Brooklyn Black Ops

April 26, 2012

I’d make some ‘Black Ops’ crack about securing this bottle in a Mission Impossible style raid, complete with scuba diving, spelunking, skydiving, and jaywalking, but the truth is that GEB called me a few weeks before Christmas to say she was in a beer store and they had some Brooklyn Black Ops and should she get some for her Dad for Christmas and I shouted “YES! OH! GOD! FOR THE LOVE ALL THAT IS HOLY! GOD! YES!” She somehow got the impression that I was a tad excited that Black Ops had made it down to Texas so she grabbed me a bottle as well.

According to the label, this is a Russian Imperial Stout which was aged in bourbon barrels for several months. It was bottled flat and refermented in the bottle using champagne yeast. The vanilla and oak aroma from the bourbon barrel is immediately apparent. The aroma is almost overwhelming, but the flavors are surprisingly muted, with some chocolate and coffee as well. It has a light and crisp mouthfeel which I attribute to the champagne yeast refermentation. This has over 11% ABV but there is no alcohol burn at all. The Black Ops is what a Black Velvet should taste like. The only downside to this beer is that GEB did not get me more than one bottle, but  I am glad she got me the one, 9/10.


Brooklyn East India Pale Ale

March 8, 2012

When I was a kid growing up in New Jersey, Brooklyn was always a Borough Too Far. My dad worked in Manhattan (he even had an office in the Empire State Building for a few years) so I went to the ‘City’ (as we called it) every so often, and when I got older, it was always Manhattan I went to for record buying or weed scoring expeditions. Bronx is the home of the Yankees and Queens is the home of the Mets, and as my grandfather was a big baseball fan, he’d take me to those boroughs to see games. Even lowly Staten Island got a visit now and then via a trip on the Staten Island Ferry (Still the best tourist bargain in America. How can you beat a free boat ride through New York Harbor?). But Brooklyn was the one borough I never really visited. There were no baseball teams, the Dodgers having left for Los Angeles long before I was born. My dad did not work there. The Ferry did not go there. And while I am sure I could have scored some sweet records and good weed in Brooklyn, I had to pass through Manhattan to get there, where I could score the same, so why bother?

Consequently, I never got to know Brooklyn well, and even in recent years, when Brooklyn became the epicenter of hipster culture, making the formerly decrepit neighborhoods of the borough must visit places if you wanted to see certain bands, I tried to limit my time there. I found it too easy to end up in the wrong neighborhood, and just never felt as comfortable there as I did in Manhattan. I tried to remedy that by taking a few bike tours around Brooklyn with the Vinman, but  we got hopelessly lost each time, which confirmed my impulse to avoid the borough.

I may avoid going to Brooklyn, but I don’t avoid the beers from Brooklyn Brewery. (Holy Cow, that transition was smoooooooooooooth!) Brooklyn Brewing is one of the more consistent brewers out there, always turning out quality beers. The East India Pale Ale is no exception to that rule. Sweet maltiness is offset by a mild and pleasant bitterness and a crisp, clean and dry finish. This is not a hop bomb IPA, but is a well rounded, refreshing, and easy drinking beer, 7/10.


Brooklyn Winter Ale

February 25, 2010

Brooklyn Brewing Company is another of my favorite breweries.  They are not as experimental as Dogfish Head, for example, but they are a still damn fine brewery.  Their beers tend to be in traditional styles, and do not stray too far from the tried and true.  Brooklyn just does a damn fine job brewing those traditional styles, with a few misses here and there.

This is one of those misses.  I will eventually review some of their better beers,  but first up is the Brooklyn Winter Lager, which is a bit of a disappointment. I like my Christmas Ales to be full bodied, robust, and spicy, bringing to mind visions of sitting by a coal fire in a Dickensian Pub, and this beer doesn’t quite cut it.  It is a malty Scottish style ale, which is admittedly not my favorite type of beer.   In fairness, it is a decent enough example of a Scottish Ale, just not what I expect when the word “winter” is part of the packaging.  It is not a bad beer by any stretch.  I just expect more from Brooklyn Brewing.   I will give it a 5.5/10


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