Saturday, June 13, 2009

Beer Reviews for June 13th

As I said in the BrewFest posting, I was going to try and review five or so beers a week and provide some perspective on them, with a focus on being able to plan on pairing a meal with beer. This week I'm starting this. I've got five beers up on the blocks for you. I would have seven, but two of them were high gravity selections I had at a bar, and I lost my crib notes for them! That just means I have to go try them again!

Here's what I've got this week:

  • Delirium Tremens
  • Delirium Nocturnum
  • Brooklyn Pilsner
  • Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan
  • Dominion Oak Barrel Stout

Delirium Tremens - Belgian Strong Pale Ale:

Poured from 11.2 ounce bottle into pint glass

Appearance: Pale gold, clear. Head was lofty at two inches, but recedes gradually. Lacing is

Smell: Champagne grapes, driftwood, alcohol esters

Taste: Crisp and sweet apple acidity with citrus zest immediately evaporating into oak finished with cinnamon. Finished with very subtle bitterness from hops.

Mouthfeel: Light in body. Carbonation is vigorous throughout, sharp on the tongue to keep with the crisp acid. Finishes mildly astringent, cleaning the palate completely.

It's such a light and inviting beer that it can deceive you, but it's very dynamic in flavors, switching from acid to bitter with the carbonation scrubbing your tongue. It's got a very similar taste to many Belgian ales of its type, but weighs a lot less and hits a little harder. I'd pair it with food that's a little rich and fattening to give the acid and carbonation room to shine. Maybe some seafood like clam chowder or diver scallops, but I'd also expect it with chicken & spring vegetables.

Delirium Nocturnum - Belgian Strong Dark Ale:

Poured from 11.2 ounce bottle into pint glass

Appearance: Ebony wood, opaque throughout. Head was cream colored, about an inch thick. Retreated relatively quickly with no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Strawberry up front, small amount of cocoa and oak

Taste: Berries up front, quickly ebbing into robust toasted bread. Some caramel and cola in the malt. Hops barely reveal themselves upon swallowing, and toast lingers on the tongue.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is intense and persistent upon hitting the tongue, without being distracting from the flavor. Bubbles are small and gentle, but numerous. Weight is heavy without being too heavy. Finishes with an oiliness that accentuates the richness.

It's pretty stout with an 8.5% ABV, but not overbearing on the tongue at all. I would have this with any dish that I'd consider having with a brown ale, including beef dishes, stews, and deli sandwiches.

Brooklyn Breweries Pilsner - German Pilsner:

Poured from 12 ounce bottle into pint glass

Appearance: Straw colored, translucent. Head an easy 1" tall, snow white. Lacing heavy.

Smell: Hops-forward, some lemon zest and alcohol esters.

Taste: Not much happening other than the hops in here. They're rolling and not too heavy, with a little lavender to them, but that's about all you get. There's a weird metallic character that comes and goes. Finishes sharp and clean.

Mouthfeel: Sharp carbonation without being violent. Light body. Astringent finish that helps to attribute to the crisp feel.

It's a pilsner alright, but not my favorite one. It went fine with a bagel and lox, but I'm not sure if I'd reach for it again. Brooklyn has a lot of really good beers out there, but I wouldn't count this as one of them. It's pretty average.

Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan
- American Brown Ale:

Poured from 12 ounce bottle into pint glass

Appearance: Mahogany, clear. Head was 1/2", dissipating rapidly leaving no lace on the glass.

Smell: Woodsmoke, molasses, vanilla bean

Taste: Simple malts and nutty flavor initially, carrying into rich honey. Slightly unbalanced, without any expression of hops, which would help to curb the sweetness that lingers after swallowing.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thin and weak carbonation. Stays on the tongue after swallowing a bit.

A beautiful brown to look at with a pleasant taste. It would be a lot better if more balanced, but it's still a really tasty brown ale. Would be very tasty with some hickory smoked barbecue ribs.

Dominion Oak Barrel Stout - American Stout:

Poured from 12 ounce bottle into pint glass

Appearance: Opaque obsidian. Head rises slowly at first, then quickly builds on itself, with a toffee color, leaving very little lacing

Smell: Woodsmoke, spice, tobacco.

Taste: Smoke dominates the flavor from beginning to end. Woodsmoke character complements
roasted nuts, then spicy pipe tobacco smoke comes with a strong vanilla character. Slight bitter end, but a little acidity lingers afterward.

Mouthful: Moderately thick, with very light, silky carbonation. Milk-like cling to the tongue after swallowing.

Guaranteed to make you exhale deeply after drinking. The smoke character is bracing and very
fun. Despite being a very smoky stout, it's not overbearing and would pair with food quite well. Obviously would be great with barbecue, for sure.

1 comment:

harcout breton said...

i gotta go with pecan. i like the scent and it's tasty.