Starr Hill Brewery Releases 2019 Product Calendar

StarrHillDeepFuzzEager to jump into their 20th year of craft brewing, Starr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia) sent out a 2019 Product Calendar this week that outlines all the surprises they have planned for their fans in the coming year.

Just as we do with all posts on brewery calendars, we have published Starr Hill’s full 2019 Product Calendar below for you to fully absorb on your own.  With that said, there are quite a few details that we feel we should pass along before we turn you over to that document.  Brevity is our goal, so let’s knock it out:

  • Starr Hill will establish a rotating Sour Series in 2019.  This series will feature the following kettle-soured brews: Raspberry American Sour (April), Lime Gose (July), and Passion Fruit Gose (October).  A “bubbly” Guava Gose will also appear later in the winter.  All Sour Series offerings will be available on draft, in rotating seasonal 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, and in the “Say It Ain’t Sour” 12-pack of 12 oz. bottles that will also debut in April.
  • Hoppy Blonde Ale will launch in May as the brewery’s new Summer Seasonal, replacing The Hook Grapefruit Session IPA.  This easy-drinking Blonde Ale boasts an “emphatic hop aroma and flavor (and never-before-used hops).” A new, yet to be named Winter Seasonal will also turn up in November.
  • The All Access Series returns in 2019 with the following lineup of limited release brews: Kelis Milkshake IPA (January), New England IPA (April), Deep Fuzz Double IPA (July), and Little Red Roostarr Coffee Cream Stout (October).  All Access brews will have availability on draft and in 16 oz. cans in 2019.
  • The “Hopped As Hell” Variety 12-pack of 12 oz. bottles will surface in August to supply hopheads with the following four lupulin-laced brews: Shade, a hopped ale with the shadow of a Belgian Wit; Swim, a hazy, juicy wave of refreshment; AC, a breeze of an Amarillo Citra IPA; and Mountain Air, a West-Coast style, pinnacle of an imperial IPA.
  • To make room for the upcoming additions to the Starr Hill lineup, two year-round brands will be phased out in January 2019: Double Platinum Imperial IPA and Jomo Vienna Lager. These beers, beloved as they are by retail visitors, will still appear on rotation at Starr Hill’s Crozet and Roanoke tap rooms.

Okey dokey . . . that should wrap up everything that we wanted to cover, but there are still plenty of juicy little tidbits for you to find on the calendar below.  Give it a good look and get ready to celebrate two decades craft brewing with Starr Hill Brewery in 2019.  Prost!

Starr-Hill-Products-Calendar_2019-1
CLICK HERE TO ENLARGE 

 

 

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Tasting Notes: 2 Tone Vanilla Porter from Starr Hill Brewery

StarrHill2TonePourFresh off a much needed vacation, we jump start the week by getting back into the Tasting Notes groove with a little help from 2 Tone Vanilla Porter from Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia).

Rocking a name that is “a nod to the British music genre that seamlessly combines brassy ska and punk rock”, 2 Tone Vanilla Porter is the latest release from Starr Hill Brewery’s Heavy Rotation Series – a rotating “playlist” that keeps “fresh styles of beer coming your way . . . four times a year.”  2 Tone is a 6% ABV Porter that has “special dark roasted malts unite robust flavors of espresso and bittersweet chocolate with sweet vanilla bean for waves of rich smoothness.”  As is the case with all Heavy Rotation offerings, 2 Tone Vanilla Porter is best enjoyed when paired with the brewery’s mix tape that highlights the songs that inspired the creation of the beer (click here to check it out Spotify).

2 Tone Vanilla Porter is available now in 12 oz. bottles that can be found exclusively in Starr Hill’s Winter Tour Variety Pack (available November 2018 – January 2019). You can find this limited release Variety Pack at select retailers located in Alabama, Virginia and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution footprint.

Now that the background information is out of the way, what do you say we fire up Spotify and see how well ska fits into a Tasting Notes session?

Tasting Notes for 2 Tone Vanilla Porter from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance: A somewhat vigorous pour produces a nearly pitch-black Porter that is capped with almost two fingers of airy, khaki-colored foam.  When held to direct light, the stark blackness holds its grip but does allow a touch of cola-like dark brown to sneak through at the extreme edges.  The beer is completely opaque and does not offer any visual hints at the level of carbonation.  Head retention is decent, but those two fingers do eventually fall to a thin, creamy top cap that absolutely coats the glass with wide sweeping sheets of lace.

