Well, another stellar year of beer drinking is in the books. Four beer fests, several trades and a number of new breweries entering the market it’s entirely safe to say that I had my fill. So, with another 365 days in the rear view- well 325 if you include the 40 days of lent where I took a beer sabbatical- I thought it was time to reminisce on my highlights this year.
I won’t get into too much detail except to list of my favorite beers I was able to try for the first time this year. Maybe even highlight a local brewery to watch out for that opened in 2014. Either way, if you see something below you haven’t tried, it’s safe to say I’d recommend you finding a way to get it in your hands in the near future. Cheers to an equally fulfilling 2015! (more…)
In terms of beer, 2013 was a HELL of a year for me. I got the chance to try a ridiculous amount of new beers, which compared to a lot of more hardcore beer nerds out there is probably barely a drop in the bucket. So looking forward to what’s in store for the new year I wanted to touch on some new breweries that have come to my attention and other beers I’m looking forward to trying to track down this year.
Before that though I want to take a moment to highlight some of my favorite beers I was able to try for the first time in 2013 and hopefully won’t be the last I see of them. (more…)
My first official beer fest is in the books and one thing is certain- it will not be my last. I had a blast walking around and chatting with fellow beer lovers, enjoying beer with some friends, but most of all getting to try a whole bunch of new and exciting beers all in a span of a few hours. A few things kept me from getting to everything I wanted to try, the biggest being the unrelenting heat that chased me into the A/C next door to the tent area after about an hour and again another hour or so after venturing back out. I did get around to all the beers I for sure wanted to mark off my list before I put up the white flag and left the fest and I’m so glad that I did.
In my preview of the fest I expressed my excitement to try the beers that Cigar City, Firestone Walker and Stone were bringing and that excitement was certainly justified. I had earlier in the week attended a Stone Pint Night at a local craft beer bar and had a few of their beers I hadn’t had and also picked up a few at my local bottle shop knocking out most everything they were bringing except for their 2013 Russian Imperial Stout which I though was quite good and very boozy, but also not something that stood out at least for me when all was said and done. However, unrelated to the beer fest I tried for the first time Stone’s Ruination IPA both on tap and in a bottle and immediately after expressed that it would probably be in my top five of IPAs that I’ve tried. (more…)
What appears to be a continuing theme for the type of beers I post about, I am not big on saison beers. It’s not just that I don’t drink them often, it’s also that the style in general just doesn’t hit me as much as I’d like. Funkwerks wasn’t even a name I’d heard of until I walked into the store and saw a trio of releases for sale. To be fair I remembered seeing the name in some email updates I get from some of my favorite local beer retailers, but I guess when I saw it on the shelf the first time it all seemed very new and foreign. It took me a while, but I finally opened up to the prospect of giving them a shot- and in a cruel twist of fate spring hasn’t been kind to us here in the Midwest with unseasonably snowy and icy conditions so I went with a Funkwerks release that might keep me warm and make me forget about the weather, Dark Prøphet.
Funkwerks specializes in many different types of saisions and I have seen several people online equate the Dark Prøphet more to a Belgian strong ale than a saison. Before I get into the initial tasting I will say that I can see that point going either way as the beer has traits of either or. Dark Prøphet comes in a hefty 750 ml bottle- as do Funkerks other releases- and aged in whiskey barrels. You won’t find it on the bottle, but I was informed by a store employee that this particular release was aged with Maker’s Mark Whiskey, which intrigued me a little more.
Right off the bat after pouring you can smell a plethora of dark fruits and hints of vanilla, but all marry together for something unique all its own. I don’t usually spend a inordinate amount of time smelling the beers I drink, but even after I started drinking this I kept bringing it back up to my nose to smell. It really does have quite a unique aromatic quality to it that doesn’t fully sell what you’re about to drink.
At first taste I was taken aback quite a bit as the alcohol bite pushed through, but I was also struck by many of the taste qualities I have with most saisons, but also with tastes that made me enjoy it more than most as well. Honestly, I’m a little lost on how to describe the beer accurately, but for me the tastes I was expecting with the smell don’t shine through on the taste. This could be in part with the boozy character that shines with the whiskey aging, but surprisingly the high alcohol doesn’t overwhelm the overall taste. The overall taste on the other hand while I can still catch hints of the dark fruit there is still room for a straightforward smoothness that comes in at the back end once the alcohol burn dies out. All in all the smell compliments the taste making for a beer that maybe is just too complex for me to appreciate through and through, but I am able to recognize how well rounded it is for incorporating everything it does without seeming like a one note brew with no tricks up its sleeeve.
So my first experience with Funkwerks left a little to be desired, but has not deterred me from eventually giving the rest if their lineup a short. Dark Prøphet is the kind of beer that’s perfect for a colder night and for anyone with a deep love for saisons which I currently lack- however I hate cold nights infinitely more and anything that numbs the sting of winter in the middle of spring is okay in my book.