This weekend was a good one for beer.
On Friday I went to my friend Marc's house. He made some really delicious sliders while we each downed a can of 21st Amendment Back In Black IPA. It's deep brown in color, essentially black once poured, and has soft citrus and grassy notes. I've found that canned pales and IPA's are often easy on the palate, lacking the bite the bottled ones have, but in no way is this a bad thing. Back In Black has a light roasted flavor from the malt, and is very smooth through each sip. A little bitter at the end... Once the sliders were ready I cracked open the 750ml bottle of Stillwater Cellar Door, a farmhouse ale brewed with white sage. Hazy golden color with fluffy white head. Smells of earth, grass, a little citrus. Dry body with a refreshing, lively, prickly carbonation (love that word, prickly). Flavors of lemon and orange, with some spice and pepper notes as well. Very well balanced.
For dessert, we headed out to the fire pit and opened up the Schlafly Reserve 2008 barleywine. Smokey, vanilla aroma, with obvious high alcohol content. Thick, viscous, deep rusty brown in color with very little head unless you pour vigorously. Flavors of oak, vanilla, caramel, with a nice nutty aftertaste. Leaves the palate relatively clean, forcing you to go back for more sips!
On Sunday I got together with a whole bunch of friends for our second annual pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving potluck dinner (yes, I meant to say Thanksgiving twice). I started things off with a can of 21st Amendment's Fireside Chat. It sounded interesting, and as expected from 21st Amendment, comes uniquely packaged, but I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting more from this "spiced English ale". It was easy to drink and not over-spiced. However, without the spice I think it would not have had any flavor at all, but the spices present did not seem to be the right ones, or mesh with each other. Oh well. After everyone had finished at least their first plate of food (everyone brought a dish and there were at least 20 people there), I opened up the Saison Rue, a Belgian-style Rye ale with brettanomyces yeast, from The Bruery. Pours a brownish-gold color. Spicy aroma with that lovely rye character (I have been really loving rye beers this year) and a little funk courtesy of 'Brett'. Light citrus taste, notes of dark fruit; a little earthy, and pleasantly sweet. Very rich with a lot of flavors going on. I plan on getting another bottle soon. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I shared this with and toasted to my beer-loving friends; Dong, Robin, Ben, Nikki, Justin, and Kristin.
For dessert I brought a bottle of Great Divide's Espresso Oak-aged Yeti imperial stout. This took care of my desire for both a solid dessert and some sort of coffee-like beverage. Pours black, like black hole black, but with a rich golden brown, bubbly head, looking almost like melted dark chocolate. The stuff barely moved in the glass, and coated the sides almost like cough medicine - very thick. Once poured, immediate smell of dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, and a little oak from the aging. Big, intense flavors; more dark chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and of course espresso. Oak and hop flavors are very subtle, almost undetectable. A little alcohol bite. Good for sipping, and great for experiencing the taste opening up as it warms. Pour over a scoop of vanilla ice cream or put some whipped cream in to make a light float. Delicious!