The Weekend in Beer

weekend of beer

Sierra Nevada – Ruthless Rye
Tasting: Friday, February 24, 2012
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.6%

According to the label, this IPA is brewed as a tribute to the tumultuous seasonal transition of Winter into Spring – a balance of whole-cone hops and spicy grains. Pour is comparable in color to a cream soda. This was a pleasant surprise. I was expecting a demure ale – but this one has a nice balance of strong citrus hops and some earthiness in the form of bread/spicy grains. A little light in the mouthfeel and just a wisp of bitter hops linger on the palate. But really nice 87 points.

Matt’s Brewing – Saranac White IPA
Tasting: Friday, February 24, 2012
Style: IPA
ABV: 6.0%

This one came on the recommendation of Craig. He’s not an IPA fan, so I’m not sure how to translate the recommendation. Label says this one is hoppy with the addition of orange peel and coriander. It’s a wheat beer (eh). It pours cloudy and bright gold color. Complex in that you’re hit with a lot of taste sensation — bitter orange, grapefruit peel, mint – all over some straw-like earthiness with citrus hops. Strong grain presence dampens my enjoyment. To me, the additives seem to dominate instead of compliment which always strikes me as being a bit odd, 73 points.

St. Peter’s Cream Stout
Tasting: Saturday, February 25, 2012
Style: Stout
ABV: 6.5%

This one is known as a cream or milk stout. It’s known as such because brewers add lactose (milk) sugars to give the stout a creamy texture. Not all that dark. Aroma is of hazelnut and cocoa. First few sips and there’s a lot going on up front and not much on the finish. Some cocoa, nuts, coffee with some prune. It is a bit fizzy, light-light bodied and lacking in creamy texture. Not a great example of English stout – 80 points.

North Coast – Old No. 38
Tasting:
Style: Stout (Irish Dry)
ABV: 5.6%

This stout is named for a retired California Western Railroad steam engine that ran through the Redwoods. Dry Irish Stout is mostly light in flavor and very dark in color. It tends to have a coffee and toast flavor. Probably the most popular example of a dry Irish stout is Guinness. I’ll call it a “bridge” stout. A good first step to enjoying bigger or more robust stouts. Old No. 38 checks in at an IBU of 57 – so, it shouldn’t be all that bitter as you might expect from coffee or roasted grains. It is fizzy and light. It also has the aforementioned coffee and roasted grains. A decent example of the style — I’m just not a fan of the style. I have to call them as I enjoy them and I’ll put this one at 75 points.

Anchor Brewing – Foghorn
Tasting: February 26, 2012
Style: Barley Wine
ABV: 8.2%

Love the name — especially since it’s from the cool coastal climate of San Francisco. Another Barley Wine for me — third one this week. The ABV is a little less than the first two. This one has been brewed by Anchor since 1975. While other brewers are ramping up the ABV on Barley Wine — this American grandfather of a BW checks in at a respectable 8.4%. Wow, in 1975, this must have been jaw dropping. A bit yeastier than I had imagined – banana and ester over raisin and weak caramel. I didn’t enjoy this as much as I had anticipated. 81 points.

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