Thursday, February 23, 2012

What's Bob Drinking Now?

On a recent trip to New Beer, I came across a 22-oz bottle of Sprecher Dopple Bock. I was in the mood for something malty, and at $5.75 it seemed like a good choice.

The bottle had a very simple but classic old world look, with the neck having a thick coating of gold colored wax, further adding an air of dignity.

I've had beers from this German-centric Glendale, Wisconsin brewery in the past and have enjoyed them all, such as their Bavarian Black beer.

This Dopple Bock (I think that "doppel" is the correct spelling, though) poured out with a modest tan head and a dark brown color, as you'd expect. It had a bit of an oxidized note mixing with tangy malt aroma.

But then the first taste -- zing! Sour! Yes, this one probably spent a bit too long in the warehouse. I have no idea how old the bottle was, but the Sprecher website doesn't have any pictures of this beer in the 22-oz format, so, it could be "vintage."

I have to say, I wasn't disappointed with the beer at all. Knowing full well that this is not the way it's supposed to taste, I'm quite fond of sour beers, and coincidentally almost bought a Jolly Pumpkin. The sourness was really pleasant, not harsh or over aggressive. And there was still ample maltiness in the flavor, and reasonable body in addition to some bitterness.

When I gave the glass to B.R. to try, not telling her what it was, I asked her, "What do you think that this Sprecher is?" She tasted it and gave me a look. I said, "No, it's not supposed to taste like that."

"Oh," she said, "you mean it's not supposed to be a bad attempt at a Flanders Red?"

When we visited with the Barcade boys a few weeks earlier, they had brought a doppel bock from the Climax brewery and it was very similarly soured. And I enjoyed that, too! And a few years ago I was treated to a glass of Blue Moon at a midtown bar (the best thing on the menu) that had gone wonderfully off (I had a second!) -- I guess that I really take that old adage to heart, "if life gives you sour beer, pretend that it's a rare, expensive Belgian import!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mary's Maple Porter Cask

Last week we featured an interview with Mary Wiles of the Brooklyn Brewery, and spoke about her role as the brewery's Quality Control Manager. We also spoke with her about the beer named in her honor, Mary's Maple Porter, and the maple syrup from her upstate New York farm, with which the beer is made.

Can you guess which is from the cask?
Recently we were able to try both the regular version of the beer along with the cask version!

Don't expect to see this sight too often.
The cask version had a mildly roasty brown malt nose and an almost Ringwood yeast-like aroma -- a somewhat buttery nose. And in the after-taste, it was a bit sweet, yet still roasty, with a mild licorice note.

The standard version of the Porter had a hint of maple sweetness in the finish, mixing with a mild roastiness in the aftertaste. The non-cask beer had a more perceivable bitterness than the cask, while the cask beer seemed slightly sweeter and more full bodied, as well as a bit more tangy.

Also, it almost seemed that there was a touch more maple flavor in the standard carbonated version of the brew, and a more complex maple aroma in the cask edition -- interesting!

At one point we combined the cask and standard versions, and the combination of both yielded an expected balanced profile, however with the addition of a vanilla note in the aroma and flavor of the melding.

Either way, cask or standard, this is a beer in its own class and category. Drink it while you can! You probably won't drink a more interesting beer associated with a Budweiser brewmaster any time soon -- until the imperial bourbon barrel/maple aged x-ray moondust bud-lime-light fermented with 10000 year old yeast from China beer comes out. Hey -- I'd try that!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mary's Maple Porter

At a recent Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster's Reserve release party for Mary's Maple Porter, we spoke to Mary Wiles, the nameskate of the beer and a 30-year Brewmaster veteran of Budweiser who now works for the Brooklyn Brewery. Mary's upstate farm provided the 50 gallons of pure, organic, grade A maple syrup that goes into every barrel of the beer!

B.R., Mary, Bob. Photo: Juren David.
What does a quality control manager of a brewery do? For one thing, they taste a LOT of beer everyday! And what kind of maple syrup does a maple syrup maker prefer on her flapjacks? All is revealed in this week's podcast!

Check out the Brooklyn Brewery blog about the beer.

On a technical note, the podcast will be hosted HERE for the next few months. It will return to WFMU in July 2012. To understand why, check the previous podcast and blog.