Black Butte XXVI (26th Anniversary Reserve) by Deschutes Brewery

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Black Butte XXVI (26th Anniversary Reserve) by Deschutes Brewery is 10.8% ABV Imperial Porter brewed with pomegranate molasses with 50% aged in bourbon barrels blended with ale with cocoa nibs and cranberry added.

Our 26th anniversary imperial porter was aged in bourbon barrels and dry spiced with theo chocolate’s cocoa nibs, revealing hints of vanilla and chocolate. Pomegranate molasses and Oregon cranberries complement the robust flavor with a hint of fruits and just enough tart to make you smile.

Each year they release this beer, they always use different ingredients. I have been fortunate enough to be able to try the 24th and 25th. Today I bring you their 26th. Since I loved the previous years versions, I can only imagine this years version will be insane. I picked this one up at Ramirez Liquors and Kegs in Boyle Heights near downtown Los Angeles. I wish I could of picked up 2 but due to the 1 bottle limit I was unfortunate. I can only hope they have more in stock or if I am lucky to get it again. These types of beers are definitely the ones you want to try regardless of your previous conviction. Each one amazing and every year getting better. So on to the review and cheers!!

25th Anniversary Review (

Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, vanilla, oak, bourbon hints, rich pomegranate, raspberries, slight tart cranberries, dark fruit raisins, cherries, smoke hints, dulce de leche caramel, chocolate fudge cake, hazelnut, almond joy, coconut, banana, clove spice, brown sugar, pecan pie, chocolate abuelita, tobacco, molasses, and strawberry preserves on rye bread.

Chocolate covered tart pomegranates, raspberries, cranberries, smokey notes, marshmallows, coconut hints, dark cherries, dark fruit raisins, figs, bananas, clove spice, marshmallow smores, vanilla, oak, bourbon, pecan pie, flan, almond joy, earthy bitterness, chocolate abuelita, strawberry preservers on rye bread, hazelnut nectar, walnuts, pecans, maple bar, molasses, brown sugar, anise hints, chocolate fudge cake, dragon fruit nectar, bubble gum hints and licorice hints.

Dark chocolate, earthy notes, tart cranberries, pomegranate, strawberry, banana hints, caramel, vanilla, oak, smokey notes, tobacco, walnuts and pecans. No alcohol in the taste, silky and smooth mouthfeel even easy to drink surprisingly. Dark as the night appearance. Careful with this one as its smoothness will make you want to drink the whole bottle in one sitting.

Even more exceptional than the last. Seems like every year they go all out with their release and each one is well up there in terms of flavors and deliciousness. By all means, this very exceptional and I definitely will be looking for this one again assuming I can find it again. I highly recommend this one because a dessert beer in a bottle, the rich flavors will linger and linger for quite a awhile on that palate making each sip just extraordinary delicious!!

Anime Corner:
Midna (Both Forms) from The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princes was chosen once again this year for the Black Butte release. I had chosen her in the previous releases since I wanted to represent the mixing of 2 of the same ale together. One being the the bourbon barrel aged (Twili Midna on the right) and the cocoa nibs and cranberry (Midna on the left). They are both the same person and both are kick ass. The pomegranate and cranberry colors can be see by the crimson in their beautiful eyes, staring seductively at your soul (sweet and tart) taking you to a land of pleasure…Or so this beer makes me feel in that sense. Don’t be fooled though, take your time with this one, she can be misleading and evil but only if you let her be.


Pumpkick by New Belgium

546930_10101439808184820_403516156_nRating: 2.8/5

Pumpkick by New Belgium is a 6% ABV Pumpkin ale brewed with pumpkin juice, cranberry juice and spices

What’s that bite of tartness doing in a pumpkin beer? Adding the unexpected kick of cranberry juice to brighten this traditionally spiced seasonal ale. PUMPKICK is brewed with plenty of pumpkin juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, but it’s the cranberries and touch of lemongrass that send your tastebuds sailing.

Pumpkick is a beer that was made as a rerelease of Lips of Faith Kick which I had a couple of years ago. Back then the beer was a collaboration with Elysian and possibly the recipe has changed a lot since the the last time I tried it. I will review and see if this pumpkin beer is as good as the Kick I used to remember

Aromas are of cinnamon, pumpkin spice, nutmeg, biscuit malts, caramel, hints of cranberries, cherry candy hints and a bit of brown sugar

The flavors are of pumpkin spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, light cranberry notes, biscuit, caramel, brown sugar and pecan notes.

The aftertaste is pretty dry. Very refreshing and easy to drink.

Overall it is an okay beer. The original kick was way better from what I remember. That one actually had distinct flavors of pumpkin and cranberry which worked pretty well for it. New Blegium unfortunately no longer makes it. If this was their replacement, I think they need to kick it up a notch with more awesome flavors or just bring back kick!! Either way, it is not a bad beer for a 6 pack and it has good merit in its own way, especially for the season. Worth trying once but I would recommend getting a stronger pumpkin beer.

Grand Cru by Rodenbach of Steenhuffel Belgium

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Grand Cru by Rodenbach of Steenhuffel Belgium is a 6% ABV World Class Flanders Red Ale aged in oak vats. Composed of 33% “young” ale and 67% ale matured for two years

Rodenbach Grand Cru is an exceptional Belgian ale known as Flemish Red Brown Ale. It enjoys a special status in Belgium as a “Traditional Regional” product. A mixed fermentation ale, Rodenbach is matured in oak vats, giving this ale a signature sweet-sour taste and intense bouquet with a very long after taste like a Grand Cru wine. Rodenbach Grand Cru is a blend of “young” ale (33%) and ale that has matured for two years (67%).

