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On Friday we introduced our new series, The Super List. Each month we will be sharing the beers that Tammy, in true elementary school teacher fashion, rates as “Super” in her beer journal. Just for fun, we will also be taking a look back at what beers made the list the same month in previous years to see what we can learn about our ongoing beer journey.
Our first little analysis shows a predictable bias. Common to each “Super” beer this month in both 2010 and 2007, is Belgian yeast. Looking back at the beers that blew our socks off three years ago helped us see that we still like sweet, strong Belgian-style beers, but our most recent list of favorites shows how our balance-seeking palates have matured. (Or at least we’d like to think that.)
With a theme of Belgian yeast and balance, the Super List for January 2010 includes Avery Collaboration Not Litigation, Heavy Seas Yuletide Belgian-Style Tripel Ale, Ommegang Ommedgeddon, and Flying Fish Grand Cru Winter Reserve. More on each beer and why it made the list after the jump.
- Avery Collaboration Not Litigation (Lure’s in Crownsville, MD) – Beers we’ve had don’t always make the log, but we were curious about the most recent batch of this blend of Avery’s Salvation and Russian River’s beer with the same name. Aptly named by Russian River co-owner Natalie Cilurzo because of the story behind the beer, this orange-amber 8.9% ABV Belgian-style strong dark ale is fruity and sweet with notes of peach and honey. Despite the punch it packs, we found this batch to be more of a well-balanced, drinkable version of a barleywine than the strong dark monster we expected, and we appreciated that.
- Heavy Seas Mutiny Fleet Yuletide Belgian-Style Tripel Ale (Heavy Seas Tasting at Bilbo Baggins in Alexandria) – The pronounced clove and banana nose on this deep gold-colored beer led way to a sweet, spicy, malt-rich brew that reminded us of bananas foster. Out of all the Baltimore-based Heavy Seas (formerly Clipper City) beers we tasted that night, including Holy Sheet Uber Abbey, Below Decks Barleywine, and Peg Leg Imperial Stout, Yuletide was by far our favorite, probably because of how balanced it seemed for a 10% alcohol beer.
- Ommegang Ommegeddon (Ommegang Dinner at Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown) – This 8% ABV Belgian-style “funkhouse ale” from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York, is brewed with wild brettanomyces yeast and dry-hopped. We found lemon and other citrus flavors, a spike of pepper, and a nice sweet then dry finish in this highly-carbonated, cloudy, gold-copper beer. The brew was expertly matched by the folks at Pizzeria Paradiso with the tartness of a mustard green salad with apples and roasted mushrooms. We should note that such a strong pairing likely helped with the super rating, as we shared a bottle with friends at a party later that week and enjoyed it, but did not have the same reaction.
- Flying Fish Grand Cru Winter Reserve (The Black Squirrel in Adams Morgan) – From the New Jersey brewers at Flying Fish, this 7.2% ABV Belgian-style strong golden ale with a winter twist is a malty, citrusy spice bomb. With nice lemon, allspice, and vanilla aromas, the hazy golden beer tastes as great as it smells thanks to our seemingly best buddy this month, Belgian yeast. Bruce did not think as highly of this one, but since Tammy does the logging, Super it was. This bottle was a perfect, balanced response to the Bell’s Hopslam we had the same night.
And for kicks, Tammy’s Super List from January 2007:
- Rochefort 10 (Belgian Trappist Beer Dinner at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown) – How Tammy had a thing for those Belgian Quads (and we’re not talking about European body builders). If you are hazy on the whole Dubble, Tripel, Quadrupel lingo, check out our previous post on the matter. According to the ol’ beer journal, this 11.3% murky dark brown beast has a subtle raisin nose, plenty of malt, caramel, and plum flavors, and a nice warm finish. Sounds about right.
- Achel Extra (Belgian Trappist Beer Dinner at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown) – Belgian strong dark ales strike again. Looking at a list of beers in the style category names most of our early faves. This 9.5% brown dark fruit-ridden beer is sweet and boozy with lots of plum, fig, and toffee flavors. The journal says roast and popcorn in the nose, but it was pretty late in the night’s lineup so we are not sure about that one…
Have you had any of these beers? Which would get your Super, Yuck, or some rating in between?