Black & Blue by Dogfish Head

999069_10101295878895270_1465842618_nRating: 4.25/5

Black & Blue by Dogfish Head is a 10% ABV Belgian Golden Ale brewed with Black raspberry and Blueberry puree.

COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION (ratebeer.com)
Black & Blue is golden Belgian Ale made with over 300 lbs of fresh blackberries and blueberries. With a deep purple full body and a long-lasting lacy pink head, this ale is both attractive and delicious! It is tart and fruity, like our brewers! The subtle bitterness of Hallertau and Saaz hops shines through the fruit forward flavor and sets the palate aglow. (30 IBUs). This tasty brew has smooth but noticeable alcohol warmth. Belgian yeast gives this brew a characteristically dry spicy finish. The beautiful interplay of fruit, spice, and alcohol is complimented by a soft malt profile, and a high level of carbonation.
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Aromas are of grapes, biscuit bread, raspberries, blueberries, wheat, cherries, citrus, peach, apples, coriander spice and strawberry jam.

The flavors are of lots of tart black and blueberries, wine grapes, apple, apricots, biscuit bread, wheat, apples, citrus, coriander spice, bananas on toast with strawberry jam, and clove notes.

Pretty sweet, fruity and tart beer. Hard to sense the alcohol. It is one of those beers that hides the alcohol very well. The beer almost feels sorta like a wine in the after taste but leaves a good amount of very nice residual banana and fruit on bread.

Overall, for people that like wine or fruit beers, this is very nice. What makes it that more delicious is the Belgian yeast strain which gives it that nice clovey, banana bread like flavors through out the beer. 

Certainly this does very good in comparison to other fruit beers. Except for maybe their Forte beer and the awesome Montegiocco Draco which is brewed with lots of Blueberries and makes is actually taste like a blueberry muffin. Anyways, that is another beer in a past review. Still, this beer does very well for itself. It is one of those beers that I would go with if I am in the mood for a fruit beer. Unless its chocolate and fruit, then that would be something else altogether

Second Anniversary Grand Cru by Figueroa Mountain Brewing

524681_10101129754165560_1250385001_nRating: 5/5

Second Anniversary Grand Cru by Figueroa Mountain Brewing is a 10.7% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Label: 
Hand picked – imported – specialty malts, and a yeast strain from the Brasserie de Rochefort gives this Belgian-style strong ale aromas of dried stone fruit, raisins and dates atop caramel and toffee. Rich and malty-sweet but with a dry, warming finish.
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Looking back at the first time I tried this beer in Pasadena’s own King’s Row Gastro Pub, I remember I had to order this one like 3 times. What can I say I realized it was an amazing beer. I only recently was able to get one of these for review. Aromas are of delicious Belgian beer goodness. Dark fruits like plums, cherries, raisins, dates, figs, dulce de leche caramel, whole cane unprocessed sugar cones, sweet bread, biscuit, like a port wine reminiscent of Trois Pistoles, grapes and some minor chocolate. The flavors is where it’s at. The flavors are close to the Cherry and Belgian bread from Three Philosophers but lighter in terms of mouth feel. You get raisins, cherries, toffee, dulde de leche caramel, dates, apples, plums, minor banana esters and cloves, grapes, brown sugar, honey biscuit and Belgian bread dipped in a light port wine. This beer is great since it allows the great complexity of some Belgian beers but drinkable level. It is not a quad, but it is close to the Trappists as it is using Rochefort yeast. Overall, this is definitely a must try. Now I need to go back to Pasadena and get some more on tap. This little bottle was kind of pricey but very worth it. Just supporting local breweries here in California 😛

Stone Cali-Belgique India Pale

8947_10101113148099250_2146186661_n 559164_10101113151492450_1823794525_n 575657_10101113150953530_1818817387_nRating: 4.8/5

Stone Cali-Belgique India Pale is 6.9%ABV Belgian India Pale Ale.

Label: 
The name “Stone Cali-Belgique IPA” both begs a question, and answers it at the same time. It begs the “what exactly is that?” question, and then answers it: “Stone” designates this ale as one brewed by the Stone Brewing Co., “Cali” hints that it is a California-style IPA (which all of our IPAs are, as Stone is certainly one of the best known progenitors of the West Coast IPA style), and finally, it has an undeniable Belgian influence, indicated by the word “Belgique” (which is how Belgium’s French-speaking population say the word “Belgian”…the Dutch-speaking Belgians say “België”*). “IPA” of course stands for “India Pale Ale”—but this label is not the time nor place to delve into that storied history. Of course, there is the implicitly posed and as yet unanswered question of what exactly the Belgian/Belgique/België influence is. And “yeast” is the answer. We carefully selected a Belgian yeast strain that illuminates a fascinating new aspect of the ale that is otherwise ostensibly and simply Stone IPA. This is a yeast that showcases Stone IPA from a completely different angle. The result is both completely new and different, while still being altogether recognizable as a Stone brew, an IPA, and Stone IPA in particular. Think of it as an otherwise identical twin to Stone IPA that was raised in a Belgian culture. Literally.

