Beer Break Vol. 1, No. 49
Fantasy tasting notes
Aug. 9, 2001
Our "Create a Great Beer" contest is turning out to be way too much fun, and
reading the entries is making us way too thirsty. We had to establish a new
in-house rule: No perusing submissions until after the sun is over the
yardarm, because they go so well with a fresh beer.
Here are a few of the mini-essays that will go to second round judges.
- From Christopher P. Burton, Thomasville, Ga.
Beer (Belgian): Deep red colored ale with a mousse like creamy white head
that lingers to the bottom of the glass. Complex, full-bodied malt based
aromas give way to earthy, (almost sour) oak flavors. Upon touching the
tongue, a marriage of malt (caramel) sweetness, alcoholic warmth and slight
spicy (Curacao, lemon, peppery) flavor meld together and entice the palate to
want more. Initial flavors give way to a slightly acidic, sour finish, but is
not cloying. Hop bitterness is restrained, counter balancing the alcohol
sweetness with little to no hop aromas permeating the elixir. Overall
impression is one of a rich ale that one should drink to entice and enhance
the flavors of rich foods or as an aperitif to be savored while enjoying the
company of select friends or a fine cigar.
Pairings: Rarebit, prime rib or Elk tenderloin medallions w/wild mushroom and
port sauce. Grilled asparagus with a balsamic glaze, roasted garlic mashed
potatoes, fresh spinach salad with a hot sweet bacon dressing and fresh
pumpernickel or rye bread sliced thick served with sweet honey butter.
- From Ethan D. Sicotte, Portland, Me.
Beer: "The Big Sleep" A brown bear's tipple. The beer bears yearn for as New
England's leaves begin to turn. A strong, off-dry stout with an elusive spice
cast. Not the equivalent of a mulled wine, gods no. Nor a winter warmer. This
is an autumn beer, to be drunk outside before a roll in the leaves with your
den-mate. Not sweet, not bone dry. Will those in the OTHER Portland allow me
to live if I describe it as a New England Stout? Or, the beer to drink when
the temperatures don't yet warrant the blast of Geary's Special Hampshire.
Pairings: Stingingly sour early Baldwins in a pie served with a hefty chunk
of Grafton Farm's two year aged cheddar...while sitting atop Monadnock or
Katahdin. Pairs well with a venison stew...or Indian lamb kabobs dishes.
Thick pea soup seasoned with ham. Achingly sweet butternut squash with a
light brush of nutmeg and maple syrup. All the flavors and views of fall. (A
bone for the West Coast drinkers: Ought to pair very well with fresh
artichokes, make a sort of pate of the meat and enjoy with nothing more than
salt, fresh ground black pepper, and whole wheat crackers).
Ingredients: A not-quite-dry stout perhaps with rye for subtle spice
character and all 'round Character. Just enough whole black peppercorn in
secondary to add that wonderful I-can't-quite-identify-what-is-going-on
sensation. Not a spiced beer: an accented one. Well hopped but floral hops is
not the first nor the final impression. Perhaps Saaz and East Kent Goldings?
A sense of unidentifiable spiciness over, under, around and through the roast
and malt is the goal
- From Joe Langenfeld, Burr Ridge, Ill.
Beer: Pale Ale-A delectable South Seas bouquet of coconut and hibiscus
blossom bewitches my nose into thinking that I am at some little Polynesian
bar in the Hawaiian Islands. The pale blonde ale, bordering on a rosy orange
from the crimson juice of the hibiscus blossoms at the bottom of the bottle,
is enhanced by some mild Ceylon cinnamon and a touch of tropical sugar. A
sweet, muted flavor of rich malt tickles my palate, with the true cinnamon
melding the flavors together. As the sweet dessert ale with its big, creamy
head cascades down my throat, I sense the nutty tang of Hawaiian taro root,
the brightness of guava juice, and the beautiful richness of ripe coconut
juice. The taste is perfect and bubbly, and stamps a light sweetness on my
palate long after I swallow, like the cool crispness of a tropical night.
Pairings: Swordfish and mahi-mahi, freshly caught, drizzled with lemon
butter, over a bed of lightly cooked seaweed, with a side of rice pilaf and
pinon nuts, fresh tropical fruit split with a scoop of ice cream, or good
dark bread with white cheddar cheese.
- From Kim Knox, Avon, Conn.
Beer: HOPS LOBSTER. Lobster may have thought it met its match in butter...
until this beer came along to perfectly accompany the succulent crustacean.
