Saturday, June 1, 2019

The Divine Beers of Chimay

By Owen Ogletree
Photo courtesy @bieresdechimay (Instagram)
Photos courtesy @bieresdechimay (Instagram)

Father Theodore sat at his microscope in the brewing laboratory of Belgium’s Abbaye Notre-Dame de Scourmont in the winter of 1948. The Trappist monk was searching for a new yeast strain for the abbey’s Chimay beers. How did a monk become so knowledgeable of microbiology and brewing chemistry? The clever, spunky Father Theodore had studied with renowned brewing researcher Jean De Clerck (who is now buried at Scourmont Abbey), and the late beer writer Michael Jackson once said, “Father Theodore had a brewing scientist’s knowledge of water, barley varieties, hops and yeast.”
Photo courtesy @bieresdechimay (Instagram)
Photo courtesy @bieresdechimay (Instagram)
Over a period of two years, Father Theodore propagated different brewing yeasts from single cells and conducted fermentation and sensory tests in search of an alcohol-tolerant strain that would provide the perfect aroma, flavor and flocculation for Chimay. The iconic monk described the process as “…painstaking work, requiring Benedictine patience.” Father Theodore passed away in 2013 at the abbey, but all Chimay yeast remains cultured from the single yeast cell he chose in the 1940s. What brewer could ask for a more fitting legacy?
Trappist brewing began in 1098 when a group of French monks decided that their way of life had become a bit over-elaborate. It was proposed that the Cistercian monks (also known these days as “Trappists”) should return to the rule of St. Benedict that stresses a life of simplicity, charity and humble service to God, with the monks living from their own works. This reform quickly caught on throughout Europe, and in the summer of 1850 a small group of monks from St. Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren traveled to the Scourmont plateau near of the town of Chimay in southern Belgium to create the Abbaye Notre-Dame de Scourmont. The monks brought along a zeal for brewing and began Scourmont’s Benedictine traditions of making its own beer, bread, butter and cheese.
Monks oversee the production of Chimay cheese and beer that is carried out by skilled employees, and a substantial slice of the profits go to charities. Only products produced within the walls of a Cistercian abbey can carry the protected Trappist logo, and Chimay was the first to use the appellation “Trappist Beer.”
The monks focus on quality and efficiency. The water for Scourmont’s Chimay beers comes from a well dug 45 meters beneath the monastery, and spent grain husks from the brewing process are fed to the cows that produce the milk for Chimay cheese. Brewing yeast is harvested and re-propagated for the next batch of ale, and the monks carry out quality control in the abbey’s own laboratory. The brothers embrace a devotion to God and science, and also take a vow of silence, only speaking when praying, worshipping or talking about their work. The monks thought that a noisy bottling line would detract from their devotion to quiet and tranquility, so Chimay’s beers are hauled away from the abbey brewery in large tanker trucks and bottled at a nearby facility.
Photo courtesy @bieresdechimay (Instagram)
Photo courtesy @bieresdechimay (Instagram)
1862 saw Scourmont begin production of the first Trappist beer to be released to an appreciative public. At 7% alcohol by volume (ABV), Chimay Première (Red) ranks as a world-class example of the Trappist style of beer called Dubbel. Copper/brown in color with ruby highlights, the beer is brewed with rich Belgian malts, dark candi sugar and spicy, floral hops. Expect aromas and flavors of raisins, figs, caramel, light chocolate and mild clove in this malt-focused brew. All the Chimay beers are available in 33 cl capped bottles and 75 cl and 150 cl corked versions, with some brands also packaged in larger, distinctive bottles for special occasions.
