Bob’s Beer Bits and Sips
Lone Tree Brewing Cucumber Wheat
Lone Tree Brewing Company opened in 2011 and is named for the city in Colorado it is located in. It is now canning its popular 5.2% ABV, 25 IBU Cucumber Wheat Beer, which was first brewed in June of 2016 to celebrate the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. Cucumber is a vegetable not often found in beer, but after trying this brew with fresh cucumber flavors and just enough hop profile for a crisp finish, I think that could be about to change. This light and refreshing ale is primed to be enjoyed during the waning hot days of summer. Find the brewery online at lonetreebrewingco.com.
Chimay Grande Réserve Barrel Aged Rhum Edition
Most beer-savvy drinkers are aware of the Chimay brewery’s Red, White and Blue ales, but the Belgian Trappist brewery brews several other ales besides its three flagship beers. For the first time the brewery utilized its original Christmas brew, Chimay Grande Réserve, with triple fermentation and maturation in three types of wooden barrels: 36% French oak, 42% American oak and 22% Rhum barrels that previously aged rum, to create its latest creation, the Chimay Grande Réserve Barrel Aged Rhum Edition. This unfiltered and unpasteurized Belgian strong ale registers 10.5% ABV and not only embodies its original Grande Réserve characteristics with notes of caramel and vanilla, but also brings a rounded, oak flavor. This is not a year-round release, so if you see it, grab it.
Moody Tongue has established itself as a foodie brewery, and rightly so, as its Owner/Brewer Jared Rouben is a Culinary Institute of America-Hyde Park graduate. In 2013 the former Goose Island brewmaster went out on his own, and founded his own brewery, the aptly named Moody Tongue Brewing Company. Several of the Chicago-based brewery’s beers have a food component, the most renowned of which is the Caramelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter with cocoa nibs, caramel and vanilla bean imparting flavors of Mexican Oaxacan chocolate. Other culinary-inspired creations include Peeled Grapefruit Pilsner, which captures the sweet, sour and bitter tastes from the grapefruit within a light, refreshing body; Steeped Emperor’s Lemon Saison with spicy Sorachi Ace hops and saison yeast balanced with slightly sweet Meyer lemon; and Sliced Nectarine IPA with the stone fruit offsetting the grapefruit acidity of Chinook hops. If you love food in your beer, as I do, you owe it to yourself to check out the brewery’s portfolio at moodytongue.com.
Black Butte XXIX
Black Butte Porter is thought by many to be the benchmark for the modern day craft beer porter style, so when once a year the Deschutes Brewery celebrates its anniversary with an imperial, barrel-aged version of its flagship, fans of the brew take notice. Each year the brewery experiments with fun ingredients and this year, the 29th anniversary Birthday Reserve is brewed with chocolate malt, Dutched cocoa powder, Saigon cinnamon, cayenne and turbinado sugar and 50% aged in bourbon and rum barrels. As this 12% ABV gem only comes out once a year, don’t hesitate to hunt one down.
Samuel Smith’s Organic Ales
In recent years many consumers have been searching out organic products and more and more producers are joining in the organic wave. For this family-owned brewery with over 250 years of history, there is really nothing more traditional and authentic than brewing organically, which it has done since 1758, when all beer was organic! In 2009, after sourcing organic ingredients and receiving organic certification, Melbourn Bros. became a Certified Organic brewery and its Samuel Smith’s Organic Apricot, Cherry, Raspberry, and Strawberry ales were launched to huge success and each took a Gold in the US Open Beer Championship: Strawberry in 2009, Raspberry in 2010, Apricot in 2012 and Cherry in 2014. Previously its Organic Strawberry Ale and Organic Apricot Ale have only been available in 18.7 oz bottles, but due to requests for an on-premise bottle, and also to the growing popularity of multi-packs, beginning in August 2017 are now being packaged in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles.