This week’s new arrivals offer up new names and some big flavors, starting with:
Ovila Dubbel from Sierra Nevada 750ml $10.99 10.28% alc.
A deep rich mahogany brown with deep auburn edges. The tan head quickly forms and builds to the rim of the glass, but doesn’t last for a particularly long time, nor does it leave much sticky lacing on the glass. This beer appears to be missing the extraordinary carbonation I’ve become accustomed to with terrific dubbels.
A somewhat subdued and distant aroma; I wish there was more here, but granted, what is here is very, very good. There’s the familiar and welcome aroma of some dark fruits: plums some raisins, which is backed up by strong bready malts, and some fruity and yeasty sweetness. Very nice, but subdued.
Bready malts along with caramel, a hint of yeasty spice, and plenty of dark fruit flavors. Very balanced and relatively simple, even with all that incredible deliciousness going on. I suppose I wish everything that is here was just multiplied.
Medium body and the carbonation helps the beer feel light and extremely palatable. A real pleasure to drink.
A relatively simple dubbel and an interesting venture from the West Coast boys at Sierra Nevada. While it doesn’t stand quite alongside its Belgians forefathers or its Lost Abbey brothers, it’s still a remarkably delicious beer.
Honey Dew Organic Fuller’s English Pale Ale 500ml $4.99 5% alc.
Pour is an impressive, bright golden color with some lovely clarity, good carbonation, a nice, tight white head with some good retention and lace. Attractive no doubt with some great depth of orange color in the golden hue. Nice.
The nose offers a little breadiness amongst the sweet malts and a hint of toasty grains.
Tastes give more of the toasty grain character and a honey elements that is more on the clover and fragrant side of things rather than intensely sweet. A beer that is warm in character and gives subtle hints and notes that will escape many. The bread element never leaves, and this beer is one that is probably best suited to cooler months. Surprisingly hearty, filling and satisfying for a beer with a light touch.
Denogginizer American Double/ Imperial IPA Drake’s Brewing 22oz. $6.99 9.75% alc.
Silver Medal winner for Imperial India Pale Ale, Great American Beer Festival 2009. An Imperial (or Double) IPA, Denogginizer is a big bold beer hopped with an abundant amount of Simcoe and Amarillo with a touch of Ahtanum and Chinook. Mashed with Crystal malt and Caramalt for color and flavor to help balance out the hop assault. Denogginizer is also Drake’s most powerful regular offering, at 9.75% alc.
Victoria -Vienna Lager Grupo Modelo 12oz. $1.75
Appearance is crystal clear light amber body. White head that vanishes instantly into a thin lace.
The smell is slightly sweet corn smell. Almost a little bit of pinecone.
The taste offers up tea. If it wasn’t for the carbonation, I might not be able to separate it from tea in a blind test. Light grassy, taste with a bit of hop. Miniscule sweetness, close but not exactly dry.
HOFBRAU MUNCHEN ORIGINAL - MUNICH HELLES LAGER 500ml $2.49 5% alc.
A pure white two finger head dissipates to a millimeter lacing covering this blond beer throughout the drinking experience.
The smell is rural with its grassy/floral hops notes and crackery malt. The taste is sweet and grainy, moving into a grassy hops bite. Slight citrus and graininess remain along with a very faint hops presence in the aftertaste.
The mouthfeel is medium with medium carbonation. The Helles style isn’t about complexity.
This beer washes down heavy meals and sorrows.
LABRINTH – BLACK ALE – CROOKED LINE BEERS FROM UNITA – 750ml $14.99 13.2 alc.
Enter the Labyrinth, a multi-dimensional black ale. Discover the complex intermingling of black licorice and toasted oak. Seek the subtle hints of bittersweet chocolate. Explore pairing Labyrinth with flavorful cheeses and rich desserts.
COCKEYED COOPER – AMERICAN BARELY WINE ALE- CROOKED LINE SERIES FROM UNITA – 750 ml $14.99 11.1 alc.
Cockeyed Cooper pours a clear garnet color into the glass with a massive, frothy off white head on top. The foam slowly dissolves to a thick sheet on the surface leaving behind lots of netted lace on the glass.
The aroma is strong and malty with notes of brown sugar, ripe fruit (raisins, fig?), oak, caramel and orange citrus.
Each sip of this medium to full bodied beer is soft, lightly chewy, low carbonation, with a dry finish. The flavor is malty with notes of caramel malt, vanilla, oak, raisin/dark fruit and orange citrus. Towards the end a fair amount of citrus hops move it to balance out the malt. It finishes with alcohol notes and a slight burn. Once gone the vanilla and oak linger on the palate.
This is definitely a sipping beer that will warm you up on a cold winter day. Well balanced, but not as much bourbon flavor as I was expecting.
CHICO ESTATE – American IPA – Sierra Nevada Brewing 25 oz. $10.99 6.7% alc.
Pours a beautiful copper/amber that is crystal clear. The fluffy , off white head is thick and recedes slowly, leaving lacing on the glass. Aroma is fresh, fruit hops, lots of grapefruit, pungent earthy, tons of sweet grass, some pine and a hint of malt roastiness. Taste is a wonderful balance between sweet malts, toastiness, caramel, fruit, floral, earth, and bitter. It begins with malt and toastiness, accented by floral flavors. Midway through hop bitterness steps in as well as earthy/ pine flavors. Toward the finish there is caramel, hints of toffee, sweet grass and lingering hop fruit flavors. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with below average carbonation. This is a well balanced and rather complex for the style.