In case you missed Part 1, check it out here. I’m just going to get right into it.
Pint Glass – Brasserie McAuslan St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
This strange one pours black with a tan rusty head. The smells rising from the liquid are 100% mesquite. I’m immediately reminded of the one and only other beer that I’ve had that could be described in that way, Arcadia’s Imperial Stout. This beer is smokey and sweet at the same time. Did they add barbecued wood to the boil? The mouthfeel is a bit watery and thin, which seems odd considering the fact that the brewery went as far as to say that this is an oatmeal stout. Oatmeal, being the key word. I’d expect more luxury from the oats. The aftertaste, however, is very lingering and allows for some chocolate and coffee notes to be uncovered. At 5% abv, this beer feigns strength, but has no lack of intriguing flavor. Good stuff from north of the border.
We drank this beer, out of a pint glass, and it was good. If you want to know what it’s like, read my full review of it here.
Mug – Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout
Ah Bell’s Brewing, a Mid-West stalwart. There will never be a time that I’m not excited to swill some of their precious nectars, unless of course they are spoiled. That’s what happened here. Most likely, the store that we bought this from did not take proper care of the merchandise. The 10 malts that are used to brew Double Cream Stout push the abv to a level that is probably a bit low for cellaring, 6.1%, but we have only had it down there for a little over 6 months. I’m fairly confident that it wasn’t our doing, but who really know.
Everything started out just dandy. It poured with a very attractive head of tan that rose an average height and then eventually settled completely. There was coffee and some dark chocolate in the nose. Though the smell was not necessarily exciting, it didn’t put me off. The flavor, however, did put me off. I found it to be bitter, oily and acidic, with some mal-brewed coffee lingering in the midst. Then, as it lingered on my tongue, things went tart and I was assured that this was absolutely not what Bell’s intended. Frustrating, to say the least. We better move on.
Snifter – Traquair House Ale
This 7.2% Scottish brew departs its bottle with a clear brown, near red color and possesses a stark white, thin head. I found it to smell exactly like Juicy Juice. I guess that means it’s like a plethora of fruits mashed into one indistinguishable, homogeneous piece of produce. Grape and cranberry might have been most prevalent, but it’s hard to say for sure. The fluid has a very striking smoothness. On the back of the tongue there is a lot of Belgian yeast fruitiness, possibly some bubble gum. There is a very pleasant, sweet aftertaste. In summation, this beer is just plain juicy, and it works…well.
The snifter is my favorite of glasses. I like the way it looks, distinguished. I like the way it feels in my hand, rounded and organic. The way the circumference of the lip is slightly smaller than the apex of its width, it really allows for a slight “trapping” of the precious odors, all the better for me to smell my dear…
Chalice – Brouwerij Haacht Gildenbier
I really shouldn’t be in charge of writing about this beer. This little gem that we brought back from Belgium with us is DSR’s little baby. If you are ever in his presence, just mention Gildenbier, or “the archer beer”, or the beer we discovered in the underground, dungeon like brick lair that is Pelgrom in downtown Antwerp. He may demand your attention for about the next hour with his tales, but believe me, it will be time well spent. The man is passionate about Gildenbier, and I can’t blame him in the slightest. It exists in a very special corner of our collective hearts. It is Belgium in a bottle. Let’s see how it tastes.
When the great archer is inverted, out pours a clear brown liquid with a subdued white head that soon dwindles to a spotty foam. It has a very pronounced date aroma, but distinctly of Belgian descent. There is a lot of malt depth to be found here, with some roasty, grain sweetness providing a sturdy body. That all too familiar Belgian yeast fruitiness is very prevalent, and for me it mostly manifests into a very recognizable pear essence. Ever so delightful.
Chalice – Brouwerij De Bie Stoute Bie
This is another little nugget that survived the long flight back from Europe. Our tongues first became acclimated with the work of De Bie in a pretty bad ass beer bar in Brugge called Cambrinus. As time passed after Cambrinus, we realized that their beers were surprisingly hard to come across in Belgium, so when we found a bottle, we snagged it. This, like the above Gildenbier, was slightly difficult for us to open. In a perfect world we could keep them for years and years to come and eventually open them in a much more ceremonious way, where reminiscence may stand long overdue. But we know better, and with Stoute Bie’s 5.5%, it would surely not last such a span of time. So here we are, and here’s what it was like.
Stoute Bie pours black in color with the most glorious head ever. The foam is crazy fluffy with orange, red, and brown highlights. The nose is very, very complex. It is wildly sweet and sour. There is a fruitiness within that plays with the sour, lending thought of sour cherries. Also in the nose, an oily coffee bitterness, and vinegar. How perplexing? The flavor is intensely sweet up front with many of the scents translating over. The only flaw here is found in the aftertaste, which is plagued by that metallic flavor that we have previously discussed finding in many beers of Belgium. We still don’t really get how that comes to pass. If there is any redeeming aspect here with the Bie, it’s that the metal is slathered in a super sweet syrup. Not enough to mask it completely, but enough to prevent it from spoiling the experience.
Snifter – Deschutes The Abyss
You see that snifter next to The Abyss over there? Yeah, that little puppy is made of crystal. That gold rim, that is some high carat, real deal gold. When Beer Blotter busts out the vintage Abyss, they drink it in styzile.
Just as a reminder, this beer is brewed with molasses and licorice and 33% of it is aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels. It fills the crystal glassware with pure black oil liquid and a tan head that settles to a wisp and ring. It is very earthy in the nose. There is very little sweetness to be noted. The wood and licorice come out in the nose, as do roasted malts, all of which seem to impart a barren dryness. The flavor is very peppery up front, shifting into molasses soaked wood. I can only think to call the flavor “mature”. It reminds me, in a way, to Pu-erh tea. It’s just so earthy that I feel it’s much more of an acquired taste than most beers. So very dry. In the exhale following the swallow, the booze and licorice mingle expertly. Some salty pretzel notes simmer to the surface as the beer warms. This beer is really unique and deserves it’s notoriety.