Friday, July 25, 2014

Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Maillard's Odyssey Imperial Dark Ale

This is part of the 2014 Beer Camp Across America special release from Sierra Nevada Brewing of Chico, California. They invited breweries all across America to join in a collaboration brew with them and/or join them on their Beer Camp Tour with seven stops across the USA as their bus makes its way to the site of their new brewery in Mills River, NC (there are actually 8 stops with a little publicized stop at El Bait Shop in Des Moines, Iowa). The release features a mixed 12 pack of twelve unique beers, two in cans.

This 8.5% ABV beer is a collaboration with Bell's Brewery of Michigan. It is intended to be a dark, rich and roasty beer named after the Maillard reaction, the browning of sugars and amino acids that creates carmelized toffee-like and roasted flavors as are shown in this beer. I don't know if this is technically a "stout", but it sure sounded like it rated my specialized stout glass.

The beer pours deep black, even when held to the light. There is a tall head of thick, creamy, tan foam. The aroma is mocha, light coffee, dark chocolate, with a light tang of dark, dried fruits. The taste follows the aromas directly, loads of dark cocoa and mocha, adding in pleasantly dark roasted char. The mouthfeel is very smooth and creamy, with a pleasantly tangy and moderately bitter finish. Absolutley excellent.

Northgate Parapet ESB

This is a 5.6% ABV Extra Special Bitter from Northgate Brewing of the Northeast area of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Its malts are Maris Otter, English Pale Crystal, English Dark Crystal, and English Flaked Barley. For hops, it has UK Target and East Kent Golding.

The beer pours a lighter shade of copper and amber. There is a tall head of off-white foam, with the ample carbonation quickly breaking it down with large and ragged holes. The aroma is tangy and citrusy over toasted and caramel malt. The taste is a continual hand-fighting battle between the grassy and citrusy hops and the toasted and caramel malts. A touch of peat smoke enters the fray, but the battle is won in the end by the quite bitter finish, which brings it all to a dry and screeching halt.  You can try to stay safe in the parapet, but you will have to enter this battle.