A Productive Afternoon

Posted by Jim on Aug 5th, 2010
Aug 5

On Tuesday afternoon, I headed over to the Great Lost Bear to try a limited release beer I’ve had my eye on, Allagash Blonde.  Luckily, there were a couple other fine drafts that I’ve been meaning to review also available.  As far as I know, all of these are still being poured at 540 Forrest Ave, so head down there and order yourself a round!

Allagash Blonde

A / 4.35
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 5

This special limited Allagash released was served in a tulip glass at the Great Lost Bear. The beer is a translucent golden yellow with a good sized white foam head. The head settled down to a skim, but left a bit of lacing on my glass. It looks like there is plenty of rising carbonation in the glass. I’d like to see a bit better head retention, but otherwise, this beer looks outstanding. It has a very nice aroma. For the most part, it is a slightly sweet nose, made up of Belgian candi sugar. I can also pick up some grassy hops and the mustiness that is common to Allagash’s house Belgian yeast. The flavor is very interesting. It’s like a combination of a strong Belgian Pale and an American Blonde. It has the sweetness of Belgian sugars and an estery, bitter finish. There are light grassy hops throughout each sip. It is very refreshing; I like that it is served fairly cold. I notice that I’ve used the descriptor “sweet” a few times in this review. The sweetness is intentional and very well done. It does not feel like excess malts left over from the fermenting process. This tastes like an exceptionally well-crafted beverage. The beer is full-bodied, but also very smooth and not too sticky, despite the sweetness of the flavor. There is a lot of carbonation that plays on my tongue. Considering the strength and full-bodied characteristics of this beer, I find it incredibly drinkable. I could easily drink a 750ml bottle of this, if it were ever released that way. For now, I’ll just have to hope that there are a number of kegs in circulation in the area. If you see this available in your area, don’t pass it up!

Victory Storm King Stout

A+ / 4.65
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 5

Served cask’d, in a tulip glass, at the Great Lost Bear. It’s an opaque dark brown liquid, with a big tan foam head. There is lots of rising carbonation in the glass, that slowed and finally disappeared. Some clinging carbonation remains on the sides of the glass. The aroma isn’t as strong as I expected it to be. It can detect some roasted malts and some chocolate. Perhaps the cask format has limited it’s aroma? Wow, what a stout! I can see why this used to the top ranked beer here. It starts out creamy and slightly sweet, with a kiss of chocolate. I swallow, and the bitter malt flavors come out. It’s not a coffee bitterness, per se, but more of a roasted whole grain flavor. After swallowing, there is a coat that has a dark chocolate combination of sweet and bitter that lingers on for a long time. This is a very smooth medium bodied beer. Not too much carbonation; at least it isn’t overbearing. There is a lot of coat left behind, which can sometimes be a problem if it is sticky or too sweet, but this really works well. Overall, this is a very drinkable beer. The high ABV is completely hidden, as is the sweetness put off but the amount of malt in this beer. This really is a great beer, and I’m very glad I could try it on cask. I’ve passed over the Storm King bottles for other stouts a number of times, but no longer. This is a great, readily available beer. It’s worth reconsidering if you haven’t had any in a while.

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary – Charlie, Fred and Ken’s Bock

A- / 4.1
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | drink: 4

Served from a just-tapped keg at the Great Lost Bear; poured into a tulip glass. The liquid is a golden orange/copper color, kind of like a sunrise. There is a good white foam head that is slowly settling. Very little carbonation is rising. It i surprisingly still inside the glass. The bock has a flowery nose, lots of hops and grain. This is a rather cold glass of beer, so I imagine that a bottle pulled from my cellar would have a more impressive nose. This has an interesting flavor. It’s hard to classify. There is a slight alcoholic vinegar blast in the finish that is it’s most striking quality. I use the descriptor vinegar, but I don’t mean it in a bad way. The rest of the flavor has a strong floral taste, lots of pale grain and whole hops. The aftertaste is a bit sweet. It’s pretty interesting. I haven’t had too many bocks, so I don’t really have a frame of reference for this beer, but I am enjoying what I’m tasting. It has a medium body and a thin mouth coat. Carbonation is average. This si a pretty drinkable beer, but the alcohol does come through a bit, which would limit consumption. I think I could finish an entire 750ml bottle myself, but I wouldn’t want more than that. All in all, a great beer to celebrate Sierra Nevada’s anniversary.