Aroma:  Roasted malts fill the air with a heavy presence of deeply roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate that mimics the notes of a beautifully crafted Caffè Americano (an espresso that has been diluted with water).  These notes hint that there is a hefty but pleasant level of roasted bitterness ahead in the flavor, but they are still rounded off here with a soothing presence of toasted wheat, a grace of vanilla and just a slight dose of sweet milk chocolate.

Taste: The roasted malts continue to flex their dominance by presenting notes of dark roast coffee, toasted cereal grains, dark chocolate, and carefully charred wood.  This smooth wave of roasty, toasty bitterness is then nicely balanced by a sneaky undercurrent of vanilla, caramel and cocoa. The flavor profile is further rounded by a closing presence of slightly earthy and fruity hops and an incredibly gentle nuttiness (pecans and walnuts).

Mouthfeel:  Spot on medium in body with a moderate level of carbonation, this Porter is wonderfully dry and cleans up beautifully to result in a highly drinkable, gulp-worthy experience.  Mostly balanced, the beer definitely leans a bit toward the roasty and bitter side.  The 6% ABV is super light and really does not bring much in the way of heat.  The aftertaste is all bittersweet chocolate.

Final Thoughts:  If you are looking for a clean and crushable dark beer to help ease you into the colder months, look no further than 2 Tone Vanilla Porter.  Comforting and approachable, it has plenty of roasty goodness that will pair effortlessly with time spent seeking warmth while huddled around a fire.

The only gripe or concern we could possibly come up with is the decision to give vanilla a title role in the naming of this beer.  The vanilla seems to play more of a supporting role by artfully tempering the bitterness supplied by the roasted malts, but it never really pushes beyond an element of balance to stake its claim to either the flavor or aroma.  That said, this approach does not take anything at all away from the beer . . . in fact, quite the opposite happens. In a craft beer world where Porters and Stouts are regularly dominated by over-the-top, cloying additions of sweet adjuncts, 2 Tone uses a deft hand when it comes to the use of vanilla.  This results in a finished product that is a more beautiful representation of the style, but our only worry is that the designation of “Vanilla Porter” might lead some to believe it is missing something even though it is not.

All in all, 2 Tone Vanilla Porter is a breath of fresh air these days because it is a truly flavorful Porter that is not at all afraid to embrace malt sourced roast and bitterness. Instead of taking the easy way out by being dependent on a heavy dose of sweet vanilla, 2 Tone instead relies on craftsmanship, integrity and a certain level of respect for the style by going against the seductive influence of current trends . . . and – even though we too often enjoy a ridiculously sweet “Pastry Stout” from time to time – we dig the hell of this beer for giving us something different today.  Be sure to check out 2 Tone Vanilla Porter if you happen to cross paths with it this winter.  Prost!

 

Starr Hill Brewery Hits the Road with Winter Tour Variety Pack

Winter-Tour_12-pack-bottles_webStarr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia) has officially announced the release of its Winter Tour, a cold weather-themed mixed variety pack that contains 12 oz. bottles of Northern Lights IPA, Little Red RooStarr Coffee Cream Stout, 2 Tone Vanilla Porter and Snow Blind Doppelbock.

Recognizing that most of the Southeast has reached that point in the year when temperatures seem to free fall, Starr Hill Brewery has bundled up some comforting warmth in the form of its Winter Tour Variety Pack.  Meant to act as “the perfect accompaniment to a cozy fireside session” or a go-to option for the many holiday parties in our futures, this Seasonal mixed pack includes three 12 oz. bottles of each of the following cold weather brews (beer descriptions sourced from the brewery’s website):

