Tasting Notes: Mise En Rose – Table Beer from Brew Gentlemen

BGMiseEnRosePour_editedAnother workweek has come to an end and we are here to close the thing out by taking down some Tasting Notes on Mise En Rose – Table Beer from Brew Gentlemen (Braddock, Pennsylvania).

Mise En Rose, a term meaning “‘setting the rose’ – the stage of the barrel-making process where the barrel first begins to take shape”, is Brew Gentlemen’s Limited Release collection of modern-American Farmhouse Ales that focuses “on mixed culture fermentation, extended aging in oak, and careful blending.”

Mise En Rose – Table Beer is the brewery’s take on the Belgian Tafelbier, a low-alcohol Farmhouse Ale that is traditionally served with meals.  This offering is a “delicate” Saison that has “aged for several months in oak foeders with [Brew Gentleman’s] house culture, then naturally conditioned in the bottle.”

Table Beer is a recurring release that “serves more or less as the flagship beer of the [Mise En Rose Collection].” Brew Gentlemen aims to keep this offering “permanently available” and there were quite a few 750ml bottles of Table Beer in stock when we visited the brewery in late August.

Now that we have properly gone over the necessary background information, it appears that it is finally time to gather round the table and get into these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Mise En Rose – Table Beer from Brew Gentlemen 

Appearance: Table Beer pours a golden yellow in color and is capped with a finger of brilliant white foam.  When held to direct light, that brilliance dims to a softer, paler hue of yellow.  Although slightly cloudy, the beer remains mostly clear and displays steady streams of carbonation bubbles drifting skyward to feed the head.  Head retention is decent, but it eventually reduces down to a lasting, chunky ring that leaves occasional spots of lace behind on the glass.

Aroma: Equal parts farmhouse funk and citrus tartness open the aromatics with a gorgeous introduction that is both dominant and mesmerizing.  Pear and lemon come through to offer a grace of fruity character while the hops support with some grassy, floral and earthy (think light pepper and damp wood) notes.  Crackery grains and toasted oak hold it all together from underneath.

Taste: A bright, lemony tartness eagerly rushes the palate, but it quickly relinquishes its hold so that a gentle presence of farmhouse funk can settle in.  Notes of pear, lemon zest and white grapes then combine with a gentle oak character to create a distinct white wine/champagne-like quality.  In the background, additional grassy and earthy notes covertly meet with a soothing grain presence to close out the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel:  Light in body with a medium to high carbonation level, this Farmhouse Ale offers an experience that is crisp and refreshing.  The beer finds a nice balance between its tart acidity, fruity sweetness and earthy funk.  The 4.8% ABV is incredibly faint, further adding to the beer’s overall easy-drinking nature.  The aftertaste is a soft, lingering presence of oak and funk.

Final Thoughts: On the surface, Mise En Rose – Table Beer is exactly what it should be and true to style. It is a beer that deserves a place at the table for any meal that is being served for any occasion (ranging from a typical Wednesday night to an elaborate celebratory event). Planning to enjoy a frittata and a side of fresh fruit at brunch? What about a multi-course dinner built around a heavy pork dish? You can rest assured that Brew Gentlemen’s Table Beer will comfortably hold its own in those and a myriad of other pairing situations.

With that said, this beer is far more than what many may expect from an offering that humbly wears Table Beer” as its name.  It is an incredibly nuanced Farmhouse Ale that is wonderfully complex, exquisitely balanced, and somehow still wildly approachable.  It is a fine example of the level of craftsmanship that brewers in the Pittsburgh area and all over the U.S. are capable of, and it is proof that mind-blowing beauty can be found in simplicity and tradition.  Mise En Rose – Table Beer is damn near perfect and easily one of the best beers we have had this year. You absolutely need to check this beer out if you get the chance. Prost!


21st Amendment Brewery Adds Tasty IPA to Seasonal Portfolio

21A-TastyIPA-2018-12oz21st Amendment Brewery (San Leandro, California) has announced that Tasty IPA will return in September with some new artwork and a reclassification making it the newest addition to the brewery’s Seasonal lineup.

Introduced in 2017 as a Limited Release collaboration between 21st Amendment and the well-known, highly-respected hombrewer Mike “Tasty” McDole, the new-look Tasty IPA is back to hit hopheads with the same India Pale Ale recipe that was “derived from test batches of McDole’s own homebrew recipe.”  Thanks to a hop bill that uses “Calypso, Ekuanot and Azacca for flavoring; CTZ for bittering and Simcoe, Calypso and Ekuanot in the dry hop”, Tasty IPA (6.8% ABV) rocks “bright, fresh flavors and aromas of hops, tropical stone fruits and a hint of spiciness.”

