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Friday, October 20, 2017

New Beer Friday, Taylor Ridge Edition (October 20)

Brian Taylor (left) & Steve Siciliano
Preamble by Steve Siciliano

It had been a few years since my wife Barb and I made a batch of homemade wine from Michigan grown grapes, so last week we took a quick drive down to Allegan to pick up 100 pounds each of Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc from Taylor Ridge Vineyards.

We usually hit a few watering holes on our fall visits to Taylor Ridge but we had to make this a short trip due to a late start and the unappealing prospect of crushing and de-stemming 200 pounds of grapes in the dark. But the Tom Petty tunes on satellite radio and the rural landscape awash in autumn colors made for a pleasurable late afternoon drive to the heart of West Michigan’s grape growing region.

It was good seeing Brian Taylor again. He made it a point to tell us that he’s going to be 79 in a few weeks and his age doesn’t appear to be slowing him down. After I loaded up and paid for our grapes, Brian talked about the spring frost and the summer drought and a late season bout of downy mildew.

Later that evening, after our winemaking work was done, Barb and I relaxed with a Manhattan on the backyard deck. The setting sun had dipped behind the line of trees and the warmth of the Buffalo Trace helped ward off the chill. Every so often a breeze would rise and shake loose a few more leaves from the old backyard maples. Before calling it a night we lingered for a moment on the deck to watch a V of high-flying geese heading south.

