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The year-end month-by-month playback continues with my Super List for August. Most of the month’s beers were consumed at friend’s homes instead of out at bars or organized beer events, but I attended my first of what turned out to be a hybrid between the two experiences, a local Ratebeer.com tasting.
I was invited to a local meet up for D.C. and Baltimore by some active users of the popular beer rating and community forum site. I learned all about tickers (drinkers who compulsively seek out beers to tick off their want lists), was exposed to the shared spreadsheet of collective local inventory, and heard plenty about the differences between RateBeer and Beer Advocate, the other widely used beer rating site. I find merit in both forums, but for the purpose of this post, RateBeer brought some outstanding beers my way.
Brasserie Des Franches-Montagnes L’Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien 2009 (Beer & Cheese Seminar at ChurchKey) – This 11%-abv hazy amber brew had a sour, pungent aroma but tasted malty and sweet with peach and dark red wine flavors. Former winemaker Jérôme Rebetez of BFM aged this brew for several months in oak barrels that contained red wine. Weyerbacher Slam Dunkel (in bottle purchased at DeVino’s) – although Chris Wilson, head brewer at Weyerbacher, has been making this beer since 2007, this summer was my first encounter with the 7%-abv “Double Dunkelweizen.” This creamy, wheat-based beer is brewed with yeast from Weihenstephan Brewery, makers of several popular traditional German Hefeweizen beers. Weyerbacher’s version had the liquid banana bread character I love about Dunkelweizens, but with a “double” kick of malt and spice.
Selin’s Grove Phoenix Kriek (in bottle shared at a local Ratebeer.com tasting) – This 6.5%-abv fruit beer from Pennsylvania poured a deep ruby red. Its dark cherry aroma gave way to the most natural cherry flavor I’ve had in a beer. For the style, Phoenix was not too sour and not too sweet. The finish was dry but not overly so, and there was a bit of an acidic bite in the mouth feel. I’d call this a perfect cherry ale.
Flying Dog Extra Special Gonzo Imperial Porter (in bottle shared at a local Ratebeer.com tasting) – This “extra special” version of Flying Dog’s Gonzo Imperial Porter is barrel-aged in Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey barrels and dosed with Brettanomyces, a wild yeast that produces funky or sour flavors in beer. Consequently, E.S.G.’s qualities waver between those of an Imperial porter and a sour ale. It poured a murky dark brown, and had chocolate, vanilla, alcohol, and a hint of Brett funk in the nose. It tasted as it smelled with the addition of date and fig flavors, and had a roast character and flash of vinegar in the finish.
Midnight Sun 3767 Belgian Style IPA with Brettanomyces (in bottle shared at a local Ratebeer.com tasting) The number of miles between Midnight Sun Brewing Company in Anchorage, Alaska, and Ballast Point Brewing Company in San Diego, California, gives this complex 8%-abv hybrid style collaboration beer its name. The hazy gold, cream headed beer is aged for several months in French oak Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. Likely a result of the hops and wild yeast, 3767 is intensely citrusy with pineapple and lemon flavors, a hint of sourness, and a persisting bitter aftertaste.
Uinta Crooked Line Tilted Smile Imperial Pilsner (in bottle purchased at De’Vines) – Speaking of hybrid styles, this 9%-abv translucent, straw colored beer had a clean aroma with mild notes of herbal Saaz hops. The beer’s initial strong malt presence faded to the feel of a crisp, light-bodied lager. Tilted Smile had a buttery but dry finish like a Meursault Chardonnay. This was a unique success for the style, which takes a light lager (think most beer in the grocery store) and gives it some wings.
Had any of these beers yourself? What did you think?