19 August 2008

KOTBR #53 - Anniversary Party Leftovers

As you've probably noticed by now, we've added four new knights to the Roundtable. Never before has Hoosier Beer Geek taken on such a large influx of talent. We hope this group of individuals can allow us to continue writing reviews in our old willy-nilly style, but perhaps also give us an anchor in traditional beer review writing.

Last week we met at the home of Chris (CorrND) to try out the bottles of beer left over from our recent anniversary party.

In what is sure to be the geekiest KOTBR review ever, here is a review of Allagash Four, done Dungeons & Dragons style in honor of Gen Con Indy 2008.

First, some details about our reviewer--

Character Name: Sir James Beerslayer
Place of Origin: The Region
Character Class: Knight of the Beer Roundtable
Level: 5
Race: Human
Alignment: Neutral Good (Chaotic Good after a few Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPAs)
Religion: Chosen Person
Patron Deity: YHWH
Abilities (scores in parentheses denote abilities when under the influence of alcohol):
- Strength: 13 (17)
- Intelligence: 16 (12)
- Wisdom: 18 (10)
- Dexterity: 15 (10)
- Constitution: 14 (18)
- Charisma: 15 (17)
Languages: English (native tongue), German, Flemish, French (the latter three for ordering beer abroad)
Weapons of Proficiency: Beer stein, tulip glass, pint glass, sampler glass
Hit Points: 40 (50 when under the influence)
Armor Class: 2 (7 after three or four He'brew Messiah Bolds)

Second, the three-year-old treasure found--

Allagash Four: This cloudy, reddish-brown elixir comes from the New World (Portland, Maine, to be precise), but was created in the style of beers conjured up by Flemish beer mages. Named "Four" because 'tis brewed with four of each of the following ingredients: hops, malts, sugars (date sugar, molasses, light candi, dark candi), and Belgian yeasts. The nose wafting from this fine ale is very fruity, evoking thoughts of must, pears, apples, figs, and plums. Upon first dropping on the tongue, this beer creates a great warmth, much like the heat which springeth forth from the hearth of a blacksmith. Sugars dance in the mouth as well, along with a faint bourbon-like finish. A magical liquid, increasing the strength of the imbiber (+10 damage bonus for all attacks). A 3.85 mug beer.

Mike: 3.53 Gina: 3.50 Chris: 3.80 Rod: 3.70 Jess: 3.00
Total Avg: 3.56 Mugs

Ok I'm still new at this so I'm not going to attempt to produce quality Gen Con fan fiction like Jim. Maybe next year...

Garrett Oliver and Hans-Peter Drexler have been playing a bit of cross-continental tag in the past year. They collaborated to brew a weizenbock, a beer to combine Garrett Oliver's love of the Schneider Brewery's weisse biers and Hans-Peter Drexler's fascination with the Brooklyn Brewery's hoppy beers (IPA, etc). The first round was brewed at the Schneider Brewery as Schneider-Brooklyner Hopfen-Weisse and began finding its way around last summer. This summer we saw the release of the second round of this beer, appropriately named Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse, which was brewed at the Brooklyn Brewery using a slightly different arrangement of hops. The edition we reviewed was the Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse.

The beer poured with a rapid, champagne-like carbonation and a characteristic cloudy dark yellow-orange color. The initial aroma was filled with banana and orange. After drawing in the beer a bit longer, a delicate balance of coriander, cloves and cinnamon emerged. The nose was very well balanced and did not overtake with any one particular element. Though you may already be anticipating the standard wheat beer flavors to jump out, this beer manages to take you by surprise. Sure, lemon zest and wheat flavors are apparent, but a much more complex arrangement awaits. A combination of bitter apple peel, grapefruit, pine hop flavors and a minty tingle on the sides of the tongue round out the initial lemon and wheat flavors. The banana from the nose remains hidden. The strength of this beer, at 7.8% ABV, is quite sneaky and doesn't really start to become noticable until the mouth begins to warm after a few drinks. The finish is very dry and leaves you awaiting the next sip. Overall, this beer is incredibly drinkable and refreshing, perhaps a bit too drinkable at 7.8%. I would rank this a 3.75 mug beer.

Jim: 3.75 Mike: 2.50 Gina: 3.50 Chris: 3.4 Jess: 3.00
Total Avg: 3.31 Mugs

(Hopefully) In the past you may have been amused and amazed at my unusual frame of reference when reviewing beer. But now that we've got four new knights, my choice of words is once again questioned. ENOUGH I SAY! If a beer tastes like cardboard (look, I grew up poor, and cardboard made a regular visit to the dinner table) then that's what I'm going with.

