Archives of a Beer Nerd – Forth Installment
Fourth installment already? My oh my how time flies. 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 found us nearing the middle of December, 2007. Let’s pick up where we left off.
Unibroue (Chambly, Quebec, Canada) – Ephemere
5.5% ale brewed with granny smith apple juice, coriander, and curacoa. Golden color, decent head – telling of its potent bubbly. Apple sour and sweetness relevant in smell and taste. Yeast also pronounced in the nose. Spices come out on the back of the tongue. Very pleasant aftertaste lingers for a while after each sip. I probably should be drinking this outside in the sun, but it’s December and we are in Seattle. A little bit too fruity, but for a fruit beer it’s classy and sophisticated.
Timperial Commentary: I must admit, I’m a huge fan of Unibroue’s work, Ephemere notwithstanding. This beer is very unique and refreshing. I buy a bottle of this on a pretty regular basis. I do agree with my 2007 self that it is a great summer, outdoor kind of beer, but the apples and spice also have a holiday season feel to them. About as many happy feelings rush into my mind when I drink this beer as flavors I find on the palate. If you like the saisons, fruit or spiced beers, and Belgian beers with high effervescence, this beer is for you.
Stone Brewing Co. (San Diego, CA) – Double Bastard
10%. Seasonal release to much acclaim that honestly, I don’t fully understand. Very dark brown, not much sustaining head at all. The nose is, in my opinion, by far the best quality of this brew. It has a hoppiness, sweetness, smokiness… Hops come out in the flavor, a dryness and…barley…something. Hard to explain. I have had this before and didn’t like it very much, and with the flood of excitement and positive press, I felt I must be mistaken. I even let it age a few months. I couldn’t drink too much of this.
Timperial Commentary: Yeah, I’m dead serious when I tell you that I don’t like Double Bastard. I find it to be so odd that a large percentage of the beer nerds out there go ga-ga for it. This type of stark polarity is incredibly rare for me when it comes to highly respected beers. I do have a very high respect for Stone. I like almost all of their beers, and love a decent amount of them. DB just doesn’t do it for me. Oh well.
Avery Brewing Co. (Boulder, CO) – Collaboration not Litigation
8.99%. Avery and Russian River both have a beer called Salvation, and to get around potential legal action they collaborated. This is the mix of the two, both of which are Belgian golden ales. Dark brown color, smells of yeast and caramel. Doesn’t leave much lace on the glass but the head sustains throughout. Alcohol present in smell and taste. Maybe if I didn’t know it was a blend… but I feel like I can tell. There is a contrast on the tongue.
Timperial Commentary: I must admit that I didn’t read this review before I stated typing it. This beer is so damn good that I figured my review would express more elation. That is a piss poor review 2007 self. You’ll just have to take the word of 2010 self when I say, this beer is awesome! The blend works really well. For a long time this was the only way that most people could taste Russian River in any way. As always, their work does not disappoint. And Avery…well, theirs never does either. Without a doubt, two of the country’s best breweries. Drink this beer!