Tasting Notes: Truck Chaser – Creamsicle DIPA from Wild Leap Brew Co.

WildLeapTCPourFor this edition of Tasting Notes, we treat ourselves to a little end of the week indulgence by getting into a pour of Truck Chaser – Creamsicle Double IPA from Wild Leap Brew Co. (LaGrange, Georgia).

Introduced back in mid-January, Wild Leap Brew Co.’s Truck Chaser Series – a tongue-in-cheek homage to all those craft beer fanatics that tirelessly pound the streets in search of the most elusive brews out there – is a new, Limited Release lineup of playful takes on the Double India Pale Ale style.  Truck Chaser – Creamsicle, the inaugural release in the series, is “brewed with a flavor combination of ripe orange, vanilla bean and milk sugar.” Somehow both decadent and refreshing, Truck Chaser – Creamsicle (8.1% ABV) will have you thinking you are enjoying “a creamsicle straight from the ice cream truck.”

Truck Chaser – Creamsicle is out now with plans to hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 4-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in and around the Atlanta, LaGrange, Newnan, Peachtree City, Columbus, Athens, Gainesville and Augusta areas of Georgia.

Alright . . . now that we have properly covered the particulars behind Truck Chaser – Creamsicle, let’s crack open a can and relive some ice-cream-truck-fueled memories over some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Truck Chaser – Creamsicle Double IPA from Wild Leap Brew Co.

Appearance: A vigorous pour produces a beer that is somewhat murky, dark orange in color and topped with a faint, fizzy half finger of white foam.  When held to direct light, the orange brightens a touch but does not really gain any vibrancy.  The beer is cloudy and opaque, but sporadic pops of carbonation can still be observed pushing their way through at times.  Head retention is nearly nonexistent as the foam completely disappears almost as soon as the pour settles.

Aroma:  The aromatics begin with a bright, green/fresh hoppy presence that is both citrusy and earthy.  A distinct presence of orange zest and juice then quickly moves in to act the perfect bridge between the hops and a soft vanilla tone that turns up at the very end of the profile.

Taste:  Mirroring the nose, the flavor opens with a pronounced hop presence featuring a sharp citrus note and bitter bite.  A wonderfully juicy orange quality settles in, bringing with it fresh notes of peel, zest, juice and citrus oils.  Vanilla and sweet cream then saturate the finish, locking in just enough cutting sweetness to create that distinct creamsicle experience.

Mouthfeel:  This DIPA is medium to full bodied with a softer carbonation level, creating a nice and creamy texture. Across the palate, this beer moves easily between hop-sourced bitterness and fruity sweetness to find a lovely balance that never tips too far in either direction.  The 8.1% ABV is well hidden, but it does sneak in a gentle warmth that builds in the chest.  Citrus hop notes are left to linger in the aftertaste.

Final Thoughts:  All in all, we were happily surprised to find that Truck Chaser – Creamsicle Double IPA lands in a nice place somewhere between a real deal, hop-laden Double IPA experience and the tamer/more accessible world of the Milkshake IPA.  The hops in this beer do take the lead and have quite a bit of presence, making it so you really need to hold some love for their delightful bite to enjoy this one.  With that said, it still follows through with more than enough juicy sweetness, vanilla creaminess, and luscious texture to nail the creamsicle notes and properly represent the Milkshake IPA style.  Basically, it translates as if you are chasing sips of Double IPA with a couple bites of creamsicle . . . and who could be mad at that?  Be sure to check out Truck Chaser – Creamsicle before its limited run comes to an end.  Prost!

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Saint Louis Crafted Cocktails Launches with Release of White Russian Ale

image001The Saint Louis Brewery (St. Louis, Missouri), makers of Schlafly Beer, has officially introduced Saint Louis Crafted Cocktails as its newest brand of all-natural, crafted malt beverages.

Crafted to capture “the flavors of the most iconic cocktails”, Saint Louis Crafted Cocktails is a new line of experimental malt beverages that all have one mission: to be “a cocktail that’s not a beer, and a beer that’s not a cocktail.”  This new brand is expected to produce “five beverages throughout 2019 with inspirations from the Paloma to Old Fashioned cocktails.”

