April Beer Series

Posted by on Apr 6, 2012 in Beer Blog | 0 comments

Saison 16°
Mystic Brewing Company
Chelsea, Massachusetts
Many people believe that the best known person or thing ever to come out of Chelsea was Horatio Alger (apologies to Howie Long and Albert DeSalvo). For me, it was, and maybe still is Chick Corea. Having tasted the beers of Mystic Brewing Company, Chick may have found some competition.
The company was founded by MIT trained fermentation scientists Dr. Bryan Greenhagen, Ph.D, his wife Emily Greenhagen and professional brewer James Nicholson. Their focus is specialty beers such as saisons and barrel aged beers made with regional and exotic fruits as well as finely crafted after-dinner “malt cordials.”
“We see our efforts as a part of the evolution of craft brewing. First we rebelled against a near total lack of choice in the marketplace. Then we found we could not only make great beer but we could also push the boundaries of what Americans see as beer. Today we can finally return to the kinds of beer that were beloved and even thought to be sacred for millennia,” says founder Bryan Greenhagen. “We love the double meaning of Mystic, because it is not only a place my ancestors settled, but it is also exactly what people thought beer was for ages and ages, a mystical liquid made by a mystical process.”
While it is well known in brewing circles that the fermentation and yeast selection is key to producing a quality beer, Bryan’s unique insight and devotion to that process, coupled with his success as a homebrewer, is what strives to set Mystic apart from others. In trying to capture truly native New England character in their beer, Mystic has gone as far as isolating native New England brewing yeasts in an effort to capture what our local ‘beer terroir,’ what beers would have tasted like in New England even before the pilgrims landed. On the subject of New England ancestry, Emily can trace her roots back to Roger Sherman, signer of the Declaration of Independence and members of the First Congress of the United States.
The designation 16° to the unfermented beer (wort) used in this line of beers, refers to degrees plato, which is a measurement of the amount of sugars in the unfermented beer (similar to ‘brix’ used to measure grape sugars).  It harkens back to a similar scale used historically in Belgium to classify beers.
Saison beers are particularly well suited for special dinners. They end up on the stronger side for beer at 7.0% ABV and are fermented out dry by the saison yeast, Renaud. These two factors amplify food flavors by drawing them out and helping make them aromatic.

Wilco Tango Foxtrot
Lagunitas Brewing Company
Petaluma, California
A few months ago we brought you “Hop Stoopid” to rave reviews. Here is the latest of the seasonal offering from Lagunitas Brewing Company. According to the label this is a “Jobless Recovery Ale”, whatever that means. To us, it is just another excuse/reason to have another excellent Lagunitas beer. After tasting this ale, you too are sure to exclaim “Wilco Tango Foxtrot” as well!
Lagunitas calls WTF an American Brown Ale, which is their own interpretation of Brown Ale. It is maltier and hoppier than Brown Ale with a distinct chocolaty feel with raisins, plums and caramel in the finish.

Tripel “Cinq Cents”
Bieres de Chimay
Belgium

Chimay is an authentic Trappist beer. That means that it is brewed within the walls of a          Trappist   monastery under the control and responsibility of the community of monks, and whose revenue is devoted to social service.
The “Authentic Trappist Product” logo is granted by the International Trappist Association. It guarantees the consumer the Trappist origin of the products according to well-established  principles:

  1. They are manufactured on-site or in close proximity to the monastery.
  2. The monastic community is engaged in management and all aspects of the means necessary for their operation. This must clearly reflect both the unquestionably subordinate relationship with the beneficiary monastery and the relationship with the culture of the enterprise itself in the plan of monastic life.
  3. The income provides for the major portion of the necessities of the community and for social services.

The Chimay Triple, aka “Cinq Cents”, is the last-born of the Abbey. It has a golden color, the Trappist beer combines sweet and bitter in a rare balance. The beer’s aroma felt in the mouth comes from the hops’ perfumes: above all, they are fruity touches of Muscat grapes and raisins, even ripe apples.
“Hazed golden straw with a very active carbonation that holds the firm white lace together. Ripe apple skin and medicinal aroma with some pale grainy malt and earthy yeast. Richly textured with the ultra smooth and highly crisp mouth feel, carbonation is high though it is the perfect fixture and helps a bit in drinkability. Hop bitterness is quick but somewhat potent which is followed by an earthy yeast that has a soft powdery quality to it. Big fruitiness, with bold yet suitable alcoholic esters that don’t get too flamboyant. Alcohol is a bit illusory, you know its there but not at the 8.0% level. Grainy maltiness with hints of raw orange blossom honey and a good dose of medicinal phenols. Touch of sweetness upfront but eternally dry in the finish.” (Jason Alström) ~ Beer Advocate 95 points

Double Chocolate Stout
Wells and Youngs Brewery
Bedford, England
Charles Wells founded Wells Brewery in 1875. In 2006, Charles Wells and Young and Co of Wandsworth in London merged their brewing and brands divisions to create the UK’s largest family owned brewery. Wells and Young’s was formed in September 2006 and created a significant force in the brewing world. Despite its size the quality remains first rate.
This is a milk or sweet stout which is a stout that has a larger amount of residual dextrins and unfermented sugars that give the brew more body and a sweetness that counters the roasted character. Milk Stouts are very similar to Sweet Stouts, but brewers add unfermentable sugars, usually lactose, to the brew kettle to add body and some sweetness.
“Outstanding head … all canned nitro brews are like this right? Smells of powdered hot chocolate, hint of alcohol, kiss of roasted grain and some sweetness. This pretty much goes the same for the flavour but add a vague fruitiness, a bitter twang from the hops and roasted malt, and a remarkable smoothness.” (Alström Bros) ~ Beer Advocate 91 points

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