Beerly Departed - Search The Crypt's Records

Friday, October 14, 2011

Brooklyn - Black Ops 2010

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Brooklyn Black Ops 2010
Brooklyn Brewery
#1 Brewers Row
79 North 11th Street
Brooklyn , NY USA
Est. 1988

Brain Damage Quotient = 11.3 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 25.4

Postmortem Brew Review
Deep black color on pour.
Nose of roasted malts, leather, bourbon and oak. Deep, rich aromas pleasantly light up the nostrils.
Mocha colored, three fingered, tight bubbled head; not unlike champagne.

Great legs of lacing up and down the glass. Head will reappear easily if swirled in glass.
Tastes of bourbon, leather similar to the smell. Also noted rich (dark) fruits and dry chocolate flavors.
Soft carbonation.
Full flavored, complex tastes. Slight boozy alcohol, but not a distraction. Each sip brings you back for more.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Weddings are special times, and as such they call for special attention to details. From choosing the bride's wedding gown to the coat and tie for the groom, to the flower arrangements, the music selections, the dinner menu and the cake, no detail is too unimportant or overlooked. Similarly, weddings are also steeped in traditions ranging from the exchange of vows, the (in)famous "Here Comes the Bride" march to the "something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue" poem-come-rule.

Several months ago I was able to score a late season hit with a 2010 bottle of Brooklyn's Black Ops. It was squirreled away in the recesses of the beer fridge to be saved for a very special occasion. My oldest daughter was wed this past Friday and as mentioned in the first paragraph, every detail had been meticulously selected by the bride and the groom for this auspicious event. One of the details was, as father of the bride, to deliver a speech and toast to the newlyweds. A champagne toast? From her father, a beer nerd? I think not. It doesn't take long to figure out where this is going.

I couldn't have thought of a better choice. The bottle came in its own lustrous black and silver "tuxedo" label, elegantly wrapped around an equally impressive cork and caged champagne bottle. A Russian Imperial Stout with champagne yeast as a component proved to be a worthy opponent to any fine bottle of champagne. The couple were not only surprised by the gesture, but enjoyed - make that - savored it to the final drop.

Thank you Garret Oliver for making their day so very special, by creating such a fine ale.

My toast to the newlyweds:
"Here's to today, here's to tomorrow and all your tomorrows. May they be filled with health, happiness and love."

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Russian River - Pliny The Elder

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Pliny The Elder
Russian River Brewing Company
725 4th Street

Santa Rosa, CA USA
Est. 2003 (vague)

Brain Damage Quotient = 8.0 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 16.9

Postmortem Brew Review
Mostly golden, with slight orange tint in color.
Pine then fruity/citrus hops; powerful aroma.
Off-white, two finger frothy head. Dissipates slowly. Leaves a thin but sticky draped lace all the way down the glass.
Great pungent hops taste that start piney and then become mostly citrus in taste as it clings to the tongue.
Moderate carbonation. 
Medium bodied. Complex hops from pine to citrus all well balanced. Extremely easy to drink despite the 8% ABV.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Yes, the mighty Pliny the Elder. And oooooh yes, I was bad, and had traded for it. Worth every snarky comment I may receive for the sacrifice, but to be sure, it was well packaged for shipment. Even the Reaper's patience was tested as the 08/18/11 dated bottle was not consumed until it's eighth week. Some may dismiss me and claim it as sacrilegious and others may ostracize me for not opening 20 seconds after it had been capped. Bullshit. This ale is brilliant.

It was as good as billed even though it went through the trials of shipping and 2 months time. And we well enjoyed it. Harrumph. Now, don't get me wrong...I fully understand the dozens of warnings on the label to the contrary that (over)state it is meant for early consumption. To be sure, this is not an ale to sit on over time. But my friend, why would you want to? They'll make more next year and you can enjoy it's harvest seasonality again. Once perchance upon your lips is not enough. No reason to doubt the raves of thousands of hopheads on this beauty.

