I really liked, but I also found something a bit off. The beer has a strong malt backbone with bready notes and a whole lot of caramel. The finish was kind of strange--I felt like I was getting a nutty note, but there was also some sort of off flavor. It seemed like maybe something metallic, but I had trouble placing it. The front half of this beer was decent, but the back half was a bit of a killer. I would give it another try, perhaps in bottles (I got a draft) or at another locale.

Finally, from Freehouse Brewery, their Battery Brown Ale. The beer poured a pretty light cola color, and brought a massive malt bill with huge burnt sugar notes, along with toffee. There was a slight hint of a straight-up burnt note, but it blended well with everything else going on, so that it was not off-putting. Despite the dark candy-like notes, this beer carried just a hint of sweetness. A whole of what I like from brown ales in this Battery Brown. The brewers call it "quaffable...for all seasons", and I completely agree.

Beers in Review: Another post where I have to spell "hazelnut"

More from the weekend, plus a minor programming note at the end. Let's check out some beers.

The first two beers are some of the less-available beers from Lagunitas Brewing Company. First is their CitruSinensis, a Pale Ale brewed with blood oranges. The ale poured a gold color, had a light to medium body, and I found this beer to be really juicy in terms of a mouthfeel, almost as if biting into a perfectly ripe orange or other fruit, where the juices run down the corners of your mouth. There was a little bit of grape or white wine flavor initially, but this quickly gave way to plenty of citrus, most notably the blood orange, of course. Citrusy hops tended to make their presence felt as the ale warmed. This was a tasty beer with a unique mouthfeel.

Next from Lagunitas was their brand-new Aunt Sally, a hoppy sour ale. It pours a pale golden color, and this particular glass had lots of carbonation, almost making it look like champagne in the glass. The flavors in this beer are straight forward: citrusy hop notes combined with plenty of lemon and other sour flavors. The citrusy hops generate a bit of hop bitterness, especially towards the end of the sip.

To kind of stay on-style after the Aunt Sally, I had Kirsch Gose by Victory Brewing Company. A cherry gose, it represents those cherries visually by pouring a pretty rose color. Sour cherries with mild sweetness made up with flavor profile, and the gose had a crisp, dry mouthfeel and finish. A really tasty gose.

Finally, Hazelnut Brown Nectar from Rogue Ales. It pours a medium shade of brown, is a bit hazy, and has a medium body. Tasty and straight forward in flavor, one of the most notable things that came to my mind when I pursued flavors was "chocolate cake". It is nutty and chocolaty and sweet (but not too sweet) with tons of flavor. An enjoyable drinking experience.

As a programming note, I will be spending the weekend in Asheville, North Carolina, one of the major craft beer cities in the US. I will be tweeting throughout the trip on the blog Twitter account. Also expect multiple articles and maybe even a video on the breweries of Asheville next week!