Chimay Cinq Cents is an example of a Belgian Trappist Tripel with a pale orange tint, 8% ABV, clear candi sugar and bittering hops that lead to a somewhat dry, spicy finish. Look for complexity from fruity esters, alcohol warmth and grain notes reminiscent of honey. Cinq Cents achieves a delicate balance of malt sweetness, fermentation complexity and moderate hop bitterness that pairs extremely well with fish, roast chicken, spring salads and the abbey’s own Vieux Chimay aged cheese. Cinq Cents was first brewed in 1966.
Chimay’s most illustrious and robust ale must be the powerful Chimay Grande Réserve – also known as Chimay Blue because of the blue cap on the 33 cl bottles. Some refer to the style as Belgian Quad, with Belgian Dark Strong Ale being the more descriptive term. The ale pours with a thick, creamy, tan foam and dark brown color. Candied fruit, ripe cherries, prunes, toffee, spice, clove, peppery alcohol, dark malts and mild hop notes highlight the nose and palate of this 9% ABV brew that will evolve and develop over a few years of cellaring. Despite the huge malt profile, Grande Réserve never finishes heavy or syrupy – only dangerously delicious. Sip it alongside a bite of A La Chimay Première cheese that has its rind washed in Chimay ale during maturation. Grand Réserve was born in 1956 as a Christmas beer and went into mass production in 1982. Exceptional bottles of a boozy, barrel-aged version are available on occasion.
The monks of Scourmont only indulge in their strong ales during special occasions, with a lighter alcohol brew being available with daily dinner. The best way to experience the monk’s pale table brew, also known as patersbier, is to journey to the Espace Chimay inn, visitors center, shop and restaurant located just down the road from the abbey. The 4.8% ABV brew is labeled Chimay Dorée (Gold), and the mild, elegant beer boasts surprising notes of esters, citrus, hops, spice, honey, biscuit crust and apricot – all backed by a soft, grainy-sweet malt character. The beer goes well with a goat cheese salad or scallops sautéed in butter and garlic. Chimay Gold was first released to the public in 2013.
Chimay ales are bottled-conditioned, meaning that no artificial carbon dioxide gas is used for carbonation. Rather, the beers are bottled with a hint of residual sugar and live yeast, allowing the yeast to produce a lively, natural sparkle within the bottle before settling into a fine sediment. The beers of Chimay now enjoy an expansive distribution throughout a multitude of countries, and the yeast sediment in the bottles absorbs oxygen, actually reducing oxidation and helping the beer fare well on long journeys around the world. Pour a Chimay slowly into an appropriate goblet or tulip-shaped glass, being careful to leave the sediment in the bottle. The yeast sediment is not harmful to consume and does contains beneficial nutrients, but it will change the flavor of the beer.
Michael Jackson’s early beer writings in the 1970s and ’80s did much to introduce the world to the ales of Chimay, and many older craft beer enthusiasts will say that Chimay was their first taste of Belgian beer. Hefty and rich enough to sometimes help fasting monks endure Lent, the Trappist ales were often described by Michael Jackson as “not a beer to refresh the body, but to sustain the soul.”
Facebook: @chimay
Twitter: @EspaceChimay
Instagram: @bieresdechimay