New and Returning Beer

  • Jester King & Fantome Del Rey, $18.99/750ml - "The Texas version of Fantôme Del Rey is a bière de coupage where old, barrel-aged beer is blended with young beer. The older component of the blend was brewed at Jester King in August of 2014 with malted barley, dark candi syrup, ground coriander, and black peppercorns. It was initially fermented in stainless steel with truffle honey, and then racked to oak for extended maturation. We brewed the younger version in November of 2015, and blended the old with the young" (source). 
  • Jester King Wytchmaker Rye IPA, $16.99/750ml - "India Pale Ale brewed with nearly three pounds of hops per barrel and 15% malted rye. Dry, flavorful, drinkable beer with vibrant notes of citrus, tropical fruit and pine" (source). 
  • Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut Break, $8.39/16oz - "Did the flavors of sugar and bitter sweet almonds and coffee in Imperial Biscotti Break also make you sentimental? Now we topped it off with insane amounts of doughnuts. This all time American favorite is making it’s way back into the spotlight and we at Evil Twin Brewing are not letting a tasty trend pass us by without taking it to the next level. Drink it with great gusto - Forza Doughnuts" (source). 
  • Evil Twin Tropical Super Itchy, $4.09/12oz - "Berliner weisse style ale with passionfruit added" (source). 
  • Mönchshof Schwarzbier, $4.59/500ml - "With an irresistible, flowery hop bitterness that sets it apart from all others, Mönchshof Schwarzbier is relatively light in body – but bursting with character. Its dark, roasted, slightly chocolatey and warming palate is astounding for such a refreshing and drinkable beer. The hearty taste and seductive burt sienna color come from the deep-roasted barley used in every batch" (source). 
  • Founder Backwoods Bastard, $11.99/750ml, $3.99/12oz - "Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate" (source). 
  • New Holland Mocha Mint Dragon's Milk, $4.49/12oz - "Dragon's Milk Reserve Mocha Mint is a festive blend of chocolate & peppermint flavors, with just a hint of coffee. The perfect brew for a cozy night in" (source). 
  • Bell's Cherry Stout, $2.79/12oz - "Rather than doubling up on sweetness, this tart cherry varietal serves as a counterpoint to the warm, dark chocolate notes from the malt bill. Lightly hopped for balance, this stout is one of the cornerstones of our stout portfolio" (source). 
  • Epic Sour Pineapple, $13.59/375ml - "The intense and complex sour character is developed in oak foeders containing select cultures of Pediococcus and wild yeast. Then we blend the soured beer into oak barrels with pineapple, where it undergoes additional sour fermentation and aging" (source). 
  • Epic Common Interests, $13.59/375ml - "Common Interests is a light-straw color with just a hint of green in the highlights. Sweet honeydew rind, clean earth and oak hit the nose. The first sip is bright with citrus-tartness, lime and pith, that fades quickly to a cooling ripe-melon-sweetness with hints of cereal grain, tilled earth and root cellar. The effervescence lifts quickly off the palate taking the acidity but leaving hints of honeydew and the harvest season" (source). 
  • Epic Big Bad Baptist, $13.39/22oz - "One Big Bad Imperial Stout with Cocoa nibs and Coffee beans. Each season's release uses a different dark roasted coffee" (source). 
  • Short's Bloody Beer, $2.39/12oz - "A lighter bodied beer with an appealing ruby red glow and aromas of spicy tomato juice. Fermented with Roma tomatoes and spiced with dill, horseradish, peppercorns, and celery seed lead to an astounding initial tomato flavor, followed by a lingering finish that allows each additional ingredient a chance to resonate on the palate. Decant carefully, and let this 2009 GABF silver medal winner warm slightly in order to appreciate the full magnitude of flavors" (source). 
  • The Lost Abbey Devil Went Down to Georgia, $15.99/12.7oz - "Bourbon Barrel-aged Ale with Peaches and Black Tea" (source). 
  • The Lost Abbey Ghosts in the Forest, $15.99/12.7oz - "There's an aura of mystery that occurs when we close the doors to our barrel room. No one can say for sure what happens each night but it's obvious there are spirits (ghosts if you will) working their magic. We're not sure how many inhabit our oak forest. At present there are five large foeders and more than 1200 oak barrels for them to hide in, around, and behind. to this day, no one has managed to see one during the day but our night time brewers hear whispers and the sensation of unnerving drafts of wind arriving out of thin air. It's as if the ghosts want to be seen or at a minimum acknowledged. After 11 years, we felt it was time to give them their due" (source). 
  • Lagunitas Born Yesterday, $2.19/12oz - "Born Yesterday is a newborn version of our re-born Pale, a Newer New Dogtown Pale with a fresh addition … We added some wet, lupulin-drenched, un-kilned, whole-cone, fresh-picked-and-rushed-straight-from-Yakima hops for your immaculate reception. This Un-Freakin-Filtered, wetter-than-wet beer has 11lbs-per-barrel of Simcoe, Equinox, Mosaic and Indigenous Catawampus. Whoa" (source). 
  • Kona Pipeline, $1.69/12oz - "Hawaii is home to the North shore of Oahu, a seven mile stretch of coastline where big wave surfing was born. The Bonzai Pipeline is a particularly revered surf break that serves up steep, curling waves with a rush that leaves surfers wide-eyed and grinning. Kona Brewing Co. honors this mecca of surfing with a beer that delivers a little kick and thrill of its own. Brewed with Hawaiian Kona Coffee, Pipeline Porter has a boost of flavor with a smooth style that makes it as awesome as the waves that inspired it. The dark chocolate color, rich roasted malt flavor and smooth coffee finish takes the edge off when the waves are high and the wind is blowing. Pipeline Porter’s pronounced roasted malt character and rich Kona coffee flavor and aroma will curl around your tongue like Hawaii’s famous Pipeline surf break itself" (source). 
  • Virtue Cider Cherry, $1.79/12oz - "Our cherry cider is a blend of hand-pressed heirloom Michigan apples and local cherries aged in French oak barrels. The final cider is tart and rich with a touch of sweetness" (source). 
  • Virtue Cider Honey, $1.79/12oz - "Michigan Honey is our homage to the bees, which are imperative for pollinating the new blossoms on fruit trees in the spring. Fresh apple and honeysuckle aroma, finishing crisp with just a hint of sweetness from local honey" (source).

Video of the Week

Congrats to Bell's Brewery, NBWA Brewer Partner of the Year.


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