Thursday, December 31, 2009

Nøgne-Ø Winter Ale

Nøgne-Ø Winter Ale, Norway, 8.5%

Ah yes, another exciting Nøgne-Ø installment!

This is dark. Very dark. Opaque, with a thick, creamy cappuccino head.
It smells grainy - a little brown sugar. It's got a thick mouthfeel, toasty, caramel, yet some fairly bold hops. Almost like a stout with some American C-hops thrown in. Crazy.

There are some slight phenols, finishes pretty hot. This warms you UP.

I like it.

Orlando Brewing Partners European Pilz

Orlando Brewing European Pilz, Orlando, FL, 5.2%

I'd heard about the Orlando Brewing Partners brewery, but their beers are a little hard to find, even though they're about an hour's drive from here. Luckily, the Whole Foods in Orlando stocks plenty. I grabbed this pilsner with high hopes. And hey, it's organic!

It pours a nice golden yellow, with a monster ice cream scoop head. It smells grassy, with a little spicy hop scent in there.

The taste? Just as it smells, with the spicy, grassy czech hops up front. It's nice and peppery, crisp. Very delicious - we'll have to pick up more of these on our next Orlando run.

Ridgeway Brewing Lump of Coal

Lump of Coal Dark Holiday Stout, Ridgeway Brewing, UK, 8% abv

Well, you're certainly not a bad boy if you receive this lump of coal in your stocking!

This pours a dark, brown-black, with a nice fluffy tan head. There's a big malty smell - fruity and sweet.

The taste is also a big punch of malty sweetness, followed by some alcohol, then gentle toast. It finishes fairly dry. Really yummy!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Fantôme de Noël

Fantôme de Noël, Belgian Christmas beer, 10%, Belgium.

Fantôme is one of the breweries that I heard ordered a lot by Americans when I was sitting in the Delirium Cafe. I assumed it was pretty hard to get in the States, but with 2000+ choices on the menu, I never got around to it.
Turns out, it's not too rare over here, and I picked up this bottle of their Christmas beer a while back....I think it was from last holiday, but that's ok - for this style, it might actually taste better having aged a bit. Oddly enough, it's both corked and capped for good measure. Always fun to have to use two tools to open a beer!

It pours a nice reddish-brown, with a small, tight head. It smells fruity, slightly funky, with a whisper of spice.
The taste caught me by surprise - tart fruit, cherry, apple, slight cinnamon and spice lingering...but very restrained. It tastes very much like a lambic. I think Cari found it to be too sour, but I thought it was delightful.

Lucky Beer

Lucky Beer from Lucky Drink Company, 4.8%, China.

I bought this for the same reason everyone else does...really the only reason anybody should: the bottle. How can you not love a laughing Buddha filled with beer?

It pours crystal clear - a lovely gold with a head that disappears in seconds. It smells like corn. Maybe some Saaz hops in there...but it's not altogether pleasant.
It tastes kind of like an import version of Budweiser, big corn, a little skunk funkiness, and fairly watery to finish. It's not great, but probably a good way to wash down some Chinese takeout.

Wychwood Hobgoblin

Wychwood's Hobgoblin Dark English Ale, 5.2%, UK.
Nick mentioned he grabbed one of these at the Fermentation Lounge, and I remembered passing this over a few times at our local store, so I had to give it a try.

It pours dark, but fairly clear brown - just a hint of red, with a nice pat of foam on top.
It smells of molasses and fruit, and the taste follows with a big fruity presence, slightly apple-y. The mouthfeel is fairly light. There's some malty biscuit action going on there. Even though there's tons of flavor, it drops away quickly. This is one easy-drinking brew!

Cigar City Big Sound

Cigar City's Big Sound Scotch Ale, 8.5%, Tampa, FL

Another offering from a local-ish brewing company. I'm always excited to spy a new Cigar City style on the shelf...but holy crap, they're expensive! I think this bottle was about 12 bucks.

This pours a light coffee brown with a thin tan head. As you can see in the picture I flubbed the pour and dumped all the yeast in, which is why it's so muddy. I need to remember that these guys bottle-ferment.
It smells malty - molasses, coffee. The taste is slightly toasty, roasty...maybe a little smoky? There's plenty of malt sweetness and some alcohol presence in the background. There's a surprising hop balance, it's not nearly the malt bomb I was expecting.

I only wish this were about half the price, so I could keep some in my fridge at all times.