Drie Fonteinen Hommage – A Lambic with Cherries and Raspberries

hommage

A blend of lambic beers brewed at 3 Fonteinen, with an addition of 30% whole fresh raspberries from the fabled Payottenland and 5% sour cherries. This unfiltered beer will enjoy a spontaneous refermentation in the bottle. No artificial colors or flavor enhancers are added. Lambic is brewed only from 60% barley malt, 40% unmalted wheat, hops and water.

Final Rating: 4.64/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

500th review. 2013 vintage. Poured from a 750mL bottle into a 3F crystal tumbler. Acquired in a trade.

Pours a slightly hazy mahogany-cherry body with a big, slightly fizzy, fluffy light pink head that reduces fairly quickly but leaves a quarter inch of retention and very little lacing.

Aromas are out of this world.. berries take the front seat here, big cherry notes punch you in the nose, a medley of raspberries and fermented berries, cranberry, a distinct musty funk, souring yeastyness, and subtle oak in the background.

It has a super tart start on the tongue, followed by a pronounced but not overbearing medley of dry, juicy, berries, cherry and cranberry being predominant but raspberry notes are present (not sure why this is the case, or maybe I’m mistaking the raspberries for other berries. Either way it’s delicious). Some medicinal cherry and vinegar. On the follow through is musty basement, borderline sour fruit, lactic, oak, finished by a tongue drying tartness that sticks around for a minute or so.

Carbonation is medium and ideal for this style, medium-light body, making it nice and refreshing.

Overall a fantastic beer, well worth the wait and worthy of my 500th review.

Hill Farmstead Arthur: The Benchmark for Saisons and a the Perfect Summer Brew

arthur

When it comes to refreshing summer beers, you really can’t beat a good Farmhouse Saison – it’s subtle complexities combined with a tart, crisp and refreshing body make for a nice compliment to a lazy summer day.

Hill Farmstead is known for their world-class Farmhouse ales, utilizing their delicious strains of wild yeast and bacteria to create some of the best in the world. Arthur is a perfect example of this. Here’s my full review:

Final Rating: 4.5/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Hill Farmstead stemmed glass. Purchased at the brewery in November.

Pours a super hazy, pale yellow body with a big gushing frothy white head that reduces slowly to leave some lacing a decent, uneven white retention that sits for a while. Some sediment.

Aroma is super inviting with big fruity and tart aromas, namely tart citrus, lemon, and green apple mixed with banana-clove, peppery spices, farmhouse funk.

Taste is equally as complex, upfront is tart citrus but not overpoweringly sour, saison yeastyness & barnhouse funk, estery banana, a creamy caramel, with a spicy, peppery, and slightly bitter finish. Super complex. Excellently balanced. Easy to drink with a medium body and medium carbonation. Very refreshing.

Overall a world class Saison, super complex, balanced, and tasty. I expect nothing less from Hill Farmstead.

Stone “Charred” Xocoveza Stout

xocovezacharred

This is Stone’s Xocoveza Imperial Stout with cocoa, coffee, and spices, aged in Bourbon Barrels

Final Rating: 4.6/5
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500mL bottle into a Stone Tulip glass. Acquired in a trade.

Pours a dark brown body that’s translucent on the pour and black in the glass with brown / amber highlights. Small off-white head that reduces fairly quickly to leave no lacing and zero retention.

Aromas come through in full force after sitting for ~30 minutes to warm up, and at this point are big, bold, pungent, and inviting. Aromas of mocha, dark roast coffee beans, vanilla, cinnamon, toffee, caramel, brownies. This smells AMAZING!

The tongue matches the nose, with more chocolate, bourbon-vanilla, and cinnamon coming through, fudge brownies, with a cinnamon-toffee follow through and a super roasty finish. Out of this world, the flavors here are bold and work well together. Mouthfeel could be thicker, but does not detract or mute the flavors that come through. Medium carbonation.

What can I say.. I was not going to buy into the hype until I tried it and it delivered. Complex, balanced, unique, and oh-so-flavorful.

Trillium Fort Point Pale Ale

fortpoint

Layers of hops-derived aromas and flavors of citrus zest and tropical fruit rest on a pleasing malt backbone in our Fort Point Pale Ale. Dangerously drinkable with a dry finish and soft mouthfeel from wheat. Our year round hoppy pale ale culminates in a restrained bitterness and dry finish.

Final Rating: 4.5/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Trillium tulip glass. Purchased at the brewery 2 days ago, bottled 28Jul15 which was 5 days ago.

