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DEXTER – Sour Beer aficionados will want to be at Null Taphouse this Saturday. Sour Beer Day, celebrated on the second Saturday of September each year, will be observed at the production home of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales.

The term “sour” refers to brews that have been affected positively by bacteria that change the character of a base beer into a tart, acidic flavor. This is commonly accomplished by introducing Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, or the yeast strain Brettanomyces, often through the wood of a barrel. The intentional infection is taken into the brew by surface contact.

Jolly Pumpkin gets its unique results from naturally occurring local wild yeast introduced via air through open spontaneous fermentation. The quickest a sour is produced in their facility is two months, with some taking as long as two years to fully develop.

Master Brewer Ron Jeffries takes the individual batches of beer and blends them.

“It’s all about tasting and flavor. I keep track of the amounts so I can tell the cellar folks when they’re racking. We have electromagnetic flow meters so they can very accurately tell the amount of beer they’re racking from each tank,” said Jeffries. “As we get bigger and bigger, it’s more and more important to keep the ratios consistent with the smaller blends I create,” Jeffries said.

The latest blended creation, Ursae Majoris, had its official release last weekend, but if you’re lucky you’ll still be able to get some. It’s made of “three ages of Oud Bruin that Ron did, blended with Roja, Maracaibo, Bier de Mars, and Noel. It’s big, it’s deep, while being super balanced,” said Dan VanDuinen, General Manager.

Visitors will enjoy 25 percent off the price of all Jolly Pumpkin brews on tap by the glass, in to-go growlers, as well as bottled selections only at this location.

Jeffries said, “Every day is sour beer day, it’s what we do,” but the sale is valid only during this celebration.

Jolly Pumpkin beers, brewed entirely in the Dexter facility, can be found in more than 35 states and many countries. According to Jeffries, the 11-year-old boutique brewery produced 3500 barrels last year and will continue increasing production to meet demand.

Collaborations are in the works with several breweries and so-called gypsy brewers including another with previous collaborators Anchorage Brewing. It’s a yuzu lime Gose with Alaskan sea salt harvested locally by the brewer’s father.

It has been nearly 30 years since the idea and construction of The Vierling came to be. It lends its history to an already historic downtown Marquette, MI, a known destination in the Upper Peninsula for road trips and brewery tours.

“We were sitting on Presque Isle when I realized there were great views and a great opportunity,” said Terry Doyle, one-half of the ownership behind The Vierling.

His other half, Kristi Doyle,  grew up in the Upper Peninsula, with generations of her family leading the way.

“My wife landed me here. I wanted to originally stake my grounds in Florida, but that didn’t last long so we quickly came back up here.”

Wanting to break into the restaurant business, the pair bought an old café on the corner of Marquette’s downtown that featured great Lake Superior views. Nine months and a lot of elbow grease later, The Vierling Saloon and Sample Room opened its doors, showcasing an exquisite menu while providing a beautiful atmosphere to enjoy.

The space gives homage to the original owners, Martin and his son Louis Vierling, with original artwork and stained glass as the primary accents. With the additions of floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the water and a unique collection of international beer bottles, the Doyles made the space their own, combining history with personal style.

“This space has been a saloon, café, and even a Maytag refrigerator store, but it has always been a place where people come to meet, relax, and enjoy each other’s company,” said Doyle.

When it comes to the menu, the Doyles pride themselves on the whitefish that they get right from the harbor outside their window.

“When we went to Italy and visited Rome, I asked for their best whitefish. But it wasn’t even close to Lake Superior whitefish—the fish we serve here is the best.”

In 1995, The Vierling became famous not only for its whitefish, but also for being one of the first brew pubs in Michigan. They added a five-barrel brewing system, with beautiful equipment manufactured in Budapest, Hungary. Derek Anderson, aka Chumly, has been the brewer since the beginning in 1995 and has crafted a broad spectrum of beers for all different palates.

With craft beer being on the upward swing, Doyle said the best thing about having their own brewery was not having to worry about keeping up with all of the thousands of other beers on the market.

“We sell and make our beer here, and only here. People know what they want when they come here, and we provide it.”

The most sought-after brew featured here seems to be the Blueberry Wheat, a lovely American Wheat topped off with fresh, local blueberries. The Vierling offers many other styles, ensuring great flavors and aromas while keeping the ABVs reasonable.

“Some beers are so high in ABV, and we want to allow for the chance that people can enjoy different beers without overdoing it,” said Doyle. We have our Laid Back IPA, a Session Pale Ale that offers a refreshing amount of hops without going overboard.”

