Beer Review: Dankwood

  • Brewery:  Founders Brewing
  • ABV:  12.2%
  • Style:  Imperial Red IPA
  • Serving:  Bottle
  • Bottled Roger Rating:  88%

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Begin At the Beginning (Aroma)
Resin.  Pine.  Right at bottle opening there is a spritz of whiskey.  Vanilla after the resin fades.

And Go On (Appearance)
Towards the red spectrum (really??).  The head looks like a foam mesa.  Maybe a paper mâché.  It’s also whiskey brown.

Till You Come to the End (Taste)
Resin & pine fades into orange rinds.  Creamy vanilla tames the hops, reigns them in.  It becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.

Then Stop (Conclusions)
I feared the IPA-ness but it was not harsh, the vanilla notes helped.  The beer has a solid theme:  resiny hops, oak/wood body, harsh & bitter contrast.

Likely to drink again.

 

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A Visit to Black Bridge Brewery Despite …

Every town, every community, every person should have access to good beer and it’s best when it comes from a local brewery. So, if I’m honest with myself, I am happy that Kingman now has a local – Black Bridge Brewery. Still, it’s difficult to walk through the doors of your dream knowing they were opened by someone else, to sit at the bar of your desire quaffing the liquid portraits mad at another’s hand. So a trace of resentment follows me, like beaten stray dog, when I enter the brewery. If only … (Insert heavy sigh here).

But my “if only” moment has passed like a microburst in the desert. I try to make amends with the stray and order a beer. Admittedly the brewery is a cute little place, tucked away in a small suite next to Sirens cafe in downtown Kingman. Sirens is a delightful place to eat and I believe they do deliver dinners to Black Bridge customers starting at around five, post meridian (PM).

Several years ago there was another brewery in town. It was called Your Mother’s. I don’t recall having heard much about it and it did not last long. So Black Bridge isn’t Kingman’s first brewery. Thus it properly advertises itself as Kingman’s first nano-brewery. I shall credit them with honesty and respect for that. They have not dishonored the beer world.

A nano. Yeah, that’s the route I wanted to go, too. Not sure exactly what size Black Bridge is running but I was aiming for around twenty gallons per batch. I would guess that’s about what they’re doing, too. Oh, I hear the stray growling. Anyway, it’s a small system that fits well in the small building.

The decor isn’t astounding but it’s not stale as the rest of Kingman; at least the place has some character – a consistent color scheme, a roll up door in the back of the building painted with a scene from a brewery, a nice solid bar. It feels comfortable inside. At least, it did when I visited around four pm, about an hour after they opened. There weren’t a lot of people. The employees behind the bar were in a good mood and chatted insouciantly with us. This was refreshing since a previous visit had yielded the normal Kingman atmosphere, namely, lowbrow snootiness and lame elitism. It was far more user friendly on the second visit.

The first beer I tried was B3 Wheat. It felt too sticky and was not effervescent enough but it wasn’t bad. Locomotive Stout had well defined coffee and burnt boundaries but not much of a body. It did possess a nice color. I had hoped it would be on tap for my second visit, but it was not to be.

Black Bridge’s Katastrophic Humiliation has an awkward name, to be sure, a Stone Brewing riff sans rhythm and attitude but it was easily the best of the beers. It was an admirable 10.9 percent concoction with a sultry orange and amber body.  It had a barley-wine-ish slash strong ale look and feel. This beer had verve and wants to be a star. The alcohol doesn’t hit right away, the hops are subdued, currents of strong liquor and caramel are well balanced. Let this beer have a spotlight.

Another visit yielded the delight that is Wagonwheel, a bucolic brown ale. It was a tad muddy in appearance but had a mild nutty flavor. It’s a beer begging to be consumed. Chichester Bitter smelled like dog terd was cloudy when it shouldn’t be but actually didn’t taste horrendous. It was too forgettable however. I saw but did not taste one of their reds, Evil Red, I think. It looked gorgeous. Perfect clarity.

Despite my resentment and frustration, I am happy there’s a brewery in Kingman. It isn’t their fault I couldn’t have my own. I am resolved to enjoy their beers as often as possible. They need a little work but I’m willing to be patient. I enjoin all to meet me for a pint at Kingman’s nano, Black Bridge Brewery.

Friends and Local Breweries

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This Friday presents me with a beer from Lumberyard Brewing in Flagstaff, Arizona.  It is their Red Ale.   Lumberyard is owned by Beaver Street Brewing, also in Flagstaff.  I recall eating there several years ago.  I liked the restaurant, I recall the food being pretty good.  However, I recall little of the beers.

I know I ended up with this beer – as opposed to La Fin Du Monde or a Chimay or a Samuel Smith.  It’s because a friend mentioned it last weekend.  It seemed only fitting to have music playing as I drank this beer (since we used to play in a band together).  Tesla ended up being the soundtrack for this beer.

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It’s also called a Special Bitter Ale.  I hope that is a British pub reference and not an allusion to tons of hops.  I expect a brilliant red color, a medium bodied and easy to drink ale, mid-range on the hops and a malty character, though nothing bready and caramelized.  It’s 5.6% in alcohol, a little towards the higher end of average.

Now it is time to pour.

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I find it more orange than red.  I now fear the hops for I can smell them in the pour, the strong northwest type.  Now I see a picture of hops on the bottle.  What does that portend?  I heard good things from my friend about this brewery; now the time has come to put the beer to the test.

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I wait for the head to descend.  It is a nice creamy head, like frosting.  Another whiff of hops wafts up from the head.  It smells like I’m brewing my own batch, these hops are so pronounced.  It smells like a Sierra Nevada beer.  It tastes like a pale ale with a little more body.  The hops present in the nose are in this medium sized body but not like a terrible conqueror, just a simple visitor.  But the warmer it gets the more puckery the hops aftertaste becomes.

A couple of times it nearly comes across like a heavy brown ale.  The crystal malts made a swift, sweet appearance then ran away.  Almost a touch of cinnamon in there.  Naw, couldn’t be.

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So, does this red (orange) pale ale make me want to run out and visit the Lumberyard?  Yes, duh!  I’m a brewer and a beer fan.  This is a ‘Zona brewery and I’m all for supporting local breweries (Flagstaff is as local as poor Kingman gets) unlike Mohave County or Mohave State Bank.   Anyway, let’s don’t go there.

Yes, the Red Ale is well made if not what I expected.  It’s simply an orange colored pale ale.  The Lumberyard also has a Belgian Style beer I’d love to try and I hope its closer to expectations than this one.

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As noted above, I was listening to Tesla whilst imbibing.  It was Times Makin’ Changes.  I believe that the guys did a brilliant job on their cover of “Signs”.  Additionally, it seems that the gist of that song can apply to beer, too, no?  Do we really need to label beers by style?  Or does that just ‘block out the scenery’?