Beer Break Vol. 2, No. 18
New beers on the shelves
Feb. 7, 2002
- Stone Brewing released the first of its new Stone Vertical Epic Ales on
Saturday (02.02.02). Each of the eleven Vertical Epic ales will become
available one year, one month and one day apart, so to complete a tasting of
all 11 beers scheduled for release you'd have to wait until Dec. 12, 2012.
Each batch will be brewed in a style different from the previous year, and
will be bottle-conditioned so the beer may mature in the cellar. The
resulting vertical tasting "promises to provide the beer connoisseur with the
flavor equivalent of a Mozart Symphony with multiple movements." The release
of 02.02.02 was limited to 300 cases (a total of 3600 bottles) so they will
be hard to come by. The brewers (this is the job we want) will conduct
quality control tastings over the years, and issue an alert if it appears
that one of the beers starts to peak early and should be consumed before
12.12.12. As a nice touch, the beer's silk-screen label is positioned
lengthwise so that it is easy to read when you store it on its side in your
- BridgePort Brewing Co. in Portland rolled out Pintail Ale last month. Deep
golden with a medium body, it is mildly bitter and has a tart finish. It is
made with pale, Munich and wheat malts, with the wheat contributing to the
tart finish, keeping the mouthfeel light and producing a sturdy white head.
Pintail Ale takes its name from the Pintail duck that is indigenous to the
- Britain's George Gale and Co. will launch a new seasonal in May - Jubilee
Ale, which has been maturing since the early part of last year. It is being
released to mark the Queen's 50th anniversary as monarch. Jubilee Ale is
described by Gales head brewer Derek Lowe as "A real celebration of the
brewer's art. Finest English barley with that distinctive hop character. A
truly majestic ale." It will be available in both draught form (4.5% abv) and
in exclusive commemorative corked bottles at 12%.
- Minnesota-based Artisinal Imports hopes to distribute a new beer from
Belgium nationwide. Production at Urthel -- a creation of wife and husband team
Hildegard and Bas van Ostaden, owners of Brouwerij de Leyerth -- has doubled
and redoubled in the 14 months since the beer brand was introduced. Currently
two Urthel Ales are offered in the United States: Urthel Tonicum Finiboldhus
Amber Ale and Urthel Hibernus Quentum Tripel Ale. Both are bottle conditioned
and unfiltered, and also available on draft. Urthel Amber is moderately
strong at 7.5% abv, with a cloudy, orangish appearance. It is fruity and
slightly hoppy in the nose, and malty with just a hint of hop bitterness.
Urthel Hibernus Quentum Tripel is a strong 9% abv, slightly cloudy
burnished-golden in color with white, voluminous foam. It has a honey note in
the nose, and a spicy, flowery aroma.
- From Portland Brewing Co./MacTarnahan's: The MacTarnahan's Experience, a
new gift box combines a 750ml bottle of The MacTarnahan Single Malt Scotch
with 12-ounce bottles of MacTarnahan's Amber Ale and MacTarnahan's Black
Watch Cream Porter -- both gold medal winners at the Great American Beer
Festival. Packaged with a signature whisky snifter and beer glass, The
MacTarnahan's Experience is the first gift box of its kind in America.
"Scotch and beer is a centuries-old tradition in the world of libations,"
says whisky expert Stuart Ramsay. "Good beer is the perfect companion to fine
Scotch. Surprisingly, to my knowledge no other company in America has offered
this classic combination in one package."
- New Belgium Brewing Co.'s Biere De Mars returns for a second season, and
should be available in all 12 states where New Belgium sends its beer. How do
you describe a beer that is brewed with barley, oats and wheat malt, and
bottled conditioned with a wild yeast strain that contributes to a hazy
orange hue and citrusy finish? Brewer Peter Bouckaert emphasizes the
celestial aspects: "Picture rolling hills, brick farmhouses and an area once
rich in mining. I want you to visualize the organic architecture of Victor
Horta, a curving banister with soft light falling from the window. This is
what we tried to put into the beer." Rumor has it that the next bottling of
LaFoile, the award winner brewed in the style of a sweet-and-sour red ale
such as those produced by Rodenbach, will be available about the end of
March. LaFoile is sold only at the brewery and last year's batch lasted about
Alaskan Barley Wine winner
Why do we write about cellaring beers? What's the value of setting a few back
and seeing how they mature? The champion beer at the Great Alaska Beer &
Barley Wine Festival last month was no youngster, but 1998 Old Boardhead from
Full Sail Brewing Co. Now in its fifth year, the Alaska festival attracts one
of the most interesting barley wine lineups you'll find anywhere (surpassed
perhaps only by the Toronado festival later this month and the Great American
Beer Festival). Second place in the judging went to Old Woody Bourbon Barrel
Barley Wine from Glacier Brewing Co. in Anchorage. Third place was Old
Guardian from Stone Brewing.
Pairing of the week
Want to mix a little beer and romance next week for Valentine's Day? Dark
beers, most particularly porters and stouts, go well with both oysters and
chocolate. This memory from Michael Jackson comes from a 1998 road trip: "One
of the great beer-and-food combinations is oysters and porter or stout. At
Cutter's restaurant, in Seattle, I did not even have to order the oysters. I
was scarcely through the door when the chef brought them to my table. There
were three or four varieties on the half shell, then each one also cooked in
a different way. The beer? A soft, lightly rooty, licorice-ish porter from
the newish Scuttlebutt Brewpub in Everett, Wash."
CRESTED BUTTE RED LADY
Brewed by Crested Butte Brewing Co. in Colorado
Michael Jackson writes:
Attractive, bright russet color. Assertive, almost sharp, hoppy, flowery,
fruity aroma. Smooth flavors of passion fruit gradually unfold, moving to
toastiness and a crisp, light finish. The body is closer to light than
medium, and the character refreshing rather than thoughtful, but there is
enough flavor to keep this an engaging ale. Good for drinkers who are not
seeking a lot of hop bitterness (and vice-versa).
PRIMATOR PREMIUM LAGER
Brewed by Nachod Brewery in the Czech Republic
Roger Protz writes:
An enticing pale gold color leads to a rich corn flour aroma balanced by
aromatic hops and a hint of toasted grain from double decoction mashing.
Sweet, juicy malt and tart, spicy hops dominate the palate, followed by a big
finish bursting with lemon fruit and becoming uncompromisingly bitter, dry
and hoppy. A splendid example of a Czech cold-fermented beer.