Monday, May 27, 2019

Brewtopia's Group Beer Trip to Northern Spain

Click on the video below for highlights from our group beer/cider/wine tour of the regions around Barcelona and San Sebastián in northern Spain. Barcelona has become an impressive craft beer destination. Video by Owen Ogletree of www.Brewtopia.info.



Friday, May 24, 2019

British Pub Tips



For those of you who have never experienced a pub in the UK, look below for some useful tips...

- Order at the bar and pay as you go. UK pubs don't run tabs, unless you are sitting down to eat.

- If you are ordering food, find a table and look for the number on the table. You'll need the number when you go to the bar to order food and pay.

- Beers come in 20 ounce imperial pints and 10 ounce half pints. Half pints are exactly half the cost of a regular pint, so this makes it easy to try many beers. 

- My advice would be to stick to half pints, for the sake of moderation and variety. When ordering a small beer, ask for a HALF. Don't say "half pint," because all the bartender will hear is "pint." Example: "I'd like a HALF of the Oakham Citra Ale please." Be sure the word HALF is stressed. 

- Contactless pay is huge in UK pubs, and this makes paying for your beers so easy. On your phone, load the GooglePay or ApplePay app and put in your credit card information. Activate the NFC (Near Field Communication) setting on your phone, and use your phone to tap the card reader at the pub and pay with no hassle. Be sure to use a credit card that does NOT charge any extra on international purchases.

- Remember there is NO tipping in the UK. You can leave a couple of extra pounds on the table after a nice sit-down meal, but this is optional. 

- Beers with tap handles that look like billy clubs are cask "real" ale. These are the special beers that we can't usually find in the USA. All pubs will also offer a boring range of mainstream lagers on draft, along with a few new craft beers on draft. Cask ales will have light, soft carbonation, while the draft beers will be fizzy like in the USA. Cask ales in the north of the UK will be served using a "sparkler" on the end of the faucet. The sparkler shoots the beer into the glass through tiny holes, creating a pint with a soft mouthfeel and creamy head. 

- You can always ask for a taste of any cask ale before you order. Most bartenders will be happy to do this.

- Don't be afraid to talk to the locals in the pub. Once you get them going, they can be entertaining. Understanding some accents can be a challenge though. Always ask before petting a dog in a pub. 

- A "listed" pub means that the building is on a historic register and is protected from modernization. 

- Feeling peckish at the pub? Most pubs sell a range of tasty snack packs from behind the bar. My favorites are KP's Nuts, Nobby Nuts, Piper's Crisps, and Mini-Cheddar crackers. 

Cheers!!!


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Beer Styles Bingo - April 2019

Owen Ogletree gathered a group of 15 craft beer enthusiasts and beer judges on April 20, 2019 for another round of Beer Styles Bingo. Each taster was given a list of ten beer styles with short descriptions from the Beer Judge Certification Program (see below). Beers were presented one at a time in blind fashion and in random order, and participants tried to match each beer to its appropriate BJCP style. It seems easy but turns out to be quite challenging when comparing ten different beers...




MONDAY NIGHT BREWING DARK SUBJECT MATTER
Russian-Style Imperial Stout
A strong, thick, high alcohol, dark beer loaded with rich malt and roasted, espresso, coffee-like character. Quite viscous and rich with notes of molasses, chocolate, 
              








IRONMONGER BREWING PHRASING PALE ALE
American Pale Ale
An average-strength, hop-forward pale ale with light fruity character and citrusy, piney American hops. More sessionable than American IPAs. This version could use a bit more hop character.









HIGHLAND GAELIC ALE
British Strong Bitter
A moderate-strength, malty, caramely, deep amber ale around 5-6% ABV with notes of toasted bread, toffee and earthy UK hops. This style is not very bitter or strong by today's standards but quite drinkable and delicious.
                






GATE CITY BREWING TERMINUS PORTER
Baltic Porter
Malty sweet with a smooth, roasted flavor not as strong as an Imperial Stout. Clean lager character with few fruity esters. Starts sweet, but dark malts quickly dominate with hints of coffee, licorice, caramel, toffee, nuts, molasses, black currant and dark fruit. Notes of molasses, dark chocolate, roasted malt, and caramel candy dominate. 
   



TERRAPIN WATERMELON GOSE
Gose with Watermelon
A highly-carbonated, somewhat dry, tart and fruity wheat ale with a mild coriander and salt character and low bitterness. Sharp, crisp, smooth lactic acid character reminiscent of pickle juice. Fruit complexity comes from the use of watermelon juice, and watermelon rind notes come through. 
       






CREATURE COMFORTS ATHENA 
Berliner Weisse
A refreshing, light-bodied, sour, wheat ale with low alcohol and crisp, smooth notes of lactic acid. Like a Gose without the salt and spice. This version is malty for the style. Crisp and refreshing. 
                








