Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Tuesday Tasting: Always Glad to See the FedEx Truck on My Block
Tuesday Tasting is a regular feature of Lyke2Drink that explores some of the best beers, wines and spirits on the market. This week we sample a few beers that have arrived recently from craft brewers.
Beverage writers are a little bit like those kids you see in Sam's Club that get excited when they see the Sample Lady at the end of an aisle. Whether we admit it or not, drinks journalists get jacked up when they hear the rumble of a delivery truck pulling up to their location. We're happy to see the men and women in their FedEx, UPS, Airborne Express or DHL uniforms -- even the good old USPS mail carrier will occasionally drop off a sample. Our lives are wrapped around trying new products and telling the world about them. To be honest, most of us also like the idea of being able to one up our friends with tales about the just released beer that you cannot yet find at retail that we tasted or the out-of-our-price-range Scotch that just arrived.
Most of the samples that I receive are connected to columns I am writing for All About Beer, Draft or another publication. Sometimes products arrive that don't relate to anything that I happen to be writing about at the moment, like the recent samples of Tommy Bahama Rum and Charles Krug Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. That's OK, sometime soon they will end up in a Tuesday Tasting on Lyke2Drink.
Here's a quick trip through the mailbag with some tasting notes on recent arrivals.
Avery Anniversary Ale Fourteen: This dark ale has a rich creamy tan head and weighs in at 9.46 percent alcohol by volume. The label leaves it up to the drinker to pick the style and I'd have to say this reminds me of a classic Belgian dubbel. There are rich notes of chocolate, molasses and a intriguing fruity aroma. This beer is worth hunting down. One of the best beers to come out of Colorado in recent memory and that's saying something for a state loaded with great breweries. If you decide to share it with friends, you are a very generous person.
Firestone Walker Double Barrel Ale: Brothers-in-Law Adam Firestone and David Walker focus on British style ales using a process similar to the Burton Union method at their California brewery. It has paid off handsomely with multiple awards from various competitions. The Double Barrel Ale is a nice dark color and has a slightly sweet nose. Fine ale character, with sufficient hops to impart a nice fruity essence in the base of the beer.
Firestone Walker Walker's Reserve Porter: A dark ale that comes in at 5.9 percent alcohol by volume with hints of coffee and chocolate. The beer leans a bit towards being more of a stout than a porter. The bottle conditioning adds a layer of flavor and complexity to the beer.
Orlio Organic Common Ale: A fairly uncommon style for an east coast brewer, Orlio's offering is an attractive golden color. It is smooth and creamy, with just the right level of hops to give it a spicy finish.
Orlio Organic Seasonal India Pale Ale: This beer is made by the organic sister company of Vermont's Magic Hat Brewing. The copper colored ale has a moderate hop flavor that is somewhat balanced by a combination of malts. This is a solid brew and weighs in at 5.4 percent alcohol by volume.
Wagner Valley Sled Dog Doppelbock: Brewmaster Dean Jones makes beer in the Finger Lakes wine country in Upstate New York. This dark malty brew is a very nice rendition of a classic doppelbock. Plenty of roasted malt with a firm level of sweetness, this beer is the color of a hand stained piece of cherry furniture.
Wagner Valley Sled Dog Trippelbock: This dark brew is slightly roasty with pronounced malty sweetness throughout. It is a warming brew with bits of toffee and brown sugar characteristics. This beer earns the trippel designation. Worth looking for if your travels bring you to the Ithaca region.