Top Three Tuesday: Dead of Winter ’14 Edition
As we suffer through these last six weeks of winter, let’s take refuge inside, preferably next to a roaring fire with a delicious beer.
This time of year, the beers I reach for tend toward the dark, roasty porters and stouts, as well as higher ABV beers like barrel aged and imperial-ized beers.
To start off this edition of Top Three Tuesday is a collaborative beer from one of my favorite local brewers, Scott LaFollette. I found this beer at the Party Source when I thought for sure that none remained, which is why I just had to share – it’s a mid winter miracle!!
Savage Blank is a Belgian golden ale aged in oak barrels with Sauvignon blanc grape juice, that Scott made for the Quaff Bros, the barrel aging “gypsy” brewing label of the Party Source. At the time of this beer’s release in 2013 I scooped up two bottles, which was the purchase limit. Yesterday the hubs and I took a trip down to the Party Source and low and behold they had bottles of Savage Blank!
The aroma and flavor of this beer is complex. You get a nice blend of the white wine grapes, combined with bourbon barrel flavor. The bourbon was prominent when this beer first came out but has likely mellowed out over time. The lovely Belgian golden ale base still manages to shine through despite all that is going on here. This is a unique, one time only beer so if you can snatch up one of the last bottles at the Party Source I would HIGHLY recommend doing so.
Next up: Black Butte Porter from Deschutes Brewery
Deschutes’ beers just arrived in Cincinnati and boy am I glad. Not only do they make a delicious beer, but the Deschutes employees are extremely nice. I had the pleasure of meeting one of their brewers, Cal, at the Rhinegeist/Deschutes ‘Hats of to the Homebrewers Event’. My favorite beer from the event was their Black Butte (pronounced like beauty, no y) Porter.
This lovely beer is 5.2% ABV with 30 IBUs. Their is a hint of hops up front with a really nice balance of roasty coffee and chocolate malts. The body is full but has a nice crisp finish. All around a really drinkable porter. Lucky for you, you can now find Black Butte all around Ohio – hooray!
and last but not least, a unique beer with a heart wrenching story:
Matt’s Burning Rosids from Stone Brewing Company.
Matt Courtright, the name sake of this beer, was killed in an on the job forklift accident at Stone Brewing in 2013. In his honor, among other things Stone brewed his recipe for an imperial saison with cherrywood smoked malt. Stone is also donating some of the proceeds from sale of this beer to Matt’s favorite charities.
Though I don’t love a super smoky beer, I was recommended this one from my friends at Dutchs, one of my favorite local watering holes, with the promise that the smoky flavor was not overpowering. Since I love a saison, I decided to go for it.
For me, the smoked malt came through more as an oaky woody flavor and not so much “smoked.” You get all the saisony goodness with peppery phenols and lively Belgian yeast combined with a unique woody flavor that is most apparent in the dry finish and after taste. This is another truly unique beer worth trying. At 10.5% you can definitely cellar the beer, or drink immediately. Stone is donating some of the proceeds from sale of this beer to Matt’s favorite charities so buying the beer has the added bonus of doing some good for the world.
Have you tried any of these beers? What are you drinking and loving in these doldrums of winter? Cheers!