Nice to Wheat You: St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat Ale

St_Ambroise_Apricot_WheatOn the docket:  16 oz. can of St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat

Poured into:  Innis & Gunn craft glass

S:  Amber-orange with a crystal hue.  A off-white head that forms, fluffy and tall but sinks after a minute.  A small cap sticks around.  Lazy bubbles climb to the top.

A:  The biggest portion of the aroma comes from the bright apricot aroma.  Also present is a subtle tartness from the wheat, plus a hint of fruit and herbal notes from the Willamette and Golding hops.  Straightforward and pleasing in its simplicity.

T:  Apricot fruit up front, and an initial sweetness.  By mid-palate though, it starts to dry out.  Similar to the aroma, there’s a slight tartness imparted by the wheat.  This is by no means sour, just an added layer of complexity.  Certainly on the malty side of the spectrum.  However, there is a dryness to the finish (give it a minute to develop).

F:  Medium-light body, Gentle, smooth carbonation.

O:  Pleasant, simple, refreshing fruit beer that isn’t brash and citrusy.  Fans of peach and nectarine flavored beers may also enjoy this one.

Suggested food pairing:  Baby spinach and arugula salad with cracked pepper, thin-cut pork chops with mashed potatoes and applesauce, fruit tart, peach cobbler

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Orange You Glad I Said Bolero? Bolero Snort’s Orange Cream Pop IPA

On the docket:  16 oz. can of Bolero Snort’s Orange Cream Pop IPA (brewed with lactose, orange zest & vanilla beans)

Poured into:  Innis & Gunn craft glass

S:  Honey-gold or Ticonderoga pencil, supporting an off-white head.  It sits around for a while, great retention.  Lacing is thick and doily-like.  Mostly translucent but clear.  Tiny bubbles well up from the base of the glass.

A:  Bright orange citrus and a touch of vanilla stands out first, with a slight pine and subtle sweet malt.  Excellent aroma, could sniff this for the dog days of summer.

T:  Much like the aroma, the orange zest comes through immediately, plus a small dose of pine.  Midway through the malt comes in, simple with a water-cracker starkness.  This is also where the gentle sweetness from the lactose helps to balance out the bitterness of the hops.  The vanilla is in there somewhere, helping your mouth think that you’re cooling off with a creamsicle.  With a crisp and bitter finish, this one makes you reach for more.  Without a doubt an IPA.

F:  Medium body, with some fluffiness.  Finely attuned carbonation.

O:  Intriguing take on an IPA that’s well executed.  It does conjure images of that white van and unforgettable loud-speaker jingle, standing in line, and finally handing over a few dollars for Good Humored relief from the blistering summer sun.

Suggested food pairing:  Green salad with mandarin oranges, chicken and vegetable and mozzarella kabob skewers, fruit salad, fruit tart, ambrosia

Tangerine Dream: Stone’s Enjoy by 5.30.16 Tangerine

On the docket:  22 oz. bottle Stone’s Enjoy by 5/30/16 Tangerine.  Date:  3/24/16.

Poured into:  Wine & Whiskey Country Belgian snifter

A:  Bold aroma of tangerine at first sniff.  After a minute or two, you can also detect a small amount of mango or papaya.  Simple but elegant.

S:  Crystal-bright honey gold body, and a bone collar of dense foam on top.  The head builds, the recedes quickly to a closely hugging ring of suds and a wash of microscopic bubbles in the center.  Tiny bubbles drift to the top of the glass.  Big bands of lacing.

T:  After an initial blast of tangerine and citrus hoppiness, the malt emerges as white-bread crust and just a touch of caramel and molasses.  Brief sweetness.  The hops come in again at the end providing fruitiness and bitterness with an added pine.

F:  Fine carbonation, medium-plus body.  Oily and slick on the palate.  Long, drying and bitter finish.  Despite the 9%+ abv, no real sign of the alcohol via flavor or aroma.

O:  Aggressively hopped and flavorful.  Excellent aroma and just enough sweetness from the malt to provide a counterbalance.  However, the hops and bitterness win out.  Neat variation on the popular “drink it while its fresh” series by Stone.

Pairing suggestions:  Heavy, triple-cream cheese, fruit salad, Pasta primavera/alfredo, tangerine or orange sherbet.

The World Needs No Hero: Evil Twin Brewing Co.’s No Hero

On the docket:  16 oz. can of Evil Twin Brewing Co.’s No Hero

S:  Frothy and full of a thick mass of bubbles, this one pours deep, deep walnut.  Espresso-foam colored head lingers, long, before settling down to almost no head.  Just a ring around the outside.  Great lacing, sticky and lattice-like.  Carbonation undetected.

