Beers for the Week

Since this week will see the publication of sundry posts regarding German wheat beers, I recommend finding one.  And drinking it. Here are some you can find locally:

  1. Wheatever. A weissbier, home brew, in bottles at my house. Should be ready in a week.
  2. K-Town Weiss. A kristall weizen available at Black Bridge Brewery. I wrote about it here, mostly. It was a hefe weissbier version at the time. This latest iteration has been filtered.  It was also mentioned recently by Tap That AZ.
  3. Chocolate Banana Nut Hefe & Hefen’ A.   According to Rickety Cricket Brewery’s website, both these beers are weissbiers and are on tap. I’ve not had either, so can’t share any thoughts on them.  Obviously I need to get to them this week.

Other suggestions if you don’t get to a wheat beer:

  1.  Backwoods Bastard & Dank Wood.  The former is a barrel aged scotch ale and the latter a barrel aged imperial red IPA by Founders Brewing.  Evaluations pending.
  2. Hell Bitch.  A Belgian strong golden ale from Black Bridge Brewery.  It’s nearly perfect.

Those are the beers on my radar for the week.

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The Barrels

The barrels are on cradles in a back corner of Black Bridge Brewery by the roll up door leading to the patio.  One looks charred and beaten, the other is oakishly white and new-ish.  Both contain beers – as you would expect in a brewery.  The weathered barrel is a from a 10 year old Knob Creek whiskey and it holds the newest iteration of Katastrophic Humiliation.  The other barrel is from Desert Diamond Distillery, used for their 5 year reserve rum; the barrel now contains an aged Old Pretender.  Both barrels were carefully drilled into recently and a few ounces were released for sampling to the small group that bloomed around the barrels.

Old Pretender was brown, like a beer bottle or growler.  It’s hard to expatiate the flavors that were happening in that sample.  The rum definitely holds a presence, some commented that they tasted chocolate.  It’s a rich drink, plenty of complexity to satisfy a good beer snob.  Katastrophic is continually a brilliant beer.  The aroma from the barrel, bourbon and vanilla, will enhance it’s reputation no doubt.  It was very, very dry and a pale bronze color and I don’t remember a lot else about it.  It’s still very young and has to further mature.

Look for both at the Real Wild & Woody beer festival in Phoenix, July 28

Regarding Stresstout – An Imperial Stout by Black Bridge Brewery

Black Bridge Brewery has a powerful selection of stouts to drink.

  • Locomotive
  • Stout Chocula
  • Frankenstout
  • Mole Stout
  • Angry Elf

Three of those are blends and Angry Elf is seasonal and all are potent and satisfying beers, each one.  I am also quite partial to stouts and porters, but surely that has no bearing herein.

Another stout can be added to the list.  In addition to clever word play in it’s name it boasts eleven percent alcohol and barrel aged gravitas.  It’s been four years since the last time Kingman residents have been able to relieve their stress via Stresstout.  This bourbon barrel-aged version will be on tap, I believe, February 3.

Here are a few things to look for in an Imperial Stout, :

  • Roasty-burnt malt with deep dark or dried fruit flavors
  • A warming, bittersweet finish
  • Components need to meld together to create a complex, harmonious beer, not a hot mess.

That Smell …
I perceived chocolate and coffee in the nose first, moderately strong dark charred malt, then the embers of, maybe some dark fruit.  Then the bourbon arrives … .  It’s a complex bouquet, no hops perceived.  Strong and inviting.

In Appearance …
Beautiful, really.  Here’s a picture:

IMG_4786

It defies the desert sun, countering the deep sunset with brown, garnet and ivory.   It sported a thin, tan head with low retention, but that could have just been the glass.

But the Taste …
While the bourbon does not dominate it makes itself known.  As with the aroma there is a moderate presence of burnt malt.  Stresstout is like Locomotive Stout married to a svelte whiskey; or Katastrophic Humiliation with a lot of dark malt.  It’s definitely got a barleywine-like alcohol punch.A little vanilla and oak come through as well.  It’s definitely got a barleywine-like alcohol punch.  As noted, I perceived no hops in the nose and really did not notice any hops flavor or bitterness.  It has a warm, alcoholic finish.    It’s has a solid, not heavy, body.  In that regard it resembles Black Bridge’s other Imperial Stout, Angry Elf.  Both of these are ridiculously and dangerously easy to drink.

Conclusions
Another superb addition to a strong tap list at Black Bridge.  This is a complex beer, sometimes it’s even possible to forget you have a beer and think you’ve got a big glass of whiskey.  It’ll make you feel refined.  In fact, if this were a book … well, I’d just have to call it poetry – and not cheap doggerel.  Maybe you are familiar with Rumi.  His poems are gorgeous, composed of words like everyone else uses but placed together in a way that is sublime and practical, esoteric and approachable.  Therefore, it’s a good metaphor for Stresstout.   It’s a really well done stout.  For beer fans, this is a complex delight with no end to dissection; for beer novices this can expand the palate.

For more details on an Imperial Stout, see section 20c of the Beer Judge Certification Program Style Guidelines.  Here’s a few highlights:

20C. Imperial Stout

Aroma: Rich and complex, with variable amounts of roasted grains, maltiness, fruity esters, hops, and alcohol. The roasted malt character can take on coffee, dark chocolate, or slightly burnt tones and can be light to moderately strong.  … Fruity esters may be low to moderately strong, and may take on a complex, dark fruit (e.g., plums, prunes, raisins) character. Hop aroma can be very low to quite aggressive, … An alcohol character may be present, but shouldn’t be sharp, hot, or solventy. Aged versions may have a slight vinous or port-like quality, but shouldn’t be sour.

Appearance: Color may range from very dark reddish-brown to jet black. Opaque. Deep tan to dark brown head.

Flavor: Rich, deep, complex and frequently quite intense, with variable amounts of roasted malt/grains, maltiness, fruity esters, hop bitterness and flavor, and alcohol. Medium to aggressively high bitterness. Medium-low to high hop flavor (any variety). Moderate to aggressively high roasted malt/grain flavors can suggest bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, cocoa, and/or strong coffee. … Malt backbone can be balanced and supportive to rich and barleywine-like, … The palate and finish can vary from relatively dry to moderately sweet, usually with some lingering roastiness, hop bitterness and warming character.

Mouthfeel: Full to very full-bodied and chewy, with a velvety, luscious texture … . Gentle smooth warmth from alcohol should be present and noticeable, but not a primary characteristic; in well-conditioned versions, the alcohol can be deceptive.

History: A style with a long, although not necessarily continuous, heritage. Traces roots to strong English porters brewed for export in the 1700s, and said to have been popular with the Russian Imperial Court. After the Napoleonic wars interrupted trade, these beers were increasingly sold in England. The style eventually all but died out, until being popularly embraced in the modern craft beer era, both in England as a revival and in the United States as a reinterpretation or re-imagination by extending the style with American characteristics.