Bob’s Beer Bits and Sips
Nothing Sweet About this Lindemans
Lindemans Cuvée René Oude Kriek Lambic Ale
Everyone knows Lindemans for their soda pop-like sweet Frambois, Kriek and Peche, which are loaded with added sugar, but few realize that this is a lambic brewery that makes plenty of sour beers. Case in point is its Cuvée René Oude Kriek Lambic Ale, which is intensely sour, with no sugar added, and made even more tart by the addition of whole sour cherries including the pits and the natural airborne yeast as well as aging for at least six months in old huge 10,000-liter 200+ gallons oak barrels called foudres. In addition, it is tempered by blending aged lambic with young lambic. Although this beer has been brewed by the Belgian brewery since 1961, it is being imported to the US for the first time, and was released in February, 2016. This beer packs plenty of pucker for traditional lambic lovers and those just venturing into the world of unsweetened lambics.
Spicing It Up with Rye
Red Hook Summerhook
Rye is an ingredient that has been popping up in several beers in recent years, and for good reason; rye has its own distinct flavor and adds a crisp, slightly spicy flavor but also enhances the overall complexity of a beer’s flavor. Red Hook, one of America’s first craft breweries, established in Seattle 1981, first introduced its Sun Rye in 2003, but now has come out with a hoppier version, Summerhook. This sessionable 4.7% ABV golden rye ale has a high rye malt bill and is brewed with Northwest hops giving it a subtle hop profile. Of note is Redhook’s new, refreshed packaging, which harkens back to the modern classic designs that celebrate Redhook’s heritage and its original look and feel.
A Beer Worth Waiting For
AleSmith Private Stock Ale
We all know about aging a fine wine, but what about beer? San Diego-based AleSmith Brewing Company’s new Vintage Series is an annual quartet of seasonally released beers that are high gravity beers perfectly suited for cellaring. The series kicked off with Private Stock Ale, an 11% ABV imperial English-style brew that can be aged for up to 20 years and is quite rich and malt-forward, showcasing soft notes of currants and dried fruit balanced with a subtle bitterness. Originally created by AleSmith CEO and Brewmaster Peter Zien during his days as a homebrewer, the Private Stock Ale was first professionally produced in 2005 under the moniker AleSmith Olde Ale. It remained a favorite among the company’s brew crew and fans and was brewed every five years, but now due to popular demand is being released yearly, which will allow you to stock up on each year’s vintage and track its progress as it ages via vertical tastings wherein one samples multiple vintages spanning several consecutive years to taste, smell, compare and contrast each of them while gaining a better understanding and appreciation of how the beer ages over time.
Zien said, “Cellaring is the brewing industry’s next frontier and we want to help our fans to successfully enjoy the metamorphic journey some of our finest beers take when matured for extended periods of time.”
Private Stock Ale is the 2016 Vintage Series’ spring offering, and will be followed by Decadence Anniversary Ale this summer, AleSmith Wee Heavy in autumn and AleSmith Grand Cru in winter.
Barrel-aged Sour Goodness
Half Moon Bay Brewing Company Ocho Barril Magic Beer Genie Belgian Dark Strong
Two segments of the craft beer market that have taken off are barrel aged and sour beers. Half Moon Bay Brewing is catering to both, as the California brewery located in the city it’s named for has launched its Ocho Barril series of sour barrel-aged beers created by Brewmaster James Costa, with each batch producing 420 gallons filling eight oak barrels. First up is Magic Beer Genie, a 10.7% ABV Belgian-style Dark Strong Ale aged for at least 12 months with a custom blend of Saccharomyces, Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus added to the barrels during secondary fermentation, which work together to create its sour bite with a mélange of bright acidity and funky barnyard finish.