More importantly than the ale itself, I encourage you to read their website and learn more about Russian River Brewing. Their roots are from wine, (champagne more specifically), in Sonoma County. You can learn how dedication to task and stick-to-it-tiveness ruled the day of this brewery's emergence. It is quite a story of cooperation and partner building. One of the most enjoyable brewery history/stories out there, bar none.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mad River - Steelhead Extra Pale Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Extra Pale Ale
Mad River Brewing Company
195 Taylor Way
Blue Lake, CA USA
Est. 1989

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.6 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Unfiltered golden yellow color. Yeast suspension at finish of pour.
Spicy, floral hops are present in the nose. Soft grain malts with slight grass aromas.
Two finger, near-white head on pour. Two fingers tall, then rapidly covers to a cap.
Spotted lacing (not much) on the glass.
Hops and malt are well balanced. Balanced up front with mild hops grip at the end.
Light bodied. Easy to drink.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Pale Ales just don't get any love. Most are cast aside as erstwhile brews, in favor of their bigger brother the India Pale Ale.

This is an American Pale ale, not an English. The malts are a bit sweeter and the hops give it just the right amount of dryness to the finish. I could easily sit here and drink several of these in a session.  Going back to my opening statement, you see the thing about us Americans is that bigger is better. More, more, more. Well, sometimes less is more. And when it comes to less than an IPA, I'd put money down for this Pale Ale any day of the week. I could be happy with this Pale Ale in any surrounding. And that's coming from someone that quite enjoys a face-melting hoppy beer.

As American Pale ales are only one of three original American beer styles, this one will do just fine, thank you.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Santa Fe - Nut Brown Ale

Dead Soldier
Where to Dig Up More About This Beer
Nut Brown Ale
Santa Fe Brewing Company
35 Fire Place
Santa Fe, NM USA

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.2 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0

Postmortem Brew Review
Deep brown color that lets just the slightest amount of light through.
Pleasant caramel sweet malts up front on the nose.
One finger, caramel/tan head that hangs around, leaving some spotted lacing.
Malty sweetness without being over the top. Nice caramel flavor that only slightly overtakes the hops.
Moderate amount of carbonation.
Medium bodied. Nice clean pop at the finish.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Brown Ales are one of those tricky little brews that on the surface might seem easy to brew, but some fail to impress. That is NOT the situation here. Santa Fe's Nut Brown Ale was a pleasant little surprise waiting for me in the back recesses of the fridge.

Reading the label I noticed the words "Whole Flower Hops" and "Malted Barley" after the introduction that stated they only use the finest ingredients. That would explain the attention to detail the brewers at Santa Fe take in crafting this Brown Ale. And all done in the English style for a Brown. Very enjoyable and quite easy to session.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bridgeport - Cafe' Negro Coffee Infused Porter

Dead Soldier

Where to Dig Up More About This Beer 
Cafe' Negro Coffee Infused Porter
Bridgeport Brewing Company
1318 N.W. Northrup 

Portland, OR USA
Est. 1984

Brain Damage Quotient = 5.5 % ABV
Fluid Oz. = 12.0 

Postmortem Brew Review
Rich root beer brown body color.
Roasted malt, roast coffee, hints of chocolate on the nose.
Luxurious frothy khaki colored head. Leaves trace lacing and covers to a cap.
Sweet malt flavor with nicely delayed coffee, then hints of chocolate in the finish.
Medium bodied. Great flavor complexity.

Grim Reaper's Eulogy
Sunday morning. House to myself and flipping through the news articles online. Oh, the digital age - no crossword puzzles for me. Read the news online instead of killing a rain forest for the paper. So instead it's just some quiet time now. Time to catch up on some blogging and some beer.

As the first days of low humidity have arrived here in Hell's Kitchen, I know the snowbirds will be arriving soon, coming to roost for the winter. It's about 68 degrees this morning and so nice outside. I couldn't resist sitting outdoors, curled up with the laptop and this beauty of a porter. Better yet, I am having the Cafe' Negro just at the peak of its nominal shelf life. All those coffee and roasted malt flavors have had a chance to get to know each other real well the past few months. And if I do say so, I am digging it! Get it? That's a Reaper pun. Oh, okay. Whatever. I'm easy, like Sunday morning....

This is something I would enjoy again and again as a Sunday morning eyeopener. After all, the folks at Bridgeport went the extra mile to infuse coffee in the porter, so why not indulge in a little weekend AM luxury? Ahh, relaxation...hmmmm, what's this? Why it's a crossword puzzle app for my smartphone!

Quick...what's a nine letter word for an outstanding porter?

Cafe' Negro.