Well... I am making progress, but still 5 beers behind... need a brewery tour or something to sort that out.
Beer #27 - New Belgium Cocoa Mole
What a fun new to me beer. I have been really surprised by these pepper "infused" beers this year. I hope I keep stumbling upon them. This one is so deep in chocolate smells and tastes and then just hits as hard as it can with spicy chili peppers. The aroma makes this beer great, it's like sticking your nose in baking chocolate, very strong and bitter smells.
Beer #28 - New Belgium Biere De Mars
Almost not even worth writing about. It was OK, didn't taste bad, but not at all very interesting. I had this while cooking dinner thinking it would be a nice pairing with the roasted chicken I made. It had no interesting flavor, a little Belgian funk but not much else. Come on New Belgium, give me another La Folie!
I had this one on tap at Firestone's restaurant in Buellton. Last year at this time I took a group of friends down there almost entirely to taste Abacus. It blew my mind and everyone else's that tasted it last year as well. This year, no disappointment. It is fantastic. Tons of boozy aromas and flavors from the bourbon barrel and lots of fruit flavors like last year. I can't wait to try it from the bottle and sit on two or a dozen to see how the age in the coming years. (Picture taken from Bottle purchased as a gift for Larissa's birthday)
The Label states this is a convergence of styles, Belgian Trippel and American IPA. Yes exactly. Light in color like a trippel, zesty yeast flavors; clove comes through strongly, cardamon, and then HOPS. Glorious HOPS! This was a great brew, looking forward to future bottles of this one. Well brewed and clean.
I suppose now is a good time to deal with the issue of aged beers. This beer is from November 2010 (bottled date), I believe I have had this beer once before when I first heard about Great Divide, so it isn't a new beer, but the issue is going to keep coming up; aged beer counts as a "new, never before tasted" beer. This one is a classic Barleywine. Lots of sweet malts, the alcohol has subsided during the aging process, just good clean flavors that are big and bold and delicious.
I have been trying to recall this beer. And I didn't take good enough notes on it. I know it was dark and malty, but as I recall had a little bit of that lager wateriness, not as full bodied as some of the better Doppel/Dubbel's I have had. But still, genuine German brewed, it can't be all bad.
Best English brewed beer I have ever had. Sometimes the conversion of sugar in English brewed ESB's gets really weird/astringently bitter, but this was darn near perfect. I can't believe how well balanced between hop and sweet malt this beer is. I really like this beer and I am excited to see how my 2008 bottle has turned out (look for that review soon). This beer is still lingering at OTM, make sure to go get some if you're a Santa Maria Local, it comes in a Burgundy box.
I have had this beer before, but only a couple ounces and it was on tap. The opening of this beer was unique, as it was in a bottle. The beer was wonderful. Quite sour with a little malt sweetness to balance and subdue the cherries and oak. At first taste I had just brushed my teeth and had to have some cashews to fix the taste. The beer is wonderful. Try it if you dare. I shared this with my Dad, mum made Chicken Picatta and the flavors from the meal just mellowed out the sourness and made this beer shine.
A decent IPA. Nothing life changing here. Good sweetness which you come to expect in a Double IPA. As I shared with my new friend Mike and AJ, I commented on how, the hops just didn't feel prevalent enough. They were not powerful enough to balance the malts sweetness. Good, but try and drink fresh, I think this was brewed in December 2011.
This beer was enjoyed after a very fresh, very strong Mammoth 395 IPA which has a lot of lovely Juniper flavors so it was hard for this one to live up to the previous. That being said, I think this was suffering the same problem as the MIkkeller, it was bottled on October 21, 2011 and was not hoppy, it had a little citrus to it but was mostly grassy/earthy/doughy. To me it smelled like pizza, Mike then connected that to Pizza dough, then Rosanne said cheese, and the beer ultimately smelled like pizza... Which isn't bad, but not what i was looking for. The taste was muted, and washed out, wish I had looked at the date prior to purchase.