Dallas’ Deep Ellum Brewing Co. is a relative newcomer to the craft beer scene, but they have impressed Tilting Suds in the past, and their Double Brown Stout continues that streak of good beer. Pouring a deep rich brown, this has a light and airy mouthfeel, creamy and smooth. The initial flavors and aromas are vanilla and toffee, with a nutty aftertaste, and some dried fruits as well. Stouts can be heavy and ponderous, like a Black Sabbath bass line, but not this one. It is easily drinkable, and even at 7% ABV, I could see myself having several over the course of an evening. It is the ‘lightest’ stout I have ever had, and that is meant as a compliment. According to the Deep Ellum website, they use lager yeast instead of ale yeast, so it is technically not a stout or a porter, and they classify it as a Baltic Porter on the website, as opposed to the ‘stout’ classification on the label. That is all a bit confusing, as if they are not totally sure what they have on their hands here, and frankly, I am not sure how to classify it either, except it is a home run, not a double, 8.5/10, just an excellent beer.
I tried the Beer Geek Rodeo at the Big Texas Beer Fest and and I am pretty sure I loved it. I am not positive because I sampled it at the end of the day, when I was drunk, tired, and overwhelmed by all of the beer I had consumed up to that point. Also, as anyone who is a regular reader of this blog has concluded, I am a Jester King fan boy, and taking into account my state of inebriation, I would have given Bud Light Lime high marks if it had been handed to me by the Jester King folks.
Needless to say, I was looking forward to trying this in a more or less sober state so I could give it a proper review. I was right to love it when I was good and pickled at the Beer fest. The Beer Geek Rodeo is a collaboration with Mikkeller, their second such collaboration. It is an oatmeal stout brewed with Vietnamese coffee and chipotle peppers, so it combines several of my favorite things: breakfast, beer, coffee, and hot peppers. It pours a deep opaque brown with some ruby highlights, and as you can see from the photo, has a nice tan head. The oatmeal gives this beer a chewy and velvety mouthfeel. The coffee is subtle, more of a background note. Most coffee stouts punch you in the mouth with coffee flavor, but not this one. The chipotle peppers add a smokiness to the flavor. I did not pick up much heat from the peppers at first, but as the glass warmed, the spiciness picked up a bit. The smoke and heat from the chipotle peppers do a nice job of masking any burn from the 10.1 % ABV. This is definitely a beer for beer geeks, and while I prefer the term ‘beer dork’, I can roll with beer geek too, especially when the beer is this good, 9/10.
More tart than sweet, Bell’s Cherry Stout is a deep dark stout with a minimal head, almost no lacing and very mild carbonation. It is packed with flavor, with chocolate and coffee malts, and the tart cherry flavor in the background. It reminded me of a sour ale more than a stout, although the coffee and chocolate malts are stout like. This is very mildly hopped, with almost no bitterness other than what comes through from the cherries. The cherry stout combination tends to be hit or miss, but Bell’s does a good job here. This is an interesting beer, 7/10.
There are great beasts wandering the wilderness, not all of whom have been photographed, catalogued, vivisected, dissected, DNA mapped and whatever else it is that scientists do with animals. There is so much we do not know. Oh, sure, the aliens who visit regularly have probably gleaned all sorts of information from the anal probes performed on these undiscovered creatures (Do you really believe that the aliens only perform anal probes on Harvard Professors? I think not) but the aliens rarely, if ever, share the results of their experiments with us. We have much to learn.
As a rugged outdoorsman*, extreme adventurer**, and acolyte of Teddy Roosevelt***, I have spent months at a time in the wild unmapped corners of the globe, and have had close encounters with a variety of cryptozoological phenomenon. There was the time I was fly fishing on Lake Champlain and hooked Champ but was unable to land the beast. Growing up in New Jersey, the Jersey Devil was a regular visitor to our backyard, stopping to swim in our pool, before taking off for the flight to the Pine Barrens. I have had several recent encounters with the Chupacabra while out walking my dogs, and the less said about my experience with the Mothman, the better.
It is in the field of Sasquatch studies that I have been most successful. On a recent trip to the Himalayas, I encountered the Yeti. More importantly, I encountered two distinct kinds of Yeti. Read the rest of this entry »
How much longer will it be till we cross
that Mason Dixon Line?
At daylight would ya tell that engineer
to slow it down?
Or better still, just stop the train,
Cause I wanna look around.
The label describes Ithaca Beer Company’s Excelsior Thirteen Anniversary Ale as a “Malt Beverage Brewed With Citrus Peel – Double Hoppy Wheat Ale” but that somewhat schizophrenic description does not come close to describing the awesomeness that is this beer. It is boozy (8.9 % ABV) like a barleywine, chewy like an oatmeal stout, hoppy like an imperial IPA, and as refreshing on a hot summer day as any hefeweizen. Did I mention that it has a nice orange and lemon peel flavor? No? Well, add those to the flavor profile. I don’t know what to call this, other than great, and a contender for Best Beer of the Year, 9/10. Big thanks to Aaron for getting this to me in a recent trade.
It is Seventy-One Degrees here in the Sun’s Anvil, so naturally I am drinking the last of the winter beers. One of the pleasant surprises of living in Texas is the vibrant and growing brewing industry, and Saint Arnold is certainly one of the better brewers here in Texas. Their Winter Stout is a prime example of why Saint Arnold is held in such high esteem. It pours black with some ruby highlights, and has a smokey coffee aroma. There is smoke and chocolate when you first taste it, followed by some espresso in the aftertaste. Nicely balanced, not heavy at all, and at 5.6% ABV, the Saint Arnold Winter Stout is an excellent session beer for a cold winter night, 8/10. I enjoyed this beer on the three cold winter nights we had here in Texas this past winter.
I keep hearing good things about Rahr & Sons, a Fort Worth based brewer, and their beers keep disappointing me. The Bourbon Barrel Aged Winter Warmer continues the disappointing trend. It pours a dark brown with some chocolate malt, vanilla and oak in the aroma and the flavor, and some mild spiciness as well. It is just a bit thin tasting, and the 8.5% ABV overwhelms any subtlety to the flavor profile. Not a bad beer by any means, but I was hoping for something a little better, considering how much I usually enjoy barrel aged beers, 6/10.