The first release from Saint Louis Crafted Cocktails will be White Russian Wheat Ale, a malted beverage that uses “coffee toddy, lactose and solid malt [to tie] the drink together.”  Weighing in at a sip-worthy 7.5% ABV, White Russian Wheat Ale offers a “smooth toffee sweetness, reminiscent of flavors of the legendary cocktail.”

White Russian Wheat Ale is rolling out now with availability in 4-packs of 330ml apothecary-style bottles.  You can expect to find this new brew at select craft beer-friendly establishments located “throughout the Midwest, in St. Louis, Missouri as well as surrounding states.”  Prost!

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New Belgium Brewing Introduces La Folie Grand Reserve: PX

NBLaFoliePXbottleNew Belgium Brewing (Fort Collins, Colorado) has officially announced that it will begin the incredibly limited release of La Folie Grand Reserve: PX on February 9.

Inspired by “a love of dessert wines”, La Folie Grand Reserve: PX – the latest small batch version of New Belgium’s award-wining La Folie – was created with the use of “20 sought-after sherry barrels, each previously holding PX Sherry.”  If you are unfamiliar with this particular sherry, the “PX” references “Pedro Ximénez, a white Spanish wine grape varietal grown under intense sun to produce the super sweet, unctuous Pedro Ximénez Sherry with flavors of figs, molasses, roasted nuts and exotic spices.”  After La Folie’s dark base beer and New Belgium’s house culture matured in these barrels for nine months, the sherry barrel-aged base beer was infused with “400 whole, hand-split Tahitian vanilla beans . . . for four months, swirled every day to intensify the combination of vanilla’s sweetness with existing fig, sour plum and cocoa flavors.”  Once this laborious process was completed, the finished La Folie Grand Reserve: PX (8% ABV) was “bottled and kegged on a gentle amount of nitrogen, a unique technique unusual for wood-aged sour beers, providing a smooth and velvety mouthfeel that elevates the entire drinking experience.”

“When I set out to make Grand Reserve, I feel like I’m taking La Folie to the prom or on a once-in-a-lifetime luxury vacation. It has to be very special,” explained Lauren Woods Limbach, New Belgium’s wood cellar director and blender. “La Folie is already so brilliant and complex. What I look for is the spaces in between and imagine what we could introduce to fill in those flavor gaps. The dried, stewed fruit of PX Sherry promised to elevate La Folie to a new level.”

 

“It was an absolute labor of love. We were very meticulous throughout the process, sort of like helicopter parents/brewers. You really only get one shot at it,” Limbach continued, noting the limited availability of fresh sherry casks. “This recipe started in my head about two years ago. It always feels a little magical when the end result matches such high expectations.”

La Folie Grand Reserve: PX officially releases on Saturday, February 9 and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 375ml bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located “in select markets in the states of Colorado, North Carolina, California, Hawaii, Missouri, Arizona, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois, Idaho, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.”  Prost!

Vital Information for La Folie Grand Reserve: PX from New Belgium Brewing 

Release – Limited; February 9, 2019
Style – American Sour Ale
ABV – 8%
Treatment – Aged for nine months in Pedro Ximénez Sherry barrels; infused with 400 whole, hand-split Tahitian vanilla beans for an additional four months
Availability – 375ml bottles & draft
Distribution – Select markets in Colorado, North Carolina, California, Hawaii, Missouri, Arizona, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois, Idaho, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts

Birdsong Brewing Co. Set to Release Two Barrel-aged Stout Variants on Valentine’s Day

BirdsonglogoBirdsong Brewing Co. (Charlotte, North Carolina) has announced that it will begin the Limited Release of Prehistoric Dog and Turtles on Pterodactyls on Thursday, February 14.

Officially billed as the first time that Birdsong Brewing Co. will release two variants of the same beer on the same day, this incredibly special Valentine’s Day can release will feature the following two Barrel-aged Stouts (beer descriptions sourced directly from the brewery’s press release):

  • Prehistoric Dog – the base beer, an Imperial Stout aged in Booker’s Bourbon Barrels. Robust stout with notes of chocolate, espresso, toffee and the undeniable notes of Booker’s – intense and complex medley of oak, leather and caramel.  ABV – 10.5%  IBUs – 60
  • Turtles on Pterodactyls – the variant. This version of the Imperial Stout is aged in Four Roses Bourbon Barrels with cacao nibs and cinnamon added. There are strong notes of cacao, sweet/spicy notes from the cinnamon, Bowman says, and a smoother bourbon nose and note from the softer Four Roses barrels.  ABV – 10.5%  IBUs – 60

“We have done variants of other recipes and released at a later date, often a much smaller release than the first,” says Jeff Bowman, Birdsong lead brewer. “We are very excited to have both of these beers come out at the same time as they each stand on their own and are two of our favorite beers.  Being able to sample them side by side and taste the similarities and differences between the two is something we look forward to enjoying and conversing about — and think our customers will too.”