“The original artwork featured McDole laying in a bed of hops, which inspired the direction for Benjamin Franklin, a man who was an advocate for homebrewers,” said Nico Freccia, co-founder of 21st Amendment Brewery. “This new design fits perfectly into our brand portfolio and we are excited for its permanent place as our fall to winter seasonal.”

Tasty IPA officially returns in September and will hang around through March 2019.  You can expect to find this Seasonal offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 15-packs of 12 oz. cans, 19.2 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Florida, California and throughout the rest of 21st Amendment’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Tasty IPA from 21st Amendment Brewery

Release – Seasonal (Fall/Winter), September 2018 – March 2019
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – 6.8%
IBUs – 70
Hops – Calypso, Ekuanot, Azacca & CTZ; dry-hopped with Simcoe, Calypso & Ekuanot
Malts – Pale Malt, Pilsner & Light Crystal Malt
Yeast – American Ale
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 15-packs of 12 oz. cans, 19.2 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – http://21st-amendment.com/find-some/

Oskar Blues Brewery Brings Death by Coconut Porter Back for Seasonal Run

OskarBluesDbCPOskar Blues Brewery (Longmont, Colorado) has announced that Death by Coconut Irish Style Porter will return in early October 2018 to serve as the brewery’s winter Seasonal.

Back to once again prove that “beer is the perfect dessert”, Death by Coconut is an Irish-style Porter that unites the “bittersweet chocolate flavor” of Cholaca Pure Liquid Cacao with “raw, desiccated coconut and a malt bill based around Simpson’s Extra Dark Crystal.”  This combination of delectable ingredients results in a 6.5% ABV Death by Coconut that offers “a rich, dessert-y flavor with a light, approachable mouthfeel.”

“No false advertising here – it’s as straightforward a chocolate-and-coconut beer as it gets,” said Juice Drapeau, Head Brewer at the Oskar Blues pilot brewery in Lyons. “The chocolate-y malt flavors and coconut aroma and flavor are nicely balanced, and it’s not as viscous as a stout, which makes it more palatable.”

Death by Coconut will return in early October and hang around throughout the months of winter.  You can expect to find this Seasonal offering available in 4-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, Texas and throughout the rest of Oskar Blues Brewery’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Death by Coconut from Oskar Blues Brewery

Release – Seasonal, Winter 2018
Style – Irish-style Porter 
ABV – 6.5%
IBUs – 25
Featured Malts – Simpson’s Extra Dark Crystal
Added Ingredients –  Cholaca Pure Liquid Cacao & coconut
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.oskarblues.com/beerfinder/

NOBO Brewing Company to Pour at The 2018 Great American Beer Festival

NOBOBrewingLogo2NOBO Brewing Company (Boynton Beach, Florida) has officially announced that it will be in Denver from Thursday, September 20 to Saturday, September 22 to present four beers at The Great American Beer Festival 2018.

After Steve and Tim Dornblaser, brothers and co-owners of the 18-month old NOBO Brewing Company, attended The Great American Beer Festival (GABF) for the first time in 2014, the experience itself was enough to convince them that they just had to “apply to pour at the festival once the brewery was up and running.”  That opportunity first came in 2017 and the brothers are happy to report that they will return to GABF again this year to introduce their beers to the “over 60,000 attendees occupying over 500,000 square feet in exhibition and tradeshow space.”

“We have spent the past 18-months working on creating interesting recipes in a number of traditional and untraditional categories and have developed a nice following for our beer in South Florida,” said Steve Dornblaser, Co-Owner at NOBO Brewing Co. “We are excited to share our beers with festival attendees and get feedback from a completely different market.”

NOBO Brewing Company will pour the following four beers over GABF weekend:

NOBO Brewing Company’s GABF Tap List

  • Jalapeño Honey Blonde – 5.5% ABV – Blonde Ale/Chili Beer
  • My Schwartz is Bigger Than Yours – 5.7% ABV – German Schwarzbier
  • Milkshake Your Money Maker – 6.8% ABV – Milkshake IPA
  • Red, White and Boom Imperial Stout with Cinnamon aged on Cinnamon Whiskey Oak – 12% ABV – Imperial Stout

If you are attending The Great American Beer Festival this weekend and would like to sample beers from NOBO Brewing Company, you can track them down at Island 10, Booth 19.  Prost!

Highland Park Continues Viking Legends Series with Limited Release of VALKNUT

HP-2018-Valknut-Hero-Bottle+Carton-750ml-CMYK-687x720-d74f15ed-8a92-4eb4-8ab9-d5d15c816a71Highland Park Distillery (Kirkwall, Scotland) has officially announced the Limited Release of VALKNUT Single Malt Scotch Whisky, the second expression in its Viking Legends Trilogy.

