Doctor Duvel

I'm like a sommelier, but for beer.

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Location: Upstate New York, United States

Favorite Beers: Orval, Samuel Smith, Duvel, Hennepin, Oude Gueze, Chimay, Dogfish Head, Anchor Steam, and anything made by Trappist monks.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Clark's People's Real Ale Festival

Saturday, May 9, we met Andrew and Laurie for the "People's Real Ale Festival" at Clark's: 18 cask ales, all or nearly all dispensed from little gravity-fed firkins.

I managed to taste 12 of the 18, in half pint servings. Here's a quick rundown:

--Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale: Lovely, simple pale loaded with grapefruit.
--Empire Sub-Terranian Ale: Theoretically a farmhouse/tripel fusion, this was the one horrid fiasco of the day, a ghastly, bilgey, sweet-sour, cloying beer with all the palate appeal of a half pint of Ny-quil.
--Ithaca Flower Power IPA: My favorite of the day, a big expressive IPA with a hugely floral hop blast to the nose.
--Landmark IPA: Typical US IPA but with a particularly nice balance to it.
--Livery Blue Jackets Best IPA: This is a rare UK-style IPA. Very English tasting but with a more bracing hop palate than you're likely to get there. Delicately fruity yeast profile too.
--Middle Ages Dragon Slayer: A gorgeous, red-winey, burly stout. I loved it.
--Rohrbach Scotch Ale: Only had a sip of someone's but this was, according to my notes, "malty, malty, malty."
--Sly Fox Rte. 113 IPA: I'm afrad I just wrote "pretty good" here.
--Stoudt's DIPA: This takes DIPA into barley wine territory; a massive, massive beer.
--Stoudt's Scarlet Lady ESB: A hell of a lot subtler, obviously, with a nice malty palate.
--Troeg's Hopback: I've become a real fan of this beer as it was on draft at Nail Creek for some time. Lovely and beautifully balanced as per usual, the hops blending intelligently with the toasty, copper-colored malty aspects.
--Victory Hop Wallop: Had this in the bottle once and was unimpressed; it was good from the firken: not such a memorable nose, but a great hoppy palate.

Good tasting; good company; good roast beef sandwich.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Green Flash Tasting

So, I discovered Green Flash Imperial IPA at Nail Creek on draft some months ago. It's one of my favorite DIPA's. This inspired a tasting of other bottled beers of theirs which I discovered were available nearby, unbeknownst to me . . .

1) Yesterday, we tried GF Double Stout, a big, rounded, chocolate pillow of a beer, sweet, barely balanced by Target hops, and lightened and complicated by a range of fruity esters. A gorgeous stout, of homebrew-ish proportions.

2) Just tried their Trippel. I'm less in love with this one, but it's a good beer with some tasty esters and spicy aspects. My gripe, as with a few other U.S. tripels, is with attenuation. It's hardly a big, clunky beer, but I'd love it if it were a touch drier--there's something just a little bit barley-wine-ish about the palate and so I'm missing the refinement. This is largely a matter of taste. Not all Belgian tripels are steely dry either; I just like them a little less malty, myself.

3) "Le Freak." The brewers bill this as a fusion of the San Diego pale ale style and Belgian tripel. The nose juxtaposes dramatic west-coast hops with some Belgian-style esters and higher alcohols; it's a pretty heady colllective scent. The palate is mostly hops (citrusy and resiny), barely held together by a toasty, but very dry and slender, malt profile.

Hell of a brewery, all things considered . . .