Now, all grown up and standing next to each other, they look the same…yet different. We’d say the Belgian one sounds a bit funny when it talks, but yeast and ale being decidedly non-verbal (except through you), that’s not literally the case. Their aromas have some similarities, but the Stone Cali-Belgique IPA is decidedly a bit more, shall we say, aromatically funky. (No, we are not saying that Belgians smell funny…we didn’t say or imply that at all in any way…no angry cards or letters please…really, some of you people simply have too much time on your hands!) All in all, we find it all quite fascinating. But we’re brewers, and that’s the way we think. You might find it merely delicious. We, as brewers, most certainly do too, actually. And so…C’est avec le grand plaisir que nous le présentons vous! / Het is met geweldig genoegen dat wij het naar u voorstellen!

* Even though yeast cells are non-verbal, and arguably have no firm affiliation that shows preference for either the Flemish or the Walloons, we don’t want to accidentally misrepresent the little buggers. As such, approximately 50% of the Stone Cali-Belgian IPA bottles are labeled “Cali-Belgique” and the other half “Cali-België.” We at the Stone Brewing Co. respect both cultures highly and equally.
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The last time I tried this beer was at a Bev and more tasting special in 2011. I thought it was awesome but I really haven’t had a chance to grab it and sit down with it. When I went to the Stone Company Store in Pasadena California I decided to grab a glass. I was very surprised because this reminded me so much of the As Follows Eschatological Ale by Stillwater Artisanal. The aromas of this beer are simple amazing. Strong Belgian sweet and honey bread fragrance with a lot of herbs, spices, peppercorns, minor grassy, piney and grapefruit hops some tropical fruit like pineapple and mango as well as oranges, cloves, and lemon. The flavors are of nice herbs, honey, pepercorns, cloves, coriander, Italian basil spice, bubblegum, orange, lemon, mango, pineapple, apricots, honey, french bread, some slight grape sourness, grapefruit, slight grassy and piney hops but mainly herbal and floral notes.This one is almost like the Saison du Buff too. The flavors are better on tap. Hence the reason I got a growler of this to go. Better as fresh as possible, but even if not, the Belgian side takes over to address even more complexity. So choose wisely 😛

Allagash Black by Allagash Brewing (1 year Aged)

486427_10101095685090260_2105219987_nRating: 5/5

Allagash Black by Allagash Brewing is a 7.5% ABV Belgian Stout. This version I aged for about a year until the right time to try it.

Description: 
Allagash Black, our new Belgian style stout, is brewed with German 2 row barley, Torrified wheat and oats, balanced by a large addition of Belgian dark candi to give the Black a full and silky mouthfeel. Roasted malts give this stout its classic chocolate, toast and malty taste, and contribute to chocolate notes and a hint of roasted coffee in the aroma. The Black is fermented with a Belgian yeast strain and refermented in the bottle with the methode champenoise to make this beer truly unique. Availability: 750 ml bottles, 5.17 gal kegs ABV: 7.5% Original Gravity: 1.072 Recommended Serving Temperature: 55°F Recommended Cellaring Temperature: 55°F
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This is the second time I try this beer. The first time I tried it was about a year ago. I saved a bottle to let it sit for about a year to see if the levels would intensify. Oh man did they now. Upon opening the bottle there was an immediate rush of caramel and vanilla fragrant smoked. Some aromas of chocolate coffee, mocha, some pecan and caramel bread, some minor aromas of dark fruits and apples. The flavors are of bitter dark chocolate, roasted coffee, slight smokiness, bananas, molasses, boysenberry pie, some coffee cake, dark tart cherries, plums, raisins, figs, dry apricots, some dulce de leche caramel, some vanilla, candi sugar, earthy hop and citrus taste. This beer reminds me a lot of Folklore by Stillwater Artisanal in that it is still a very good Belgian stout but with some smokey aspects to it. Although, Folklore had a little more of a dark saison aspect as well. More smokey and bitter than 13th hour Stout but it makes up for that with the rest of the flavors which are awesome. A very awesome beer and one to have many a times. The Abyss doesn’t come out all the time but I would say if this was barrel aged, you would have Deschutes The Abyss.

