The Time Is Now: Otra Vez by Sierra Nevada

 

Sierra_Nevada_Otra_Vez

On the docket:  12 oz. bottle of Otra Vez by sierra Nevada

Quick note:  “Otra vez” is loosely translated as “again,” “anew,” “afresh” or quite literally, “another time.”

 

Aroma: Sweet graininess, a touch of briny tartness, grapefruit and a light… margarita aroma. Is that the prickly-pear?

Sight: Slightly hazy golden straw with a creamy, meringue like bone-white head. Lively carbonation of tiny bubbles zip to the top. The head dissipates quickly, but while present, is rich and smooth.

Taste: An initial sweetness from the malt is squelched by the rush of tart, sour, bracing acidity. Mouth-puckering and intense. This one ends softer, and drier, but the gose-ness remains. The “margarita” mentioned in the aroma translates into a nebulous green fruit, more evident as the beer warms. The salt here is harder to detect, but if you imagine rock salt on the outside of a glass, you’ve got it.

Feel: Medium-light and spritzy. Short finish that dries your mouth out and makes you go back for more.

Overall: Though not exactly traditional, perfectly suited for a session on a hot summer day. A great introduction into the world of sour beer. Tart, zesty, approachable.

Food pairing suggestion: Fruit salad, chicken or pork fajitas, tortilla chips and salsa, beef brisket, fruit tart, creamy, pungent cheese

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Walkin’ ‘Round in Warsteiner Wunderland

On the docket:  11.2 oz. bottle of Warsteiner’s Weihnacht (Winter).  Best by date:  7/27/16

Poured into:  Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass

S:  Gold, amber hues twinkle in a crystal clear body.  The head is fluffy and thick, like whipped cream.  Microscopic bubbles travel from the etched bottom of my glass.  The head dissipates, leaving a guarded coastline on one side, much like the Gulf of Texas… though this beer is brewed far from the Lone Star State.

A:  Dark brown German bread and a touch of nuttiness caress your nostrils, and a small hint of caramel shows up, too.  The hops are very gentle and spicy, letting the malt profile do the heavy lifting.  No fruity esters, nor should there be.

T:  To smell this beer is to taste this beer, and vice versa.  The trio of brown bread, nuttiness and caramel are there on the taste buds.  There’s just enough hop presence there to keep the sweetness in check.  For those that crave balance in beer, this brew is for you.

F:  Medium-light on the tongue, with a good amount of carbonation.  It may start sweet, but it certainly dries out by the end.  It keeps you coming back for more.

O:  Malty, dry-ish, and easy to drink.  Great session lager at 5.6% abv, and great for working your way through a crossword puzzle book.

S:  4  A:  4  T:  4.25  F: 3.75  O:  4

Suggested food pairing:  smoked ham, dark chocolate, Ashdown Forresters cheese

May the Schwarz be with You: Saranac Black Forest

On the docket:  Saranac Black Forest Black Beer with a date of 1/25/15.  Pretty old, I blame the establishment from which I purchased it, and the fact I didn’t look until I got home.  Caveat emptor.

Poured into:  Sam Adams perfect pint glass

S: A deep, amber-brown body with violet highlights supports a dense, pockmarked beige head.  Tiny bubbles zip to the underbrush of the head’s bottom.  Eventually, the head subsides into a clearing, a small ring on top.  Lacing is sporadic due to the beer’s age, or a non-beer-clean glass, or both.

A:  Clean, with a hint of caramel, a touch of sweetness, and white-bready grain.  Subtle hop aroma of earth and a twist of lemon.

T:  Smooth clean malt, a dash of roast.  Sweet start but drying finish. Reasonably bitter and hoppy, with earth and lemon carrying through from the aroma.  There’s something a little off, I just can’t quite tell what.  DMS?  Am I crazy?

F:  Medium-light, persistent, tiny bubbles.  Sweet on the start, but chalky and drying on the finish.  Crisp, drinkable.

O:  Consumed fresh, I’m sure this one is fantastic, as evidenced by “the brothers.”  Old, it’s certainly drinkable, but not how the brewer’s intended.  It does, however, sport all the hallmarks of a well-made Schwarzbier.

Suggested food pairing:  barbecue pulled-pork, fruit tarts, Münster cheese

S:  4  A:  4  T:  4  F:  4.25  O:  4

Eine gute dunkle Bier: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel

On the docket:  1/2L bottle of Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel  5.3% abv.

Poured into:  Weizen glass courtesy of my ex-navy brother.

S:  Tawny, muddy brown body dwarfed by an immense column of tan, spongy, billowy head that lasts longer than a prog-rock guitar solo.  Lacing is delicate and even down the sides of the weizen glass.  Tiny bubbles shoot to the top to join their bandmates.

A:  Fruity esters of banana and bubblegum.  A subtle spice phenol, clove-like.  Malty sweetness with a very low hop presence.  Think banana runts candy, which I happen to like.  Inhale gently and you can also detect a little tang from the wheat.  One may also get a hint of brown bread and caramel.

T:  Much of the aroma is in the taste- notes of banana, malty sweetness, wheat-y tang.  There are also suggestions of caramel and brown bread.  Flavor wise, this beer boasts balance.  Nothing overpowers anything else, the elements work in harmony.  Hops take a back seat to the malt presence here, likely Vienna or Munich, or both.

F:  Quite enough tingle.  Overall, very smooth, rich, and coating.  Creamy, and yet fluffy.  Call it a medium-plus feel.

O:  A fantastic rendition of the style, one of those “go-tos” for artistically crafted dark German beer; always a pleasure to drink.

S:  4.25  A:  4.75  T:  4.5  F:  4.25  O:  4.25

Suggested food pairing:  braised venison, chocolate cake, banana bread, asiago cheese