While looking for the old Lips of Faith New Belgium Grand Cru, I was recommended to get this one instead as it was highly recommended by one of the personnel at the store. I have had may experiences with Grand Crus and those have become a progressing favorite style of mine as I try more. When I read this was a Flanders ale or Flemish Red brown I was was kind of surprised. At first I thought, well, most grand crus are red or brown in color but a lot of Belgian Strong Dark Ales or even Quadruples. At that point I realized, this I had to see. To my surprise, this was not a sour beer at all, it was more delightful

Aromas are of wine grapes close to funky beer, but then I got a rush of greater dark cherry yogurt fragrances as well as dulce de leche caramel, vanilla, toffee, apples, pears, buttery biscuit, butterscotch, raspberries, cherry cobbler, cherry pie, figs, raisins and brown sugar.

The flavors was definitely not what I has presumed. You don’t get much sour notes, but instead more tangy cherry notes and more fruit driven flavors like apples, apricots, raisins, figs, wine grapes, raspberries, tart cranberries, currants and black berries. You also get dulce de caramel, vanilla, cherry cobbler, cherry pie notes, oak wood, light lemon dash, earthy spices, and Black cherry yogurt.

The aftertaste is caramel sweet and cherry tart with some nice light acidic and bready notes. Not your typical sour at all. Dark crimson blood body yet pleasing to drink.

Over all, I was highly impressed. This is the first time I try a Flanders that was not more tart to sour flavored. This is the sour noted beer that many of those people that love fruity beers but don’t like sours would absolutely love. Now I see why its simply amazing. Leave it to Belgium to create the best beers in the world. If they can take a lighty funky beer and make it compete with the quads and dark strongs as “Grand Crus”, that has got to be Godly.

La Folie 2013 by New Belgium

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La Folie 2013 by New Belgium is a 7% ABV Sour Brown Ale also known as Flanders Oud Bruin style

Seriously Sour. This Flanders-Style Reddish Brown Ale Was Fermented 1-3 Years In French Oak Barrels For Mouth Puckering Perfection

Strangely enough, this one was considered a very highly sought out beer. Even the reviews on the websites put it in world class status. Last time I saw something like that was with their abbey ale, which I swear, ultimately awesome. Still gotta get me one of those for the reviews here :P. Aromas are just like some of the Jolly Pumpkin beers I have had in the past, especially La Roja. Fragrances of sour dark cherries, wine grapes, currants, raisins, figs, some sweet caramel, strong oak barrel, tart cranberries and some hazelnut. The flavors are just like some of the sours I remember but with a little more sweet flavors. Tart apples, cherries, grapes, earthy caramel, mouth puckering cranberries, currants, raisins, sweet caramel, peaches, vanilla oak, strong beech wood, funky, acidic, biscuit and chocolate flavors reminiscent of the New Belgium ingredients like Fat Tire. Maybe if they were to take the Fat Tire amber and turn it into this sour, then you would have a winner known as La Folie. It takes a special liking to enjoy a beer like this. Sours are usually a moderate favorite of mine if made right. Jolly pumpkin makes a vast variety of sours that are unique as they took sours into newer realms. I can see why many believe this is a World Class beers. It truly is in the world of sour beers. It is like La Roja but more flavors. This would pair well with other things even foods I am sure. So if you are a sour beer fan, get this for sure, otherwise, it may not be your thing.

Red Poppy Ale by The Lost Abbey

304305_10101089984459370_2002973560_nRating: 4.5/5

Red Poppy Ale by The Lost Abbey is 5%ABV Flanders Red Ale brewed with poppy seeds, cherries and aged in oak barrels.

Perhaps no country embraces the use of fruit in beers more so than Belgium. Numerous traditional as well as regional specialty ales are infused with every sort of fruit imaginable. In this way, the flavor of the fruit becomes especially prominent. 

Red Poppy Ale is a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries in an explosion of aromas and tastes. Brewed from a brown ale base and aged in our oak barrels for over 6 months, this beer is not for the faint of heart. The Golden Poppy is the state flower of California and the Red Poppy is found in Flanders Fields where our inspiration for this beer comes from.

It has been a while since I last this one. Almost like 2 years. I decided to do another go to see how it is. The fragrance is nice and sour like I remember it. Aromas of cherries, peach, some oak and coffee bread like notes, somewhat flowery, grape, raisins, some vanilla, almost chocolate scent, wine, sweet bread, brown sugar and caramel. The flavors are of immediate tart cherry, wine grapes, peach, apples, vanilla, sour tart cranberries, coffee cake, a little bit of chocolate, raisins, green apples, some slight raisin bread pudding, caramel, some citrus sour and funky notes. This beer is reminiscent of La Roja from Jolly pumpkin except this one is more focused on other different types of flavors other than wine. Sour beer lovers will like this one although for me, while it is still pretty awesome in terms of sours, I have tried other sours like those of JP and were pretty delicious. The Lost Abbey is one of my favorite breweries and their beers are definitely world class 🙂

2011 Review:
Lost abbey Red Poppy ale. Flanders Red Ale brewed with cherries. No head from the pour. Awesome fragrance of cherries, vanilla , and peach immediately overwhelm the nose. The taste is a complex mix of sour tart cherries with oak like after taste. Lost Abbey yeast is also present as usual :P. In short, like smelling and drinking a flower..LOL Red Poppy..desert like brew >:3