2012 Review:
Allagash Black, the brew that is so similar to 13th hour but more bitter chocolate than. The Belgian Style Stout is brewed with 2 Row barley, torrified wheat, oats, both roasted and chocolate malt and a generous portion of dark caramelized candy sugar. There is definitely a silky mouth feel as stated in the description. Almost like velvet Merlin. The brew has a lot of reminiscent chocolate/coffee bread taste like the 13th. There is also hints of caramel vanilla, citrus, raisins, figs, cherries and dried apricot. Even if the base overwhelmed is malty bitter sweet chocolate, as I go through this brew it definitely lets out a lot of other complex flavor due to the Belgian bready yeast here. Step into this beer…if you dare…it looks evil but very delicious and lovely and good :). Just like the pic of Midna. You never know what you will find in this brew. Also the bitterness of this beer does remind me of the Old Rasputin hoppy bitterness. Allagash does a great job of balancing the complexity of this brew with that of malty sweet, bready complex, and hoppy bitterness. Surely some one that likes Stouts, Belgian, and hoppy ales will surely, like this complex creation. Looks sorta plain and dark from the outside but they have always said, it is the inside that counts. So give this one a try and take a step into the dark…or black side of the ale world. 😛

Liquid Breadfruit collaboration by Dogfish Head and Maui Brewing

18900_10100946427408850_986867253_nRating: 4.8/5

Liquid Breadfruit collaboration by Dogfish Head and Maui Brewing is a 8.2% ABV ale brewed with breadfruit and papaya seeds. 

Label:

Millions of Delaware natives lusting fro tropic climes cannot be wrong. We isolated a unique yeast strain on a peach farm near dogfish head brewery. We mapped its DNA, brewed with it, and instantly fell in love with the fruity aromatics the yeast threw down. It immediately reminded me of Hawaii and Hawaii immediately reminded me of my pal Garrett at Maui Brewing Co. A collaborative brew seemed like a fun way to use this tropical yeast. – Sam. 

Breadfruit has been a staple crop f0r 3000 years. It’s very versatile and extremely tasty. My buddy Sam and I thought it’d be fun to brew with. Why not push the limits of beer a bit further? After all, beer has been called “liquid bread” for centuries, right? So liquid breadfruit’s time has come – Garrett. 

I’m down with the idea of adding Hawaii’s native breadfruit into the mix. To amplify the tropic thunderstorm that’s brewing in the recipe let’s hop this puppy with calypso hops which throw a lot of pear and apple notes adding bitterness and aroma – SAM

Sounds great, Let’s use some toasted papaya seeds, it’s a great spice to balance the breadfruit and compliment the fruitiness of Calypso hops and tropical notes lent by the philandering Delawarians, it was no small task to harvest all these seeds and fruit by hand…. But it sure beats chewing purple corn for weeks on end… -Garrett

It certainly does, Garrett, Let’s do this! – Sam
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I have had papaya before and to be honest it is a bit of an off fruit. A bit pungent lol. I can smell alittle bit of it in this beer bit what really comes out is some peach, mango, orange, bready grains, some what floral like a saison with a bit of botanical notes. The flavors are of that, papaya, mango, orange, peach, pear, some apple cider, sweet biscuits, caramel, bit of coconut and some peppercorns like that of Allagash Fluxus. I have never had bread fruit but this is pretty tropical type of beer. So I would think it definitely goes along with those tropical fruits I tried before. I would almost say that this also feels like a Tropical Tripel for those that love Belgian beers. Pretty awesome beer in a can :P.

St. Bernardus Tokyo by Brouwerij St. Bernardus in Watou Belgium

Rating: 4.25/5

St. Bernardus Tokyo by Brouwerij St. Bernardus in Watou Belgium is a 6% ABV Witbier. It was made in honor of their new pub in Tokyo. Spreading the awesomeness all over the world 🙂

Label:

This beer has been created for the opening of the St Bernardus Tokyo pub in Kanda, Tokyo Japan, that will be run in partnership with out good friend Ryohei Sugawara-San.
It is a unique , single batch brewed on February 3rd and 4th 2012
Intensely cloudy, unspiced wheat ale brewed with the use of malted wheat . The specific yeast strain of St. Bernardus and the Golding and Magnum Hops from our own hop field next to the brewery give the St. Bernardus Tokyo a citrusy aroma, a solid mouth feel , a touch of acidity with very smooth and clean finish.

The beer is somewhat lighter than most of the St. Bernardus Beers I am used to in terms of flavor and alcohol. With flavors of sweet biscuit bread with orange zest, banana cloves, peaches, apricots, apples and apple cider is noticeable. It also has some floral grassy hops in the back end but taste more lemony that bitter grapefruit and pine. This is more of session Belgium. Could be drunk with ease as it is not too over powering but still holds its own pretty good 😛