AKADEMIA BREWING NAME OF WORDS
Double IPA
A higher alcohol version of an IPA with impressive malt character and moderately high mouthfeel - all backed by citrusy, piney, American hops. Experimental hops provide hints of earthy, pungent, onion/garlic character. This example is quite clear - not hazy. A delicious and satisfying strong IPA.
               





VICTORY GOLDEN MONKEY
Tripel with Spices
A pale, somewhat spicy, dry, strong Trappist-style ale with a pleasant, rounded pale malt flavor and firm bitterness. Quite aromatic, with spicy, fruity, light warming alcohol notes. Spices provide a hint of added complexity. Malt sweetness and clove notes emerge on the palate. 
              






TERRAPIN GAMMA RAY
Wheatwine with Honey
A high alcohol wheat ale with rich wheat/malt character, strong body, spicy/fruity notes, alcohol warmth and a bready profile. Like a wheat-focused Barleywine. The honey provides added complexity and alcohol spice and warmth. Smooth, delicious and dangerous. 
                 








CATAWBA WHITE ZOMBIE
Witbier (Belgian White)
A refreshing, light/moderate strength, effervescent, wheat-based Belgian ale with wheat cereal grain notes, orange peel and coriander. This version could use a bit more orange and coriander complexity.
          

Friday, March 29, 2019

Exciting CASK ALE List for the 2019 Classic City Brew Fest


Check out our exciting line-up of exclusive, one-off cask ales for Classic City Brew Fest on April 7, 2019 in Athens, GA...
  • Akademia Brewing On The Pull is a low-gravity, sessionable English mild ale with a twist from additions of lactose and vanilla beans. Expect notes of dark malt, mild fruity esters, light bittering hops, and nuances of creamy sweetness backed by appealing vanilla.
  • Alcovy Brewing Patio Beer. Our 4.5% ABV patersbier is modeled after the beer that Trappist monks are rumored to brew for themselves. With notes of clove, peppercorns, mace, and cinnamon, this spicy Belgian-style "single ale" is approachable, complex, and quite refreshing.
  • Arches Brewing Equilibrium Pale Ale - An American pale ale with a grain bill designed to provide a moderate body and excellent head retention. Well bittered with Cascade and Chinook that give notes of grapefruit and spice, this cask was dry-hopped with El Dorado, Cascade, and Comet for a citrus and pine aroma.
  • Athentic Brewing My Naughty Little Pet is a 9.1% ABV Wee Heavy Scottish ale produced with the historic Edinburgh yeast strain. This exclusive cask has been aging with oak spirals and cocoa nibs. Also check out our draft version of the same beer next to the Akademia booth. A collaboration done at Akademia. 
  • Atlanta Brewing Conjuring Cultures with Grapefruit is a mixed fermentation farmhouse ale. Imagine a saison fermented in aromatic bourbon barrels with Belgian ale yeast and two funky Brettanomyces strains.
  • BeeCraft Sweet Mother of Pearls is our nationally-awarded blueberry, blackberry, and black currant Dark Pearls mead sweetened with North Georgia wildflower honey and aged in the cask with Ceylon and Saigon cinnamon sticks. 13.8% ABV.
  • BlueTarp Brewing Purple People Eater is a barrel-aged American sour ale with dragon fruit. This 6.2% ABV ale offers interesting tart notes from the fermentation character, while the dragon fruit provides hints of kiwi and pear complexity.
  • Burnt Hickory Snickers Stout.AKA Snicky Snicks, this rich, dessert stout is named in honor of our beloved taproom guy Snickers. At 10% ABV, this is a malty, boozy "candy bar" in a glass!
  • Cannon Brew Pub Chocolate Cherry Red Jacket. Red Jacket has been our flagship beer at Cannon for 20 years. It's a malty amber ale with notes of caramel. For this cask, we've added cacao nibs and maraschino cherries.