The Vierling is recognized as a historic marker for beer in Marquette, and have been long since joined by other craft breweries in the area. As others opened, such as Blackrocks Brewery and Ore Dock Brewing Company, the brewers have all come to know each other and collaborate on new recipes.

“All the brewers up here talk all the time. For the U.P. Fall Festival—one of our most challenging and busy days of the year—they like to collaborate,” said Doyle.

The fall festival is one of the many activities that keeps Marquette an up north destination year round. Alongside seasonal recreational activities such as fat tire biking, sled dog racing, and hunting, the Northern Michigan University presence means constant visitors and dinner reservations at The Vierling.

And while 30 years of successful business can be considered a remarkable triumph, Terry and Kristi Doyle recognize the craft beer trend and the universal crowd it attracts.

“We hope, this fall, to break into some new things. Maybe be more of a brewpub. Get things geared around the beer, because the beer is absolutely fabulous.”

With an emphasis on special events and tastings in their sample room, they hope to keep the historically elegant atmosphere while maintaining an affordable product for customers of all ages and means.

“We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary this October. We have been in the same spot for 30 years and not too many businesses can say that.”

GRAND RAPIDS — Collaborating for the third year in a row, Grand Rapids area breweries and Friends of Grand Rapids Parks are teaming up once again to raise money for The Brewers Grove Fund. A project created to maximize the tree canopy within the city. Translation: More trees to enjoy savoring our craft beer under! This beer is amazing.

Starting Monday, Aug. 31, stop into any of the participating Grand Rapids area breweries* to order a tree-inspired craft beer, like a Bourbon Barrel Oak Aged Tree Bucket Belgian-Inspired Double IPA from Brewery Vivant, and a portion of the sales will support plantings and expand The Brewers Grove concept started at Riverside Park in 2013, where brewers planted 30 trees with the money raised, and another impressive 75 trees in 2014.

Because of the success of the last two years, the Grand Rapids area brewers have found that Riverside Park’s tree canopy is nearly full, therefore, The Brewers Grove will be expanding to other city parks and public green spaces. This year, local brewers will assist in finishing up plantings in Riverside Park and expand into Covell Dog Park in October.

“Trees are crucial to our community, and advocating and supporting our urban forest is a footprint we leave for future generations to come,” said Margaret Studer, Urban Forest Project Coordinator. “I can’t think of a better way to advocate for forestry than with a mug of tree beer! I think it is safe to say that local beer lovers will enjoy the tastes and complexities of tree beer all the more knowing that is going to a good cause.”

The tree beers will be tapped city-wide Monday, Aug 31. A Kick-Off Tree Beer Tap Takeover event will be held at Harmony Brewing Co. on Monday, with a toast at 5:00 p.m. Several tree beers will be featured on tap. In addition to Harmony’s Jubilation Cherry Saison IPA, Jaden James Silver Maple Lager, with notes of maple from freshly tapped maple trees, Pike 51 will offer a 100% Michigan Hopped Saison aged in Red Wine Barrels. Schmohz tap will pour a Barrel-Aged Scotch Ale Wee Heavy, White Flame will put a twist on a Black-IPA Cider hybrid, and The Peoples Cider Co. will be offering a Cherry-infused Cider.

“We want to be a benefit to the community that is incredibly supportive of us and our industry,” said Jackson VanDyke, co-owner of Harmony Brewing. “This is a great way for the breweries to collaborate and do something positive for our city.”

Another tree beer tap-takeover will take place on Friday, Sept. 4 at 57 Brew Pub & Bistro in Greenville featuring their Cherry Houdini, a Cherry Vanilla Porter, along with a Cedar-Aged Pale Ale from Gravel Bottom, Pike 51’s Bon Belle Saison and Rockford Brewing’s Peach Pit Peach Brown, brewed with local peaches and nectarines grown and harvested at Homrich’s Under the Pines family farm. Head Brewer Tom Payne will be donating a flat rate based on sales, plus rounding up to an even amount.

Friends of Grand Rapids Parks will also host a Brewers Grove Planting and Party on Saturday, Oct. 3 at Riverside Park. Beer lovers are invited to the park to get their hands dirty, plant a tree, and chat with the brewers while enjoying live music from two local bands. Enthusiasts are encouraged to stop by a Grand Rapids area brewery to fill a growler with their favorite tree beer or cider to enjoy at the event, as an open-container permit will be in place at the park. More details will come in mid-September.

