Beer Journal

A quasi-daily examination of beer and things related to beer.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

New: Samuel Adams Summer Mix Pack

Last year I took a sip of Saranac's 12 Beer of Summer. Not to be outdone, Samuel Adams has been releasing seasonal-based mix packages, and while less adventurous than Saranac's it's still a nice little collection they've got for themselves this summer.

There are six beers in the pack: Boston Lager, Boston Ale, Cherry Wheat, Pale Ale, Summer Ale and Hefeweizen. I don't want to give any of them a full judging yet; Samuel Adams beers never taste good in Texas. Perhaps it's the shipping. Maybe they save all the good batches up north for themselves and send all the duds down here they way Texas does with [comment removed by HEB].

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Now on Tap: Old Rasputin

Summer has all but arrived, and you know what that means - more time to write and drink about it. This past weekend I made a short trip to Austin, and as usual, I've got some nice brews to show for it.

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Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Brewer: North Coast Brewing Company
Location: Fort Bragg, CA
Alcohol: 9%

Old Rasputin is the Mark Spitz of the beer world: more gold medals than knows what to do with, but 99.9% of the public couldn't pick him out of a crowd (and less than 50% probably even know the name). Given the amount of praise heaped upon this drink (see above link for some examples, or check out Barley Vine, a Houston-based beer blog), it's high time I gave it a try. Before this past Saturday, I had yet been able to find the beer in-store.

The beer itself is extremely dark - among the darker I have ever seen, looking quite like an espresso. There is some great flavor complexity here, and they are that which you'd expect from a stout: mainly, coffee and chocolate. Neither is overpowering, though, instead the roasted flavor is the one that carries throughout most of this smooth drink. And let's not forget the "imperial" tag, which carries with the high alcohol content that makes the drink rather unsuitable for dessert accompaniment. Instead, Old Rasputin is an apertief in and of itself.

All of that is to say that this beer is pretty spectacular, worthy of the lot of accolades.

Rating: 9.6