  • Carolina Bauernhaus Plum Gold is our golden sour ale aged on a blend of locally sourced, dried plums. A Mosaic dry-hop was added to this unique cask for a layer of berry medley, citrus, and stone fruit notes.
  • Cherry Street The Lost Boyz - A 6% ABV sour blonde ale fermented with boysenberries and cranberries. Vanilla beans and blueberries were also added to this special cask for an added layer of mouth-watering flavors.
  • Chops & Hops / Southern Brewing Collaboration BAM That's Hazy is a juicy, hazy, IPA with Mandarina Bavaria and Simcoe hops with added complexity from additions of blackberry, apricot, and mango.
  • Coastal Empire Clouds of Pineapple Milkshake IPA is brewed with generous amounts of oats, wheat, milk sugar, and pineapple. All hops were added post-boil, with Citra and Azacca making up the fragrant dry-hops. Aged on Madagascar vanilla, this special cask will be like creamy pineapple soft serve in a glass.
  • Creature Comforts Lemon Verbena DaySpring. Our cask is a version of our award-winning grisette Belgian-style session ale with local wheat and locally grown lemon verbena.
  • Dry County Kope Niu Old 41. We took our gold medal winning oatmeal stout and conditioned it with Kona coffee, coconut flakes and a dash of vanilla caviar for a Hawaiian take on our favorite stout.
  • Eagle Creek Blueberry Ascension of the Kaiju. Kaiju means "strange creature" in Japanese. That's exactly what we created in this satisfying, 4.5% ABV pilsner-type brew with light green tea, ginger, and a pile of blueberries added to the cask.
  • Etowah Meadery Hopped Up OMG is made with Georgia honey, mountain water, mangos, guava and Amarillo dry-hops. One sip of this tasty mead would make Athena start hopping around saying "OMG!"
  • Eventide Kattegat Baltic Porter was cask-conditioned with dark brown sugar, and the residual sweetness accentuates the vinous and chocolate flavors of the beer, while the fine, soft carbonation delivered by cask-conditioning presents a luxuriously smooth mouthfeel and taste profile.
  • Firewater Brewing Super Dry-Hopped Hop Chief. We dry-hopped this brew three times with Citra and Mosaic on top of an already juicy, citrusy, and slightly hazy IPA. Truly the chief of hops, this cask offers massive citrus and floral notes from extra additions of Citra, Mosaic, and Eureka hops.
  • Fyne Ales Sublime Stout (Scotland, UK) - A dark, deep ruby red stout with aromas of roasted malt and a hint of licorice. Mellow sweetness and a malty fruitiness are followed by a smooth, dry finish. Sublime Stout gets hopped four times, including dry-hopping in the cask.
  • Fyne Ales Superior IPA (Scotland, UK) is 7.1% ABV with Citra and Cascade hops backed by aromas of apricot and peach. Flavors of tropical and stone fruits lead to a pleasant, bittersweet finish. Superior IPA is generously hopped at four points of the brewing process, including dry-hopping in the cask.
  • Gate City Sweet Heat OTP is our 8% ABV double IPA with loads of mango, hot chilies, and a dash of lime. The flavor starts with sweet mango goodness, then the heat slowly creeps in, warming you from the inside out. It's like sitting in a hot tub with your soulmate.
  • Good Word Brewing Rocksteady English Mild. This 3.4% ABV classic UK-style ale offers elegant notes of toffee, leather, mild fruit, and malt complexity. It's easy on the alcohol, yet loaded with flavor. Number One of the bad guy English beer duo.
  • Hi-Wire Brewing Hop Circus Berzerkus. We took our fruity, juicy Hop Circus series and crushed it with 4.5 pounds per barrel of Azacca dry-hops. Expect huge tropical fruit notes and a smooth body from the flaked oats and flaked wheat.
  • Ironmonger Brewing Stop! Mango-Guava Timeis a mango/guava Belgian-style wheat beer adapted from our staple witbier, Too Legit To Wit. With additions of fresh mango and guava, this 4.9% ABV cask is bursting with succulent tropical flavors.
  • Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout with Mint. Roasted malt and coffee flavors build the foundation of this creamy sweet stout. The addition of mint will remind you that it's time to order Thin Mints from your neighbor's daughter.
  • Left Nut Brewing Cruisin' for a Blusin'. Our inspiration for this cask came from a beer and cupcake pairing. The cask is Hooch Shootin' NE IPA fruited with blueberries and lemon. Expect juicy hops, with a sweet and sour kick from the fruit. Let them have cake!
  • Lincoln Fill Station / Cherry Street Collaboration Triple Chocolate Chunk is our 12% Russian imperial stout aged in a Belle Meade Bourbon barrel. Three types of chocolate and toasted coconut were added to this extraordinary cask.
  • Lonerider Brewing Addie's Revenge with Tropical Fruit. Addie has taken a wild ride in her search for revenge. Lonerider's limited Citra and Amarillo IPA has picked up three intriguing fruit additions for this one-off cask: orange zest, mango, and watermelon.
  • Macon Beer Company Cherry Chocolate Milkshake Ale. We took a cherry rye ale and blended lactose, cacao nibs, and vanilla beans, creating a cherry chocolate milkshake ale with an additional fresh cherry puree.
  • Max Lager's Southern Passion Hopsplosion. Citra, Galaxy, Mosaic, El Dorado, and Azacca were added at the last minute to give this IPA a luscious tropical character bursting with notes of pineapple, mango, orange, and guava. This cask also contains a dose of Southern Passion hops from South Africa. 7.5% ABV.
  • Monday Night Dark Dessert Matter is thick, roasty, and toasty with chocolate and coffee notes. We decided to play into these elements by adding locally-roasted Batdorf & Bronson coffee, Ghirardelli chocolate, and toasted coconut to the cask. At 12% ABV, this truly is a stout to savor with dessert.
  • Moon River Double Dry-Hopped Cosmic Terror Pale Ale with passion fruit. From the outer reaches comes a juicy, 5.9% ABV, hypnotic pale ale, thrumming with forbidden knowledge of ancient gods. The dark ritual involves untold quantities of Galaxy and Mosaic hops, performed twice for good measure, accompanied by the flesh sacrifice of the otherworldly passion fruit. Seriously, have you ever seen the inside of a passion fruit? Google it.
  • New Realm Reserve Belgian Tripel with Sabro dry-hops and oak chips. We dry-hopped this classic Belgian-style tripel with the new Sabro hop variety that adds coconut and fruity flavors, and then steeped it on bourbon-soaked oak chips. 10% ABV.
  • Oconee Brewing Dukes & Bell's Hey Man Watermelon & Lime Blonde Ale. This 5% ABV golden ale is brewed in collaboration with 92.9 The Game Atlanta Sports Radio. Watermelon and lime were added, creating a refreshing and crushable springtime beer that's fruity but not over the top.
  • Orpheus Native Funk 1 is our one-year Méthode Traditionnelle from a single barrel. Brewed with a turbid mash and aged hops, then cooled and wildly inoculated in our coolships before spontaneously fermenting in barrels for a year, this soft ale offers mild acidity with notes of lemon, cheese, white grapes, and a hint of barnyard.
  • Oskar Blues Double Dry-Hopped Can O'Bliss Tropical. "Trop it like it's hot… and hazy!" It's a paradise of pineapple, mango, and citrus topped off with a mix of Idaho 7, Galaxy, Mosaic, Citra, El Dorado and Azacca hops. For this cask, we added an additional, generous charge of Strata hops to lend dank, passion fruit notes.
  • Pontoon Brewing Maple Chocolate Pecan Pie Porter is a 6.5% porter brewed with molasses, then aged on pecans. This one-of-a-kind, flavorful cask also contains cacao and maple syrup.
  • Queenswood Pub Glitteris is an American farmhouse sour ale with funk and flavor from yeast, bacteria, passion fruit and lychee. The dark purple color comes from the butterfly pea flower Clitoria ternatae that's said to provide antioxidants and slow down premature aging. And, of course, glitter was added. Sparkle on!