Find the latest information as well as a Tree Beer Map at BrewersGrove.com

*Participating Breweries and Corresponding Tree Themed Beer:

57 Brew Pub
Cherry Houdini, ABV 5.5%
Cherry Vanilla Porter

B.O.B.’s Brewery
Tangerine Trees, ABV 6.0%
Belgian Wit with citrus fruits and candy.

Brewery Vivant
Devastation, ABV 9.3%
Bourbon Barrel Oak Aged Tree Bucket Belgian Inspired Double IPA.

The Cellar
Apple of your Rye, ABV 4.5%
Fruited Rye Beer.

Crankers
Cheery O’Dark Cherry Wheat Ale, ABV 5.5%
A light clean crisp wheat ale with an organic cherry finish.

EB Coffee & Pub
Fuzzy Nuts, ABV 6.8%
Coconut Porter

ELK
Willow ESB, ABV 6.4%
Extra Special / Strong Bitter

Grand Rapids Brewing Company
Coconut Kaiser Chocolate Macaroon, ABV 5.8%
Dunkelweiss with Roasted Coconut and Chocolate.

Gravel Bottom
Cederino, ABV 7.1%
Cedar aged Pale Ale

Harmony Brewing Company
Jubilation Cherry Saison IPA, ABV 7.1%
Brewed with Summit and Hull Melon hops with sour cherries added during fermentation.

HopCat
Naughty Nicodemus, ABV 4.7%
Gruit beer with lime, juniper berry and cucumber.

Jaden James
Silver Maple Lager, ABV 5.5%
Notes of maple from freshly tapped maple trees.

The Mitten Brewing Company
Olut Kaupunki Saht (Beer City Sahti), ABV 6.1%
Finnish Sahti made with juniper berries

Peoples Cider
Cherry Adams Tart, ABV 7.4%
Cherry-infused Cider

Pike 51
Bon Belle Saison, ABV 5.8%
100% Michigan Hopped Saison aged in Red Wine Barrels

Railtown Brewing
Dutch Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter, ABV 8%
Imperial Porter with a full, creamy body.

Rockford Brewing Company
Peach Pit Peach Brown, ABV 4.8%
Brewed with local peaches and nectarines grown and harvested at Homrich’s Under the Pines family farm.

Schmohz
Barrel Aged Kiss My Scottish Arse ABV 9.3%
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

White Flame
Bad Apple, ABV 7%
Black IPA Cider hybrid with a rich roasted black pour and a crisp apple finish.

Two nanobreweries from opposite sides of the Detroit-Windsor border have teamed up to revisit a long-forgotten American beer style.

Together with Motor Craft Ales, Batch Brewing Company launched the Canucky Common. The beer is a spin on the Kentucky Common, an obscure historical beer brewed in Kentucky from the Civil War through Prohibition.

“There is an undeniable sisterhood between our two cities,” said Gino Gesuale, owner of Motor Craft Ales in Windsor, Ontario. “Both Detroit and Windsor have a working-class feel, they are tied to automotive, and they reside along a shared border.”

The idea to collaborate came when Gesuale visited Batch Brewing Company and learned that the brewers were already fans of Motor Craft Ales. The brewing teams exchanged ideas, and settled on a style.

“We brewed one batch on the Windsor side, and one batch on the Detroit side,” said Gesuale. “In addition to avoiding the headache of trying to transport beer across the border, we had the added benefit of getting to work on another brewer’s equipment.”

The resulting beer is described as a porter-like cream ale. It is distinguished by roasty, caramel notes and a sweetness due to the large amount of corn included in the recipe.

The Kentucky Common style was rediscovered through word-of-mouth and was registered to the Beer Judge Certification Program style guide just this year.

“Customers love the idea of discovering a new indigenous American beer style,” said Stephen Roginson, owner and head brewer of Batch Brewing Company in Detroit, Mich.

“I’ve sat in classes where the instructor has stated that the Steam beer or the California Common is the only indigenous American style, so there is an educational component to this beer,” Roginson added.

The Canucky Common is poured with a special tap handle which features both the Canadian and American flag. It is available on draught at Batch Brewing Company, but you will have to get there fast to try it.

“We had it on tap at Motor, as well,” said Gesuale. “But we blew through the keg pretty quickly.”

For those who missed out, there could already be another collaboration beer in the works.

“We’re trying to get over there to brew something for the Windsor Craft Beer Festival,” said Roginson.

In addition to collaborating on beer, Batch Brewing Company is known for teaming up with community partners that are focused on the city of Detroit.

