So what happens when you drink a lineup of 5 BEAUTIFUL Alsatian wines, followed by 5 reds, and start sipping on Champagne to boot? You realize you must go to the shore while the others play in the wine ocean so you can go dive head first into the beer pool. But hell, you might as well make your friends come too.....
So I get a few of us together at the weekly wine tasting table and I crack two bottles....pour them one by one in the Riedel and start passing them around for people to sniff. This is the fun in tasting wine and beer with others. There will almost always be something you need a little help on....
So, I cracked up when I saw this Three Stooges picture, because that is precisely what a few of us looked like talking about the different aspects of the following two beers! Flummoxed, perplexed, searching, and yet loving it all the while....
Flying Dog Road Dog Scottish Porter: ABV: 6.0%
QUICK HISTORY LESSON: Road Dog was the first of the Flying Dog line to adorned with the unique illustrations of Ralph Steadman. For those of you familiar with his work, you know its some crazy intense stuff. This beer was also embroiled in controversy, when the Colorado State Liquor Board banned its distribution due to its slogan, "Good beer, No shit." According to the Flying Dog website they battled for 5 years, but came out winners in the tug-of-war.
On to the beer: The color, was a dark caramel brown as expected. The nose was really the interesting aspect of this brew. The first aromas, coca-cola and Dark Ribbon Cane Syrup. Shannon, my fellow champagne admirer nailed that one. I had been teetering between brown sugar and molasses, but felt comfortable with neither. So here I go passing it around the table demanding everyone smell it....Thanks Shannon! Then the most interesting thing happened...it developed this delicate but definitely present floral aromatic, like wildflowers in a big country field. In other words it was not an overwhelming fragrance, like sticking your nose in a bouquet of roses. That would NOT have been good. It was just a slight, almost transient perfume, like one on the wrist of a lady at the end of the day....
(The floral aromatics, I have learned as a grasshopper on this quest through beer, is derived at least partially from the Crystal Malts used in this beer. The Crystal Hops, described on the Deschutes website as "oily, flowery...give floral aromas," really show their stuff when fresh-hopped in beers.)
Truthfully, there is not a whole lot to say about the palate. Faint tobacco and smoke notes are present, with just a touch of bitterness on the finish. Overall, an easy drinking and refreshing beer with a clean finish. When I ended up going back and forth between this beer and the next, Samuel Adams Cream Stout, the sweetness of the Road Dog emerged. An interesting aspect I would have overlooked, especially since I had been drinking Gewurtztraminer just before!!
SAMUEL ADAMS CREAM STOUT: ABV: 4.69% The brewing wizards at Samuel Adams proclaim this brew to be "the cappuccino of beers. Roasty, smooth and sweet." Problem? I don't drink cappuccinos (I can't drink caffeine...WHAT?) so I am not the one to judge the validity of that statement. Anyone? However, I did thoroughly enjoy this beer, and can easily see where they are coming from. Why? It is LOADED with TONS of coffee aromas. In fact when I stuck my eager schnoz in the Riedel and closed my eyes, I was standing in a coffee shop.
Topping off the coffee like that frothy foam were big scents of chocolate, followed by a splash of milk. Seriously, this could be the alcoholic version of a coffee cocktail at Starbucks. With fizz. Think it over Starbucks and call me. And then I'm getting this spice, and all I can come up with is baking spices. I'm thinking cinnamon, clove....After some debating around the table, my friend Jose leans over and says "It smells like what you put in pumpkin pie." That's it! ALLSPICE.
All of these huge aromas follow through like gangbusters on the palate, and it finishes with that proper bitterness you get from a coffee or black tea. A delicious beer for cold nights or the perfect after dinner beer with dessert!
Samuel Smith's Taddy Porter: ABV: 5% Ok, right off the top I'm gonna be honest, call foul and say there is no WAY I am going to review this beer now. I AM going to drink it AGAIN(it won't count as another #!) and review it at a later time. By the time we went to Cooter Brown's last night, I was too hungry and too buzzed to give this delicious brew a fair shake. I literally sucked it down like greased lightning, while inhaling raw oysters and what has to be the biggest tuna sandwich of my life. Did you SEE that picture? Wowza. It was yummy (yes, all of it) and that's all I can say, except....TO BE CONTINUED!!!