  • Northern Lights IPA – A newly enhanced version of a classic American-style India Pale Ale, Northern Lights is characterized by its full-flavored bitterness and poignant citrus-floral aroma. A perfect blend of barley and hops makes this a very balanced IPA.  ABV – 6.2%  IBUs – 55
  • Little Red RooStarr Coffee Cream Stout – Little Red RooStarr Coffee Stout is a full-bodied milk stout brewed with coffee from our friends at Red Rooster Coffee Roasters in Floyd, VA. Malt sweetness, chocolate and caramel notes dominate the flavor, while roasted coffee notes add balance and round out the aroma.  ABV – 6%  IBUs – 19
  • 2 Tone Vanilla Porter – Special dark roasted malts unite robust flavors of espresso and bittersweet chocolate with sweet vanilla bean for waves of rich smoothness. 2 Tone’s name is a nod to the British music genre that seamlessly combines brassy ska and punk rock. **Quick Note: the brewery made you a mix tape to chart a musical history of ska. Click here to check it out.**  ABV – 6%  IBUs – 16
  • Snow Blind Doppelbock – Snow Blind Doppelbock is a full-bodied winter beer with a massive caramel aroma and lightly toasted malt flavor. Sweetness dominates the front of the palate while the beer finishes clean and crisp.  ABV – 7.7%  IBUs – 13

The Winter Tour is hitting distribution now and will be available through January 2019.  You can expect to find this Variety Pack of 12 oz. bottles at select craft beer retailers located in Alabama, Virginia and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution area.  Prost!

Starr Hill Brewery Introduces Jam Pack Variety Pack of 16 oz. Cans

JamPack-3Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia) has officially announced the Seasonal release of Jam Pack, a summer-themed mixed variety pack that contains 16 oz. cans of Front Row Golden Ale, Grateful Pale Ale, The Love Wheat Beer and Northern Lights IPA.

Here to satisfy summer-induced thirst in a big way, the Jam Pack Can Variety Pack takes four of Starr Hill’s “most crushable flagship beers”, gives them the long-awaited upgrade to 16 oz. cans, and puts them in one convenient package.  The featured beers are as follows (descriptions sourced from the brewery’s website):

  • Front Row Golden Ale – This light and refreshing beer is the perfect balance of hop bitterness and a honey-like malt body. Lightly hopped with Cascade, the Honey malt and oats bring a bit of sweetness for a smooth mouthfeel and clean finish.  ABV – 4.9%  IBUs – 20
  • Grateful Pale Ale – A fresh spin on the American Pale Ale. This remastered recipe gives Grateful a fruitier hop aroma, more citrus hop flavor and a smoother, fuller body.  ABV – 4.7%  IBUs – 45
  • The Love Wheat Beer – The Love is an unfiltered wheat beer, also known as a Hefeweizen. It is distinguished by its extremely light body and fruity aroma, finished with spicy notes.  ABV – 5.1%  IBUs – 9
  • Northern Lights IPA – A newly enhanced version of a classic American-style India Pale Ale, Northern Lights is characterized by its full-flavored bitterness and poignant citrus-floral aroma. A perfect blend of barley and hops makes this a very balanced IPA.  ABV – 6.2%  IBUs – 55

The Jam Pack is available now and will be around throughout the rest of the summer.  You can find this Variety Pack of 16 oz. cans at select craft beer retailers located in Alabama, Virginia and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Looking Glass IPA from Starr Hill Brewery

SHBLookingGlassPour600_editedThis week’s installment of Tasting Notes finds us reflecting on the India Pale Ale style as we take a long look at Looking Glass IPA from Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia).

Currently serving as Starr Hill’s 2018 Spring Seasonal, Looking Glass IPA is a fruity India Pale Ale that sources pronounced “notes of juicy pineapple, mango and passion fruit” from an impressive hop bill comprised of Galaxy, Citra, Mosaic and Columbus hops.  Although Looking Glass (6.5% ABV, 40 IBUs) is packed with a “big hop aroma and flavor”, it remains incredibly easy-drinking “with minimal bitterness.”

Looking Glass IPA is available now and will hang around through April 2018.  You can expect to find this Seasonal brew available in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution footprint.

Now that the background data has been properly presented, let’s gaze deeply into the Looking Glass and lose ourselves in some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Looking Glass IPA from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance:  Slightly hazy in appearance, this IPA presents itself as a pale golden in color with just over a finger of bubbly white foam resting on top.  When held to direct light, the golden tones take on a bit of a soft orange hue.  Although hazy, the beer avoids being ridiculously cloudy and allows the drinker to see the tiny carbonation bubbles hard at work within.  Head retention is good, falling gradually to a lasting cap that leaves an intricate web of lace behind on the glass.

