On Friday, March 20th, 2015, the “I Love Beer” Show featured a number of great tasting craft beers at Jimmy and Myrna’s Cantina in Las Vegas, Nevada. Normally, we only feature about 3 or so beers on each show, but this show was different as we decided to enjoy a “Bottle Share” to kick in the new spring season after an absolutely brutal winter that for most was filled with freezing temperatures and way too much snow. Little did we know that we all had the same thought in mind – Belgian craft beers! So sit back, watch the show video and get to your local craft beer store and stock up on the selections we featured, all MAJOR winners!
Then we went “Epic” with Brainless® Belgian Release #66 from Epic Brewing in Salt Lake City, Utah. Talk about a great “change of seasons” beer! This 9% alcohol Belgian is made from Premium Weyermann Pilsner, Ultra-Premium Muntons Maris Otter, Light Candy Sugar, Briess Carapils Malt, Flaked Oats and Briess White Wheat Malt with Premiant, Tettnang and Saaz hops added to the boil. Try it with a taste of pineapple. You want to taste a truly unique Belgian, this is the craft beer for you – you just can’t drink it in Salt Lake City, as Dameron explains in the video.
Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka California provided the next beer for our bottleshare. We previously featured their 8-Ball Stout and as a result, keep our eyes open when we hear good news from these guys. As such we grabbed their 25th Anniversary and had to give it a try. This Belgian Strong Dark Ale came in at 8.8% alcohol and poured dark hazy brownish orange with a nice thick off-white head that dies down to a pooling thin foam and light lacing. We immediately detected a slight nose of figs, dark plums, orange zest, and brown sugar with a sweet malt flavor up front. The beer had a really nice mouth feel with a moderate carbonation, and a nice malty aftertaste you must try if you can – especially if you like the Trappist beers. And the best part is they say they love you on the bottle!
Make sure you listen to Jimmy’s story of La Chouffe beer, brewed at the Achouffe Brewery in Belgium. You can’t get more Belgian than this! At 8% alcohol, La Chouffe is an unfiltered blond beer which is refermented both in the bottle and in barrels. It is pleasantly fruity, spiced with coriander and tinged with hops. What a find this beer was! In fact, this “world class” selection was basically the show favorite and tasted so good, we decided on the spot to do a whole show featuring beers from Achouffe. Look for that on an upcoming show, but for now, look for the 4-pack featured on the video and get this beer today!
Goose Island’s Pere Jacques was up next on the bottle-share. Brewed with loads of malt and Belgian yeast, this amazingly fruity, 8.7% alcohol Belgian Style Abbey ale features complex malt flavors which stand shoulder to shoulder next to any Belgian Dubbels. It’s a limited release beer that pours a warm molasses color using Saaz and First Gold hops with 2-Row, Wheat, Caramel, Rye Flakes, Special B, and Candy Sugar malts. It produces a rich, soft, body that tastes amazing! As Goose Island Matilda fans (along with their 312 of course), we knew we had to try the Pere Jacques as soon as we found it – and we were right!
After a short break, we continued the show with an Dry Irish Stout from Brooklyn Brewing. Weighing in at a very sessionable 4.7% alcohol level, we knew we had a winner even before tasting it because of the great reputation of Brooklyn Brewing. (We absolutely LOVE their Local 1 and Local 2). This particular dry Irish Stout is a blend of dark roasted, pale, and flaked malts including two-row English, black malt, black barley, caramel malt and unmalted barley that produces a thick, natural head and giving off a rich coffee and chocolate flavor with perfect carbonation. It’s hopped with Willamette, Fuggles, Cascade, and East Kent Golding hops resulting in a stout packed with flavor and complexity that you’d expect from a bigger stout, but is still light and easy drinking.
When you sample this many high alcohol belgian craft beers, it’s bound to get to you so we needed another short break, then resumed the show with Deshutes Brewing Doppel Dinkel Bock, a 10.5% Weizenbock. Deshutes, based in Bend, Oregon, is another one of our favorite breweries that we keep tabs on, so as soon as we found this bock, we snapped it up to try on the show. Also known as “Conflux No. 3” and brewed in collaboration with Germany’s Distelhauser Brewery, this imperial spelt beer features a generous amount of dinkel (spelt) malt in place of the traditional wheat malt. The result features aromas of bubblegum, banana, clove, citrus, and a slight spiciness which is smooth, full bodied and drinkable. Can you go wrong with anything from Deshutes? The answer is no.
We finished off the show strong with the Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean from Stone Brewing Company in Escondido, California. By adding Madagascar vanilla beans to a small batch of their finished porter, Stone Brewing has produced yet another winner. At 5.9% alcohol, rich vanilla melding with the malty, chocolatey, coffee-like characteristics of the beer, makes this a delicious porter to try. You can definitely taste the vanilla at the start, and then mid-palate the cocoa and smoke come in. The finish has a slight vanilla astringency and a malty fullness.It’s incredibly balanced and complex with a smooth, slightly dry finish on the palate. It’s a must try for porter lovers everywhere!
All hits, no misses! That’s why you watch the “I Love Beer” Show and that’s why we welcome you all to become a part of the show either by attending a live taping or suggesting a venue or craft beer for us to showcase on the show. Happy Spring!