Preceded by the mid-2017 release of the critically-acclaimed VALKYRIE, VALKNUT has arrived to serve as the second offering “in a series of three Viking Legends releases inspired by the rich Viking heritage and mythology of Highland Park’s Orkney Islands home.”  Meaning “‘knot of those killed in battle’ and represented visually by three interlinked triangles”, the Valknut is a symbol “closely associated with the Norse god Odin, who guided the spirits of the dead to Valhalla.”

The story of the Valknut is compelling and I wanted to ensure that the design feature of this packaging was a fitting match to the whisky created by Master Whisky Maker Gordon Motion. Also, as VALKNUT is part of a series of three expressions, I made sure that there is continuity in the style of the packaging; for example, the frieze design at top is consistent in look, but the story of the symbol has been brought to the front panel.”


– Jim Lyngvild, renowned Danish designer & artist behind the packaging for VALKNUT

As a whisky, VALKNUT (46.8% ABV) is a “bolder, more intense” Single Malt Scotch from Highland Park that boasts a “drier and smokier profile and a higher ABV than VALKYRIE.”  A maturation period predominantly spent in American sherry seasoned oak casks provides VALKNUT with a “a slightly higher phenolic level compared to VALKYRIE” while a “small amount of Orkney ­grown tartan barley . . . adds to its smokier edge and lingering sweet, spicy finish.”

VALKNUT is rolling out in the U.S. now and will be available as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 750ml bottles (suggested retail price of $80 each) at ReserveBar.com, Caskers.com and at select retailers located throughout the U.S.  Prost!

Vital Information for VALKNUT from Highland Park Distillery

Release – Limited, September 2018
Style – Single Malt Scotch Whisky
ABV – 46.8%
Treatment – Aged predominantly in American sherry seasoned oak casks
Natural Cask-Driven Color (no additives) – Light & golden
Nose – Toasted vanilla pods, cracked black pepper, oak shavings, cloves, anise, aromatic smoke
Palate – Sweet, aromatic cloves join forces with tangy hints of anise
Finish – Intensely balanced and bold; leaves a lingering memory of aromatic peat smoke & sweet spices
Fun Fact – On the story of the Valknut: “Viking sagas tell of the Valkyries, the fierce angels of Norse mythology who combed the battlefields for the bravest fallen warriors. Vikings who met an honorable death were marked out by the symbol of the Valknut and spirited away by the Valkyries to Valhalla to join Odin’s mighty army and prepare for Ragnarok, the battle of the end of the world.”
Availability – 750ml bottles

Gulf Stream Brewing Company Announces Grand Opening

gulfstreamlogoOn Saturday, September 22 at 4 p.m., Gulf Stream Brewing Company (Fort. Lauderdale, Florida) will host a grand opening event for its 5,300 square foot craft brewery and taproom located at 1105 NE 13th St. in Fort Lauderdale.

Conceptualized in 2011 by friends and Co-Owners Ty Eriks and McKay Ferrell, Gulf Stream Brewing Company is a 10-Barrel (BBL) brewery that is now finally ready to share “a broad range of high-quality craft beer” with the fine folks of Fort Lauderdale.  With Brewmaster Mike Demetrus, formerly of Doral-based M.I.A Beer Company, at the helm of brewery operations, the crew at Gulf Stream plans to brew “everything from multiple IPAs, to a Bavarian Hefeweizen, Pilsner, Pale Ale, Red Ale, Porter, Russian Imperial Stout and is currently working on an active culture barrel aging program.”

“One of our favorite things is experiencing the journey with others when they try our products and begin to gain more understanding of craft beer on a deeper level,” said Co-Owner, McKay Ferrell. “We want our customers to ask questions about the process and what makes each beer different. On a personal level, helping educate and inform others who don’t typically drink craft beer is incredibly rewarding.”

