Monday, June 30, 2008

Brouwerij Van Eecke - Poperings Hommel Ale

The Golden Lion.

A strange brew from Brouwerij Van Eecke N.V, this is like a cross between a hoppy Pale Ale and a Belgian Tripel. Popperings is a small town in the West of Belgium where hop cultivation is its main industry and "hommel" is hops in the local dialect. Poperings Hommel pours a slightly clouded pale gold with a small nonpersistent head. The nose is a solid fruity yeast with a grassy edge. On the tongue, the unique blend of bitter hops melds with but doesn't obliterate the familar Belgian-style fruity yeast - flavors of citrus rind and lemongrass mesh with green apples and tart muscat. Not your usual Pale but not all Dubbel either, this delicious hybrid will keep your taste buds guessing for some time! This beer would go very nicely with Swiss cheese and carmelized onions toasted on whole-wheat crackers.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dogfish Head Brewery - Red and White

Not your father's Whitbier.

As I mentioned before, Dogfish Head Brewery is no stranger to strange brews and their Red and White is a prime example. This pours a cherry red with a firm, persistent head and a fresh, bready nose with the vaguest hint of coriander. Very much a Belgian Witbier, the yeast is foremost amongst the flavors creating a sweet and fuity body. There is a bittersweet pie-cherry tang with a hint of bitter herbs and orange peel. The Dogfish twist this time is Pinot Noir...both the addition of Pinot Noir Juice to the mash and the aging in Pinot Noir barrels. This brew has character with a capitol "C"! In spite of its heaviness due to its complexity and massive 10% abv, its no less appealing. If you're a fan of White Ale, you owe it to yourself to give this one a taste. Pair this one up with an authentic Russian beef stroganoff and you wont go far astray.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Stone Brewing - Ruination IPA

Humulus Lupulus Maximus.

Suprisingly, Stone Brewing's wonderful brews hail from sunny SoCal where the hops must grow bigger than your head judging by their Ruination IPA. The faint floralness that tempts the nose belies the massive hop-monster hiding in the first sip. On the tongue this IPA is all rich flavor. The Columbus and Centennial hops bloom on the taste buds with a creamy medium-bitter tang that is both bold and piquant. The lingering finish is lemon rind and figs. With a little kick at 7.7%, its still a very smooth drinker. Though Stone says this will ruin your taste buds for anything else, I'd pair it with something equally bold like Maytag blue cheese and lightly toasted whole-grain sourdough bread.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Heinrich Reissdorf Brewery - Kölsch

Gold from Cologne.

Brauerei Heinrich Reissdorf is the producer of this clear, golden "session style" Kolsch, a Pale Ale local to its birthplace in Cologne, Germany. With its effervescent herbal nose and frothy head, I knew this one was going to be a refreshing change from my malt-and-hop-heavy favorites. On the tongue, the flavors of raspberry leaves and green grapes sparkle then fade to a non-lingering apricot finish. The flavor is straightforward and not overly complex. This ale adheres well to the "Reinheitsgebot" with only water, barley, hops and yeast creating its invigorating flavor. As soon as the weather starts to heat up, I'll make sure to have a few of these in the fridge. I'd like to have a tall glass of this golden brew with baked Rosemary Halibut and steamed broccoli.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Rogue Brewery - Dead Guy Ale

Smoke and Herbs.

Rogue Brewery crafts this wonderful German Maibock style ale with a Northwest twist: the Rogue brewmeisters use their own proprietary "Pacman" yeast! This ale pours a transparent dirty-tangerine with just a medium-light head. The aroma of fruity yeast is the first to hit your nose, followed quickly by the hearty molasses-like scent of malt. This one is a new favorite - the taste is beautifully thick and heavy with lots of smoky malt and overtones of roasted almonds, pistachios and a touch of quince. There's a nice herbal bitterness hiding right beneath the malt so hop-heads need not despair. The finish is a cool, citron tang mellowed by the lingering malt. (Did I mention the malt?!) This would be fantastic alongside a spicy Penne Puttanesca with lots of Kalamata olives and capers covered with fresh-grated Romano.