Beer Zombies year in review, Part 2 Sour Beers

 

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Sour beer, Wild Ales, Lambic and so on and so forth. To be completely up front and honest this style of beer is still one that I am exploring and learning about. So instead of breaking it down into further sub categories for each like Flanders, Gueuze etc. etc I’m going to to lump them into one blog post and throw up my favorites from the year. It will be more then three this time do to how many styles are involved.

 

WILD ALES/SOURS

SLOambic – Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Lambic, Fruit ABV: 6%

I first had the opportunity to try this amazing beer at the From the Barrel event put on by Firestone Walker at Santa Margarita ranch. SLOambic is made by using 2050 lbs. of  marionberries and boysenberries added to Sour Opal, a beer matured up to 32 months in oak barrels and then fermented using FW proprietary blend of microflora for an additional four months. The beer is bright and alive with berry compote, and homemade jam that provides a stage for a dance of funky yeast and oak flavors before closing the curtain with an amazing acidic finish.

R & D Wild Peach – New Glarus Brewing Co.

American Wild Ale ABV: 7.25%

I had this first at a small bottle share, the few ounces I drank was not close to enough. I went after a bottle in a trade and actually have one more on the way as I type. New Glarus made this Sour brown ale with Michigan peaches. Spontaneous fermentation aged on oak. Blended 1, 2 and 3 year old beer. The nose on this beer is world class, like opening 100 cans of peaches at once! The flavor profile is bursting with layers of fresh pressed peach juice seeping through used bourbon barrels and consumed out of a old leather cup. Has a great tart slightly sour crisp finish, that just pulls all the flavors together for a perfect easy drinking wild ale.

Drie Fonteinen Framboos – Brouwerij Drie Fonteinen

Lambic, Fruit ABV: 5%

This was a bottle gifted to me from the wonderful people at La Bodega bottle shop in Riverside Ca. Framboos is a one year old lambic brewed at 3 Fonteinen, with an addition of 30% whole fresh raspberries from the fabled Payottenland. No artificial colors or flavor enhancers are added. When poured into the glass the aroma is slightly funky with raspberry bush greenage that comes forward. As it warms up the actually berry just smacks you in the nose with a bright citric, and lactic acid mix. The flavor is truly amazing and complex, starts off with fresh ripe juicy raspberries that have been steeped in lemonade juiced from Meyer and Lisbon lemons. Hits a vinous white grape note before plunging into a full barnyard funk. Overall an excellent sour, juicy, tart funky beer.

 

Fruit Salad Oude Bruin – The Bruery 

Flanders Oud Bruin ABV: 8.2%

Part of the glorious day of drinking at The Bruery anniversary party. Fruit Salad Oude Bruin is a single barrel blend of Oude Tart that was brewed in July 2013 and an Oud Bruin Pilot Batch. The single wine barrel also contains 27 lbs. of blackberries, 39 lbs. of raspberries and 21 lbs.of Blueberry (in a single wine barrel!). The fruit was fermented to dryness by the mixed culture in the barrel. The name of this beer is perfect, fruit salad!  Had such a unique flavor of fresh berry pie filling mixed with cherry cola and sprinkled with some vinegar tartness. Was one of my favorite beers of the day that I stood in line for multiple times.

 

Cantillon Fou’ Foune – Brasserie Cantillon

Lambic, Fruit ABV: 5%

From a 2015 vintage bottle, made by using 2600 lbs. of apricots who land each year at Cantillon The fruits are stoned by hand before being immersed in a Lambic 2 years of age. The taste and aroma are extracted quickly and after 2 months of maceration, Fou’Foune is bottled. I love the way this beer reminds you that you are drinking a sour beer but only for a second before the apricots come crashing like a wave on your tongue. Its juicy, ripe and pulpy without being over bearing. It blends so amazingly with the base beer in a perfect harmony. Delivers a mid palate of an oak aged chardonnay, lemon peel, earth and a slight cheese flavor that joins in as well. I wish I could drink this regularly and not share!   

 

That is my list for my favorite sour/wilds of the year. This next year I plan to explore this style more and hope to find some beers that are on this caliber. If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them. Ill be posting part 3 very soon.

 

Cheers,

BZ

Beer Zombies year in review, Part 1 Local Beers

vegas2.jpgAs we draw close to a new year I’ve been looking back on all the great beers that I had a pleasure to pour down my throat. I decided to put together a list that I will be uploading in parts. It will be my favorite beers of 2015 broke down into styles/categories. I will add three beers to each style and they wont be in any order except that they where my top three in that category. Would love to hear feedback on my list in any form! So to start things off I will go with:

 

FAVORITE LOCAL BEERS

Morning Joe ( Kolsch ) – Banger Brewing 

http://bangerbrewing.com

ABV: 5.4% IBU: 25

This one was a huge win in my book, intense  burst of coffee, hazelnut aromas and a flavor that follows perfectly to the nose.The brewers at Banger accomplished this by dry hopping the base Kolsch with 4 lbs of French Caramel coffee and 4 lbs of Hazelnut coffee beans.  The addition of the coffee adds a wonderful flavor and creaminess to a beer style that is known to be  crisp, clean and balanced.

 

7th Anniversary Bourbon BA Ale w/ Vanilla & Cocoa Nibs – Joseph James Brewing

http://www.jjbrewing.com

ABV: 11% IBU: 50

This rich, complex, full-bodied ale was made by combining two of JJ’s popular bourbon barrel-aged beers. They where then blended to taste and conditioned on top of raw cacao nibs and vanilla beans. Do you like snickers bars? I know I do and anything that has a remote taste profile as a snickers is going to be consumed with joy. The vanilla dances gracefully with the char and wood flavors. Finishes with enough heat to let you know its been aged in bourbon barrels. Delicious!

