Keep Your Eye on This One: Off Color’s Troublesome

Aroma:  Bright lemon citrus, notes coriander, briny sea salt, and a twang of sourness.  What’s not troublesome is the lack of hop presence in the nose.  The lactobacillus and tart wheat profile do the heavy lifting of this delicate beer.

Sight:  Hazy lemonade-like gold body.  The stark white head builds than wilts quickly.  Like most gose, the head on this one is evanescent (not to be confused with effervescent, more on that later).  All that’s left on of the head is a thin ring around the outside of the glass, and a small atoll of bubbles in the middle.  The hazy makes determining bubble activity nigh impossible.

Taste:  Tart lacto-lemon twang, salt, coriander and the fluffy wheat all play a part in making this beer taste greater than the sum of its parts.  The coriander comes through in the middle, but the salt and acidity finishes out each sip, scrubbing your palate and prepping you for the next sip.  The wheat does provide a subtle doughy, bready flavor, providing a contrast to the sweet and sour assault.

Feel:  Light and spritzy with a fine, champagne like effervescence.  The finish cuts off abruptly after each sip, just a trace of tangy lemon and wheat remain.

Overall:  Sessionable, refreshing, and a beginner’s gose.  With a 4.3% abv, this will certainly keep you OUT of mischief and screams summer barbecues and drinks by the pool.

S:  3.5  A:  3.75  T:  4.0  F:  4  O:  3.75

Food pairing suggestion:  Tossed salad with lemon or raspberry vinaigrette dressing, lightly seasoned chicken or oily/fatty fish, fruit tart, rich Triple-cream cheese

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

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

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

Review #7: ein Fest Bier- Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Märzen

Though just a bit early, I thought it time to review an iconic seasonal beer style:  the German Märzen, or what Americans typically call Oktoberfest beer.  Consumed in great quantity commencing the middle of September until the first Sunday in Germany inside cities like München (Munich) under tents, and consumed with copious amounts of wursts and pretzels.  This is a cherished style for Bavarians.  These beers were originally brewed in the spring and lagered for months (translation:  stored) and signaled the traditional end of the brewing season.

On the docket:  Paulaner’s Oktoberfest Märzen, 11.2 oz. bottle, best-by date of 5/16

S:  Thick foamy off-white head crowns a burnished, crystal-clear amber body.  Tiny bubbles constantly journey up to replace the now-receded thin cap of head.

A:  A few sniffs reveal a bread-crust, malty sweetness, a touch of toffee, almost no hop presence, clean lager aroma, with no fruit but just a notion of alcohol.

T:  A sweet start, aided by toasted bread-crust, and malt.  It starts to dry out in the middle, ending with a crisp thirst-quenching smack.  Very subtle noble hops with tastes of hay and gentle spice.  Did I mention the dry finish?

F:  This one has a medium body, and nice carbonation.  Though it has a short finish, you go back for more.

O:  An excellent and typical example of this seasonal style, though the brewery produces this year-round.

Food pairing suggestions:  German, German, and perhaps German.  Great with authentic Bavarian pretzels, wursts, spätzel… and don’t forget the mustard.