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Posts Tagged ‘Editor's Choice’

btl_DBThe summer has been a wash out. Today with the rain pounding down and a damp chill descending on the house I thought about the whimsical 4 pack of Sam Adams Imperial Series Double Bock lager I purchased the other day while stocking up on my summer volume beer, Pabst. (See other posts for the story)
I packed some venison sausage, whole grain macaroni and a fresh egg from under one of our hens into a bowl, popped the mix into the microwave and grabbed a Double Bock from the fridge. As the turntable hummed around, I drew in a long sip of the mahogany lager. Wow! this beer is ultimately smooth! On the label Jim Koch tells us that this “lager reveals a deep mahogany color and velvety smooth flavor.” Well I wouldn’t use the words velvet but I get the image. This double bock is silky smooth. 9.5% ABV is hidden inside this superb brew. Not a hint of harshness; the malt is huge. Drink this for dessert period.
EC_Stamp
With the Sam Adams Imperial Series and Harpoon’s Leviathan we have a bundle of the finest kind right here. More to come, Sam has an Imperial Stout, also.
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olde-school-barleywineThis Dogfish Head brew is, or should be, the flagship of the brewery. Olde School: A Barley Wine Style Ale packs an intense whalop with 15% ABV. The cunning of the drink is that the smoothness and drinkability hide the impact of the alcohol. Drinker beware!

My first experience with Olde School came on an evening of much beer tasting – the great Christmas Eve beer tasting. Some where around midnight we reached for a new brew -the Olde School- and started in with much exclamation on its complex character, multiple tastes and utter enjoyment. It was the standing up afterwards that betrayed the power of this sleeper of a strong ale.

Really, now that I understand this barley wine I enjoy it even more. Prepare for a Sandeman Founders Reserve Porto and you will have the right perspective. Sip slowly, serve in a stemmed snifter and savor each mouthful. Great with cheese and crackers, after a hearty meal or as a stand alone. Share a bottle to start, although I know you will reach for another. It is that compelling a drink.

Like many high voltage Dogfish Head Occasional Rarities this barley wine ages very well tucked into the dark recesses of the basement until just the right moment arrives. Alas, I just finished the last bottle of the season and stare at the empty bottle in front of me on the table. Time to turn to lighter fare. The sun has climbed higher in the sky, the solstice is a scant month away. A shift to a bitter IPA is in order.

 

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DalesPaleAle

If you want to be WOW’d by an exceptionally smooth but surprisingly bitter pale ale I highly recommend Dale’s Pale Ale brewed by Oskar BluesBrewing LLC.  Pull the tab and forget the glass (pouring will simply waste time) and take a good long slug!  This ain’t like your daddy’s old can of beer (my dad’s favorite being Schlitz ).

The first thing I noticed aside from the phrases “Voluminously Hopped Mutha of a Pale Ale” and “Pack it in, pack it out”, an obvious hint to this brew’s Colorado roots (this beer is a hit with mountain bikers, hikers, and kayaks) was the incredible aroma.  This brew has a sweet slightly woody smell that is subtle enough to make even the most dyed-in-the-wool Schlitz drinker think “Mmmmmmm, beeeeeeeer…. Aghh-ghh-ghh”.  The hoppy bitterness is not over-powering and should be acceptable to even the most sensitive of pallets.  The after-taste can be a little harsh if you are not use to drinking truly hoppy pale ales.  But don’t let that scare you away.  The lingering hoppy after-taste can be complimented and reduced when paired with triscuits and a subtle soft French cheese or if you are like my dad, a handful of Smart Food popcorn.

Despite my comments above, I did in-fact pour this beer into a glass (I had some to spare since I bought 2 six-packs).  The color is a crisp auburn, just as a pale ale should be, and it maintains a substantially good head which is another good feature since you want the gases to escape through the head and not in the form of a belch from your gut!  All around this beer is a diamond in the rou…. er… eh… a diamond in a CAN and deserves our ‘Editor’s Choice’ designation!  Bravo Dale!!!

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