October 2017 Archives

The Spice Must Flow

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The most wonderful time of the year has rolled around, bringing with it the requisite leaf piles, mutilated pumpkins, paper skeletons, decorative corpses, "fun" cobwebs, and other oxymoronic traditions that are nominally ghastly but suddenly become socially acceptable during this season of seasons. Oh there's also tons of complaining about pumpkin beer and other pumpkin spiced abominations. As per my personal orthodoxy of "extremist moderation", I generally find everyone's reaction here overblown. Pumpkin beers are fine and I always make room for a few in my beer drinking agenda, especially when I can find one that's an interesting take (read: someone put it in a barrel).

This year's entry in the "pumpkin beers can be perfectly cromulent" sweepstakes is Bottle Logic's The Spice Must Flow. Since everyone's first joke of the season is now (and frankly should be) Decorative Gourds, I have started to rely on my backup of Dune related humor. Fortunately, Bottle Logic has already gone and done that work for me. Clearly members of House Atreides. (Kaedrin: Come for the beer, stay for the cutting edge cultural references.)

Anywho, Bottle Logic is one of the new hotness breweries out of Anaheim, CA and their wares have been melting faces amongst a certain subset of the beer dork community, particularly when it comes to their barrel-aging (and I guess coffee-dosing) program. What we have here is an ale brewed with pumpkin, coffee, and spices, then aged in rum and bourbon barrels. Look, I know some of you hate pumpkin beers, but this sort of beer is why I end up drinking some every year. It feels a little weird for this to be the first thing I write about, but then, everyone knows about Fundamental Observation and Darkstar November (I've had the latter, it's great). Not everyone can fold space and time, as the spice melange can:

The Spice Must Flow

Bottle Logic The Spice Must Flow - Pours a dark brown color with a finger of light tan head. Smells of coffee and pumpkin spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, a little caramel and brown sugar too. Taste hits some rich caramel, toffee, brown sugar, with coffee and pumpkin spice emerging quickly, followed by oak and vanilla, a hint of bourbon and rum. As it warms, the coffee takes a backseat to the pumpkin spice. I'm sure some would hate that, but my coffee ambivalence means that I kinda love it. Mouthfeel is well carbonated but rich and full bodied, hints of pleasant booze, perfectly balanced. Overall, this is awesome, even with the coffee. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 11.9% ABV bottled (500 ml). Drank out of a snifter on 10/7/17. Vintage: 2017. Batch: 2 (label sez Level 2)

I've had a couple barrel aged offerings from these folks and they're fantastic. Some of their more normal beers are solid too, but the Barrel Aged stuff is where it's at. I will most certainly be looking for more.

Ommegang 20th Anniversary Ale

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According to my records, I haven't done a proper review of an Ommegang beer in almost 5 years. Can you imagine that?! Yes, well, you are pretty sharp, so I'm not surprised that you can, indeed, imagine that. My three readers are the best. Anyway, it's perhaps fitting that the last review was Ommegang's XV Anniversary beer, a rock solid Belgian Strong Dark. Since that time, Ommegang seems to be most famous for their Game of Thrones series of beers, popular but mostly unremarkable. Ommegang does occupy a special place in Kaedrin history though (being that they were the ones that introduced me to great beer way back during the turn of the century timeframe), so I'm glad they've stepped up their game for this 20th Anniversary brew.

This beer starts out as something similar to that XV Anniversary beer, a Belgian Strong Dark, but then it spent a few months in old Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrels. Sometimes I find that bourbon barrels overwhelm the more subtle Belgian ale characteristics. Will that be the case here? Spoiler: nope, this is great!

Ommegang 20th Anniversary Ale

Ommegang 20th Anniversary Ale - Pours a clear, very dark amber brown color with a finger of off-white head. Smells great, lots of fruity esters, dark fruit, some spice, clove, and hints of boozy bourbon. Taste hits more of those spice notes than the nose, lots of clove, some sweet, rich caramel, molasses, a little of those fruity esters, finishing on a boozy note. A light touch on the bourbon and oak character, but it's clearly there. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, medium to full bodied, moderately rich, a little booze. Intense, but very well balanced. The bourbon contributes while not overpowering the more subtle Belgian notes. Overall, this is pretty darn good. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 11.8% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a tulip glass on 10/14/17. Vintage: 2017.

Good ol Ommegang. It's been far too long, old friends, and I see you've been doing some more interesting stuff, like brett-dosed beers and more barrel aged variants. Nice.

de Garde Oude Desay

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de Garde has made a several variants of a beer called Saison Desay. Near as I can tell, they had no real reason to use the word Desay (I mean, maybe they're big fans of the crappy electronics company or perhaps the unique wooden window found in Kathmandu, but I'm doubting it)... until I saw this beer. Did... did de Garde wait three years to blend this beer just so they could make an Odyssey pun with this beer name? I'm probably just the worst, but I like to think that someone at de Garde was willing to go to such elaborate lengths for such a trivial pleasure.

Anyway, this beer is a blend of one, two, and three year-old oak barrel and oak tank matured Petit Desay. A neat, gueuze-like approach to the blending (though obviously not an actual gueuze, which has additional rules concerning wheat in the mashbill and aged hops, etc...) makes this one of the more intriguing offerings I managed to acquire from these Oregonian spontaneous ballers... I couldn't find any details on the proportions of the blend, but I think it's safe to assume that there is more of the younger components and less of the older. Whatever the case, it's a worthwhile exercise. A beer odyssey, you might say:

de Garde Oude Desay

de Garde Oude Desay - Pours a slightly hazy golden orange color with tons of head that sticks around and even leaves a bit of lacing. Smells great, saison yeast spicy phenols and fruity esters, definitely a light, raisiny character that aged Belgian styles give off, but also some musty, earthy funk lingering in the background. Taste hits those saison notes up front, spicy with cloves, fruity with vinous fruit, hints of raisin, but this is all overtaken by a growing sourness in the middle through the finish. Mouthfeel is light bodied, crisp, dry, highly carbonated and effervescent, with a moderate and pleasant acidity. Overall, this is the best de Garde I've had yet, certainly reminiscent of the others (they're all saisons of similar stock, so I guess this makes sense), but with more complexity and balance. A

Beer Nerd Details: 5% ABV bottled (750 ml). Drank out of a flute glass on 9/8/17. Batch 2 (I think?)

As per usual, I'm always interested in checking out more from these fellows at de Garde. Alas, nothing in the pipeline. Woe is me.

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Hi, my name is Mark, and I like beer.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2017 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2017 is the previous archive.

November 2017 is the next archive.

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