Monday, February 8, 2010

Tucson Tastings

Here are some random tastings of beers that I consumed during my recent trip to Tucson:

1- Wild Raspberry Ale by Great Divide Brewing Co, Fruit Beer 5.6%
2- Ephemere by Unibroue, Fruit Beer 5.5%
3-Old Monkeyshine by Nimbus Brewing Co, English Strong Ale, 8.2%
4- Rillito Red Ale by Nimbus Brewing Co, Amber Ale 5%
5- Firestone Walker 13 by Firestone Walker, American Strong Ale 12%
6- Velvet Merkin Bourbon barrel aged version by Firestone Walker, Oatmeal Stout, 8%
7-Hopslam Ale by Bell's Brewing Co, Imperial IPA 10%
8- Dos Hermanos Dunkelweizen, Barrio Brewing Co, Dunkelweizen 6.6%
9-Scottish Red by Barrio Brewing Co, Scottish Red 5.8%

Wild Raspberry Ale- Served out of a bottle. It poured a clear deep pink reddish mahogany. It smelled like raspberries and sweet malts. It tasted lighter in raspberries as pronounced in the nose, light malts and a faint hoppiness seems to come out. It was very light and very session-able. It seems like it would be a great brew to enjoy on a hot summer day. 

Ephemere-Ale brewed with apple juice, coriander and curacao. Served out of a bottle. It poured a foggy golden yellow. It smelled of caramel green apples, vanilla and coriander. It tasted of a light crisp sour apple, yeast, milky with a light lingering spiciness on the tongue. The flavors seemed too fake tasting though for my own taste. It tasted a bit too much like a green apple jolly rancher. It was reminiscent of a wine cooler with a beer twist. Do they even make beer coolers? This would be a good example. Definitely not my taste and I won't be drinking this one again.

Old Monkeyshine- My sister had a bottle of this one in her fridge already and I was looking forward to drinking some local Tucson brewed beer from Nimbus Brewing Co. It poured a deep teak brown with a hint of red. It smelled like light vanilla, light roast and a bit caramel-y. It tasted light at first, then a nice roasted malt with bourbon notes come in and leave a little burn. Medium carbonation. Very drinkable. I was looking on their website and apparently they have a bourbon barrel aged version of this, at least at the brewery. I wish we had made it out to the Brewery as our visit to the Barrio Brewing Co seemed a bit wasted.

Rillito Red Ale- Had on draft. It pours a beautiful copper red with a hint of brown to it. It smelled like ripe cherries, caramel malts, cereal and some pine. It tasted a bit light, but with some molasses notes, grass, pine, cherries, and very malt driven. It seemed pretty interesting for a light beer. It had a good malt flavor with some hops to balance it out a bit. Very session-able if you are looking for something light with some flavor.

Firestone Walker 13- I made my sister and her husband go out to 1702 Pizza and Beer because the last time I was in Tucson, I heard they had Dogfish Head's 120 IPA on draft, so I was definitely not going to miss this bar this time. We weren't disappointed. We walked in and it happened to be Firestone Walker night. It was very crowded but we found a table right away and our server was totally on it and even brought us each a taste of the Firestone 13 for free. It was not the first time I have had this beer, but it was the first time I took notes on it. Had it on draft. It poured a deep eclipse black. It smelled like bourbon, light roasted vanilla malts and some toffee. It tasted light at first, then charred malts, vanilla, caramel, wood then the bourbon comes in and leaves a little burn. It seems very agable. Can't wait to try the 4 year vertical we have of this from 10-13.

Velvet Merkin Bourbon Barrel aged version- This just gets an A in my book for the fantastic name. I have had this one before as well, but any barrel aged version is always a nice surprise- especially on draft. It poured a deep black with some light oatmeal lacing. It smelled like bourbon, espresso, oats and malt. It tasted of bourbon, roasted espresso with a medium bitterness to it. The bitterness gets stronger and lingers on the tongue with some cereal and oats mixed with a bit of burn from the bourbon. The bourbon was there but wasn't very harsh, which is nice. It seemed very well balanced instead of being in your face bourbon.

Hopslam Ale- Dave and I were texting when I was at 1702 and he saw this one of their menu and told me to get it. I was not disappointed. I had it on draft and it poured a clear tangerine yellow. It smelled of grass, hops, citrus and sweet ripe grapefruit. Talk about a nose- I could smell this beer as our server was heading over to our table! It tasted sweet, some honey, citrus, grapefruit and it was definitely bitter. It reminded me of the bitterness off a grapefruit rind. This beer has the most grapefruit bitterness flavor from hops that I have ever tasted. It was quite amazing. I highly recommend this one!

Dos Hermanos Dunkelweizen- I made my sister leave 1702 because I wanted to check out Barrio Brewing Co. I checked their beers on their website and I was very excited to see a Bourbon Barrel aged beer on cask as well as a grapefruit blonde. When we got there, no such beers were on tap and the only 2 that looked decent were the Dunkelweizen and the Scottish Red. I also just realized that they say on their website: We have 10 to 12 of our own very special microbrews on tap (depending on season). We also offer Bud, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra, and Ace Pair and Apple Jack Cider in bottles. All complemented by a full bar and RC Cola products. Wow, I have never seen a brewery not only offer crappy beer but advertise it on their website. Talk about not having faith in your product! Who would go to a Brewery and order a Michelob Ultra? What brewery would even offer such a thing. Oh and on top of this and not having the beer I went for in the first place, the bar tender took his sweet, sweet time in helping us, when the place was very empty and there wasn't anyone else ordering anything at the bar. Anyways, back to the Dunkel, which I had on tap. It smelled of sweet malts, vanilla and some toffee. It tasted sweet, a hint of sour, malt and very typically dunkel. It actually was pretty drinkable but I wish it was a bit more interesting.

Scottish Red- Had this one on draft. It poured a nice walnut brown with some reddish tones. It smelled like tobacco, hint of sweet malts, hint of exhaust and quite smoky. It tasted like sweet malts, a hint of cherry and definitely reminiscent of cherry cola. It was a bit more malty than I would have expected, but oddly enough I did like it. But I do have a thing for Cherry Cola.

All in all, I would definitely go to 1702 again, finally hit up Nimbus Brewing Co and skip Barrio Brewing (although it did have some cool looking brew kettles in the back). 

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