A vast array of Gulf Stream offerings – ranging from Core beers to Small Batch one-offs – will be pouring on draft throughout Saturday’s grand opening festivities.  The tentative tap list for opening day is as follows:

Core Beers

  • Mo Betta Pilsner (5.3% ABV)
  • What the Hef? – Bavarian-style Hefeweizen (5.3% ABV)
  • Sub-Hop Pale Ale (6.0% ABV)
  • Marley IPA – Session IPA (4.9% ABV)

**For those who might want to take beer with home with them, Core Beers will be available for Crowler fills.**

Small Batch/Limited Run Beers

  • Hold My Beer – Craft Light Lager – (4.3% ABV)
  • Oatalicious Hazy IPA (6.9% ABV)
  • Botonka Tonk – Old Style Ale aged with Tonka bean & oak (7.9% ABV)
  • RoBoPo – Robust Porter (5.4% ABV)
  • Vlad the Impaler – Aged Russian Imperial Stout (11% ABV)
  • Runnin’ Trips – Belgian Tripel with Yuzu, lemon grass & coriander (9% ABV)

In addition to the tasty beers listed above, Gulf Stream will also have two food trucks on-site to handle anyone’s needs/cravings for snackage.  Grand opening attendees will also have the opportunity to be among the first to join the brewery’s “Batch One” club – “a special program available only on-site and limited to the first 150 members. The membership starts at $100 and includes a discounted punch card, exclusive ‘Batch One’ shirt, and an exclusive ‘Batch One’ 17.5 oz. snifter.”

If you cannot make it out for the grand opening event but still wish to check out Florida’s newest brewery, the Taproom at Gulf Stream Brewing Company plans to keep these hours of operation moving forward: Monday – Thursday, 4pm – 11pm; Friday, 3pm – Midnight; Saturday, Noon – Midnight; and Sunday, Noon – 10pm.  Tours will be conducted by brewery staff “in the evenings and on weekends when production is not active.”  Prost!

Gulf Stream Brewing Opens Tap Room on Sat. Sept 22nd
A look inside the Taproom at Gulf Stream Brewing Company. Image Credit – Gulf Stream Brewing Company


Unibroue Sends its Black Forest Cake Ale to the U.S. for a Limited Release

unibrouelogoUnibroue (Chambly, Québec) has officially announced that Ale Gâteau Forêt-Noire, a.k.a. Black Forest Cake Ale, will begin an exclusive Limited Release in the U.S. beginning in early October 2018.

Originally released in 2017 as a Canada-only offering brewed to recognize Unibroue’s 25th anniversary, Ale Gâteau Forêt-Noire (10.5% ABV) has returned once more to finally give American beer lovers the opportunity to try this Limited Release brew.  Meant to mimic the flavors of Black Forest cake, this medium-bodied Belgian-style Dark Specialty Ale boasts notes of “roast and chocolate . . . complemented by delicate fruity accents and a slightly tart finish.”

“You can’t have an anniversary party without a cake. With roasted malt aroma, tart cherries, cocoa beans and dark chocolate flavors, I brewed Ale Gâteau Forêt-Noire to be pleasantly evocative of the classic Black Forest cake.”


– Jerry Vietz, Brewmaster at Unibroue

Ale Gâteau Forêt-Noire is scheduled to hit the U.S. in early October and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 750ml bottles, as part of a seasonal variety 6-pack, and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Florida and throughout the rest of Unibroue’s nationwide distribution footprint in the U.S.  Prost!

Vital Information for Ale Gâteau Forêt-Noire from Unibroue

Release – Limited, October 2018
Style – Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV – 10.5%
IBUs – 20
Suggested Food Pairings – ” Ale Gâteau Forêt-Noire is the ideal accompaniment for Black Forest cake, cocoa-based Mexican dishes (such as mole), meat loaf, log-type goat cheese, and blue or comté cheese.”
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 750ml bottles, in the brewery’s seasonal variety 6-pack & on draft
Beer Finder – https://www.unibroue.com/en/find-our-beers

Ciderboys Hard Cider Reintroduces Blackberry Wild as a Seasonal Offering

CiderboysBlackberry1Ciderboys Hard Cider (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) has officially announced that Blackberry Wild will now be released annually as a Seasonal offering available from September through November.

Previously released in 2016 as a limited release flavor, Blackberry Wild is returning to shelves and taps this fall thanks to customer demand and the cidery’s “desire to innovate.”  To make this newly designated Seasonal offering, Chief Cidermaker Mike Schraufnagel and his team start with a crisp apple cider base and blend in “pure blackberry juice at the fermentation stage and add more just before packaging.”  This approach supplies Blackberry Wild (5% ABV) with a flavor experience that offers “a supple combination of sweet and tart.”

“The response to Blackberry Wild was so positive that we had to bring it back. It was not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’ We’re always experimenting with new flavors at Ciderboys, and Blackberry was a logical addition to our family of ‘fruitful pairings’ after Strawberry Magic and Raspberry Smash.”