Prehistoric Dog and Turtles on Pterodactyls will be available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans ($18 each) and on draft in Birdsong Brewing Co.’s taproom beginning on February 14 and limited distribution is expected to follow shortly after the on-site release.  You can expect to find both of these Limited Release beers at select craft beer-focused establishments located within Birdsong’s distribution footprint in North Carolina.  Prost!

 

 

Hidden Springs Ale Works Sets Release Date for In Between Dreams

HiddenSpringslogoHidden Springs Ales Works (Tampa, Florida) has officially announced that it will hold a bottle release for In Between Dreams on Saturday, February 9.

Crafted to be the liquid portal that “[takes] take you down the rabbit hole and into a surrealist world of endless possibilities”, In Between Dreams is an Imperial Stout with chocolate, vanilla and hazelnut that has been double barrel-aged in cognac and bourbon barrels.  Looming at 12% ABV, this is one stout that you do not want to sleep on.

The In Between Dreams bottle release will take place at Hidden Springs Ale Works (1631 N. Franklin St. | Tampa, Florida) at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 9.  Bottles will be $30 each and the brewery will announce the bottle limit 15 minutes before opening.  Cash is preferred, but cards will be accepted.

A couple things to keep in mind if you plan to attend this bottle release:

  • Parking – Remember to park in Hidden Springs’ lot directly across the street, or on the street up and down Franklin, on Henderson just west of Tampa, or on 7th Ave.
  • Once you are in line, make sure that you hug the wall so that foot traffic will not be affected on the sidewalks
  • Above all, please be respectful of the brewery’s neighbors

In Between Dreams will not see distribution and is expected to sell out with a quickness.  If you wish to get your hands on a bottle, make sure that you are in line for the 10:45 head count on Saturday and just hope that you make the cut. Good luck out there.  Prost!

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Label artwork designed by Arielle Katarina Illustration

Allagash Brewing Company Releases Sun Drift

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Feature & above image both courtesy of Allagash Brewing Company

Allagash Brewing Company (Portland, Maine) has officially announced that it will begin the Limited Release of Sun Drift, an ale featuring lemon zest and black tea from The Little Red Cup Tea Co., on February 5.

Crafted to be “a little ray of sunshine” during this harsh winter, Sun Drift is a Belgian-style beer that possesses “a slightly tart note” from freshly zested lemons and a “medley of funky tropical fruit flavors created by Brettanomyces yeast. After brewing, the beer is blended with Fair Trade Yunnan Black tea from Little Red Cup, of Brunswick, Maine.” Coming in at an easy drinking 6.7% ABV, the finished Sun Drift “evokes the refreshing combination of lemonade and tea, all cruising on a layer of fruit-filled aromatics.”

“Whenever possible, we look for ingredients in Maine,” said Allagash Brewmaster Jason Perkins. “That means getting grain from Maine farmers and tea from a local company like Little Red Cup.”

 

“Allagash is dedicated to crafting the best Belgian-inspired beers in the world the same way Little Red Cup is committed to bringing top-quality Chinese teas to the U.S.,” said Little Red Cup co-owner Martin Connelly.

Sun Drift officially hits distribution this week and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Georgia, Maine and throughout the rest of Allagash Brewing’s 17 state distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Sun Drift from Allagash Brewing Company 

Release – Limited, February 2019
Style – Belgian-style Ale
ABV – 6.7%
Grains – Local Pale Malt, Local Raw Oats, Victory Malt, Malted Red Wheat & Special Blend
Hops – Cascade & Citra
Yeast – Saccharomyces & Brettanomyces Claussenii
Added Ingredients – Lemon zest & black tea from Little Red Cup
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://www.allagash.com/locator/

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A tin of Little Red Cup Yunnan Black Tea, the tea featured in Sun Drift. (Image courtesy of The Little Red Cup Tea Co.)