  • Red Hare Real Passion. Fresh passion fruit complements this northwest Atlanta version of an English IPA that crossed the pond only to find it prefers the States and wants to be a fruit-forward, new school, American IPA on tour with all its fancy new friends. 
  • Reformation Maple-Vanilla Russian Imperial Stout. Expect complex, deep aromas and flavors of dark fruit, chocolate, espresso, and caramelized sugars in this rich, potent dark ale.
  • Scofflaw Brewing Sucker Punch IPA. This flavorful cask was dry-hopped with Citra and conditioned on mangos and peaches for an explosive profile of citrus and stone fruit intensity.
  • Second Self Jalisco Night is our guava Berliner weisse with fresh blueberries for added tartness and red jalapeño peppers for a spark of heat. 4.6% ABV.
  • Service Brewing Armistice IPA brewed with the crop year 2018 Veteran’s Blend of hops and pink guava. Ekuanot, Mosaic, Cashmere, Simcoe, and Centennial hops make this 6.9% ABV, heavily dry-hopped IPA extremely aromatic and juicy, and the addition of pink guava elevates the melon and papaya notes.
  • Southern Brewing Company Cuchulainn Irish-Style Red Alecomes in at 5% ABV and provides wonderful notes of caramel, bread crust, and light bittering hops for a southern take on a classic style from the Emerald Isle. Made with small-batch Irish malts.
  • SweetWater Brewing Utopian Fuzz is a 100% Brettanomyces fermented golden ale with strawberries and peaches. Look for subtle notes of fruit with a pleasant, dry, complex finish from the Brett. 5.7% ABV.
  • Terrapin Mr. Krunkles. Pull the crumbs out of your mustache for a sip of our Mr. Krunkles cask. This straight-up IPA was inspired by the most famous IPA brewer who ever lived… Krunkles! Packed with Citra, Amarillo, Simcoe, Mosaic and Zythos hops for over-the-top juiciness.
  • Three Taverns Krispy Kreme Milk Stout is an 8% ABV imperial milk stout with added sweetness and complexity from Krispy Kreme doughnuts. No need to watch for the hot doughnut sign, just make sure the tap is flowing!
  • Torched Hop Outta Control - This double IPA was brewed with the best Australian and New Zealand hops available. Massive notes of mango, peach, passion fruit and citrus jump out of the glass.
  • Twain's Clownbaby British Golden Ale was brewed with 75% Maris Otter malt, 25% Golden Promise malt and rare UK Jester hops, and the style could be considered a UK interpretation of an American Pale Ale. The malt is clean but has substance, the hops are fruity/earthy and in balance with the malt, and the English yeast produces mild fruity esters. 5.4% ABV.
  • Variant Brewing Imperial Raspberry Lemon Gose is a 10.5% ABV tart, salty ale with an extra dose of raspberries and lemon zest in this exclusive cask.
  • Wicked Weed Persistence is an amber sour ale with Montmorency cherries. The brew was aged in wooden foeders for two months and then transferred to red wine barrels for an additional six months to complete its aging and produce layers of complexity.
  • Wild Heaven Double Oaked Eschaton Belgian Quad is a big, malty beer reminiscent of a rich red wine with a drier finish than you'd expect from 10.5% ABV. This Belgian strong dark ale abounds with dark fruit and pit fruit flavors, and the vanilla notes from the oak add delightful complexity.
  • Wild Leap Bourbon Blackberry Creme Brûlée Stout. This is a single barrel Ventured Oatmeal Chocolate Stout aged for a full year in a Jim Beam barrel with blackberries, lactose, and vanilla.
  • Wrecking Bar Vanilla Siberius Maximus Russian Imperial Stout. Our popular high-gravity stout with notes of chocolate, coffee, molasses, and dark fruit. This special cask was conditioned on Tahitian vanilla beans for a decadent finish.
You can't miss this! TICKETS: https://www.classiccitybrew.com/brewfest.html  