Aroma:  A strong tropical wave hits the nose first with a crash of pineapple and mango.  Grapefruit zest and orange juice act as a solid foundation for those tropical notes and the hops close out with just a grace of pine.  Malts lie underneath with a subtly sweet presence of clean grain.  Mighty juicy and oh-so pleasant.

Taste:  That juiciness carries over onto the palate as Looking Glass basically comes across as a fruit bowl of mango, passion fruit, grapefruit and pineapple blended into a base of sweet orange juice.  The zest of various citrus fruits and a touch of resinous pine then surface to cut the fruitiness at the perfect moment.  The malts and yeast mingle throughout the experience to add some balancing sweetness, but otherwise they are not really players in this game.  The hops are the star, and they flex their ability to provide both a fruit-laden flavor and a subdued but present level of bitterness.

Mouthfeel:  Falling on the lighter side of medium in body with a moderate carbonation, this IPA provides an experience that is quite smooth and easy drinking.  It is nicely balanced and dry, but there is a sharp – but not harsh – jab of bitterness that creeps in near the finish.  The ABV does bring a bit of warmth to the throat at times, but it is not at all out of hand.  The aftertaste is a lingering presence of orange juice with a twist of pineapple.

Final Thoughts:  What we have here is middle ground. Looking Glass IPA has found a comfortable spot somewhere between classic American IPAs and those newfangled hazy brews that everyone is so gaga over these days.  Sure, it definitely has some characteristics of the New England/Hazy IPA: a slightly hazy appearance, a good amount of balance, and a serious burst of tropical juiciness sourced from a sublime hop bill.  With that said, it is not so hazy/cloudy/muddy that it comes across as a tall pour of orange juice in a fancy glass.  It still retains a semblance of that invigorating hop bite that many of us long for when we see the letters “IPA” or the words “India Pale Ale”.  It is there in middle.  It is a balanced and juicy not-so-filtered American IPA.  It is a more bitter, less hazy New England-style IPA.  It is the neutral ground between the two where fans of either style can come together and discuss their allegiances (like adults) over a beer that appeals to both of them.  Now that we are at a point where we are altering and adding style guidelines to accommodate changing tastes and preferences, Looking Glass IPA serves as a much-needed place to discuss where we have been and where we will go in this ever-evolving, hop-fueled realm of craft beer.  It sparks a conversation and I can certainly get behind that.  Be sure to check this one out before its Seasonal run comes to a close at the end of April.  Prost!

Tasting Notes: Front Row Golden Ale from Starr Hill Brewery

FrontRowbottle1000This installment of Tasting Notes provides us with a little mid-week beverage break supplied by Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia) and its newly released Front Row Golden Ale.

Debuting this month as Starr Hill’s newest Year-Round offering, Front Row is a light and refreshing Golden Ale that finds “the perfect balance of hop bitterness and a honey-like malt body.”  Coming in at a sessionable 4.9% ABV and 20 IBUs, this accessible ale promises to keep you in the front row when “savoring life’s moments in-person and sharing the experience with others.”  Front Row Golden Ale is available now in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia, and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution area.

Now that all that background information is out of the way, I do believe it is time to grab a few glasses, find a bottle opener and get into some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Front Row Golden Ale from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance:  Front Row fills the glass with a honey-hued golden colored brew that is topped with a perfect finger of bright white head.  The beer is pristine in clarity and displays countless single file lines of carbonation streaming the length of the pour to feed the top cap.  As dutiful as that carbonation presence is, the head does dissipate down to a chunky ring that leaves behind sticky sheets of lace whenever the glass is jostled.

Aroma: A clean Pilsner presence greets the nose first with honey-filled, biscuity tones.  The malt character picks up some light caramel notes before the hops stealthily balance things out with a lovely floral presence that is laced with a tinge of citrus.

Taste:  Pils malt takes the lead again by laying down a firm base that is biscuity and lightly bready.  A light layer of caramel and a dollop of honey then work their way in to round off the malt profile.  The hops easily glide in to restrain that sweetness with a balancing presence of ruby red grapefruit and floral tones.

