A couple of north American beers today, shared by generous fellow beer nerds.
Nigel produced this bottle of Crooked Coast by Driftwood of British Columbia on a cross-country rail trip a few months back. The brewery has designated it as an altbier, and while I can see that -- it has the right sort of wholemeal biscuit malt base -- it's much bitterer than typical alt, with an unpleasant English-style waxy hit right at the front. That makes it much more like a brown bitter or a second-rate amber ale than an alt, and just not a great beer whichever way you slice it.
Meanwhile, this bomber of Stone Enjoy By 02.14.15 came via Steve and, for the record, was enjoyed just two days past the recommended date so shouldn't be too far from the brewer's intention. Besides which, it's 9.4% ABV: that seems like a stabilising strength to me, enough to carry a beer that was bottled on 9th January. It pours a clear gold and is hot and thick at first, greasy with hop oils and burning its way onto the palate with high-acid grapefruit. But a few sips in and it starts to balance out and make more sense. The heat and acidity die down a little and you're left with a mellow but spicy sipping beer. This is another one of those softly-spoken high-quality Stone beers that makes me wonder why they bother with all the bluster and machismo in their branding. "Devastatingly desireable"? I'm charmed, but I'm not devastated.
Westmalle Dubbel - *Origin: Belgium | Date: 2008 | ABV: 7% | On The Beer Nut: October 2007* It's a longtime favourite today. Westmalle Dubbel goes back to the very beginnings...
1 week ago