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Thursday, March 7, 2013

New Beer Friday, March 8 Edition

By Chris Siciliano

Do you know what I find amazing? In a state where so many world-class breweries make their home, so many "non-native" world-class breweries still work hard to crack the Michigan market.

One can imagine these breweries shipping their product in with fingers crossed, hoping that native Michiganders will maybe not flat out exchange their sixer of Two Hearted for X or Y new beer (that will never happen), but will rather choose X new beer along with Two Hearted, taking both beers home for a side-by-side comparison, repeatedly, every weekend. And do you know what, that's exactly what happens!

The great thing about this state, in my opinion, is the absence of beer insularity. Sure we Michiganders are proud of our beer—we should be! But it's been my experience that true Michigan beer geeks are just (or nearly) as proud of the beer that's available here as the beer that's made here.

What it all amounts to is a paradise for beer enthusiasts, and each time a powerhouse brewery like Oskar Blues or New Belgium enters the market—both of whom factor heavily in this week's New Beer Friday—it's proof that these great breweries have respect for the beer-drinking public in Michigan. After all, why enter a market with the likes of Founders, Bells, Short's, Vivant, Kuhnhenn, Perrin, Jolly Pumpkin, Right Brain, Greenbush, the Livery, Saugatuck, New Holland, Dark Horse and on and on and on, if you did not believe that the beer buyers in this magnificent state would not see fit to give you love as well?

On that note, we extend a hearty and sincere welcome to Colorado-based Oskar Blues Brewery. Welcome to the party!