So... Avery Thirteen Weizen Dopplebock? No cardboard there. A big zingin' nose (noticeable alcohol) with hints of nail polish (which, by the way, makes a great appetizer with a cardboard casserole) leads to a full chewy mouthfeel and a beer with elements of fig, dark chocolate, brown sugar, and raisin. I gave this beer 3.70 mugs.

And look forward to next week's review, when I'll compare the flavors of American Pale Ales with several varieties of earthworm.

Jim: 4.25 Gina: 3.00 Chris: 3.50 Jess: 3.75 Rodney: 3.87
Total Avg: 3.67 Mugs

Who mixes beer and wine? I do. Last night saw a pint of Weihenstephaner in one hand and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon in the other. Well, not really. I'm not THAT crazy, but they were on the table at the same time! Weiheny with salad and Cab with steak. Mmmm, mmmm.

Dogfish Head IS crazy, though. They really like to experiment with odd beer recipes and decided to put wine IN their beer. For their Red & White concoction, they added Pinot Noir juice to a Wit fermentation and then aged a portion of the beer in Pinot Noir barrels.

Are they coo-coo?

Some at our tasting table thought so, but my mouth decided it was pretty goddamn tasty. It started out with a smell dominated by raspberry with a little bit of chocolate. The first sip was musty, with a funky raspberry flavor. Then Jim said, "root beer candy," and the flavor started to click for me. It's got a nice tart mouthfeel that ends slightly sweet, not dry. As it warmed, it became decidedly fruitier, and with a second taste later on in the night -- even warmer -- the raspberry flavor gave way and the 'winey' Pinot Noir taste finally started to show through. An excellent experiment by Dogfish Head, but not one I'm going to seek out frequently. 3.70 Mugs.

Jim: 3.00 Mike: 3.60 Gina: 2.30 Jess: 2.00 Rod: 2.75
Total Avg: 2.89 Mugs

This Grand Cru from the Brasserie de l'Abbaye du Val-Dieu and poured a dark burgundy-brown color and featured all the things you might associate with a Belgian Ale. Its nose was both sweet and spicy and the slick taste of dark fruit and caramel mixed with a bready yeast for an enjoyable, but very warming drink. This is one to be shared with many friends and I was glad to share this with some of mine. 3.2 Mugs.

Jim: 3.00 Mike: 3.00 Chris: 3.10 Rodney: 3.11 Jess: 2.50
Total Avg: 2.98 Mugs

Mikkeller To: From:

This "Holiday Ale, brewed with spices" comes in a nice 750ml bottle with the label conveniently looking like a Christmas gift tag with a line for who it's for and who it came from. It pours into a glass dark, thick, and appears almost muddy brown. It looks much like motor oil with a very light, pillowy head with just a hint of cocoa color. I was quite surprised to see something this dark as a holiday ale. The nose is quite boozy with hints of gingerbread, dark chocolate, malt and just a hint of pine as it warmed up. The mouthfeel was quite full bodied and leads the drinker to think that if it's laid down for a bit longer it might become almost creamy.

Once I got past the aroma and the mouthfeel I was given a wonderful roasted chocolate flavor with just a hint of smokiness. It is overwhelmingly roasted malt in the beginning but as it warms more flavors of dark fruits, cherries, anise and pine notes rise to the top. The taste is just as intense as the nose and gives you lots of layers to delve into while savoring the flavor. It's a fairly standard ABV for a Holiday Ale at 8% but the boozy notes could lend itself to being cellared for a year or two. Unfortunately, since there are a lot of flavors mingling in this beer, something is bound to be muted once laid down for a year. I gave it a solid 4.5 mug rating after being won over by the smoked, spiced chocolate flavors which I tend to favor.

Jim: 2.95 Mike: 3.6 Gina: 2.1 Chris: 3.2 Rodney: 4.1
Total Avg: 3.40 Mugs

* * * * *

All Scores:

Allagash Four: 3.56 Mugs
Brooklyner-Schneider Hopfen-Weisse: 3.31 Mugs
Avery Thirteen Weizen Doppelbock: 3.67 Mugs
Dogfish Head Red/White: 2.89 Mugs
Brasserie De L'Abbey DU Val-Dieu: 2.98 Mugs
Mikkeller To From: 3.40 Mugs


  1. Beer certainly can taste like cardboard. It happens when oxidation sets in. Hang tough with the cardboard analogy!

  2. Thanks for the backup, Merle.