Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ninkasi's Thanksgiving Beer

Looking for a little boozy goodness to crack open on Thursday after all of the turkey is gone?

Boy, have I got a deal for you.

I have absolutely no idea if Ninkasi had Thanksgiving in mind when they brewed the Imperiale High Gravity Stout, but it sure left me screaming thanks when I cracked it open the other night.

It also left me a bit buzzed which is an added bonus when spending an extended amount of time with the family. Just kidding, Mom.

Let's cut to the chase.

According to Ninkasi, or resident Eugene beer expert:

Rich, full bodied and surprisingly smooth, Imperiale Stout has a big roast hit up front, and rich, dark malt flavors balanced with ample hop bitterness to finish.

Part of their special release series, better grab some while you can.

Brewery: Ninkasi Brewing
Style: Imperial Stout
BeerAdvocate.com Rating: 81
RateBeer.com Rating: 89
Serving: 22oz bottle
ABV: 9.1%

And...the tasting notes:

Roasted malt up front, with a smooth and creamy body warming the mouth. Caramel, toffee, molasses and a touch coffee notes are present but are unified in one amazingly drinkable beer. Let us bundle you up!

Looking at the ratings in the scientific online beer communities, I was a bit surprised. I quite enjoyed this brew as I do most of the Ninkasi dark lineup. It appears that the most common complaint is it's bitterness; with an IBU of of 70 I suppose that is a valid complaint if you don't like hops.

That...or the reviewers were just a little sleepy after too much turkey and beer.

Nonetheless, I stand by my claim that this is worth checking out. Perhaps with the pumpkin pie.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

It's Barrel Aged Beer Season!

Tis the season to be jolly and merry and all that crap.

Said me, never.

Deep down, beneath my suave and sexy exterior, hidden behind a soft voice and an apparently kind heart, I'm a grinch. At least when it comes to most winter holidays.

I just can't get behind all of the glitter and the flitter and the ho ho ho's and that stuff. What I can get behind, however, is winter beer -- thank god the boozy stuff comes out during the holiday season.

Ever since a fateful night many years ago when Rick introduced me to Deschutes Mirror Mirror, barrel aged beer has been somewhat of a special treat for me. So special that half of my reserve wine cooler is now filled with the stuff.

There are worse problems to have in life.

You'll certainly get some more in depth reviews as we proceed through the next couple of months, but in the meantime, here is what I'm stoked about this winter:
  • Deschutes The Abyss Imperial Stout: A deep, dark Imperial Stout, The Abyss has almost immeasurable depth and complexity. The 2013 vintage is being released today in the Bend and Portland Brewpubs. How can you go wrong with what the Reddit beer community describes as "the best fucking motor oil you'll ever drink"?
  • Reuben's Brews Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout: They had 444 bottles available...that is, if you got to the brewery within the first hour on release day. Luckily for me (and select friends), the brewery is 2 blocks away so I made it with plenty of time to spare. Deep, dark, seductive. Tried this one on draft and can't wait to crack the bottle open.
  • Fremont Brewery KDS Bourbon Barrel Aged Dark Star: Another one that's pretty well sold out, but at least in Seattle you can still find a couple bottles laying around at your local craft beer store. It's Fremont's already delicious Imperial Oatmeal Stout aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels. This is the stuff dreams are made of.
  • Block 15 Figgy Pudding: Brewed with English pale & specialty malts and molasses. Matured in freshly emptied brandy barrels, conditioned with roasted mission figs, and then gently spiced with Ceylon cinnamon and nutmeg. Complex aromas and flavours of aged brandy, figs, spice, oak and vanilla with a velvety warm finish. The ultimate holiday beer to enjoy with friends, family, and elves. With a release date of November 16 and only 60 cases, you better get your ass down to Corvallis to pick some up.
  • Full Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout:  Formerly known as Black Gold, this beer was brewed in December of 2011 and has since aged in Kentucky Bourbon casks from Maker's Mark, Four Roses, Jim Beam. This extended aging presents hints of vanilla and allows the Stout to pick up the flavors of the wood, bourbon and oak. Probably the most readily available of the beers I've listed, don't underestimate it's excellence based on it's availability.
These should keep you drinking long into the dark winter nights.

What's your favorite barrel-aged beer?