I suppose that it's your beer and you may call it anything that you want. But more often than not the name of the beer reflects that type of beer, like Palate Wrecker IPA by Green Flash. There is a trend that annoys the hell out of me, however and that is naming a beer style something that it is not. As a beer purist, I want to know what type of beer I am buying as that I am not really much of a fan of a few certain types of beer. A modest example is the Gold Medal winning Royal Scandal "English Pale Ale" from Peticolas Brewing. A good beer, but not really an English Pale Ale ... for us purists. The chart on the left is what you would expect when you purchase a beer based on traditional color.
This past weekend we tried two new beers that were recommended to us that were sure to confound our beer sensitivities. They were right.
The first is Nøgne Ø Imperial IPA from Grimstad, Norway - 10% ABV
As you know the IPA style of beer is typified by it's hop character and while the style varies widely between English, east coast, west coast, etc, the hop will almost always be the star. "When Nøgne Ø decided to make its 500th batch of beer, it was quickly established that the key numbers would be 5 malts, 5 hops, 10% alcohol and 100 IBUs. The result is an incredibly rich and hoppy Imperial IPA. Malty enough to be almost a barley wine, but intensely fruity, mainly because it is dry hopped with generous amounts of Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand." Cool. This sounds as if though our taste buds will be challenged. Upon pouring the first thing that we noticed was the smell of ... sugar, with very little hop. The flavor was characterized by the panel as "sweet and malty", "barley wine". "sweet brown ale", but no one ever mentioned hops. 100 IBU's my ass. The flavor is really very nice with malts, brown sugars, and alcohol coming to the front. There is a bit of fruit in the background and a tiny bit of piney dryness at the finish. A nice winter ale indeed, but an imperial IPA? Don't you believe it.
Lunde 8, 4885
The second is 5 Stones Craft Brewing Camo Pale Stout from San Antonio - 7.8% ABV
Yes, you read correctly, pale stout. At least these guys are admitting that this beer is not typical of the style by adding the "Pale" to the name. This one really disturbs me, however, and the tasting panel was really stumped. The smell is not quite like that of a stout, but you will smell the spices, coffee and a bit of smokiness. The flavor really is hard to describe and no two descriptions from the panel were similar. 2 on the panel did pick out the espresso flavor, another said hemp, one was grass, another even described it as dirty socks. So you will taste coffee, roasted malts, a bit of spices and perhaps chocolate and with a bit of bitterness showing up at the end. You may call this whatever you want, but don't call it a frigging stout. We will not be trying this one again.
5 Stones Craft Brewing Company
Cibolo, Texas 78108