Archives of a Beer Nerd – Sixth Installment
Yup, we plod on. The journey continues, down the beautiful path of beerdom, through the expansive pages of Timperial’s beer journal.
Introduction: Just in case you are new to the blotter, here is the link to follow if you need an explanation of what in the hell this column is all about. In a nutshell, the archive is a time machine that takes us back a few years to the initial days of my beer journaling. I’ve drank a lot of good beers through the years, and I’d like to share my thoughts on how they tasted. Hopefully I’ll whet your appetite and you will give these beers a try for yourself. If I’m lucky enough to make that happen for you, please tell us about your experience and how it tasted in your words.
The last installment left us near the end of January, 2008. I had just tried my first ever Abyss. Let’s see what new and exciting things I tasted next.
Photo credit: Hallam
North Coast Brewing (Fort Bragg, CA) – Cru d’Or
8%. Belgian style through and through. There is not much head present (bottle cap fitted). When cold, it is very bland, but as it warms…flavors burst forth! It has a light brown color and great clarity. The odor is of yeast, plums, an almost medicinal alcohol, but very pleasant. Nice sweetness…the maltiness comes through, drying the palate. I find this to be a nice Belgian, though it could use more carbonation.
Timperial Commentary: Does this beer still exist? I completely forgot about it until I read this in my journal. I do remember really liking this beer and getting it again in 2009. It’s a seasonal, I remember that, but what season? You got me. I also remember someone telling me that this beer did very well cellared for a few years. I clearly don’t have any down there.
I was able to find the beer on NCB’s website, but only by searching specifically for the beer by name. If you scroll through all of their beers listed on the main “beers” page, it is not listed. Maybe it has been retired. That would be sad.
Victory Brewing Co. (Downingtown, PA) – Golden Monkey
9.5%. This beer pours with a clear, golden color and a minimal head. It’s a tripel Belgian style ale brewed with spices, and that is exactly what it tastes like. It smells like a white ale with nutmeg added. It has a strong alcohol effervencence…very sweet and spicy, though a bit drying a few moments after the sip. The flavors really linger. This beer provides major memories of home. What a great winter beer…warming and tasting of Christmas.
Timperial Commentary: Oh man…Golden Monkey really does remind me of home in PA. It especially reminds me of For Whom The Beer Toales (our Chicago correspondent), who absolutely loves getting the “monkey on her back”. I am reminded of having beers at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown, which was just a few blocks from where I lived once upon a time. That’s a must visit in Philly if you ask me. Great beer, food and live music.
I totally neglect this beer! I think I’m going to have to race out to the bottle shop right now and get some, crack it open, inhale, and enjoy the roller coaster of emotion.
Kiuchi Brewery/Hitachino Nest (Ibaraki, Japan) – XH
7% Strong ale matured in oak casks used for Shocyu (distilled sake). It pours a very cloudy, effervescent amber, brownish color. There is a lot of sediment on the bottom of the glass. The head is thin and wispy, with slight retention. The nose is full of sour yeast, probably a result of the oak. There is an odd, soapy aroma present as well. Earth and sour in the flavor. Maybe it’s power of suggestion, but I get a cherry cough drop after taste. Kiuchi’s ingenuity and uniqueness continues to amaze me.
Timperial Commentary: Kiuchi is one of those breweries that can do no wrong in my mind. The only beer that I have ever tried by them that I wasn’t highly impressed with was the Nipponia, but I can surely respect it for its historical nod. Sorachi Ace hops are the big fad right now, and Nipponia surely plays a role in that. In reading my review, XH sort of comes off as being spoiled or infected or just plain gross. I mean, a sour, earthy, soapy, cough medicine beer…that sounds terrible. Oddly though, I’ve had this beer several times since my initial review and I really like it. It’s powerfully unique. I’d love to see more breweries attempting to use sake barrels to age beer.
P.S. XH stands for Extra High. Impress your friends.