Mouthfeel:  Although it is light in body with a moderate carbonation level, this beer still establishes itself with a little weight and texture (no doubt thanks to the added oats).  The balance is on point, never tipping one way or the other toward sweet or hoppy.  This level of balance keeps the experience super refreshing and easy drinking.  The ABV is light and it never really efforts to make its presence known.  Overall, this beer cleans up nicely and quickly, but there is just a wisp of honey left behind in the aftertaste from time to time.

Final Thoughts:  All in all, Front Row achieves exactly what it set out to do: be an accessible, easy-drinking brew that can go anywhere and pair well with any moment.  Although it is accessible and balanced, the Cascade hops have just enough presence to give the beer a likable personality and add dimension to that light malt foundation supported by biscuity, caramel and honey notes.  It is non-distracting while still remaining memorable . . . it is coy.  It is an experience that just works in a seemingly effortless manner, and the aptly named Front Row is here to join you front and center whenever you are out enjoying all that means most in life.  Prost!

Starr Hill Brewery Adds Front Row Golden Ale to Year-Round Lineup

Front-Row-12oz-Bottle_web-2Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia) has officially announced that Front Row Golden Ale will be introduced this month as the brewery’s newest Year-Round offering.

Developed to be an accessible beer that puts you in the front row when “savoring life’s moments in-person and sharing the experience with others”, the aptly named Front Row is a light and refreshing Golden Ale that finds “the perfect balance” between a light dose of Cascade hops and “a honey-like malt body” supplied by the sweetness of Honey malt and oats.  Weighing in at just 4.9% ABV and 20 IBUs, the easy-drinking Front Row promises a “smooth mouthfeel and clean finish” that pairs beautifully with “a local concert, the big game, or [time spent with] friends around the fire.”

Front Row is available now in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft.  You find this new Year-Round offering at craft beer-focused retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Virginia and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Front Row from Starr Hill Brewery

Release – Year-Round, launching February 2018
Style – American Blonde Ale/Golden Ale
ABV – 4.9%
IBUs – 20
Malts – Pilsner, Oats, Caramel & Honey
Hops – Cascade 
Yeast – Ale
Suggested Food Pairings – “FOOD: Grilled Calamari  CHEESE: Monterey Jack  DESSERT: Lemon Custard Tart”

Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 16 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://starrhill.com/beer-finder/

Tasting Notes: Chipotle Double Bass from Starr Hill Brewery

SHBChipotle1000.jpgFor this week’s installment of Tasting Notes, we unwrap a Box of Chocolates from Starr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia) to enjoy some Chipotle Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout as a holiday treat.

Not too long ago, we brought you news of Starr Hill Brewery’s intentions to treat the craft beer community to its Box of Chocolates Stout Pack containing variants of its fan-favorite Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout.  To create this collection of liquid indulgence, the brewers at Starr Hill infused Double Bass “with all-natural ingredients including organic peppermint leaves, smoke-dried jalapeño peppers, and locally roasted whole coffee beans.”  The results were stellar, and Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout, Peppermint Double Bass, Chipotle Double Bass and Mocha Double Bass (three 12 oz. bottles of each) earned their place in a Mixed 12-pack that is guaranteed to satisfy the sweet tooth of any craft beer fan.  The Box of Chocolates Stout Pack was officially released in mid-November in limited quantities, but there are still a few packs floating around at select beer retailers located within Starr Hill Brewery’s distribution area.  (hint, hint . . . A Box of Chocolates Stout Pack would make for an amazing holiday gift if you are still out there scrambling for ideas)

To keep this post from being a novel-length read, we decided to sit down with all four Box of Chocolate offerings and pick an office favorite to feature in this week’s Tasting Notes.  Since all four Double Bass beers proved to be damn tasty, this was a difficult task that we took incredibly seriously.  Maybe too seriously.  There was much deliberation and disagreement . . . words were said . . . non-holiday appropriate gestures were exchanged . . . palates were challenged . . .  things got weird and borderline violent . . . but we eventually came to an agreement that Chipotle Double Bass has earned the spotlight.  With that now resolved, let’s get to those Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Chipotle Double Bass from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance: Nearly black, Chipotle Double Bass is actually the darkest of browns in color.  When held to direct light, this is fully confirmed as dark cola and caramel tones push through at the top and bottom of the glass.  Even so, the beer remains completely opaque and its carbonation level is not visible.  The pour produced a solid finger of brown sugar-colored head that has decent retention.  The foam eventually falls to a thin ring that leaves behind some spotty lacing.

