Monday, March 18, 2013

The Lost Abbey - Saint's Devotion

The craft beer movement has been full of innovation: brewing techniques, barrel-aging practices and revisiting ancient recipes along with development of exciting new taste profiles (Black and White IPAs). This endless pursuit to keep innovating has lead brewmasters down an interesting path, inoculating their products with the wild yeast strain, Brettanomyces. 
Tomme Arthur, brewmaster of Lost Abbey has been at the forefront of this movement. His latest offering, Saint's Devotion, a Belgian Blonde Ale with "brett" pours a hazy-golden yellow with orange highlights. A light, airy head billows then dissipates, leaving excellent lacing around the entire glass. 
The aroma is full of pale malts with fruit sweetness. The sweetness conjures images of apple, pear and pineapples. The "brett" character presents as a musty, barnyard funk which works well against the fruitiness. 
The fruitiness that was present in the aroma takes a back seat as the "brett" took a commanding role in the taste profile. The barnyard funk in the aroma is complimented by an herbal earthiness that is accentuated by a high level of carbonation. The finish contains a slight acidic quality that is very dry and pleasant. 
A great balanced "brett" beer; gave it a try!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Founders Brewing Company - Imperial Stout

There are a number of craft breweries that produce a collection stouts (Dark HorseCigar CityBells Brewery), but few rival those being offered by Founders Brewing Company. Their collection of stout is comprised of the obtainable Breakfast Stout and Imperial Stout and the ultra elusive Kentucky Breakfast Stout (aged in oak bourbon barrel) and Canadian Breakfast Stout (aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels). With the Imperial Stout hitting shelves over the past couple of weeks, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to try a product within my favorite beer style.
Founders Imperial Stout pours a beautiful, opaque black with no noticeable carbonation both in the beer's body and head. The head that did form was small, slick and wispy leaving quickly following the pour. When held to the light the beer had no ruby hues hugging the glass.
The aroma contained no delectable hop presence. It was comprised of dark chocolate that intensified as the beer warmed. Complimenting this chocolate component was a sweetness that reminded me of molasses. The striking, somewhat unexpected quality of the aroma, booziness, was more powerful than I have experienced in other American versions of Russian Imperial Stout.
This stout contained a very forceful tasting profile. Although forceful, the taste of this stout had a beer-lover's complexity. The initial phase of the taste is a washing of dark chocolate and roasted malts. The hops that were undetectable in the aroma provide a popping hop-bite finish during the second wave of the tasting profile. The combination of malts and hops bring out a subtle tobacco/smokey quality that worked very well with the other ingredients. The finish was very fulfilling because each ingredient was identifiable and lingered on the palate activating multiple sensory receptors.
At 10.5%ABV, this stout is pushing stylistic guidelines, but the alcohol apparent in the aroma is not as prominent as in the tasting. With many malts used to create this beer, the mouthfeel is silky and velvety with just the right amount of chewiness. Enjoy this stout as an after supper dessert, but sip patiently and the beer will open up allowing the flavors to balance appropriately. For the stout lovers, Founders Imperial Stout is a must try; Seek and Enjoy!