Last night I had the pleasure of trying two beers that I am not able to get here in Central New Jersey. My buddy and I have a system where we ship beers to each other. I send him a beer or two that are not available to him in California, and He ships a beer or two back not available to me! This time around it was his turn. He sent me two beers. The first was a brew from the New Belgium Brewing Co. “1554 Enlightened Black Ale”, according to New Belgium this ale is a recipe that they have recovered from Belgium that dates back to 1554. The Second was a collaboration of three different Brewers; Ken Schmidt (a home brewer), Maui Brewing Co., and Stone Brewing. “Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter”. Once the beers arrived I immediately shot out a text letting my buddy know that they had been delivered. We then figured out a time we can get together and enjoy them. Yes even though I am on the Right Coast and my buddy is on the Left Coast we still get together for a brew…via Skype! Okay enough background, on to the Brews.
The New Belgium “1554 Enlightened Black Ale” came to me in a 1pt 6oz bottle. It has an ABV of 5.6%. Since I am still working slowly on collecting beer glasses, I poured it in a pilsener glass. It poured a dark reddish color with a large off white head. Its smell had roasty, caramel coffee notes with a sweetness. It had a good mouth feel, smooth almost but not quite creamy. The taste was sweet with a slight bitterness like chocolate. Despite its mild smoothness it was still rather light and dry. This black ale had decent lacing as I enjoyed it over the internet with my buddy. The aftertaste was not strong and seemed to vanish, somewhat quickly. Overall I would not turn it away if it was offered to me. It was a solid beer, but it is not a beer that I will go out of my way to seek out in the future. Worth a try.
Now on to the Ken Schmidt Maui Stone Kona Coffee Macadamia Coconut Porter. I received this in a 12oz bottle. It has an ABV of 8.9%. It is an Imperial/Strong Porter,so I expected it be bring something of substance to my palate. Once again I poured this into a pilsener glass. It was a brown dark color and had a large head and descent cascading action. This may be due to the fact that it traveled 3000 miles over a weeks time before it entered my refrigerator to rest for a day. Never the less upon pouring it, it smelled very much of coffee with an after note of coconut. It tasted roasty and sweet with a nutty finish. I did not taste much in the way of coconut though. The alcohol content is slightly higher in this beer than most others and you know it right away! This beer does not hide the alcohol at all, to the point where at first it is almost abrasive. I imagined that it would be comparable to coffee with a double shot of Malibu Rum. However, the more I had the less abrasive the alcohol was. The palate does warm up and get used to it, and it is at that point after the first few sips it goes from harsh to smooth. There was very little lacing on the glass. As I drank this I tried to think what food would pair with this. I thought that maybe a nice creamy slice of Cheese Cake would be nice to partner with this brew. Over all I would have to say this beer is an experience. It was very complex with its layering of flavors and smells. I did enjoy it very much, but I believe that it is an experience I personally only need to have once. If you ever get the chance I would recommend trying this trifecta collaboration!
Check back for new Beerventures that I have on my own or with friends! Here’s to Good Beers!