June 26, 2012

Black Cauldron

What is it that makes an imperial stout an imperial stout? Is it just the alcohol content? Is it a good dose of earthy hops and dark roasted malt or hints of smoke? Is it the flavors of coffee, espresso, dark chocolate, or dried fruit? Is it barrel aging with notes of vanilla, bourbon, whiskey or rum?

The answer is simply, yes. It is any or all of these things, and Grand Teton's Black Cauldron combines them all. You get a quick little alcohol burn up front, bourbon with some vanilla, but it's quickly pushed aside to make room for semi sweet dark chocolate, a bit of coffee and a touch of smoke. The beer is slightly slippery and viscous in the mouth, but finishes dry. Aftertaste is very pleasant, with more chocolaty sweetness and baked fruit like cherries or figs. Light, prickly carbonation and relatively low ABV (7.5%) make it surprisingly easy to drink even in warmer weather. Great beer to serve as a "liquid dessert" and definitely a nice one for winter time.

I really dig the artwork on the bottle as well. The beer is named for Yellowstone's Black Dragon Cauldron, where hot water geysers blast up through black mud. Purchased as a 4-pack from Charleston Beer Exchange in South Carolina.

Black Cauldron

June 13, 2012

Pacific Jade

Pacific Jade is a relatively new hop variety developed and released by the New Zealand Hop Research Program in 2004. It is currently featured in Westbrook's Single Hop rye pale ale series. Color-wise, this beer is on the lighter side for a pale ale. The aroma is very sweet and floral. Due to the hop's soft bitterness, the beer finishes at just 35 IBU. There's no detectable pine, but instead lies heavily on the citrus side, with a lot of orange, clementine and a bit of lemon in the flavor. The added rye malt gives the beer a spicy, peppery character that rounds things out a bit more. In a small way, it sort of reminds me of a saison but without the funk. Even though it's a bit on the sweet side, it's very refreshing. It paired very nicely with some homemade sushi, balancing well with shrimp tempura inside and the nori (dried seaweed) outside.

Pacific Jade

Westbrook Brewing Company of Mount Pleasant, SC makes some really delicious beers, including their year-round IPA and White Thai (Belgian style wit), Covert Hops (black IPA), and the insanely awesome Mexican Cake, brewed with cocoa nibs, vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, and habanero peppers. Be sure to stop by their tasting room if your travels bring you to the Charleston/Mt. Pleasant area!

June 4, 2012

A few good porters

Sometimes it's best not to over think things. Case in point, these two porters: People's Porter from Foothills and Avery's New World Porter. Don't think, just buy them if you see them.

Foothills People's Porter Avery New World Porter