29 October 2013

KOTBR #152 | Two from the Cellar and One for the Season

Some of you know how it goes.

This happens.

What do you do with all that beer?

The beer needs to breathe. It needs to visit multiple palates. Hoarding is bad. Sharing is good.

So sharing among the Knights of the Beer Roundtable it is on a brisk fall evening. Stoke the fire in the chiminea. Gather around the kitchen island with your tasting glasses, arms outstretched in anticipation of ales that you hope a bit of age has been kind to. And perhaps throw in a beer that goes with the season.

There's Tart of Darkness by The Bruery. Sour stouts are a rare thing, but rareness itself does not define a beer--or at least it should not define a beer, though some craft beer aficionados seem to think otherwise. So what to expect from a sour stout? Interestingly, not as much roasted chocolate as one might expect. The sour dominates here, with oak, cherries, and a little bit of vanilla coming through. In honor of Black Tuesday, we raise a glass of Black Tuesday's tart cousin.

Bruery Tart of Darkness Sour Stout (2013)
Kristin: 5.00 Mugs | Megan: 4.99 Mugs | Jim: 4.95 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.98 Mugs

Shmaltz Brewing Company's He'Brew's Jewbelation series is the product of a mission that some people might consider insane. The mission is this:  each year, release an anniversary ale. Each year, add one percent to the ABV, one malt to the grain bill, and one hop to the recipe.

Shmaltz started in 2004 with He'Brew Miraculous Jewbelation 8 on the brewery's eighth anniversary: 8% ABV, 8 malts, and 8 hops. This year marks the brewery's 17th anniversary, so they're releasing Jewbelation Reborn 17, with, yes, 17% ABV, 17 malts, and 17 hops.

Lunacy, you're thinking . . . how can this beer work? Well it works, and it works well--provided that you let the beer rest for at least a year.

So from the cellar comes last year's Jewbelation, Jewbelation Sweet 16. It nearly oozes into the glass like motor oil, and it's black like used motor oil, too. And then there's the blossoming of dark fruit notes--raisins, maybe a little bit of plum--floating over a cocoa-like foundation. Jewbelation Sweet 16 is indeed sweet and still a bit hot, perhaps too sweet and hot for some. But what should be a mess of a beer comes together--miraculously, one might say.

He'Brew Jewbelation Sweet 16 Anniversary Ale (2012)
Kristin: 3.00 Mugs | Megan: 4.00 Mugs | Jim 4.25 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 3.75 Mugs

While sharing from the cellar is a good goal to target, one must consider the season as well. And the season brings pumpkin spice foods and drinks--the goddamn pumpkin spice foods and drinks. They're everywhere at this time of year. Blame Starbucks. They're the driver behind this incessant march toward pumpkin hell every fall.

So yes, it's a bit much. But it's not all bad. Take Southern Tier's Warlock. Rather than settle for a traditional pumpkin ale, Southern Tier decided to take an imperial stout and dress it up in a festive pumpkin vest. Do you like the combination of chocolate and pumpkin flavors? Then you'll want this particular beer, though the pumpkin notes are milder than you might get from a regular pumpkin beer. So pour yourself a Warlock, fire up your VCR, put in an episode of Sammy Terry archived on VHS, and enjoy.

Southern Tier Warlock Imperial Stout (2013) (Blackwater Series)
Kristin: 4.50 Mugs | Megan: 4.69 Mugs | Jim: 3.00 Mugs
KOTBR Score: 4.06 Mugs


  1. Uh wow ... what a cellar! How many bottles of Cantillon is that?

  2. Too many for one's own good.

    That's not actually our cellar, by the way. Photos of that cellar were making the rounds on Twitter a few weeks ago.