“We got a lot of support from the community to get our doors open,” said Roginson. “In return, supporting the community has been part of our business model from the start.”

With this mindset, Batch developed the Feelgood Tap. Each month, Batch partners with a local non-profit, creates a unique beer to honor that partner, and donates $2.00 from every pint sold. Recent partners include the Motown Museum and Hostel Detroit, with next month’s featured tap benefiting the Riverfront Conservancy.

Seven months after opening, Batch is now looking to expand.

“We want to get our beer outside these four walls,” said Roginson. “We started hand-bottling this week, and we’re adding 15-bbl tanks.”

“I guess that means we will no longer be considered ‘nano’,” Roginson added.

Canucky Common is available at Batch Brewing Company while supplies last.

HUDSONVILLE – White Flame hosted its first annual Flame Fest on Saturday. Celebrating its newly completed expansion, White Flame invited mug club members, Hudsonville residents, and fans of the brewery alike to enjoy the first outdoor festival the brewery has ever hosted.

“This is the first time we’re actually roping off outside space, and having food trucks here,” said Jen White, co-owner of White Flame Brewing Co. “The logistics behind it have been kind of overwhelming. Things that nobody thinks about when they go to these things,” said White, “all of the sudden we had a list that was like a mile long.”

To help celebrate the brewery’s expansion, White Flame tapped its anniversary ale, Black Flame, much to the pleasure of its fans. The brewery also released another can run of Super G and bottled a new beer—an agave ale aged in tequila barrels called Gold Flame.

“It’s really good,” said White

Attendees could enjoy these and many more selections while sitting in White Flame’s spacious new bar area. The new area features 16 taps, light fixtures made with growlers from Michigan breweries, another bathroom, and plenty of places to sit. Future visitors can admire the new space as it continues to evolve, with some more decorative touches to come in the future.

“We’re eventually going to put up the dartboards back up in that room,” White said. “We have someone commissioned to make us a huge photographic mural that’s not done yet.”

On a 90-degree day, many attendees preferred the air-conditioned comfort of White Flame’s indoor space, but the brewery’s parking lot offered even more to do. Bands played throughout the day, and festival-goers could play yard games and have water gun fights while they listened. Food trucks provided much-needed nourishment in the form of burgers and brats. Gettin’ Fresh’s menu included a beer brat simmered in White Flame’s own Red Shoes—a habanero pale ale—called the “Shazz Brat.” It imbued the sausage with a subtle heat that complemented the sweet onions and sharp mustard with finesse.

White said she was looking forward to taking Sunday to recuperate after months of hard work and event planning.

“It’s been a whirlwind these past few months,” said White. “I kept saying, ‘I can’t wait for Sunday. We can relax for a minute at least.’”

The new bar isn’t where the expansion will end, however. In the next few months, the brewery will expand its brewing capacity and its services. To start, the brewery will be switching from their two-barrel system to a 10-barrel one.

“We can’t keep enough here at the bar,” said White. “The head brewer and my husband have so many ideas for beers to make and we can’t fit them into the schedule.”

White Flame will also introduce its own food menu in the next few months, something White thinks residents of Hudsonville will respond to with great excitement.

“There’s just not very many places to go,” said White. “I think food will go a long way just to fill a void in this town alone.”

There’s plenty more expanding to do at White Flame. White says the brewery will continue to strive to meet its customers’ demands.

“It’s kind of scary, but it’s really exciting,” said White. “These next six months are going to be fun.”

This past Sunday, August 23, 2015, Fermenta ushered in its one year anniversary with craft professionals, enthusiasts, and supporters alike at Block Brewing in Howell, Michigan. As a supporter of all things craft in Michigan, Fermenta included a variety of vendors in the event—from various hop farm representatives, to craft industry book authors, to brewing supply companies and guest speakers.

“Fermenta exists to bring people together who have a lot of similarities and passions to work together and help each other grow Michigan’s craft industry,” said President and Co-founder of Fermenta: Michigan Women’s Craft Collective, Pauline Knighton, as she opened the celebrations.

Looking back at its beginnings, the growth this organization has undergone is impressive, but not surprising. Comprised of hard-working, driven individuals working as a team for craft education and support across Michigan, Fermenta has successfully progressed with every step it has taken. Hosting monthly events in all the different areas of craft beverage around the state—mead, cider, kombucha, beer and liquor—has allowed for an expansive social network.

