I Can’t Hait(i) This: Founders’ Azacca IPA

Founders_Azecca_IPA

On the docket:  12 oz. bottle of Founders’ Azacca IPA

Poured into a 6 oz wine glass

S: Amber orange, clear body supports a thick, foamy off-white head. Excellent retention. Consistent, thin bands of lacing left on the glass. Tiny bubbles wend their way up to the surface.

A: Intense, tropical nose of mango and citrus. Just a hint of pine, plus apple or pear. Heavenly to inhale this aroma. A simple, clean malt flavor provides a touch of sweetness.

T: Much of the nose carries over into the flavor. The mango and citrus are there. The malt starts early, then dies off, giving way to the fruity hops. The pine finishes out the experience, drying the tongue and providing a great bitterness counterpoint.

F: Medium body, excellent carbonation with tiny bubbles to aid in resetting the palate for the next sip.

O: My first experience with the Azacca varietal, and a very pleasant experience.

S: 4 A: 4.5 T: 4.5 F: 4 O: 4.25

Pair with: Salads with a citrus vinaigrette dressing, glazed chicken

Note:  Azacca is the god of agriculture to the native religion of Haiti.

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Wake this Giant: B. Nektar’s Sleeping Giant Mead

Since it’s not a Sunday, I have a non-beer review with which to enlighten you.  At the urging of various individuals, I finally decided to try beer’s buzzing cousin, mead.  I’m not familiar on how to evaluate it, so I looked up some guidelines.  While I didn’t do a very scientific review, I did try to detect any glaring flaws, in addition to elaborating on the experience to give others a sense of what all the buzz is about.

On the docket:  375 mL bottle of B. Nektar’s Sleeping Giant (Limited Release)

Poured into:  Odd Otter stemmed tasting glass

S:  This giant pours a pale gold, with crystal clarity.  Reminiscent of a mature chardonnay.  No bubbles are present.  During the course of drinking this, legs appeared on my glass, providing evidence of the alcohol and sugar content.

A:  A light floral note cedes to a spicy, woody aroma.  The rye whiskey barrel finish is quite evident.  A honey sweetness emerges as the mead warms up, too.  Higher alcohols present themselves, but in a pleasant way.  This mead clocks in at 15.1, also known as sack-strength.

T:  Sweet honey, a mingling of peaches and apples, maybe even pears.  When warmer, herbal, medicinal flavors show up.  Though I’ve not had many, the impression suggests a sweet Riesling- as odd as the comparison might be.  The combined elements of the abv and the barrel aging create a piquant, drying, woody quality.  I’ll be so bold as to say the end has “Manhattan” qualities to it, a favorite rye-based drink of mine.  Crazier- it seems like this guy has the vermouth and the bitters in it, too!  Or, that could be the power of suggestion.

F:  Full-bodied, sweet, rich.  It dries out on the finish, a small tannin-like sharpness from the barrel aging.  As they say in the whiskey world, this one has a medium finish.

O:  Though not experienced with mead, I truly enjoyed this offering, and feel fortunate enough to get my hands on a bottle.  I’m not usually a fan of barrel-aged beer, but enjoy rye whiskey.  One sip allayed my fear.

S:  4  A:  3.75  T:  4.5  F:  4  O:  4

Suggested food pairing:  I’ve heard it’s hard to wrong with food pairing regarding mead.  My picks?  Earthy or nutty English cheese, fruit with a caramel dipping sauce, spiced nuts