Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Beer Swap Night - January 2013
The rules: Bring a beer for all to try that is not common. One that you have not seen before. One that you, and hopefully everyone else, has never tried.
The results are quite variable as the the beer snobs cast changes monthly so sometimes we get repeats. Sometimes we get beers that are not really that rare. Sometime we get to be amazed. But always we have good camaraderie and conversation.
This month's beers featured several Christmas seasonals, a few anniversary ales and a couple of real surprises.
For the sake of brevity we will stick to the rarities and surprises.
The first rarity is Biere d'Hougoumont from Brewery Ommegang - 7.3% ABV
Brewed in the style of a Biere de Garde, better known as a French Farmhouse Ale, Ommegang brewed the bere using French yeasts and 8 malts, French Strisselspalt hops, and aged on white oak and hard maple wooden staves. Even though the ale is loaded with malts, they are not overpowering. If anything the only problem with the beer is that it is a very typical Farmhouse ale. Here are some of the comments.
- "The wood taste in the background is quite pleasant and the hops, even though delicious, could have been a bit more represented".
- "Good, but not awesome".
- "Smooth, slightly bitter, but it doesn't blow me away".
- Good beer, elaborate and malty".
Ommegang XV Anniversary "Trappist Ale" - 9.6% ABV
The beer was brewed as an homage to the great trappist ales. In their own words "Created with deep devotion to the brewing art, using the finest ingredients and made with infinite care, XV is unlike any ale we've ever brewed". They were so interested in maintaining the integrity of the beer that it comes in metal containers with padding to protect the beer from jostling. The beer poured a dark ruby with lots of carbonation creating a frothy head. The flavors were of dark fruits, molasses, malts and a bit of hops. The finish was long and dry. Here are some of the comments from the snobs:
That's correct, there was no comment from the judges. Everyone just shrugged and said something like "Yep, that is a trappist ale". Perfectly brewed in the style intended.
La Socarrada - "American Blonde Ale" - 6% ABV
This beer was the big winner of the evening and the biggest surprise of the evening. Spanish beers are, well, let's be charitable ... mostly not so good. We had few preconceptions but for the most part it was not one that we relished trying. We. Were. Wrong.
Xàtiva is a small town in Valencia, Spain. The brewery La Socarrada Cervesa Artesanal De Xativa set out to create a beer that represented their region of Spain. They did this by adding Rosemary and Rosemary honey to the brew. The color is honey amber and with little carbonation and a bit cloudy. The flavor is slightly woody from the yeasts with fruits and spices. Though there is rosemary, it only becomes apparent on swallowing and the honey does not make it too sweet. Really, really good. The comments from the snobs:
- "I like! Crisp without being hoppy and just a hint of rosemary and honey".
- "Really good. Would be great paired with roasted meat".
- "The most original beer that I have ever tried."
- "I will drive miles to find this one".
Schmaltz Jewbelation 16th Anniversary "American Stron Ale" - 16% ABV
16 malts, 16 hops and 16% alcohol. Oy vey is this ever a face full of fun. Honestly, you should try this just so that you can say that you did. You may read the list of malts and hops on their website, but the reality is that there is so much happening that you would never be able to discern any one of them. Let's let the snobs do the describing:
- "Wow, strong. This is one slow drink".
- "Good flavor but the alcohol makes it difficult to drink. Tough one".
- "Beer should not burn going down".
- "Damn, it stained my glass"!
The snobs would like to invite you to our next beer swap. If you are interested please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know so that we may make the proper arrangements and find the perfect venue. Good fun, good friends and good beer.