The rich, smooth, melt-in-your mouth taste of this red beer with a zing of
lemon is full-bodied enough to catch your attention, yet light enough to
remind me of the way salt air imbued breezes take the punch out of hot, muggy
days in New England. This is a beer to be savored; no chugging allowed!
Pairings: In addition to lobster, this beer is also well suited to any rich
seafood dish -- crab, scallops, shrimp, mussels. It is also a mate for creamy
pasta preparations, potatoes slathered in butter and sour cream, and even hot
buttered bagels. Strangely, it also goes superbly with Boston Baked Beans.
- From: Eric Pseja, Saddle Brook, N.J.
Beer: SUMMER'S LAST STAND. My brewers' tribute to the end of summer and the
beginning of my most favorite time of year - AUTUMN! Upon uncapping this beer
and taking a deep breath of the aroma lingering in the neck of the bottle, I
get a complex, slightly floral scent laced with summery fruits and subtle
autumn spices - orange and/or lemon peel, perhaps some light apricot, and a
barely noticeable touch of cinnamon and maybe clove. As it is poured into a
pint glass, the foamy head is lifted by very light carbonation above the not
quite transparent, medium amber, honey-colored body. The first taste is
surprisingly hoppy for such a sweet-smelling brew, but smooth and refreshing.
As it rolls around the mouth, the hops move aside to share the spotlight with
a very subtle sweetness and light spice. After swallowing, the late-summer
fruity sweetness is replaced with an early autumn crisp hoppy breeze, and the
urge to sip again is unbearable!
Pairings: This brew would have to be able to be enjoyed alone as either an
aperitif or during a little day-end relaxation on the porch. This beer would
also go great with such meals as wood-grilled swordfish with
garlic-asparagus, a light chicken Francaise, or seasoned pork-tenderloin with
roasted red potatoes.
- From Jason Tider, Houston, Texas
Beer: Mouthcoatingly warm, a healthy body with a perfectly round, sexy,
feminine pot belly. Bright nutty earth nose, greeting the mouth dark,
toasted, caramel twisting to toffee and chocolaty, finishing with a
stabilizing raspberry undertone. Not sweet, not soapy dry but nails on
creamy, solid, fulfilling and reminiscent of an 80% cacao chocolate bar in a
glass with a cream head.
Pairings: Aged Angus Tenderloin topped with melted Stilton cheese served with
a scant port reduction sauce, oysters, blackened pork tenderloin, Irish stew,
chocolate chip cookies, and anything with shaved black truffles.
- From Chad Recore, Peru, N.Y.
Beer: Blackberry Mocha Stout. Tan creamy head with perhaps a purplish hue
beckoning the drinker to take note of the subtle berries within. The aroma
should be slightly smoked malt with a hint of chocolate balanced by hops and
a subtle hint of sweet blackberry. Mouthfeel is slightly heavy but smooth and
Pairings: With hors d'oeuvres: simple puffed pasties and blackberry crones.
with dinner: blackberry brandied black angus eye of the round steak, candied
carrots, raison rye bread, fresh wild berry parfait with heavy cream and
cinnamon. With dessert: chocolate mousse or blackberry pie.
- From John Leimonas, Rensselaer, N.Y.
Beer: I am looking for a blend of my three favorite beer styles - dopplebock
(Paulaner Salvator), hefeweiss (Julius Echter), and a smoky flavor (Kaiserdom
Rauchbier, Otter Creek Smoked Amber Ale).
Pairings: I would like to have this beer with prime rib and garlic potatoes.
It would also go with beef jerky.
Brewed by Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery in Boulder, Colo.
Michael Jackson's tasting notes:
Poured with a good head and distinctive mahogany color. Clotted cream in the
aroma, vanilla in the palate, developing to nutty, toasty, dryness. Clean,
smooth and beautifully balanced. (Mountain Sun, a brewpub, has won the gold
medal in the dopplebock category at the Great American Beer Festival for
three years running.)
WAR OF 1812 ALE
Brewed by Sackets Harbor Brewing Co. in Sackets Harbor, N.Y.
Roger Protz' tasting notes:
Hazy bronze color with a thin collar of foam, the beer has a rich, appealing
aroma of vanilla and slightly toasted malt. Hops make an entrance on the
tongue, the bitterness balanced by rich creamy malt. The full flavor lingers
in the finish, with the malt giving way finally to bitter hops and tart