Friday, April 10, 2009

Upland, Black Albert, and Fred (who did not get fingered tonight)

Had a little tasting session tonight while watching the movie Twilight with my buddy Spencer and his wife. Hadn't read any of the books but they said it was a good movie so we paired it with some good beer choices. The first was an Upland Chocolate Stout. No not the Upland I live in here in Southern California, the Upland in Indiana. They make some pretty coveted beers, but this chocolate stout is not one I'd heard of from them before. This stout had a very nice and drinkable balance between the subtle chocolatey, cocoa powder flavor, and the roasted barley coffee flavor. Not tilted too far to either side, made it easily quaffable. A good every day drinking stout if not one you would pay big bucks for in shipping for a trade.

Next up, the recently popular De Struise Black Albert. They self-classify this as a "Belgian Royal Stout." That might be pretty valid, cause it doesn't really follow any sorta BJCP style I can speak of, 'cept for maybe a Belgian Specialty ale or something. In addition to the motor oil pour and the densely packed tan head of tiny bubbles, the smell is ridiculously unique. The first thing that stands out is a crazy sweaty yeast smell, almost giving it a sour-like nose, without actually being sour. Entwined in this is a very light roast character and some odd fruit here and there. And that's just the smell. The taste is a bit of the same, but not so much yeast weirdness (which I never complain about). More of a light chocolate and fruit, and of course some Belgian yeast character. It's more complex than that but I can't remember as much being that I drank it a few hours ago. Overall it was an interesting beer, but I wasn't wishing for endless amounts of it. My 6 ounces was plenty enough and I was ready to move on.

The last beer of the night was good old Fred... or Freddie if you will (daddy would you like some sausage?). Hair of the Dog Fred. Here's a brewery I haven't had a crappy, or even mediocre beer from. From Blue Dot Double IPA, to the olde ale Adam, to Doggie Claws barleywine, these are some exceptional tasting beers. Fred was a bit of a disappointment in this regard, while still being a solid beer in its own right. Fred is a barleywine brewed with 10 different types of hops and some aromatic and rye malts. The hops come through with a firm bite, but Fred is still very well balanced, not even getting close to crossing into that DIPA distinction. There is a viscous body of malt behind it adding a firm sweetness. The thing I least preferred from it was its thick, very oily slick body. I rarely like that in any beer, but that's just me.

Dessert consisted of brownies, tater tots, and a Rocky Patel "The Edge" which was superbly smooth and chocolatey.

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