Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Heir Apparent is Apparent

Chocolate is in everything now a days. You blink and another product boasts chocolate. Beer is no exception and it covers the range of chocolate anointed little goodies. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate across the range of tastes, real and imaginary. Where will it all stop? Well, it won't with the Heir Apparent and that is an odd thing because this is the one that is tastes like chocolate has none in it.

Lickinghole Creek's Heir Apparent

The Heir Apparent brewed by Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery (4100 Knolls Point Dr, Goochland, VA 23063 V: (804) 314-4380) is actually Mexican spiced rather than chocolate, but you would not know it. As a matter of fact, it tastes like it is flavored  with milk chocolate, but there is not a bit of milk or chocolate in the batch. I went back to the webpage to get the recipe because I did not believe it and that is when I was taken aback. But in addition to the lack a milk chocolate, is that the Heir Apparent is also an Imperial stout. Most Imperial stouts come mixed with the dark chocolate or a heavy dose of milk, but this one coming with a Mexican spice adds to the unique flavor.

Yes, it is sitting with an 11.3% ABV, its an Imperial stout, it taste like it has milk chocolate in it and yet it is light, bubbly and does not have an ounce chocolate in it. It has all of the Imperial stout characteristics too without some of the laborious tasks I take for granted drinking stout. This glass of Imperial stout comes as close as anything to being a perfect glass of beer, but it is the initial mouthful that will sell you on it.

My Untappd rating:  4.5 stars

Skal!
Brian 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Perfect Nose is the Perfect Wine

Barley wine has always been one of the feast or famine areas in brewing. I think the problem is that the right taste regimen is hard to hit. A lot of times barley wine comes in with a high barley count and I don't like it. Very rarely does it come in with a low barely count and a higher hops (I assume that this is the factor which flavors barely wine) but to do this takes a steady hand on the tiller. So, what are you supposed to do? Cognac.

Cognac gathers together the sugars that are in wine and concentrates over time. While wine picks up the flavors that are around it, cognac gets the deeper flavors and it concentrates them. This is why cognac comes across as a deeper set of tastes. Now what happens when we concentrate cognac and barely wine in the same process? Yeah, its a wholly new set of tastes for barley wine, ones we had written off as not possible in the barley wine barrel. Cognac seems to be the solution for barley wine!

Westbrook Brewing Company (510 Ridge Rd, Mt Pleasant, SC 29464 V: (843) 654-9114 www.westbrookbrewing.com) and Evil Twin (446 Kent Avenue, apt 14A Brooklyn, NY 11249 USA, www.eviltwin.dk) are responsible to The Perfect Nose, a barley wine fermented in cognac barrels. Yeah, Evil Twin, who is responsible for several of these high end beer distilleries, has their hand in it, and Westbrook Brewing Company is their partner in crime. This has 10.2% ABV and no IBUs.

This is a beautiful example of what you can do with a barley wine and cognac barrels. The barley wine is transported past its normal critiques and moved onto a whole other level. No more complaints about the deep barley tastes. This is moved onto how the cognac mellows out the barley wine, prompting a discussion of whether it is even appropriate to be calling it a barley wine at all.  Yeah, it is that good.

Untappd rating: 3.8
My Untappd rating: 4.75

Skal!
Brian

Monday, January 4, 2016

BeerCycling.com - From Pint A to Pint B Hits the Washington Post

Evan Cohan must be running with a lucky star - and we can only hope he is doing just that. BeerCycling.com, the Portland, OR based bicycling based Belgium, The Netherlands and Italy touring company has hit the Washington Post. If you are curious to read in more depth about BeerCycling.com catch up with a review by Diane Daniel (bydianedaniel.com)

The article can be found here in the Washington Post Travel Section: A Self-Propelled Belgium Brewery Tour Through Belgium Let You Bike to Pints

(I wish that this article was found by me, but is brought to my attention by Becki Chall, Development Director, Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science in Portland, OR.)

Skal!
Brian