With an emphasis on education, the anniversary party hosted guest speakers, Ashleigh Hayden and Alexa Seychel. Hayden, from New Belgium Brewing, guided event-goers through the importance of carbonation in the recipe-forming and serving of beer. Seychel hailed from Vander Mill Cider and discussed the process of cider-making while sharing the history of the cider trend in Michigan. Both seminars involved attendee participation and craft tasting.

It’s not hard to realize that Fermenta’s successes mirror those of much of the craft businesses in Michigan. The keynote speaker for the event, Renee Greff of Arbor Brewing Company, makes this connection succinctly, detailing her and her husband’s craft journey in comparison to the evolution of craft organizations in general.  

“We laid out for ourselves a vision of a successful future,” said Greff.

Vision and belief are what she holds as the primary driving forces behind Arbor Brewing Co.’s success. And those are the same foundations Fermenta was built upon a year ago. Alongside each other, Pauline Knighton, Angie Williams, Manda Geiger, Stacey Roth, Annette May, and Tracey Scholten Kusz created the vision and had the shared belief that women in the craft industry could spearhead a campaign for craft education and growth in Michigan.

“This is what women do for each other. We have a pack mentality. We help each other to see the strengths we have that we don’t see in ourselves. In order to succeed, we understand that we all need to help each other and have each other’s back,” said Greff.

And with this shared applied force combined with the support of ever-growing membership into the organization, Fermenta has become a state-wide recognized craft pioneer for women.

“There are still negatives about women in the industry, and we are changing that. We are making people look at women in a different light,” said Knighton.

With all of the support Fermenta has garnered, it has actually led to expanding its membership opportunities to males as well as corporate groups. During the celebrations, current members voted on this motion, and the motion passed. From here on out, there will be supporting and corporate memberships available. And although this means the organization will no longer be women-only, it still holds to its origins in that all scholarships are only applicable to female members.

As well as holding the first vote and the first elections (the existing board have all been voted into serve another year), Fermenta also announced its first scholarships. With various fundraisers and donations from many craft industry supporters, it was exciting to hear that five different, educational opportunities were available via Fermenta.

The scholarships were separated into three categories: Entry Level, Continuing Education, and Conferences and Certifications. The actual scholarships available for application (by female members only) are attendance to a scotch seminar hosted by Zingerman’s, a BeerSavvy online course for beer server preparation certification, attendance to an off-flavors beer seminar, attendance to a Michigan Grape and Wine Conference, and an attendance to a beer camp class.

Like Greff stated, “Whatever you conceive and believe, you can achieve.”

Indeed, Fermenta’s vision has grown since its conception a year ago, and its members and supporters have shown Michigan craft that anything can be achieved.

Future events, information about scholarships and memberships can be found on the Fermenta website and/or Facebook page.  

MittenBrew.com readers have come to know us as a leading resource for information about the people, places, and events in Michigan’s thriving craft beverage scene.

This time the news we’re reporting is about us. We have a new owner. Steph Harding, well known for her photography work, stepped up to the helm when legal transfer of the business occurred on August 1, 2015.

MittenBrew.com began as an idea between friends in January of 2011. Co-founders Bryan Esler, Christopher Epplett and Rob Kirkbride launched the website a few months later in May.

“We started the site with the tagline ‘Uncapping the story of Michigan beer one story at a time.’ I’m confident it will continue to do so,” Esler said.

Esler had been the only original co-founder active in ownership at the time of transfer. He will remain involved occasionally as a special consultant and event photographer.

“Bryan has put a lot of sweat equity into building MittenBrew.com to its current level,” said Harding. “I am looking forward to continuing the efforts and making it the premier website for Michigan craft beer, spirits, cider and mead information.”

Esler will shift his focus to his photography business, where he photographs corporate and community events, food and drink, commercial promotional images and more.

“I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the past four years,” said Esler. “While it’s bittersweet for me to move on, I know MittenBrew is left in good hands with Steph.”

Her plans for the future of the business include expanding coverage of meads, ciders and distilled spirits as Michigan’s share of those industries worldwide is rapidly increasing.

MittenBrew.com’s format will largely stay the same for the time being. A new content-based email newsletter has begun with the goal of new editions every 2-3 weeks.

Many current staff writers and photographers will remain, with a few new additions and advancements of interns.

Harding’s photography can be found on MittenBrew.com, in Roadbelly magazine, Grand Rapids’ Beer City USA campaign, on her website www.stephharding.com, and many other notable places. She will continue contributing her work in addition to ownership responsibilities.