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Georgia Craft Beers Face Off

Photo by Ashton Smith

Owen Ogletree gathered Ashton Smith, Niki Schley, Andrew Borchert, Flavia Costa, Ian Meents, Stacy Stewart and The Beer Wench for a blind tasting of 13 craft beers made in Georgia. The tasting was conducted as a best-of-show panel, with each beer evaluated on its adherence to style and drinkability. See below for notes and awards...


FIRST PLACE:
DRY COUNTY OLD 41 OATMEAL STOUT
- Roasted malts; burnt bread crust; espresso hints; bitter chocolate; creamy; viscous; not too sweet; good dry finish; pleasant; good beer for the style; medium esters; low hops; nutty quality. Excellent brew.



SECOND PLACE:
JAILHOUSE FEDERALE MEXICAN LAGER
- An international pale lager style with light malt aroma; low hops; light corn complexity; mild fruity esters; wonderfully drinkable and well constructed.



THIRD PLACE:
ORPHEUS SYKOPHANTES 
- This wild, sour specialty brew with figs and dark candy syrup is dark brown in color with a ruby hint; balsamic hint; figs; leather; nice fruity esters; earthy; complex; malty; dark sugar notes; warming; cherry; dark fruit; acetic/lactic finish is pleasant.



HONORABLE MENTION:
MONDAY NIGHT RUCKSACK HEFEWEIZEN
- This special wheat beer contains Mandarina Bavaria hops and orange peel; notes of clove; orange zest; banana hint; cereal malt; pleasant; wheat character is nice; refreshing; pleasant fruit and orange complexity.



SOUTHBOUND MOUNTAIN JAM SOUTHERN LAGER
- This international pale lager style has a clean aroma; citrusy hops; light malt; subtle bitterness; crisp finish with a hint of malt sweetness; good balance of all notes.




TERRAPIN HOPSECUTIONER IPA
- Perfect appearance for style; malty; floral; earthy; aromatic; light bitterness; malty; could use a bit more American hop flavor and aroma; ends a touch sweet but quite drinkable.



WRECKING BAR HOP NOGGIN' IMPERIAL IPA
- Deep gold in color; murky, hazy; catty hops; sweet melon; malty mouthfeel; sweet finish; honeydew; dank; cantaloupe; rich malt; soft mouthfeel; orange; citrus, floral, honey notes.



EAGLE CREEK TEA PARTY AMBER
- This amber contains orange pekoe and black tea. Toffee hint; caramel note; orange tea; tea makes up for the light hops; tea is quite mild; lightly sweet finish; tannin hint from the tea.



GATE CITY OTP DOUBLE IPA
- Earthy aroma; herbal; piney; pear; rich, herbal hop note; perfumy; resins; tannins; needs a bit more clean American hop character and lighter esters; a pleasant, malty brew.



SECOND SELF MOLE PORTER
- This porter contains cocoa nibs, chilies, chipotles, cinnamon and cloves. Spice hint is nice; clove note; light chocolate; pepper warmth is mild; light/medium body; dry tannins; appearance is perfect; spices are subdued; could perhaps use a bit more malt for a better body and mouthfeel.



REFORMATION CADENCE DUBBEL
- Grain husk note; tannins; earthy malt; dark fruit; prune hint; might be a touch thin for style; fruity; citrus hint; needs a bit more dark fruit and toffee complexity. 



ATLANTA BREWING HOMESTAND PILSNER
- This Czech-style premium pale lager contains Mosaic and Cascade hops. Yeasty; bready; mineral note; herbal; grassy; sulfur hint; nice, light pilsner malt; light finish.



MOON RIVER DIXIE KRISTAL TRIPEL
- This Belgian-style tripel contains cane sugar. Clove; Belgian spicy fermentation character; spice; white pepper hint; light, sweet finish; pleasant; rich; nice hop balance; ends slightly sweet for style; a robust, tasty strong ale.