Monday, July 12, 2010

Overdue Beer Roundup

I haven’t done one of these in a while, so I figure it’s about time. As requested, I added the price I paid.

Lagunitas Imperial Red (2009)
First things first: I opened one of the bottles from the previous post. It was still rather tasty and drinkable, but there were little hints of “off” flavors that indicate it was showing its age a bit. That, or I was really trying to find them. Either way, I’m not throwing it out. I wish they brewed it again this year. $8.99/6 pack

UPDATE: The 2nd bottle I had was more or less ruined. Definitely not right. I won't be going back to Lukas any time soon.

O’Fallon Wee Heavy
This is a Scotch ale, and a potent one at that – it comes in a hair over 10%. Virtually zero carbonation. Syrupy and a bit overwhelming. It would be an okay sipper in November in front of the fire, but not this time of year. Overall, just too much if you’re not in the mood for brandy. I struggled to finish a half-bottle. Great Divide’s Claymore Scotch Ale is a much better, more drinkable choice. $7.99/4 pack.

Crown Valley Big Bison Ale (Belgian Dubbel)

Flying Dog Garde Dog (Biere de Garde)

I put these together for a reason.

Crown Valley is a winery in St. Genevieve, MO that recently got into the brewing business. They’ve been in KC for maybe a month. There were four or five styles to choose from at the liquor store. I picked up some Big Bison Ale because it was marketed as a Belgian Dubbel, one of my favorite styles. It barely resembled some of the Dubbels I know and love. The yeast flavor wasn’t right, the toffee/caramel finish wasn’t there…the flavors simply lacked the depth and complexity that usually bring a smile to my face with a good Belgian.

Flying Dog typically disappoints me; I like their Gonzo Imperial Porter and that’s about it. I tried a bottle of this as part of a make-your-own six-pack, so I figure my risk was minimized. It had the nice, unfiltered look, but didn’t really deliver any complexity.

Both beers are simply cheap versions of Belgian (ok, Bd’G is French) styles that taste…well, kinda cheap. They’re not horrible beers, but they’re not good examples of the styles they purport to represent. It’s as if both beers need full-on recipe tweaking, along with some time. Hell, Biere de Garde literally means “Beer to Keep”; in other words, it’s a brew that is supposed to age somewhat.

Both are $7.99/6 pack. If you want a cheap Belgian dubbel, buy New Belgium’s Abbey for the same price. If you want a very good, mid-priced dubbel, get a 4-pack of North Coast’s Brother Theolonious or Ommegang’s Abbey Ale for about $10. For Biere de Garde, there aren’t many choices in KC. Schlafly does a decent job with a 750ml bottle for $7.49. An alternative would be to try the similar but less sweet Belgian Saison (such as Saison DuPont).

Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shutdown Ale
This would be something akin to an Imperial ESB (Extra Special Bitter). Huge hops, huge bitter flavor. It’s still around in most liquor stores despite being a spring seasonal. Delicious beer, but you only need one at 9.7% ABV. Recommended, unless you just got done playing softball in 90º heat. Then it’s a bit much. $8.99/6 pack.

I've got a couple more I'll add when I have a chance.

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