Oct 27, 2015
So, what would make this beer even more fun? Well, barrel aging it of course.
The color is almost black with a slight ruby hue surrounding it. The head is minimal and fades almost immediately, leaving slight clouds and a rim ring behind. The scent of chocolate and strawberry waft out of the glass and can be smelled even at 5 feet away once the brew starts breathing. A touch of bourbon in the aroma become detectable at that time too.
First thing on the lips and tongue noticed is that the beer is a bit sweeter than the regular version. The chocolate is the first thing that comes to the forefront. Very rich and, to an extent, resembling "The Original" Bosco syrup in it's sweetness in the front end of it's flavor but there's also a bit of baking chocolate bitters and smoke that linger underneath. The middle brings out some faint notes of oak and roasted malts.There's some vanilla are too but is a bit muted. That seemed odd because it's one of the flavors that usually comes to mind for me when tasting a barrel aged brew. The strawberries come out huge in the finish. Almost o an extent where they're trying to push everything else out of the way.
I will go record saying that this, like it's non aged partner, is fun to drink but felt the barrel aging didn't really add too much to it either, other than a little darkness to the chocolate, amping up the fruit notes almost a little too much (unless that was something that was done at the brewery this year for this special batch in the first place. I haven't had a regular bottle this year to see if anything about its balance has changed from how it's tasted in the past.) It lacked a bit of the complexities and didn't really seem worth the couple dollars more a bottle price point to me.
Jun 4, 2015
Though it is common in a lot of places that brew beer now, Michigan is one of the places that does not think twice about piling on the hops in almost every style of beer. Being a self professed hop fiend myself this has been a great thing when it comes to giving something a try. Lately though it has gotten to a point where it has become a bit of silliness.
When perusing the beer aisles recently I spotted a psychedelic/pop art label bearing the name of west Michigan brewery Saugatuck. It caught my attention so I gave it a closer look.
"For real?" I thought to myself. "Do they really need to turn up the hop volume up to eleven on wheat beers now too?"
While mulling the though of purchasing it over I remembered that Indiana's Three Floyd's does such a thing with their Gumball. Gumball is a pretty awesome brew so I figure "Eh, what the hell" and put my money down on the counter.
Hazy brass in color and a very slight but still rocky head from a light pour this beer instantly gives off aromas of orange marmalade and an assortment of tropical fruits before even lifting it up to the nose for further investigation. Once giving it a closer sniff notes of wheat bread along with tinges of banana and clove poke their way up through the bright tart smells that stand tall on top.
Tangerine, mango and tart kiwi are very noticeable on the taste buds at first sip. These tangy and slightly oily bits of zest move over to the side a bit towards the middle to let some doughy yeast and coriander through. It finishes fairly clean with some citrus note lingering for a little while after.
To say this is a Michigan answer to Gumball could be a fair assumption but it also seems a little unfair. I'm not saying that Saugatuck may have not been inspired by the idea but they have done their own take on it. Sure, maybe hopping out a wheat beer is not what is "suppose" to be done with the style but this has quite a refreshing taste. As a whole there is a funky farmhouse/saison thing going on here that could be intentional or could just be a happy accident. Add this to your rotation list of sunny day beers for this summer.
Nov 8, 2013
Today is National Stout Day. Now that there is a chill in the air and some people have already got their Christmas lights and decorations up (even though it's only been a week since Halloween and we've still got 3 weeks before it's even Thanksgiving) stouts always seem appropriate so why not celebrate their dark, rich, maybe coffee, maybe chocolate goodness.
I was about to head to the store to pick some sorta stout out, set on finding one that I had not tried before so I could tap out a few notes on it on the keyboard and then pass it off here as one of my beer "reviews." Then I remembered a month and a half or so ago I picked up one by the Saugatuck Brewing Company that had been sitting on a shelf in my fridge.
An imperial stout aged in an oak bourbon barrel is always a fancy thing. This one reminds you of that by a bit of showboating with the wax seal. I mean, it's does give the bottle an air of sophistication which is nice when paying 15 bucks for a bottle of beer but also seems kinda silly when it is peeled all off to reveal not a cork but an every day bottle cap. I just want to get down to tasting the brew, not dealing with with some superfluous bells and whistles y'know.
The beer pours darkand thick. No light getting through my glass at all. The two finger head is full and frothy with a color that resembles the top of a chocolate malted. Coffee and cocoa are the dominate scents backed up with a tartness of black cherry along with hints of vanilla and charred wood.
On the front end there's a bit of a cola sweetness. A bit of bite and burn in it so that cola is a bit more like Coca-Cola in a can than a Pepsi out of a plastic bottle. That is followed by the tart sweetness that was detected in the aroma. I am still thinking black cherries along with a few raspberries and black berries thrown in for good measure. That gives way to a flavor of sweet malts, dark roasted coffee and chocolate powders.
Nice and interesting but I after a couple of sips I really started to think to myself "where are the bourbon notes???" After all, it was close to $20 bucks spent on this bottle and, dammit, it I want them.
My cat was knocking at the window making his cat presence known that his furry cat ass wanted to come in because he has been outdoors for about an hour which, of course, builds up a huge cat hunger so I let him. My phone started ringing so I the call.
All the while the beer was in the glass getting more time to breath. Taking a sip after getting back to it was "Ahhh, there's the bourbon aging thing now." Then ten or so minutes it spent getting some air really made a huge difference. Mossy oak, vanilla and coconut was now enveloping around the aforementioned flavors, tying it all together while still keeping the 8% abv very well hidden and giving the brew that little extra "oomph" it needed to make it home run.