Aroma:  The OG Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout is alive and well here with defined notes of dark chocolate, dark roast coffee and vanilla showing up big out of the gate.  The chipotle subtly moves in with a good deal of smoke, peppery heat and just a touch of green veggie presence.  As soon as those aromas hit your nose, there is no denying that you want a sip.

Taste:  The chipotle certainly finds its footing in the flavor with pleasant, nicely developed notes of smoke and heat.  More smoke than heat really . . . and it is lovely.  Chocolate, coffee and roasted malt tones turn up in timely fashion to tame the heat and support the smoke.  The flavor profile eventually closes with a soothing presence of vanilla and cocoa.

Mouthfeel:  Medium in body with a medium carbonation level, this brew has a solid weight to it but avoids being too heavy, overbearing or sticky.  It is mostly sweet on the palate, but the chipotle actually lends a hand in creating a nice balance.  There is a slight tingle of heat on the throat . . . from the peppers.  The ABV, on the other hand, is well hidden and incredibly tame for 7.8%.  The aftertaste is a little smoke, some vanilla, and touch of peppery spice.

Final Thoughts:  “Composed.” “Complex.” “Entrancing.” “Tempting.” “Sexy AF” (told you things got weird).  These are just a few of the many descriptors that were thrown around while we discussed Chipotle Double Bass, and they are all dead on.  When you are dealing with an ingredient as powerful as chipotles, it is so easy to end up with an unrefined experience completely dominated by one note.  Not at all the case here.  Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout’s original characteristics of dark chocolate, mocha and vanilla are all here to be placed gently alongside that chipotle.  Hell, even the chipotle has a crazy amount of depth with distinguishable, stand-alone levels of gorgeous smoke and reserved heat.  The chipotles absolutely make their presence known, but they never push the boundaries, get out of hand or bully the notes that are found at the soul of Double Bass.  The base beer and the featured ingredient both end up with equal billing, resulting in an experience that is notable and praise-worthy.  Seriously, you need to check out Chipotle Double Bass and the rest of the variants found in Starr Hill’s Box of Chocolates Stout Pack while you still have the chance.  Make it happen.  Prost!

Starr Hill Brewery to Release Box of Chocolates Stout Pack

Box of Chocolates Pack_editedStarr Hill Brewery (Charlottesville, Virginia) announced today that it will begin the limited release of Box of Chocolates Stout Pack, a variety 12-pack containing Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout and three of its variants, on November 15.

First introduced at the start of 2017 as a part of Starr Hill Brewery’s All Access Series, the original Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout quickly achieved fan favorite status thanks to its “massive additions of cocoa [that bring] forward aromas of dark chocolate, mocha and vanilla.”  Looking back at that first release, the folks at Starr Hill realized this 7.8% ABV Imperial Stout had limitless potential as a base beer that could carry a plethora of other flavors and ingredients.  Since they have experienced success with the Four Kings IPA Pack that features variants of their King of Hop Imperial IPA, why not give Double Bass a similar platform with the release of Box of Chocolates Stout Pack?

This new variety 12-pack will consist of Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout and three variants that have been “infused with all-natural ingredients including organic peppermint leaves, smoke-dried jalapeño peppers, and locally roasted whole coffee beans” (three bottles of each beer in each pack).  For a little more information on these brews, here are the official names and descriptions for all four offerings that will be included in the Box of Chocolates Stout Pack:

  • Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout – This rich imperial stout is all about malt and chocolate. Aromas of dark chocolate, mocha and vanilla arise from cocoa additions. Robust bittersweet chocolate and dark fruit lead into a smooth finish.
  • Peppermint Double Bass – Bittersweet aromas arise from cocoa additions while fresh mint and chocolate notes lead into a smooth finish.
  • Chipotle Double Bass – Bittersweet aromas arise from cocoa additions while smoked pepper and chocolate notes lead into a smooth finish.
  • Mocha Double Bass – Bittersweet and roasted aromas arise from cocoa additions while coffee and chocolate notes lead into a smooth finish.

