Seems like I shouldn’t be surprised when it comes to beer prices. Yet, the price of this barrel-aged version of Ten Fidy caught me off guard. When the clerk told me there was a limit of four, the old me almost blurted out “I’ll take four.” Because I’m on a budget these days, the new me sensibly asked the price. At $12 each, I compromised with my old self and left the store with two.
These are called stove pipe cans and this is the first one I’ve seen. I can’t think of anyone else using this format but I like it. They check in at a whopping 19.2 ounces and at first glance hard to differentiate it from a 16 ounce can. Thought the alcohol by volume is 10.5% since that is the source of the name but that was another surprise.
Someone made the suggestion to come to my conclusion up front and then validate the reasons. That feels a little weird. In conclusion, Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy gets 97 points. To validate, Barrel Aged Ten Fidy is a massive beer with unbelievable complexity and balance. Seems like they’ve fired on all cylinders with a nice melding of rich chocolate, vanilla, oak, raisin and a slightly warming alcohol. Mouthfeel is perfect and sticky. I wish I bought four.
Random tastings over the past month Beer #’s: 775 – 778
Mach X by Bear Republic
I bought this bottle in New York and it made me wonder if Bear Republic is still sold in New Jersey. I haven’t seen them on shelves in quite some time. A quick check on seekabrew.com tells me otherwise. Maybe their beer labels just blend into the scenery. Earthy hops, black tea, caramel, chewy, some resin. A tad astringent as the 9.2% ABV peaks through a bit. I’ll peg Mach X at 89 points.
Simplicity by Kane Brewing
A trip to the New Jersey shore usually includes a beer stop along the way home. This time, I was too late for both Carton and Kane brewing but settled for a pour of the lone Kane offering at an off the boardwalk watering hole. For a strong Belgian-style ale, Simplicity is just that – simple and straightforward. 8.7% ABV. Everything you’d expect from banana, clove and some pear and green apple. Nothing amazing. 85 points.
Choklat Oranj by Southern Tier
I’m a fan of Southern Tier Choklat – 92 Points so, Oranj intrigued me with by the addition of orange peel to this already delicious stout. It’s really nice but I wouldn’t say that the addition of the subtle orange will push Oranj past the original. I’ll match Choklat Oranj at the same 92 points.
Pinner Throwback by Oskar Blues
Another entry in the burgeoning sessionable beer category. Not as bitter as some of the other entries in this style and that bitterness is a bit muddy and individual characteristics are hard to identify. Definitely has an odd herbal flavor over some citrus rind. It’s an okay 85 from me.
Lots of pot references lately. There was Square Grouper by Pipeworks (96 points) . Apparently, slang for an abandoned bail of marijuana found floating in the ocean. Then there was Smells Like a Safety Meeting by Dark Horse (92 points) , a slang translation for a pot smoking break. In both cases, the dank hop resin really did remind of pungent pot smoke willowing at a Grateful Dead show. Why can’t they just say – smells like pot? Well, the government has rules against using drug names on beer labels (even though alcohol is a drug). Why the pot and beer references? Hops and cannabis are related – like cousins and there are a lot of similarities in their aromas.
Smells Like Freedom is a collaboration between Colorado brewer, Oskar Blues and Washington DC based brewer, DC Brau. In Colorado and Washington DC, marijuana for recreational use is legal with Washington DC voters recently approving the change in November of 2014. DC Voters overwhelming passed the measure with 71% voting yes. Despite the overwhelming mandate, Congress attempted to overturn the legalization and DC Brau protests the heavy-handed move with the phrase “votes should count” around the top ring of the can. DC Brau has long been a vocal supporter of statehood and autonomy for Washington DC.
There wasn’t much of this beer made and I was lucky to get a couple from a friend that travels to DC often. While Smells like Freedom has that similar (and very likable) dank pot-like resin, it doesn’t translate to the body of the beer in any stickiness or viscosity. It’s still delivers just the right amount of bitterness and the underlying sweetness delivers just enough to round off the edges of this beer. Enjoyed – 91 points.
G’Knight Oskar Blues Tasting: June 10, 2013 Style: Imperial Red Ale Beer # :472
G’Knight Oskar Blues: The message on back of the can reads, “If you knew the man behind this tribute, this dry-hopped ale needs no explanation. If you didn’t, we’re sorry.” Turns out the aforementioned man is Gordon Knight and he was a friend of Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis. Knight was a home brewer turned professional brewer and he garnered gold medals at the Great American Beer Festival for three different breweries. Knight was an Army helicopter pilot in the Vietnam war where he earned the purple heart. He died in 2002 at the age of 52 when his helicopter crashed while fighting a forest fire outside of Lyons, Colorado.
One other interesting note before I crack open this beer, the label also reads that this beer was brewed in Brevard, North Carolina. Colorado’s Oskar Blues joins California’s Sierra Nevada and fellow Colorado brewery – New Belgium as brewers that are putting North Carolina on the craft beer map by building east coast facilities.
G’Knight is an imperial red IPA. The signature color and flavor of red ales comes from slow roasting grains. The imperial designation comes from increased alcohol strength — and at 8.7% G’Knight lives up to the description. Being an IPA, I’d also expect elevated hop profile – hopefully enough to balance out what should be a rich malt backbone.
Right out of the gate, G’Knight gives me that burnt caramel sweetness, and then any chance of balance are gone under an avalanche of earthy, black pepper and tangerine rind hops and some very evident alcohol ether. Mouthfeel is lush and sticky. This is a nice red ale – but it would have higher marks with more more caramel sweetness. There are better examples – Troeggs Nugget Nectar and Great Lakes Nosferatu come to mind. Still a worthy effort at 87.