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Peter LaFrance

Thursday, December 31, 2009

BEER IN 2010

Greetings to 2010 and good riddance to '09!

And now I will pause and, a weather finger to the wind, will make a prognostication... In the next year there will be a move to Mild.

That is to say, there will be a chance for brewers from the mega-micros to the brewpubs will discover the range of flavorful brews that have been known in the UK as "Mild."

These are amber ales, with a touch of hops (usually Kent or Brewers Gold) on a non-too-sweet malt base. The beauty of this brew is that it is tasty and yet is only 4% at most in alcohol content by volume. This gives the brewer a brew that costs less to produce, it gives the consumer a chance to look "correct" and still have a tasty beverage that they can enjoy for taste and less for effect. It gives the brewing industry a truly "temperate" beverage that is a challenge to the neo-prohibitionists.

Best of all, it gives me a reason to put two - not just one - six pack on ice the next hot summer day that comes around.

And that is a very comforting thought on a cold and frosty last night of 2009, in Brooklyn, USA...


Peter LaFrance

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Taste of… Black Cauldron Imperial Stout

Grand Teton Brewing Company
Victor, ID (USA)

Preface: I would like to thank the good folks at Grand Teton brewing company for sending me this bottle of Black Cauldron Imperial Stout.

Appearance: This is an incredibly dense dark black beer. It is topped with a sparkling closely knit head of tiny bubbles that form a good Belgian lace on the side of the glass.

Aroma: The first impression is of prune, the second is more of a ripe plum, the final impression begins to include a very slight phenol. The flavors revealed between sip and lip announced neither flavor nor aroma.

The first impression is a steely grain sensation. Next comes a more metallic aroma with citric undertones. The lip to sip aromatics echo the previous.

Mouth feel: There is a full but not viscous feel to this brew.

Flavor: The immediate flavors and station is one of dried fruits particularly dried cherries and plums. The second step reveals some lasses that before the flavor is finished becomes a burned candy flavor. The third step reveals some sour cherry at the very back of the sensation chain. Overall, there is not a great deal of sweetness.

Finish: The flavor profile is echoed in the finish. As noted above, this is not a sweet beer. It must also be noted that it does not have an ashy flavor. The finish is remarkably smooth dry and balanced.

Comments: I will admit that the label, what could be assumed to be to alewives, rather attractive at that, standing over a black cauldron with a sheaf of barley in their hands I was intrigued.

There must be a great deal of sweet to this beer and has not been beaten to death by bitter hops.

The label notes that this brew is 8% alcohol by volume. There is no information on a label to hint at whether they used in ale or lager yeast to ferment this beer. It is called “Imperial Stout”, a moniker that has no official definition in the most brewing dictionaries. Nevertheless the label portends a comforting rather than threatening beer.

The contents deliver on what is anticipated after looking at the label. After the first half of a pint the warmth does have a tendency to creep up on you and that’s not a bad thing.

As this is the holiday season and is it is almost 1130 in the morning as I write this, I do believe I shall not dispose of what’s left of this beer after this tasting. I do believe I just might take another 15 minutes or so to enjoy what’s left of this brew.

Grand Teton Brewing Company: http://www.grandtetonbrewing.com/

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