– Julie Birrenkott, Ciderboys’ Marketing Manager

Blackberry Wild is rolling out now and will stick around through November 2018.  You can expect to find this Seasonal offering at cider-friendly spots located in Alabama, Florida, Wisconsin and throughout the rest of Ciderboys’ distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Blackberry Wild from Ciderboys Hard Cider

Release – Seasonal, September – November 2018
Style – Hard Cider 
ABV – 5%
Featured Ingredient – Pure blackberry juice
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Cider Finder – http://www.ciderboys.com/cider-locator/

Spoetzl Brewery & Balcones Distilling Team Up to Release Limited-Edition Spoetzl Märzen

SpoetzlMarzen2cropSpoetzl Brewery (Shiner, Texas) has announced that it will officially begin the Limited Release of Spoetzl Märzen, a barrel-aged collaboration with Balcones Distilling (Waco, Texas), in October 2018.

Created as a joint effort from “two Texas icons who share a passion for supreme craftsmanship and appreciation for things done well”, Spoetzl Märzen is a massive Märzen-style Lager brewed with imported Munich malts, “hopped with prized Hallertau and Hersbrucker varietals and krausened twice to round out the lightly toasted, spicy malt flavors.”  Once the brewing process was completed, the beer was then sent to mature in “barrels that formerly housed the award-winning single malt whisky” from Balcones Distilling.  Well-aged and fully-matured, the “labor of love” that is Spoetzl Märzen (11% ABV and 32 IBUs) has emerged from its rest as a “coppery-orange hued, hop-forward brew [that has] notes of caramel and oak from the whisky-imbued barrels offering a smooth, lingering finish that adds depth and character.”

“For 109 years, Spoetzl Brewery has delivered best in class craft beer. We are excited to get back to our roots with the second release of our small batch brewing program. Barrel-aging is wildly popular from beer to coffee, not to mention the original way to make a Märzen-style lager. For this reason, it was great to work with our friends over at Balcones Distilling, the most awarded Texas whisky, as the tannins from whisky-soaked barrels naturally increase the clarity of the beer while also imparting a unique roundness and incredible color to the beer.”


– Tom Fiorenzi, Director of Brewing at Spoetzl Brewery

Spoetzl Märzen will officially release on October 1 and will be available as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited-Edition beer available in 750ml bottles (suggested retail price of $14.99 each) at select specialty beer retailers located throughout the state of Texas.  Prost!

Vital Information for Spoetzl Märzen from Spoetzl Brewery and Balcones Distilling 

Release – Limited, October 2018
Style – Märzen
ABV – 11%
IBUs – 32
Featured Malts – Munich
Featured Hops –  Hallertau & Hersbrucker
Treatment – Aged in Balcones Distilling “1” Texas Single Malt Whisky barrels 
Availability – 750ml bottles
Distribution – Texas only 

Hi-Wire Brewing Adds Hop Circus IPA Program to Year-Round Lineup

Hi-Wire-BrewingHi-Wire Brewing (Asheville, North Carolina) has officially announced that it will add the rotating Hop Circus IPA program to its Year-Round portfolio in October with the release of Hop Circus – Tropical White IPA.

Meant to serve as an “homage to Hi-Wire Brewing’s original launch of what is now their Specialty Program“, the Hop Circus IPA project is a rotating series of India Pale Ales that will “[push] the limits” by having each release “feature different combinations of hops, fruit, or adjuncts, keeping the program fresh and interesting.”  Hopheads can expect for a new Hop Circus IPA offering to hit “the market every three to four months.”

“Our best selling beer is Hi-Pitch Mosaic India Pale Ale, which is a traditional West-Coast Style IPA. We have also been having a blast with our Hazy&Juicy&Hoppy&Fresh series, which rotates some of our favorite hops in a Northeast IPA style. With the Hop Circus series, we get to meet in the middle by experimenting in the wide range of IPA styles, but keeping the beer at a more affordable price point.”


– Chris Frosaker, Co-owner of Hi-Wire Brewing

The inaugural release in the Hop Circus IPA project will be a Tropical White IPA that blends “tropical sweet tart flavors from mango and pineapple, with dank white grape and citrus notes from Hallertau Blanc and Citra” hops.  With “a heavy-handed portion of flaked wheat” acting as the recipe’s linchpin, Hop Circus – Tropical White IPA comes together to be a “bright and silky brew” that clocks in at just 6% ABV.

Hop Circus – Tropical White IPA will be available for a limited time beginning in October 2018.  You can expect to find this first Hop Circus offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer establishments located within Hi-Wire Brewing’s distribution footprint in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.  Prost!

Vital Information for Hop Circus – Tropical White IPA from Hi-Wire Brewing

Release – Rotational, launching October 2018
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – 6%
Featured Hops – Hallertau Blanc & Citra
Added Ingredients – Mango & pineapple
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Distribution – North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee & Ohio