 

BA Morning Pay Off ( Imperial Stout)  – Bad Beat Brewing 

http://www.badbeatbrewing.com

ABV: 8.8% IBU: 40

A complex blending of oats, wheat, smoked malt, lactose and 6 other ingredients create the perfect base to throw in some locally roasted beans from Mother Ship Coffee. A super solid example of a barrel aged stout with coffee. The flavor gives way to earthy fresh ground coffee, burnt malts with a slight pepper on the finish. Bringing in the barrels adds a wonderful woodsy character to the beer. Super smooth and easy drinking stout with no detection of the abv.

 

 

 

Well that is part 1 of my list of best beer I drank in 2015, check back for the next installment and please leave comments on either here or the Facebook page.

 

Cheers,

BZ

 

 

 

 

2015 Firestone Walker “From the Barrel” Recap

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The fifth annual From the Barrel took place over this past weekend at the beautiful Santa Margarita Ranch. This sold out event was the most unique beer event I have had the pleasure of attending. Couldn’t have asked for better weather or a more picture perfect venue to hold this 1920’s inspired night. All of the unique spirits, ports, and beers were barrel aged to truly make a most memorable night.

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FEATURED BREWERIES:

Almanac Beer Co. Ballast Point Brewing, BarrelHouse Brewing Co., Black Market Brewing Co., Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project, Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co., Firestone Walker Brewing Co., Hermitage Brewing Co., The Libertine Pub & Brewing, The Lost Abbey, Mother Earth Brew Co., Ninkasi Brewing Co., Pizza Port Brewing Co., Russian River Brewing Co., Societe Brewing Co., Telegraph Brewing Co.

Also in attendance were some amazing distilleries, wineries, and restaurants, being a Beer Zombie I’ll focus on the beers!

The beers on hand seemed to be equally divided into barrel aged stouts and sours.

Overall favorite sour being poured was from:

Hermitage Brewing Company – Strawberry Sour

http://hermitagebrewing.com

1627 S. 7th Street, San Jose, CA 95112

Talking with brand manager Nicole Marquez I came to find out this sour was brewed especially for the event. Even poured out of a labeless bottle, this sour was absolutely amazing. I highly recommend searching this out and trying it if you get a chance.

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Overall favorite stout being poured was from:

Firestone Walker Brewing Company – 2015 Parabola

http://www.firestonebeer.com

1400 Ramada Dr. Paso Robles, CA 93446

Even though I have had this multiple times, it was the first time having it on draft. It’s an almost perfect example of a ba stout. Plenty of rich, chewy roasted malts, charred oak and bourbon-like vanilla fill the palate and create a seamless finish. If you haven’t had this do yourself a favor and make it happen.

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From The Barrel went on until 10pm with plenty of libations flowing and dancing. Music provided by Ventucky String Band http://ventuckystringband.com , overall a very unique way to taste some amazing barrel aged beverages, food and indulge in 1920’s inspired music and fashion. I suggest buying tickets early next year and joining in on the fun, I know I’m already counting down the days until the sixth annual!

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BBA Monsters’ Park Release – Modern Times

Modern Times Beer release the new Monsters’ Park series today. Tickets went on sale from Brown Paper tickets at 10:00 am this morning. I managed to grab one bottle of each. The bottle count was extremely low 600 bottles of each version where made. The coconut and cocoa sold out in under 2 minutes, followed by the coffee variant in under 5 the base version hung around a little longer before selling out in 12 minutes. Looking forward to not only tasting the new beers but having another reason to return to the Modern Times brewery.

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MONSTERS’ PARK AGED IN BOURBON BARRELS
Black as oil and thick as blood. A vigorous pour produces a two finger, deep brown head. The mouthfeel is very full, with healthy, prickly carbonation. The aroma pops big time: major notes of bourbon, oak, chocolate, and toasted nuts waft out of the glass. The flavor is very powerful, with bourbon & roast malt leading the charge, followed by vanilla-y oak, caramel, dark chocolate, and those toasted nuts again. The finish lingers for days, with sweet malt and bourbon dominating. A seriously intense but very well-rounded barrel-aged imperial stout. The roasty intensity of Monsters’ Park is a beautiful match for the sweetness of bourbon.

MONSTERS’ PARK AGED IN BOURBON BARRELS W/ COFFEE
We learned from our first experience adding coffee to barrel-aged Monsters’ Park: this beer soaks up A LOT of coffee before it gets to the KA-POW level we’re aiming for. So we added nearly 3 times as much coffee in two separate doses to make it really pop. The coffee aroma leaps out of the glass in combination with the intense oak & bourbon notes. The flavor is drenched in fresh coffee, but not so much that it completely overshadows the amazing, chocolatey base beer. The roasted notes in Monsters’ Park combine with the coffee to produce a markedly intense flavor, like a chocolate covered espresso bean turned up to 11. The finish is coffee & sweet malt all day, with a noticeable vanilla oakiness & caramel hard candy coming through as well.

MONSTERS’ PARK AGED IN BOURBON BARRELS W/ COCONUT & COCOA NIBS
Wow, did this beer ever take a lot of work, but it was totally worth it. We toasted all of the coconut ourselves and went to great lengths to source the perfect combination of cocoa nibs. Needless to say, the results are spectacular & anything but subtle. It pours pitch black with a menacingly dark head that dissipates very quickly due to the fat from the coconut. The flavor and aroma are completely saturated with coconut & chocolate, but blend harmoniously with the strong bourbon & roast malt notes. This beer is explosively flavorful and completely coats the palate with coconut, milk chocolate, toasted bread, dark honey, and roast malt. Truly amazing.