Once upon a time a young man stared in wonder at the shelves of a liquor store. Shelves that contained an endless amount of beer for him to choose from. He often reached out and closed his fingers around the soft but somewhat sturdy cardboard that gave a little as it was lifted from its position. On the box the words ‘Bud Light’ gleamed like a beacon from heaven. The second the can was cracked open and the liquid touched his lips- he suddenly awoke from the nightmare of his own doing. That young man finally came to his senses and has now quite possibly tasted one of the most amazing beers he’s had since venturing into the craft beer universe.
It’s true that I’ve come a long way since the days of regularly buying and chugging the fizzy yellow water. At this point I’ve been able to try many of the beers I held high on my “Must Try” list and though Toppling Goliath only recently came into my life, I’ve crossed off another. Lots of hype surrounded PsuedoSue before I stumbled across it almost by accident. I traveled to Des Moines on a short road trip with my wife to sample some of the local flavors and the extensive menu at El Bait Shop offered a staggering amount of choices but the elusive Sue was not listed. I already knew that finding a bottle would be a fool’s endeavor but I asked the locals anyway. As it turns our asking was the best thing I could have done as my waitress overheard and informed me that she would go get me a glass- as Sue had just recently been tapped once again. (more…)
Great River Brewing is just a small little micro-brewery out of Davenport, Iowa original out of Iowa City that may not be a household name, but are building a decent little catalog of tasty beers. The latest that I’ve had the HOPportunity to try is their latest experiment the Dirty Blonde Chocolate Ale. Being from Iowa initially I can’t help myself but dabble into the brews of my home state.
When I think of chocolate beers I think dark syrupy brews with more of a coffee taste than chocolate. I already knew not to expect that with Great River’s Dirty Blonde because I’d scowered pictures of it on Untappd and knew it was going to be a beautiful golden color not unlike that of your typical blonde ale or traditional pilsner- but how was it going to taste?
The brew comes packaged in a six pack of 12 oz cans, different from Great River’s other offerings that come in 4 packs of 16 oz cans. The beer indeed pours a nice golden color with little to no sediment with packaging that states it is a chocolate ale brewed with chocolate syrup and cocoa nibs. The smell very much sells the bittersweet chocolate, but is definitely not uninviting when mixed with the aroma of hops that come through ever so slightly. The first sip was indeed something- a very pronounced chocolate taste that kind of took me off guard, but my first impression said I really quite liked it. As I worked my way through the six pack the chocolate became much more subtle and the traditional blonde ale characteristics shined through. The beer still has a malty characteristic to it, but it drinks like a normal blonde ale, but with more of a savory flavor profile than sweet or refreshing.
Sometimes first impressions are everything and on the first taste of Great River’s Dirty Blonde Chocolate Ale I was in the process of being swept of my feet, but the more I tasted the more I felt that we were better fit as really good friends- friends that might only see each other on special occasions to catch up. The chocolate taste in such a beautifully golden beer is definitely something I was smitten with at first, but ultimately by the time the glass was finished I was more than ready for something a little more complex and refreshing on the palette. Not a match made in heaven, but no worries we’ll keep in touch.