So I took a two or so month hiatus. I will be back every now and then to talk about some of the new beers I am trying. We’ll see how often this is, but it won’t be anywhere near my previous pace.
I haven’t had the opportunity to have an AleSmith recently, so I leaped at the My Bloody Valentine Ale I found while perusing a beer shop. I am exactly one day late to still be in February and therefore in valentine season, but who cares.
The beer pours a beautiful deep red color. Beer is pungent and sweet to the nose. Flavors immediately start off strongly sweet, just teetering on the edge of cloying. Notes are reminiscent of a dense chocolate cake. This does not last long, as a pile of hops tumble into the mix. The sweet and chocolatey things about this beer are rapidly doused in bitterness. I had a quite successful Valentine’s with my wonderful girlfriend (who helped support me in my silly year of beer) but were I to find myself without her, this beer would be one of the first places I would turn, for its character and flavor are one of bitter regrets, loneliness and self-indulgent heartbreak.
I did a double take when I saw this beer. “Coffee IIPA?” I said to myself. “Preposterous.” Once I confirmed that it was indeed a Coffee IIPA, the question was no longer one of “Should I get it?” but “How did it take this long for me to find this beer?”
The beer is impressive. It blends the elements of good coffee and good pale ale perfectly. It has sharp bitter hops of a dry, nature. These hops are quite aggressive, but are met with and equally aggressive hearty coffee bitterness. The coffee bitters is more smoky and brewed than its acerbic hop counterpart. There is also a pleasant creamy sweetness that is by no means overbearing, but does a splendid job of tempering the bitterness and sharpness of the beer just enough to make it truly superb.
It’s been a great year all, thanks for indulging me.
This is the first bottle-fermented lager I can recollect having. As such, the first thing I noticed was how dry it is. This dryness turns into a quite bitter after taste. In fact, if you didn’t tell me this was a lager I would swear it was a pale ale. Hiding at the tip of the beer is a delicat sweetness. I say it is hiding in the front, because it is rapidly chased away by the dryness, to the point that you almost forget it was ever sweet.
I probably have talked a lot of shit about Samuel Adams beer over time, but really I have respect for them and if I ever had any doubt in them, it is beers like the Stony Brook Red that work to restore my faith. The beer is a pungent mix of sourness, hearty malts and just there bitters. Sourness is not off the charts, but it is quite there, and anyone picking up this beer expecting the mild flavors of a Boston Lager will be blown away. As with most sour beers, I detect a lot of sweetness, but I find it more in the heaviness of the beer than in actual sweet flavor. There is also a slight, bitterness that nicely punctuates the sourness and masks the sweetness.
ONe of the best IPAs to have ever touched my lips. Clearly, hops are the highlight of this beer. They are magnificently represented. The beer eschews extreme hop bitternes. The hops are quite sweet, relatively, and pacekd with a pine sap aroma. There is a potent flavor that I would describe as syrupy hops.