Hudsonville Pike 51 Brewing Co. is a small brewery also connected to the Hudsonville Winery in, you guessed it, Hudsonville, Michigan.

It may not have enormous brewing capacity like Bell’s or Founders, but Pike 51 is absolutely worthy of being on everyone’s radar for their killer brews. In particular, I’ve discovered a love for their small but growing souring program.

“Sour” beers are sometimes mouth-puckeringly sour or have more of a balanced tartness to them. This component provides depth in beers that is so vastly different from all other styles. They are the ultimate pairing tool and are even some of the best “gateway” beers for consumers who are looking to explore the insane medium that is craft beer for the first time. Sour beers are also hard as hell to wrangle and create, even if you are being extremely careful in the brewhouse. The yeast used to create these brews are finicky and love to infect batches of beer where they are not welcome.

So far it seems that Pike 51 has taken this challenge in stride, and two out of the three beers below are in fact from their souring program. Though the product changes frequently, be sure to stop over and see what new tart delight they have up next.

 

Brett Pale

Belgian Pale Ale

5.1% ABV

31 IBU

$5.50/12oz, $15/growler fill

Malts: Pilsner, Munich, Wheat, Pale Crystal, Honey Malt, and Dark Crystal

Hops: Zeus, MI Chinook, Mosaic

I have an opaque beer in a snifter pushed up at my face. It’s an orange/amber color with a small but quite resistant cream colored head.

A whiff of vinegar hits my nose along with a bit of lemon-like tartness. As I sniff further, I pick up on notes from the hops that I interpret as being a bit grass-like and herbal. Even a bit of tropical fruit like mango skin and papaya comes forward.

As I sip I get a slap of brisk acidity but the brew ends with a slightly dry and tannic quality as well.

The flavor is balanced with light notes of lemon, bread crust and a touch of vinegar again. Delicate and rewarding. The pale ale is exceptionally balanced and refreshing. I think of all the customers or friends I’ve encountered who haven’t gotten on the pale ale or IPA bandwagon. This is the brew for them. It lends enough hop character to show them what those suckers can do, but the refreshing acidity breaks up the bitterness and creates an easier step for those imbibers to take.

 

Crimson Chin

Sour Red w/ MI Cherry

7.7% ABV

29 IBU’s

$6.50 per 12oz, No growler fills

Malts: Pale, Vienna, Wheat, Dark Crystal, Pale Crystal, Flaked Oats

Hops; Zythos, Amarillo, Centennial

Yet another opaque beer is in front of me, though this time it’s a nice cranberry color with a super resistant tan-colored head.

Very strong raspberry and cherry notes hit me before the beer comes even close to my nose. There are notes of balsamic vinegar among this initial aroma, but besides that I can’t really pick up much else. Those traits are overwhelming.

Drinking the beer, I find that the balsamic vinegar notes are a bit savory, and the flavors overall just become more layered. It takes me awhile to pick it apart. After my search, I conclude that notes of dark cherry and raspberry are still present, but grassy-flavored hops appear in the finish, right after a pleasant appearance of shortbread-like malt flavor.

Bright and acidic in the finish. Overall it has well balanced flavor characteristics and is a refreshing brew.

 

 

Sensual Bean

Imperial Milk Stout aged in Oak Barrels

Aged in Buffalo Trace Barrels and brewed with Costa Rica coffee, Tahiti vanilla, and raw organic cocoa

10.2% ABV

35 IBUs

This was a bottled selection, so it’s not something on tap at the moment, but I hear it may have a comeback.

This is another opaque brew, but this time it’s dark brown, almost black in color with a light brown head. It looks creamy, actually.

My nose picks up notes of dark chocolate and/or bakers chocolate, subtle vanilla and a nice punch of alcohol warmth coming from that Buffalo Trace in the nose.

The body is so smooth and creamy! Very, very smooth! It reminds me of the extra creamy quality in hot chocolate after you let a bunch of marshmallows melt in there.

Flavor notes come through as a balance of milk chocolate, a touch of cream, and a bit of coffee. All of these flavors meld into a more delicate finish than I was expecting. It’s actually pleasant though, to have an imperial stout such as this that is not “blow-your-hair-back” strong and robust all the way to the end. It’s giving me a conversational tone instead of yelling at me. On a more specific note, I get the feeling of roasty bitterness and a moderate sweetness.,

Because of the balanced and more subtle character in the finish, I actually thought of pairing this beer with a savory or smokey meat dish instead of dessert. It has more versatility which makes it quite a bit more fun.