Great Divide Brewing Co. Unleashes Chocolate Cherry Yeti

Chocolate Cherry Yeti 22oz bottle shotGreat Divide Brewing Company (Denver, Colorado) has officially launched Chocolate Cherry Yeti Imperial Stout as its latest Seasonal Release.

Arriving as the newest member of Great Divide’s Yeti Clan, Chocolate Cherry Yeti employs the same “roasty malt backbone” found in the iconic Yeti Imperial Stout, “[tweaks] the hop bitterness” a bit, and then receives additions of “sweet and sour cherries and cacao.”  Weighing in at a sultry 9.5% ABV, Chocolate Cherry Yeti promises to be “one smooth sipper.”

Chocolate Cherry Yeti is rolling out now and is scheduled to hang around through May 2019.  You can expect to find this Seasonal Release available in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Colorado and throughout the rest of Great Divide’s expansive distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Chocolate Cherry Yeti from Great Divide Brewing Company

Release – Seasonal/Yeti Clan, February – May 2019
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 9.5%
Added Ingredients – Sweet and sour cherries & cacao
Suggested Food Pairings – “Braised short ribs, caramelized baby carrots, Danish blue cheese, and vanilla cheesecake with sour cherries”
Availability – 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://greatdivide.com/beer-finder/

Good People Brewing Company IPA Now Available in 12-packs

GoodPeopleIPAvertTo help Alabama craft beer lovers properly celebrate Flagship February, Good People Brewing Company (Birmingham, Alabama) is rolling out 12-packs of 12 oz. cans of its long-standing IPA this week.

Easily one of the most recognizable and respected flagship brews in Birmingham, Good People Brewing Company’s IPA is an “unfiltered, dry-hopped” American India Pale Ale featuring “herbal and earthy hops . . . balanced with a light caramel finish.”  Clocking in at 7.1% ABV and a punchy 75.5 IBUs, IPA is a “crisp and refreshing . . . hop lover’s dream.”

12-packs of IPA will begin hitting the market during the week of February 4 and will be available Year-Round.  IPA is also available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-focused retailers, bars and restaurants located within Good People’s distribution footprint in Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, Georgia and Tennessee. Prost!

Vital Information for IPA from Good People Brewing Company

Release – Year-Round, 12-packs of 12 oz. cans launch February 2019
Style – American India Pale Ale
ABV – 7.1%
IBUs – 75.5
Hops – Columbus, Willamette, Cascade, Simcoe & Citra
Suggested Food Pairings – “Cuisine (Curried, Thai), Cheese (Peppery: Monterey/Pepper Jack; Sharp: Blue, Cheddar; Pungent: Gorgonzola, Limburger), Meat (Poultry, Fish, Shellfish, Salmon)”

Recommended Glassware – IPA Glass or Nonic Pint
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 12-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – http://goodpeoplebrewing.com/beer-finder

 

 

 

Bruery Terreux Introduces Cans of Wit The Funk

BrueryTerreuxlogoBruery Terreux (Orange County, California) has officially announced that it will release Wit The Funk, the brewery’s first foeder-aged beer available in cans, in early February 2019.

Developed to be as traditional and accessible as possible, Wit The Funk is a classic Witbier – “brewed with coriander, orange peel and traditional Belgian Wit yeast” – that has been aged in “American and French oak foeders, with Terreux house culture, Brettanomyces and other yeasts, until final maturation.” Once its rest is completed, Wit The Funk (5.4% ABV) rises to offer “a winning combination that’s fresh with subtle complexity – balancing the classic, spiced and fruity characteristics of a Belgian-style wit with the soft – and wild – touch from its time in the oak.”

“We are really excited to have our first foeder aged beer in cans. This beer has a very complex yeast character for the more experienced beer connoisseur and an approachable level of tartness for those who are new to sour beer. At Terreux, we strive hard to produce palate provoking sour ales without the use of kettle souring. It’s our passion for old world traditions and the complexity of old world sour and wild ales that inspire us to work with wild yeast and bacteria to create a live product that truly is an expression of The Bruery’s commitment to quality craftsmanship.”

