Consumer Beverages Presents: What's Brewing?
by Willard Brooks & Chris Groves
Big Ditch Brewing Company
Excavator Rye Brown Ale
> by Willard Brooks
Nothing says working man more than brown ales. And this one is a tribute to the working men who built the Erie Canal. At nearly six percent this brown ale will warm you up a bit more than most. Seven different malts are used to achieve a rich complexity that remains smooth and balanced. It is highlighted by judicious amounts of chocolate malt, with a subtle, spicy finish from the use of flaked rye. This one was enjoyed last Friday at Brennan’s Bowery Bar and paired very well with a classic fish fry with fries and cole slaw with the family—the very meaning and essence of comfort food. As such this is a comfort beer—try it, you will like it, too. Available around Buffalo at bars and restaurants as well as in growlers at the brewery. Soon Big Ditch will be opening a swank tap room that is not to be missed! The brewery is located at 55 E. Huron Street—see website for opening hours. Visit: BigDitchBrewing.com
Old First Ward Brewing Company HO Oats Stout
> by Willard Brooks
Certain imperial stouts and porters with their massive alcohol and big flavors have achieved cult status. Endless hours can be spent enjoying the many comforting variations of these brews associated strongly with the UK and Ireland. This oatmeal stout is a daily drinker that will inspire you to enjoy the moment along with a Rueben sandwich and hand cut fries. It pours a thin white head and is Irish in style with some hops backing it up—very drinkable and built for sessions, political debates, and cheerful moments sitting at Genie’s old bar in the Ward. Loved by geeks and locals alike. Get this! Similar to Brooklyn Dry Stout. Available on tap at Gene McCarthy’s next door to the Old First Ward Brewery at 73 Hamburg Street. Visit: GeneMcCarthys.com
Goose Island Sofie—Belgian/French Style Farmhouse Ale
> by Chris Groves, Certified Cicerone
Bright golden and effervescent with notes of white pepper and citrus, this beer begs to be smelled, and smelled again. Each sip hits you with new flavors and aromas varying from sweet and bready, to tart, vinous and peppery. Mid-palette malt sweetness shows up for a brief moment then finishes dry, with a subtle lingering sweetness. On style, Belgian & French-style Farmhouse Ales tend to be very yeast forward beers. Dominant flavors are derived from the specific yeast strain(s) in which the beer was fermented. Your choice of glassware to drink this beer should also be considered carefully. A footed Tulip or Goblet is very well suited to this beer, helping aid in head retention and directing aromas where they need to go; in your nose! When thinking about beer, food is always my second thought. Farmhouse ales are complex enough to work with almost any dish you throw its way. A favorite pairing of mine being Pad Thai. We are beginning to see an uptick in popularity of these styles in American brewing culture which is currently aflood with hop forward beers. This often overlooked year-round offering from Goose Island holds characteristics of much more sought after examples by being wine barrel aged, blended and fermented with wild yeast. All this diversity for $12.99 a 4-pack? I’ll take it. Maybe it’s time you revisit Sofie, she’s missed you.
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