“With the great response we received from our Four Kings IPAs, we thought our Double Bass Double Chocolate Stout would be a great complementary base beer to take this idea in a new direction,” said Starr Hill Brewmaster, Robbie O’Cain. “Box of Chocolates is arriving just in time for the holiday season and will be a perfect pairing for festive desserts and winter gatherings.”

The Box of Chocolates Stout Pack will first debut in the Starr Hill Brewery Tap Room in Crozet, Virginia on Wednesday, November 15 and then enter distribution in mid-November.  You can expect to find limited quantities of Box of Chocolates available in 12-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at exclusive craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia, and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution footprint. Prost!

Box of Chocolates Lineup

Tasting Notes: Festie from Starr Hill Brewery

FestieStarr_editedNow that Oktoberfest season is in full swing, we shift the focus of Tasting Notes to the beers brewed to honor this great tradition.  First up, we take a look at Festie Oktoberfest Lager from Starr Hill Brewery (Crozet, Virginia).

Staying true to their belief that “a great playlist is all about what’s new and what’s next”, the music lovin’ souls at Starr Hill Brewery established the Heavy Rotation Series as a means “to keep fresh styles of beer coming your way.”  Festie Oktoberfest Lager has arrived as the current release in this series, and it is Starr Hill’s “tribute to the great German lager.” At 4.8% ABV, this “rich and malty” offering is meant to “[invoke] the German tradition of Oktoberfest, while also paying homage to the end of the summer music festival season.”  As an added bonus, the intentions behind this beer are further echoed with a specially curated Spotify Playlist “featuring tunes that combine flavors of folk, funk, jam band, and rock to pair perfectly with a bottle of Festie” (click here to listen).

Festie Oktoberfest Lager is out now and available throughout Oktoberfest season.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, in the Fall Tour Variety 12-pack, and on draft at craft beer establishments located in Alabama, Virginia, and throughout the rest of Starr Hill’s distribution area.

With all of those necessary background details now out of the way, I do believe it is time to fill a glass and get our Oktoberfest on with some Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Festie Oktoberfest Lager from Starr Hill Brewery

Appearance: Festie fills the glass as a rich amber-colored brew that has chestnut tones.  When held to direct light, the amber notes brighten and the color softens.  The beer is crystal clear and shows a steady carbonation presence that is doing its best to feed the finger of off-white foam that was built during the pour.  That head fades with a quickness, reducing down to a thin ring that leaves minimal spots of lace behind on the glass.

Aroma: The aromatics begin with a light caramel malt character that slowly opens to take on a nutty quality – almonds and hazelnuts.  Bready notes eventually work their way forward to round the aroma off with a clean grain presence and just a grace of sweetness.

Taste: In an unexpected twist, the flavor profile actually leads with a faintly herbal, lightly sweetened tea-like quality. Caramelized nuts then surface to bring some sweetness before a hearty, bready malt note settles in.  The classic grain character establishes itself firmly thanks to the complementing German lager yeast. The flavor closes just as it started . . . with a light wash of that herbal/tea note.

Mouthfeel: This lager is on the lighter side of medium in body with a crisp carbonation level.  It is lightly sweet on the palate, but well balanced by that touch of herbal character.  The 4.8% ABV shows no interest in playing a factor here, and that just further adds to the offering’s easy-drinking nature.  The aftertaste is just a breath of lingering nuttiness.

Final Thoughts: Overall, Festie is a very clean, delightfully approachable, and refreshingly light representation of the Oktoberfest/Märzen, but still has all the flavor one expects to find from a beer of the style.  The beer’s light body and low ABV just aids in its high level of drinkability, making it a perfect candidate to fill massive steins at Oktoberfest celebrations taking place throughout the Southeast.  If you are looking to get festive without getting (too) sloppy this Oktoberfest season, Starr Hill Brewery’s Festie Oktoberfest Lager is certainly a beer that should be in your sights.  Be sure to check it out before its limited run comes to an end.  Prost!