 

– Jeremy Grinkey, The Bruery’s Senior Production Manager 

Wit The Funk will officially begin rolling out in early February with availability in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans.  You can expect to find this new Year-Round offering at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Florida, California and throughout the rest of The Bruery/Bruery Terreux’s distribution network.  Prost!

Vital information for Wit The Funk from Bruery Terreux 

Release – Year-Round, early February 2019
Style – Witbier 
ABV – 5.4%
Treatment – Aged in American and French oak foeders with Terreux house culture, Brettanomyces and other yeasts
Availability – 4-packs of 16 oz. cans
Beer Finder – http://www.brueryterreux.com/find/

Tasting Notes: Willettized Coffee Stout (2018) from Lagunitas Brewing Company

lagunitaswillettizedpourFor this installment of Tasting Notes, we do our best to ward off the cold with the soothing warmth found within a bottle of Willettized Coffee Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company (Petaluma, California).

Released back in December as the perfect partner for “fireside-swigging and sweater-sipping”, Willettized Coffee Stout is a “big and burly stout” brewed with coffee beans from Metropolis Coffee Company and then aged for “up to 24 months” in Rye Whiskey casks sourced from Willett Distillery.  100% barrel aged and blended, Willettized (12% ABV) is a “chocolatey, coffee-y, smoky, oak-y, rye-y beast” that is “meant to be shared and/or aged . . . or not . . . whatever.”

A limited amount of Willettized Coffee Stout was released at the tail end of 2018, but there is a chance that a few bottles could still be hanging around out there.  Look for this OneHitter Release to (possibly) be available in 22 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Illinois, Washington and throughout the rest of Lagunitas Brewing Company’s nationwide distribution territory.

Now that we are all a bit more familiar with this beer’s background information, what do you say we cozy up to a bottle and get into these Tasting Notes?

Tasting Notes for Willettized Coffee Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company

Appearance:  A gentle pour produces a glossy black Imperial Stout topped with two fingers of foamy, brown sugar-colored head.  When held to direct light, the black color softens a bit at the edges to expose some brown, cola-like tones.  The beer is completely opaque, hiding any visual hint at its carbonation level.  Retention is good, gracefully falling to a tightly packed cap that coats the glass with creamy sheets of lace throughout the experience.

Aroma:  Whiskey greets the nose with gentle, alluring notes of booze, vanilla, earthy/spicy rye, and oak.  Rich dark chocolate and a dollop of caramel then work their way in to round off the alcohol with a soothing sweetness.  Dark roast coffee then turns up to offer a final layer of complexity with light notes of roast, smoke and bittersweet chocolate – accentuating both the whiskey and chocolate notes that preceded it.  Everything here is wonderfully straightforward and beautifully on point.

Taste:  Dark chocolate and dark roast coffee take the lead here by laying a rich foundation that is bitter and sweet, earthy and decadent.  The coffee gently opens further, coaxing out the rye whiskey’s notes of vanilla, oak, rye spice, molasses, and caramel.  A bit of coconut and a toasted bready/crackery quality (almost graham cracker-like) seemingly come out of nowhere only to be quickly enveloped by a faint waft of smoke and tobacco in the finish.

Mouthfeel:  Full-bodied with a soft carbonation level, this Imperial Stout is velvety and viscous in texture.  On the palate, it is beautifully balanced as any sweetness is kept in check thanks to the bitterness of the coffee and earthiness sourced from the rye whiskey barrel.  The ABV does bring some heat, but it is pretty tame for 12%.  The aftertaste is just lingering, warm notes of rye whiskey and coffee.

Final Thoughts: Living up to all expectations set by its name, Willettized Coffee Stout is simply an incredibly well-composed Imperial Stout brewed with damn good coffee and clearly aged in high-quality whiskey barrels.  The rye whiskey notes are extraordinarily clean, well-represented, and effortlessly drive the entire experience.  With that said, the base Imperial Stout – with its pronounced aromas and flavors of coffee and chocolate – maintains a fantastic depth of character and refuses to get lost in all that barrel character.  Each note is interlocking and depends on the others to come together to create a top tier barrel-aged stout experience.  Seriously, if you are at all a fan of those old school, annually released barrel-aged beers that have served as a rite of passage for so many of us over the years (think KBS and Bourbon County Brand Stout), Willettized Coffee Stout is a must try.  It just does not get much better than this.  Prost!