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Presented by Consumer Beverages
by Willard Brooks, Paul Marko, and Chris Groves
SOUTHERN TIER LIVE "BOTTLE CONDITIONED" PALE ALE
>by Paul Marko
What’s your go-to beer? One you can get almost everywhere? One that you like seeing the tap handle when your not in a noted beer bar? Experienced beer enthusiasts get this question often by those looking to glean a little advice. For this reviewer, that choice would be Live, the flavor-packed “American modern” pale ale from Southern Tier. When yeast is added to fermenting “beer” it gobbles up sugar and converts it into alcohol. Imagine the feeding frenzy of yeast cells eating their way around a fermenter...on a microscopic level it must be a wild scene! Well, just prior to packaging, ST adds a little yeast to the beer for a secondary fermentation. This helps to add carbonation, remove oxygen, improve shelf life and add complexity. The beer is essentially alive. Hence it’s name. Live pours golden and almost clear—not a normal thing for typically cloudy, “conditioned” beers—and immediately releases its juicy, citrus hop aroma. Initial sips of this dry but quenching ale reveal serious citrus notes, combined with a balanced malt/wheaty body and even a touch of that en vogue dank character. This effervescent, four hop/four malt beer pairs well with an array of comfort bar foods, from nachos to burgers—cementing it’s “go-to” status. Make sure to grab a bottle and compare if you can...yes, it’s even better from the bottle than on draught.
OMEGANG GAME OF THRONES THREE EYED RAVEN BLACK SAISON
>by Willard Brooks
There is a propensity among craft brewers to take traditional styles of beer and make a twisted extreme version that extends the style in a trendy way. It sells beer—but blurs styles in sometimes confusing ways. Take Black IPA, Imperial stout, or heck even IPA itself. Sometimes these twisted versions become styles all their own (e.g “West Coast IPA”)—sometimes the latest beery Edsel. I often do not like Black IPAs and Black Saisions—they are often not as good as their non-twisted parents (often too sweet or too roasty). The latest Game of Thrones from Ommengang—Three Eyed Raven—had me prepared to dislike it as black saison seems a tad bit too catchpenny. Yet, at first pour the wild effervescence which pours with a chunky light coca foam is a sight to see. It has a deep dark brown, almost black color. Close your eyes and sip in classic saison yeast aromas and a very traditional saison flavor profile but with a vague roast and a twang of sweet, and complimented by hops. In the end it is neither a pure saison nor your typical dark beer, but instead a blend that actually works. Finish is crisp, with nice hops and classic Saison yeast notes. Pair with carnitas tacos, smoked BBQ, and spicy Thai—also roasted red bell peppers with goat cheese and any kind of mild smoked cheese. Available on draft and in 750ml bottles beginning April 2015. Try it—you will like it.
LAGUNITAS BROWN SHUGGA
STYLE: AMERICAN BARLEY WINE
>by Chris Groves, Certified Cicerone®
I have trouble with the “dangerously drinkable” descriptor so often used in the context of this beer and others like it. It’s an icky combination of words which could also be used to describe bleach. What I think it means to say is that this beer hides it’s booziness well enough in the flavor that the effects might catch up to you if you’re more than a few in on a school night. Be responsible folks, unless you’re ok with feeling like someone took your brain out and replaced it with a sponge. Brown Shugga came about by way of a failed batch of 1997 Olde Gnarleywine, resulting in a new beer. A happy accident, if you will. Malt sweetness, roast, brown sugar, and resinous hops work tremendously well together in producing a beer that is balanced, juicy and hugely flavorful. I suggest seeking out a large brandy snifter (if you don’t own one) for barleywines. Brandy snifters allow you to fully immerse yourself in the aromas and flavors of the beer with the large, open bowl perfect for swirling, twirling and warming. The intense flavors of this beer are further enhanced as the beer warms, making it a slightly different beer with each sip. With food, match your intensities...give strong aged cheddar, stilton or roquefort a try. You can find 6-packs on sale through the end of the month for $10.99 at all Consumer’s Beverages. Cool!
Southern Tier Live "Bottle Conditioned" Pale Ale, Omegang Game of Thrones Three Eyed Raven Black Saison, Lagunitas Brown Shugga. blog comments powered by Disqus
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