New (and Returning) Beer

  • Oskar Blues Gubna, $3.69/12oz - "Emphasizing that complexity of character can arise from simple elements, this ale is made with 3 malts and 1 hop. Its light amber color and slightly spicy malt character are derived from the use of German Dark Munich Malt and Rye Malt respectively. North American 2-row barley combines with the other grains to lay the foundation for the hop onslaught to come. Summit hops are used exclusively in the boil for bitterness, flavor and aroma but it doesn’t end there. Post-fermentation dry hopping allows the 10% ABV monstrosity to gently coax the citrus rind and grapefruit aroma to join the 100 IBUs already present. This beer will greet you with a pungent citrus blast, provide a spicy yet round middle and finish with a brisk, clean bitterness" (source).
  • Oskar Blues G'Knight Imperial Red, $3.69/16oz - "Our “Velvet M-80” is a hefty, dry hopped double-red ale with a nose full of aroma, a sticky mouthfeel, a malty middle and unctuous hop flavors. G’Knight sports a surprisingly sensuous finish for a beer of its size (8.7% ABV, 60 IBUs). It’s brewed in tribute to a fellow Colorado craft beer pioneer and Vietnam vet who died fighting a 2002 wild fire outside of our Lyons hometown. For all the details behind this tribute follow this link to www.N3978Y.com. G’Mornin’. G’Day. G’Knight" (source).
  • Oskar Blues Mama's Little Yella Pils, $1.69/12oz - "Oskar Blues’ Mama’s Little Yella Pills is an uncompromising, small-batch version of the beer that made Pilsen, Czech Republic famous. Unlike mass market “pilsners” diluted with corn & rice, Mama’s is built with 100% pale malt, German specialty malts, and Saaz hops. While it’s rich with Czeched-out flavor, its gentle hopping (35 IBUs) and low ABV (just 5.3%) make it a luxurious but low-dose (by Oskar Blues standards) refresher" (source).
  • Oskar Blues Old Chub, $1.69/12oz - "This jaw-dropping Scottish strong ale (8% ABV) is brewed with bodacious amounts of malted barley and specialty grains, and a dash of beechwood-smoked malt. Old Chub features semi-sweet flavors of cocoa and coffee, and a kiss of smoke. A head-turning treat for malt heads and folks who think they don’t dig dark beer" (source).
  • Oskar Blues Dale's Pale, $1.69/12oz - "America’s first hand-canned craft beer is a voluminously hopped mutha that delivers a hoppy nose, assertive-but-balanced flavors of pale malts and hops from start to finish. First canned in 2002, Dale’s Pale Ale is a hearty (6.5% and 65 IBUs), critically acclaimed trailblazer that has changed the way craft beer fiends perceive canned beer" (source).
  • Oskar Blues Deviant Dales, $3.69/16oz - "Deviant Dale’s IPA (8% ABV, 85 IBUs) was born at the crossroads, in a juke joint, as if Dale’s Pale Ale sold its soul to balance Deviant’s foreboding aromas of citrus, grapefruit rind and piney resins with a copper ball-of-fire color and inscrutable finish. The 2011 GABF Silver Medal Winner (American IPA Category) is the Devil incarnate with untold amounts of malt and hedonistic Columbus dry-hopping. Oskar Blues’ southern spirit caught a northbound blues bus to ColoRADo to deliver the boundary bustin’ brewery’s first 16 oz. tallboy can" (source).
  • Bell's Consecrator Dopplebock, $2.69/12oz (limit 6 btls/person) - "Consecrator is a traditional doppelbock-style fermented with a Bohemian lager yeast. Reddish brown in color, with a mild hop profile, Consecrator is a well balanced, full bodied beer with hints of caramel and molasses in its smooth, malty finish. Brewed for a Fat Tuesday release" (source).
  • Left Hand Nitro Milk Stout, $2.19/12oz - "This English style of beer, also known as Sweet Stout or Cream Stout, first appeared in London in the late 1800’s. The early brewers touted the health benefits of the milk sugar in this beer which today relates mainly to the increased amount of calories(no real health benefits…sorry). The milk sugar adds a well rounded sweetness to this dark beer and makes it an outstanding, year ‘round stout" (source).
  • Short's Uncle Steve's Irish Stout, $1.69/12oz - "A true text book Irish Stout. Amazingly light bodied full of rich creamy flavor. Incredibly smooth and easy to drink, an instant Short’s favorite. This one’s for you Steve-O!!!" (source).
  • Short's Controversiale, $1.99/12oz - "Toasted pale ale with tons of citrus hoppiness" (source).
  • Lagunitas WTF, $4.79/22oz - "WTF Ale. A malty, robust, jobless Recovery Ale! We’re not quite in the Red, or in the Black... Does that mean we’re in the Brown? A big Ol’ Imperial Brown Ale to help you with your slipperly slide on into springtime. Rich, smooth, dangerous & chocolatey" (source).
  • New Belgium Rampant, $1.89/12oz - "A burly and bitter Imperial IPA, Rampant pours a pure copper and carries the sheen of a rightly hopped beer. The Mosaic and Calypso hops bring stonefruit to the front seat, and the addition of Centennials nod towards citrus for a well-rounded aroma. The taste expands these hops with heavy peach tones and a profoundly bitter bite. There is some malt sweetness to stand this beer up, and Rampant’s finish is bone-dry" (source).
  • New Belgium La Folie, $15.99/22oz - "La Folie Wood-Aged Biere, is our original wood-conditioned beer, resting in French Oak barrels between one and three years before being hand bottled, numbered and corked for your enjoyment. Brewmaster, Peter Bouckaert, came to us from Rodenbach – home of the fabled sour red. Our La Folie emulates the spontaneous fermentation beers of Peter’s beloved Flanders with sour apple notes, a dry effervescence, and earthy undertones" (source).
  • New Belgium Transatlantique Kriek, $15.99/22oz - "In a never-ending quest to create new beers and defy category, New Belgium Brewing and Brewerij Boon of Belgium have partnered together again to create Transatlantique Kriek - a spontaneously fermented lambic ale made with Polish cherries. This authentic kriek beer began life in the oaken vessels at Frank Boon’s brewery in the Lembeek region of Belgium. After more than two years aging, Boon’s offering shipped across the Atlantic and found its way to the intuitive palate of New Belgium’s Brewmaster Peter Bouckaert. After much sampling and internal consultation, Peter and his brew staff created a full-bodied golden lager to round out the light-bodied kriek. The cherry nose gives way to a pleasingly sour flash across the palate that rolls gently into a slightly sweet finish. Crisp, effervescent carbonation keeps the mouthfeel bright and delightfully tingly" (source).
  • New Belgium Heavenly Feijoa Tripel, $9.19/22oz - "Heavenly Feijoa Tripel combines Dieu du Ciel!’s love of hibiscus flowers with New Belgium’s passion for strange and worldly fruit. Feijoa, also known as pineapple guava, has a sweet, aromatic flavor, which makes the aroma of Heavenly Feijoa Tripel luscious and tropical. The beer has Belgian yeast and Nelson Sauvin hops, combining to make a sweet fruit taste, mild spicy tones and a sharp bite. Hibiscus adds a cranberry tartness and an ambrosial quality to the color" (source).
  • New Belgium Cascara Quad, $9.19/22oz - "Cascara Quad is a dark, strong and surprisingly delicate ale made with dates and coffee cherries. Channeling the Trappist tradition, it’s brewed with an ethereal malt bill, and spiced with the fruit of the coffee bean (cascara). The aroma brings dates, cherries and pipe tobacco right to the nose and builds layers with hints of spice and fruity Belgian yeast. Once on the palate, Cascara Quad starts swinging clove, fig and molasses. Each sip offers sweet warmth, deep complexity and fleeting dryness" (source).
  • Maredsous Triple, $4.19/12oz - "Golden beer with a characteristically fresh bouquet and sweet after-taste" (source).
Picture of the Week

Salute, Grandpa. We miss you already.


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