Friday, January 22, 2016

Beer Friday #3

As I sit in the bunker — my office is in the basement again, and I know my family calls it The Bunker, I just know it — with the blizzard coming, and Trump fulminating, and Bernie warning of fiscal disaster, well...this seemed legit.

Ergo, nothing but butt-kicking beers will do.

Tröegs Nugget Nectar 2016, 7.5%
The New Label
I bought a case of this beautiful annual release at the Beer Yard in Wayne last Saturday. I've had a couple few some already, and you need to know...oh, hell, most of you already do know, but this is a ripper. Let's open it before someone grabs it away.

First off, beautiful pour. You guys with your "shaker pints are ugly" crap can suck it: copper and cream looks great in a shaker. That juicy aroma comes right off the top, too: vibratingly-fresh citrus, pine (bark, needles, sap, that dark-meat wood in the middle), and yeah, a bit of dank weed. I kinda miss the cat piss I used to get from this one.

Take a mouthful. Not a sip, not with this beer, take a mouthful and hold it. Bitter, flavorful, that pine and pith tearing up my palate and making my glands squeeze. The thing I've always liked about Nugget Nectar is the way it turns my mouth into a boppit clown, those ones you smack and they fly backwards and hit the floor and whip right back up to get hit again (did any of you have one of them? When I was about 10, I'd go down in the basement and just smack the shit out of that thing). Take a drink, wham with the bitterness, and about the time I notice the wham's gone away and the pine's running around in my mouth like a crazy chihuahua, I decide it's time to take a drink, wham with the bitterness, and about the time I notice the wham's gone away and the pine's running around in my mouth like a crazy chihuahua, I decide it's time to take a drink, wham with the bitterness, and about the time I notice the wham's gone away and the pine's running around in my mouth like a crazy chihuahua, I decide it's time to take a get the idea. Clearly the only way I'm going to experience the finish on this one is to drink the whole beer, because I'm not pausing between drinks long enough to experience it.

Hell, it ought to be snowing now.

Verdict: Good

Abita Bourbon Street Imperial Stout, 10.0%
Not your normal, but I would expect nothing less from Abita. The mash includes oats, for one; and it sure sounds like the beer — the stout — is lagered, "cold aged," for six weeks. Then it does eight weeks in "small batch" bourbon barrels. As a whiskey guy, I'd really like to know what Abita thinks "small batch" bourbon barrels are; craft distillers' barrels, or Beam barrels from their "small batch" series? Or something else? I dunno. To the beer!

Had to let this warm up; it's damned cold out in my garage right now. But even after an hour in deep-bowled Duvel tulip (I know, I know; I grabbed it on impulse) there's still a tight collar of persistent tan foam around the edge, and the aroma is pulsing at me from over a foot away. Let's go. Deep bittersweet chocolate, fresh coffee grounds, toasted pecans, and caramel aromas. Luscious. Ah ha. Not a syrupy, under-attenuated mess at all, this is a scarily light-bodied 10%. In fact, there's just enough body to handle the booze. Chocolate syrup, light bright Kenya AA coffee, sweet rolls, and some of that pecan...but the bourbon barrel character is restrained, an accompaniment rather than a steamroller. It's coming through at the finish, though, and that's nice.

I'd like to like this more, but the lightness is too light. If you're going to go big, barrel age an imperial stout, you ought to go big, I'm thinking.

Verdict: Okay

2SP SIP (Stigz's Imperial Porter) imperial porter, 8.4%
2SP is one of the crop of new breweries here in southeast Pennsylvania, and this is my draft beer for the week. I dropped down to the Hulmeville Inn again this afternoon, figured to get a taste of pre-storm frenzy...but not in this more working-class bar. Just another day for cable installers, welders, and fire fighters, which is part of why I like going there. The other part, of course, is the truly great draft beer selection, with local stuff like this (and Tired Hands, and Neshaminy, and Yards), and plenty of the best from away as well.

2SP's brewer Bob Barrar is well-known around here and at the GABF for his excellent big dark beers; when he was at Iron Hill Media, they called him The Machine for the clockwork way he won GABF medals. I figured this was the way to go, and I wasn't wrong. This is a big sweet chocolate cake of a beer. Get a whiff; ahhh. Chocolate, cocoa, Graham crackers, and light coffee beans on the nose. Annnnnd...the same on the tongue, with maybe a bit more coffee. Gotta love an honest nose.  Wait, wait...there's hop note on the end, too, just to wrap things up.

Creamy smooth, rich and sweet. Actually reminds me a lot of the Abita, but no barrel is mentioned, which makes a difference. Is it what most folks expect from "imperial porter"? Probably not, in these lupulin-drenched days, but I found it delicious, and could have gone another round if I hadn't still had to pick up sidewalk salt, and the day's mail, and gas for the snowblower, and a nice block of cheddar...just because. Now we're hunkering down, just me and the family, with only a fridge full of food and about 300 bottles of whiskey between us and starvation. See you on the other side.

Verdict: Good

1 comment:

Marc Kovach said...

Eve of Destruction. Brings back memories. I remember, as a kid, my Dad telling me how much he liked the song. We use to sit outside on the front porch in the summer (no AC), listening to WFBG out of Altoona. I use to sit on the green carpet, that they put on the porch, that some would call AstroTurf, and we would talk and he would be drinking Schaefer Light. Think I need to give the old man a call. Thanks Lew!