Pours a very hazy deep amber body with a 2 finger white head that reduces slowly to leave a little lacing and a a good amount of retention.

On the nose is big citrus, fruity tropical aromas, mango, pineapple, really an explosion of tropical fruits. Very nice on the nose.

The taste really follows the nose, I’ve never quite tasted a beer with this degree of tropical character.. big pineapple, mango, papaya, grapefruit, a splash of citrus, oranges, finishes with a light malt backbone and a slight bitter zing on the tongue.. citrus rind on the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is excellent, very easy drinker, medium carbonation and medium body.

Very impressive.. the hop profile is outstanding and fruity. I’ve never tasted an IPA/pale ale/DIPA with this much tropical character. Would recommend.

Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek

LPKThe Gueuze Lou Pepe is made with two years old lambic beers with a mellow taste, often coming from barrels in which only wine has been kept before. In July, the same kind of beer is used to make the Lou Pepe Kriek and Framboise. With these beers too, the fruits are soaked in barrels coming directly from Bordeaux.

Final Rating: 4.58/5
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Cantillon stemmed taster glass. 2012 label, 2014 cork. Acquired in a trade.

Pours a deep cherry, maroon body with a quickly rising pink head that reduces at a moderate rate, leaving a thick ring of retention that sticks around for a while. Slightly fizzy.

On the nose is straight cherry pie, berries and tart fruit skins, slight funky mustiness, vinegar, and oak barrel.

Upon sipping I get notes of super tart, nearly sour cherries, light berry, dry white wine, lemon zest, light vinegar, lacto funk, light muted hops, ends with a tongue-drying tartness and citrus. Medium-high carbonation, very easy to drink, light body but packed full of flavors. Very nice.

Overall Lou Pepe Kriek was fantastic. A good amount of sour, nice amount of cherry without being over-fruited, and very smooth and drinkable. Worth seeking out!

3F Intense Red Kriek

intensered

Drie Fonteinen Intense Red is a variation of their tradition Belgian Cherry Lambic – Oude Kriek, which is brewed with more cherries (40% cherries to be exact), yielding a sour cherry bomb that lives up to it’s name. I really enjoyed it, here’s my review:

Final Rating: 4.42/5
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12.7 bottle into a 3F tumbler. Acquired in a trade.

Well, the appearance certainly matches it’s name. Pours a deep maroon, cherry colored opaque body with a big fizzy “intense red” head that reduces rapidly to leave very little retention and no lacing. I’ve never seen a beer quite so red!

Big cherry aromas emanate from the glass – definitely get some sourness in there too, lactic tartness and a definite mustyness characteristic of belgian lambics. Very fruity, very sour.

I let this one warm to room temperature over the course of sipping it. It gets more sour and the cherry gets more pronounced once it’s warmed up. From the start though, strong lactic sour cherry, fruit skins which impart a drying tannic character, musty basement, light oak, finished by a dry sourness that sits on the tongue.

The mouthfeel is beautifully refreshing.. I had to resist the urge to gulp down the whole thing upon opening it. Medium carbonation, medium-light body.

Overall just as described, although honestly I was expecting more “in your face” cherry with this beer. Instead it was nicely balanced and pretty dry and acidic. Very nice.

Hill Farmstead Florence

Florence

“Florence (1915-1967) was our grandfather’s sister, and Hill Farmstead Brewery rests upon the land that was once home to her and her 13 siblings. In her honor, this Belgian inspired wheat farmstead™ ale is crafted from American malted barley, organic Vermont wheat, European and American hops, our distinctive farmhouse yeast and water from our well. It is unfiltered and naturally carbonated. Soft, cloudy, and fresh, this is the ale that I dream to have shared with Florence. 5% ALC/VOL 12º P Ingredients: Pale Malt; Vermont Organic Wheat; American and European Hops; Ale Yeast, and our Well Water.”

Final Rating: 4.49/5
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a teal Hill Farmstead stemmed glass. Purchased at the brewery a few weeks ago. April batch.

Pours a hazy golden peach-orange body with a nice frothy 2 finger white head that reduces to little retention and leaves no lacing.

Characteristic saison aromas emanate from this beer – farmhouse funk, citrus, wheat, light fruitiness and banana, green apple.

On the tongue is a delicate balance of tartness and flavor – very tart upfront, sour apple and fresh citrus, on the follow through is wheat and a light fruitiness, light banana, some mineral character, finish is dry and clean. Medium-high carbonation, medium-light body with a nice refreshing, crisp mouthfeel.

