Saturday, December 15, 2012

Rockit Cup Northern English Brown

In news that nobody is waiting for, the December Rockit Cup—Northern English Brown—came off without a hitch at last night’s DRAFT meeting. While I did not participate as a brewer—a first, might I note—I did steward the blind tasting for the four contestants: Ben Cripe, Brian Gallow, Jon Vanderglas, and Tim Turner. Brian brought two versions—one bottled and one kegged—so we actually had five beers, and Jon wasn’t able to make it, so Jeffrey McElfresh played the part of Jon. Oh, and Tim played Ben’s normal role, bringing a two-year old version of a Northern English Brown to throw a monkey-wrench into the works. All the versions were quite similar—well, except for Tim’s—and people had more trouble than normal in identifying their own beers, which is, of course, awesome. The final standings:

1st: Brian Gallow, bottle version
2nd: Jon Vanderglas
3rd: Brian Gallow, keg version
4th: Tim Turner
5th: Ben Cripe

The version Brian bottled had a smooth, rounded, and creamy mouthfeel that helped set it apart from the others. His keg version tasted good as well, but was a bit sharper on the palate. I’m drinking the keg version right now—Brian gave me the rest of the growler to take home—and a day later, it is more rounded on the tongue via the lost carbonation, making it much closer to the bottled version. The nutty, chocolate character is enjoyable as well—as a whole, Ben’s Rockit Cup recipe makes a splendid beer—and the subtle hint of toffee in the nose and the flavor gives the beer depth and complexity. I’ve also got a bottle of Jon’s to sample as well; while not as clean as Brian’s, the chocolate malt flavor has a slight alkaline cocoa that is delicious and the mouthfeel is soft and creamy. Both are excellent beers, however. Ah, here’s to many more Rockit Cups!


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