November 2018 Archives

A Night To End All Dawns

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Am I alone in just wanting a straight bourbon barrel aged stout? Lately, I feel like there's always adjuncts or additions of stuff like lactose, vanilla, coffee, cinnamon, maple syrup, toasted coconut, chile peppers, cacao nibs, hazelnut, pecans, and ever more bizarre ingredients "foraged" in obscure ways. I'm pretty sure you could just bottle actual brownie batter and call it a beer, and you'll get people lining up five hours before opening. Don't get me wrong, I'm a total novelty whore and love a good pastry stout as much as the next guy, but sometimes you want to just get back to basics. Ultimately, that's what I really love, and when something only comes in, for example, a coffee treatment, I'm always stuck wondering how much I'd love a version that doesn't have that coffee. Blasphemy to some, I'm sure.

We all know that Kane has a pretty great barrel program, and their big flagship in that arena is their series of A Night To End All Dawns (henceforth ANTEAD) beers. In the past, they've made variants with coffee, vanilla, cacao nibs, coconut, and differing barrels (probably amongst others), but for whatever reason, this year there were only two: regular ol' Bourbon Barrel Aged and a Rye Barrel Aged. Speculation was that the yields were low this year, so there wasn't enough to go around for the variants. Fortunately for me, I managed to snag a couple bottles of the regular BBA ANTEAD (the other set with the rye barrel variant sold out in about 10 seconds during the online sale), and truth be told, I'm not all that broken up about not getting any variants (though I did have a taste of Vanilla ANTEAD once that was pretty darned great).

The description is pretty simple: it's a big imperial stout that spent about a year in bourbon barrels. I keep thinking the name must be an allusion to something, but as near as I can tell, it's just a nice, evocative name for a stout. Certainly it's not a reference to Kane's advocacy on behalf of the antichrist, who promises an eternity of darkness and thus a significant lack of dawns. A Night to End All Dawns soon approaches, and Kane will wreak doom upon the earth (they are located in New Jersey, after all*). Or maybe they're just making really good beer:

Kane A Night To End All Dawns

Kane A Night To End All Dawns - Pours a deep black color with half a finger of short-lived light brown head. Smells retains hints of underlying roast, with lots of caramel, chocolate, marshmallow, vanilla, oak and bourbon. Taste is sweet, rich caramel up front, some of that underlying roasted malt, chocolate, followed by the bourbon, oak, and vanilla, maybe that marshmallow, finishing with a boozy bite. Mouthfeel is perfect, rich, full bodied, and chewy, carbonation is just right, with plenty of boozy heat. Some might say it's too "hot", but I rather enjoyed that aspect of it. Overall, yup, it's a fantastic beer with depth and complexity, even (or maybe especially) without the adjuncts and crazy ingredients. A

Beer Nerd Details: 12.4% ABV bottled (750 ml black waxed cap). Drank out of a snifter on 11/9/18. Vintage: 2017 (released in 2018).

Yep, I really need to continue hunting down Kane's barrel aged wares, as they've been uniformly great so far. Or, you know, one of you local Philly area brewers could build up an equally effective barrel program (beyond sours and, believe it or not, coffee stouts). Or I could just drink Parabola all the time. Not the worst option in the world.

* I kid! I kid because I love.

Zwanze Day 2018

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Zwanze Day is a worldwide event in which Cantillon releases a new, limited lambic to the huddled masses, yearning to be drunk. The event spans many countries and is limited to 70 or so bars, worldwide. I attended the 2016 festivities at Monk's Cafe in Philly and was dutifully impressed with that year's Raspberry/Blueberry entry into the Zwanze canon. It's always a crowded event and some people get there very early and wait in line. If it means getting a table, that's a very good thing indeed and fortunately for me, I had some friends who decided to line up early and had an extra seat at their table.

Along with the Zwanze entry, which isn't tapped until later in the day, Monk's pulls out all the stops, with a whole assortment of other Cantillon lambics available. It was quite the rainbow:

Taste the rainbow... of Cantillon
Click to embiggen

A few of these were even new to me, which is always nice. Nath is made with macerated rhubarb in 2 year old lambic, and it provides a nice little bump in the tartness and funk profile of your typical Cantillon (I didn't take formal tasting notes, so I'll leave it at that - it was excellent).

Cantillon 20 Ans D'Amitié

The other new to me lambic was 20 Ans D'Amitié, a blend of Rhubarb and Raspberry lambics (so Nath and Rosé de Gambrinus?) that was produced for the 20th Anniversary of Monk's Cafe in 2017. As you might expect, it's delightful.

And of course, there were a whole slew of other Cantillons that we all know are fantastic, like the Kriek (still my favorite, to be honest!), Rosé de Gambrinus, Grand Cru Broucsella, the Classic Gueuze, and Vigneronne.

Zwanze 2018

Finally, there was Zwanze 2018 Manneken Pise. If you're interested in lambic, you've no doubt discovered that it's damn near impossible to track down Cantillon lambic. Even ordering direct from Belgium (with it's absurd shipping prices) isn't a particularly viable option anymore. Back in 2015, Cantillion acquired a new building across the street from their current location. Over the next few years, they increased production and had to source a whole slew of new barrels to age their lambic. Enter three particular sets of barrels that stood out: those that had previously held Sangiovese, Amarone, and Chianti. Ah, the wine of my people! Anyway, Zwanze 2018 is a blend of lambic that had been aged in those three types of barrels. And it's quite nice, adding a noticeable but distinct vinous character to the typically oaky, tart, and funky Cantillon lambic base. Some subtle fruit notes and a nice, light, tannic dryness make this a somewhat unique experience. Again, I didn't take formal tasting notes, but they're normally pretty boring and ultimately, yeah, it's a big shock that Cantillon produced a good lambic. Stop the presses.

So yes, another successful Zwanze day under my belt. Well worth checking out if you have a Zwanze venue near you. I'd be curious to see what it would be like at a less crowded venue, but it's hard to turn down an afternoon at Monk's (and if you somehow manage to snag a table, many of the issues with the crowd are minimized!) Anywho, now that Cantillion has increased capacity, here's to hoping we see a little more of their stuff making its way into our hands... And maybe I won't wait a month to post something about it next time.

(Many thanks to Kaedrin friend Dana for taking/sharing that fancy picture with all the beers lined up.)

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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 November 2018 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2018 is the previous archive.

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