Thursday, December 15, 2011

501. Oakshire Brewing Ill-Tempered Gnome Winter Ale

“I appreciate the bitterness. From the nose, I thought it would be a bit sticky sweet, but it’s not.” Elli

Our first beer from Oakshire Brewing, located in lovely Eugene, OR. Damn, I miss Eugene. Can anyone tell me if Frog is still around? I found one of his joke books in my last move, and that took me way, way back. But I digress; Oakshire started in October 2006, well after my time there. Still, it makes me nostalgic, as Oakshire pretty much has their rhymes right and their game tight.

Ill-Tempered Gnome pours a mix of orange and mahogany, with a light tan head that rouses rather easily. It appears mostly clear in the glass, although there might be a slight chill haze. Aromas combine brown malt and candy sweetness—it’s a mixture of English and Belgian, with the elements Elli describes as “old ale-like” winning out. There are also hints of biscuit malt and fruit hiding in the back. As it warms, Elli’s “old ale-like” character increases—there is a bready fruit component that strikes me as figgy bread pudding. Flavors start sweet and bright (and yes, I find that an odd description as well) with biscuit and brown malt; there is a hint of caramel and molasses in the middle before the sharp, clean bitterness takes over. Some of the brown malt comes back in the finish—present as a touch of roast and almost but not quite chocolate—but it is in a losing battle with the bitterness, which lingers pleasantly on the back of the throat. As Elli notes above, the body is lighter than expected—it is medium, with the hop bitterness further contributing to lightening the beer on the palate. The bitterness does pick up as the beer warms, but that’s almost petty to note—this is a winter ale we can both get behind. And, as I am sure Jeffrey is just waiting to blurt out in the comments, no one should be surprised by that. Because as we all well know, West Coast breweries both invented and perfected the winter ale. And yes, that is a fact so transparent, it needs no justification. Now if they’d only do something about all those damn pumpkin ales. Nice work, Oakshire.

From the bottle: “Take a little gnome home this winter! However, don’t put him in the front yard. The neighbors might steal him & he’ll definitely lose his cool! He’s a malty, hoppy brown ale of pure winter deliciousness. Enjoy!”

ABV: 6.8%
IBU: 65
OG: 15.5° P


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