This is probably my favorite HF “shelf” saison. Really balanced and drinkable.

Alesmith Bourbon Barrel Aged Vietnamese Coffee Speedway Stout

bavss

I’ve been looking forward to opening this bottle for a while now, Alesmith’s specially released Speedway Stout brewed with Vietnamese coffee and aged in bourbon barrels. This massive stout was highly anticipated and released during San Diego Beer Week at the brewery.

“We traditionally brew Vietnamese coffee, known as cà phê sa đá, with a phin-style filter that gently percolates water through ground coffee. The result is a chocolaty and bold tasting coffee that perfectly complements the notes of oak, vanilla, and bourbon in this massive barrel-aged stout.”

Here’s my review:

Final Rating: 4.65/5  rDev
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750mL bottle into an Alesmith taster glass. Acquired in a trade.

Pours a deep black, inky body with a dark, mocha brown head that reduces fairly slowly to leave a little lacing and decent retention.

Aromas are rich with delicious vanilla bean, freshly baked cake, fudge brownies, bourbon whiskey, coffee. Very inviting, very pleasing.

On the tongue the nose is matched, vanilla and milk chocolate, roasty coffee on the finish, chocolate and caramel, finish is roasty and rich. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous with low carbonation.

What an awesome beer, one of the best coffee stouts I’ve ever tasted, so rich and full bodied, complex and balanced. Seek it out!

The Bruery Blue BBLs

bluebbls

“In brewing, BBL is the notation for “barrel,” a unit of measurement equal to 31 gallons.  This is not to be confused with an oak barrel, which typically holds nearly two BBLs of beer.  Still with us? Great.  A special blend of our bourbon barrel aged imperial stout with our bourbon barrel aged sour stout, plus an addition of juicy blueberries, Blue BBLs finishes with incredibly vinous tones. The acidity from the sour stout matches perfectly with the sweet malt character of the imperial stout and the fruity tannins from the berries round everything together.  Notes of red wine, blueberry skins, toffee and roasted oak.  A fine addition to the line up of Hoarders Society exclusive ales.”

Final Rating: 4.03/5
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750mL bottle into a Bruery tulip glass. Acquired in a trade with Scott – thank you very much!

Pours a deep mocha body with a modest 1″ light brown fizzy head that reduces quickly to leave little retention and lacing.

Big bourbon aromas on the nose, a tart berry aroma, anise, dark fruits, and some light chocolate.

On tongue, upfront is sweet caramel, toffee, followed by a lightly tart berries, heavy bourbon and oak, with chocolate covered blueberries and a deep roasty chocolate/coffee taste on the finish. Pretty boozy. Leaves a toasty aftertaste on the tongue. Body is medium, could be heavier with low carbonation.

Overall a very unique combination of flavors, super complex and worth a try. I’m going to cellar one and see if it cools down down the road.

Tree House Double Shot with Sumatra Mandheling Coffee

doubleshotsummatra

“She’s back! What’s better than one shot of espresso? Two shots of espresso! This edition of our favorite coffee infused stout utilizes buckets of Red Barn Coffee Roaster’s Sumatra Mandheling. The Mandheling’s deep cocoa flavors open up to reveal a richly complex treat. We taste flavors of , chocolate covered espresso beans, molasses, milk chocolate, and touches of sweet brown sugar. A pungent & decadent bean for sure! A rich, sweet, and less roasty base beer contributes the ideal backdrop to this bold and vibrant treat for the coffee and beer lover alike! We find this to easily be the most intense and potent Double Shot yet. A true coffee lover’s delight!”

Final Rating: 4.44/5
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750mL growler into a Tree House tulip glass. Purchased at the brewery a few days ago.

Pours a deep black, inky body with a 2 finger mocha colored head that reduces within a few minutes, leaving a thin layer of foam. Little lacing.

Aromas in the first 30 minutes are subtle and muted, but once it warms up they start to come out with rich deep roasted coffee, anise, black liquorice, dark fruit, dark chocolate.

Taste is bold and rich – heavy roasted coffee upfront, espresso, followed by dark cocoa, roasty, toasty malt, char, coffee beans, finish is slightly bitter and you guessed it – roasty. Mouthfeel thickens as it warms, becoming rich and full. Low carbonation.

Overall a solid stout – a massive coffee bomb. Seek it out if you’re into coffee stouts.

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