Friday, September 17, 2010

412. BBC Bourbon Barrel Bière de Mars, BBC Bourbon Barrel Heine Brothers Coffee Stout, and New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red

Tonight I headed on over to Jeffrey’s to meet up with him and Jeff for some good ol’ fashioned beer sampling. We had kind of an odd mix for tonight’s drinking smorgasbord, but all three were tasty in their own right. The two beers from BBC paired nicely both because they were from the same Special Reserve Series, but the Bière de Mars and the New Glarus were, while not similar, very complimentary. At least they were once the Bière de Mars warmed up. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Previously, we’ve sampled Heine Brothers Coffee Stout (the unoaked version), Rye IPA 75, Brandy Barrel Aged Queen’s Knickers and American Pale Ale from Bluegrass Brewing Company, and Fat Squirrel Brown Ale from New Glarus.

BBC Bourbon Barrel Bière de Mars
This beer has a super-oaky nose—the creamy vanilla oak sweetness overpowered pretty much everything else here. It starts with a sweet front that dries out quickly (it tastes like via the oak, since it is even creeping in here), opening up the middle to a creamy oaky bomb that continues on into the finish with tannic flavors that linger on the palate. At this point, it was interesting and tasty, and the group consensus was that it needed to be aged a bit to take some of the oakiness out of the body. However, as it warmed, the oakiness faded into the background, allowing some of the Bière de Mars characteristics to emerge. Here, the creamy vanilla hints of the oak merged well with the dry malt sweetness and Belgian yeast character. While I thought it was good before, the nuance that developed was delicious and downright impressive. Kudos, BBC.

ABV: 8.5%

BBC Bourbon Barrel Heine Brothers Coffee Stout
After the gratuitous snickering at the name of the coffee makers, we poured our second beer. The nose was a rich mix of nuttiness, dark chocolate, and coffee. Beginning with sweet chocolate, Heine Brothers Coffee Stout moved into a drier middle that featured a nutty rich coffee flavor before the slight chalkiness and roastiness of the finish. I forgot to take more notes because the Bière de Mars was finally starting to warm up, and was getting a lot tastier. However, this beer also got better with some warmth, although my nod for the best beer of the evening goes to our next beer...

From justdrinkbeer: “An oatmeal stout brewed with English roasted barley and caramunich malts to impart a roasty and slightly sweet malt flavor. The Heine Brothers specially roasted organic Mexican coffee is added in two doses. A ration is stirred into the hot unfermented wort to extract coffee flavor. Then freshly brewed coffee is also added after fermentation is complete to impart a fresh coffee flavor and aroma. An additional conditioning in Woodford Reserve Borubon Barrels for 90 days compliments this already robust beer with notes of bourbon and oak. ”

ABV: 7.5%

New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red
Pouring a light bubbly cherry, Wisconsin Belgian Red has a very sweet cherry nose mixed with candy sweetness underneath. The body is light, with spritzy bright candy sweetness and cherry flavors blended beautifully in the body. The finish is dry and fruity while the body light, smooth, and clean—there is an evenness and balance across the profile in both flavor and mouthfeel that was enjoyable. Very light and very drinkable—it tastes like melted cherry Otter Pops, but in a good way. This is one of the more interesting beers I’ve tried in a while—I’m glad Jeffrey decided to bust it out, as I had never tried it before, and it was far, far better than I anticipated. Damn, that was some tasty beer. And already the scheming to score some more begins...

From the New Glarus website: “You hold the marriage of wine and beer. Belgian Red is a tapestry of flavor. This beer is brewed with whole Montmorency Cherries, Wisconsin Farmed Wheat and Belgian Roasted Barleys, lagered in oak tanks and balanced by Hallertau hops we aged in our brewery one full year. Over a pound of Door County Cherries in every bottle makes this beer uniquely ‘Wisconsin.’ So unique, in fact, that we applied for a patent. Expect this beer to be ruby red, with a medium body that is highly carbonated and intense with cherry flavor and bouquet. Serve your friends Belgian Red in a brandy snifter or champagne flute and toast life with beer from the land of Wisconsin.”

ABV: 4.0%

Also, the funniest comment about beer I’ve read in a long long time: “Whew. You can’t swing a dead cat in this state without knocking over a firkin of mild.” Dag. Thanks, Jeff. You made me spit out some beer while reading, which is always the sign of good times and clever verbiage.


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