A:  Baker’s chocolate/cocoa powder, graininess, and just the slightest hint of cinnamon greets the nose.  The hops are muted, letting the grain to the heavy lifting.

T:  The chocolate comes through on the palate, too, as does a slight flavor of coffee.  One may detect a dash of “cereal-ness,” the oats providing complexity in the flavor, not simply the feel.  There’s an initial sweetness, but the beer dries about halfway through, finishing dry and roasty.  Mild pine rounds out the finish, providing a balancing bitterness.

F:  Velvety, smooth, fluffy.  Creamy.  Medium-heavy.  It’s exactly what you should expect from an oatmeal stout.

O:  While not made with crazy ingredients, this is what I want out of an oatmeal stout.  And, a well-concealed 7% abv as well.  Great choice on the format- pint cans.  Like Velvet Merlin (and I do) but wants something a little heavier?  Pick up a 4-pack of this guy.  He doesn’t ask for praise or accolades.  You might think he’s no hero, but you’d be wrong.  He’s got greatness inside him.

India Pale Beers (IPx) — The Coolship Podcast

In Episode 7, Warren and Matt evaluate the India Pale Ales and India Pale Lagers (IPx’s) from the top 5 mass-market brewers in the US. Follow along at home with: Goose Island’s IPA Leinenkugel’s IPL Ballantine’s IPA Yuengling’s IPL Sam Adams’ Rebel IPA Subscribe to The Coolship on iTunes, RSS, Stitcher, TuneIn, or Pocket Casts […]

via India Pale Beers (IPx) — The Coolship Podcast

Listen to me go off on tangents, ask intelligent questions, and opine about beer with some of the best minds in the industry!

Who Needs Joe Francis?: Stillwater / Westbrook Gose Gone Wild

On the docket:  22 oz. bottle of Stillwater Artisanal Ales’ Gose Gone Wild

Poured into:  Innis & Gunn stemmed craft glass

S:  A fuzzy lemon-yellow body with a stark, evanescent head.  Reminiscent of pear juice.  Great bubbles.  It’s damn-near opaque.  You could not read a book through this beer.  Lacing is thin, splotchy, but consistent.

A:  This voluptuous aroma is just peachy.  A mélange of peach, brine, funk and mild citrus round out this buxom brew.  Think peach and grapefruit Jolly Rancher… but real.  for those of you that enjoy the aroma of Bier de Garde, it’s heading in that direction.  Thanks, brett.

T:  Woooooo!  I had to pull my cheeks out, man that’s tart.  However, once the initial shock (like seeing a family member on tv) wears, off, you dive right back in for more.  Doughy malt and an added tang from the wheat provide a great sweetness to the beer.  The salt keeps things in check, it’s like the black bar in “those videos.”  No hops on the palate to speak of, but that’s to be expected for a traditional gose.

F:  Light, creamy, and carbonated.  Short, crisp finish that compels you to take another sip, then another.

O:  Great session beer if you can handle the tartness.  At 4.2%, this one will let you go a little crazy and still feel safe.  Mardi Gras beads totally unnecessary.

Suggested food pairing:  funky cheese, citrus-based salads, raw oysters or clams on the half-shell, fresh fruit salad, pear soufflé

 

Cloudy with a Chance of Dry-Hopping: Omnipollo’s Fatamorgana

On the docket:  22 oz. bottle of Omnipollo’s Fatamorgana

poured into:  Innis & Gunn stemmed craft glass

S:  Hazy, lemon-gold body with a frothy white head.  Great retention, and thin, consistent rings of lacing.  It recedes to a gentle wash of suds on top, and though translucent and not transparent, carbonation activity is easily observed.  Also, there is a thin layer of yeast in the base of the bottle, so pour carefully.

A:  At first impression, one gets a  bright lemon citrus and pine front.  Added to this is just the slightest twinge of funk, barely there, hiding in the background.  Could it be the yeast or the wheat?  The malt aroma is very muted, but clean and water-cracker like.

T:  Up front, it’s a big dose of lemon and grapefruit bitterness.  A sweet malt note shows up briefly mid-palate, but the finish gives way to a roar of more hops.  Dry, bitter, clean, brisk… and a touch floral on the end.  This is a Double IPA through and through, with flavor squarely in the hop department.

F:  Medium-light, with fine carbonation and a rather long finish of pine and citrus.  A tad fluffy and creamy.

O:  Interesting take on the Double IPA style, with the addition of wheat and oats.  Easy to drink, dangerous at 8%, no perceived alcohol from either aroma or taste.

Suggested food pairing:  used as base in vinaigrette dressing over arugula and walnut salad, steamed lobster and shellfish, lemon tart, and mild, creamy cheese