Tag Archives: lemon

Extra Blond Vedett

Another eight months goes by without a single beer tasting post. How does this happen? And in these eight months Myanmar has received its first craft brewery, to boot. I need to lift my game it would seem. Unfortunately I missed out on sitting down and thinking hard about the many beers I had last week in Denmark (mostly from Mikkeller and Carlsberg) but I am on point this week here in the Netherlands. So, without further ado.

The Vedett range of beers is brewed by Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat, i.e. Duvel, and seems to be their attempt at trendiness, although as I understand it the Vedett name is quite old and they took it over through acquisition.

The beer is a “premium lager” and weighs in at 5.2%. It certainly is pale, one of the palest lagers I’ve had in a while, especially after all the dark lagers I had in Denmark through Carlsberg. It looks great in the glass, a flowing, democratic head, super effervescent, big, brash bubbles and that scintillating paleness. Perfectly clear. The aroma is spicy hops, saaz for sure, with subtle lemon and what seem to be zesty phenolics, kinda strange for a lager.

It has a thin mouthfeel and a tight aftertaste, a little harsher than I was expecting. It fades the more you drink, but certainly this is not a typically balanced beer. It would go very nicely if today were less overcast and I were seated on the grass by the canal lapping at the backyard. As it is I sit inside typing. After warming the aroma becomes soapier, an unusual addition to an already weird smell.

The lager profile keeps things fairly underwhelming but on the whole this is an odd beer – its dryness, bitterness and peculiar aroma throwing me off with every sip. Vedett claims the beer has “smooth, malty character with subtly balanced hops … lingering fruitiness with subtle notes of vanilla”. Not getting it.

I bought a bottle of this beer at an unnamed supermarket in Utrecht, the Netherlands and drank it in a home nearby. What a beautiful city.

Finch’s Beer Co. Fascist Pig Ale

Finch’s Beer Co. is another Chicago native brewery that keeps a humble profile. They’ve been around for five years brewing and packaging out of Elston. Their cans are great to look at – speaking to the founder’s background in visual communication – and I selected the can with the name that spoke the most to me …

The 8% ABV Fascist Pig Ale is a murky amber colour with a frothy uneven head. It has the lemon zesty aroma that I often associate with rye beers and an understated but fresh hop aroma. Think sauerkraut, onions and freshly ground leaves. There’s even a little background generic maltiness in the aroma. Although it’s not a mental cacophony, as so often is the case with a U.S. beer at such high ABV, this beer’s aroma has a lot going on.

Flavourwise the first truck to hit you is caramel, toffee-sweet malt. Then comes the bitterness wagon; again, a fresh, acerbic hop character, with a devastating afterbitterness that lingers on. A slick mouthfeel assists the malt-bomb along and restrains the affect of the alpha acids and spicy rye. This is a beer that I can’t drink quickly, but I sure can drink.

If I had to put it into a BJCP style, I guess it would be either a double IPA, with an unusual aroma, or a thicker example of an American Brown Ale, but without the citrus whack ova’ the ‘ead.

I bought a can of this beer at Sky Liquors, Norwood Park, Chicago, Illinois and drank it in a house nearby, after feasting on the immensely delicious Red Apple Polish buffet. Oh my. Still reeling from the meals I had there; I expanded my stomach to new limits.

Goose Island Blue Line Pils

I wasn’t planning to but thought I should try another Goose Island beer given I was visiting Chicago, the erstwhile (provenance 1988/1995) brewery’s home.

Goose Island of course was one of the first U.S. big craft offerings to get bought up and go macro, but I didn’t see any resistance across the city – except in the quite boutique bottle shops. These were frustrating to shop in thanks to Illinois’ liquor laws – you can’t split four and six-packs of most beers, meaning there’s no mixed sixers as are so common in Australia and elsewhere.

I wandered into a pub with prominent real estate on a warm 28 degree day and chose the pilsner.

To sum up before detailing, this is a very decent lager. It had “limited release” last year, playing the scarcity drawcard, but seems to be everywhere in autumn 2016. The aroma is lemony spice, all hops. It looks a clear straw with ruffling waves of tight bubbles, not too fizzy but ongoing retention. A medium-thin texture presents lovely, smooth but subdued grainy flavour puckering into a dry zesty finish.

The yeast is keeping everything under control here. It’s a restrained, tight beer; drinkable lemon/lime scone flavour with a sour juice chaser.

I drank this 4.8% ABV draught beer at the Wicker Park Tavern, Wicker Park, Chicago, Illinois. It’s a fairly staid sports bar on a busy corner. I counted ten televisions, each at least about a metre wide, all showing sport. So. Much. Sport. The music was horrible. Somehow though, perhaps because of the warm weather and quiet time of day, it still had a good vibe.

Case Swap: Passport IPA

This post is part of a series of twenty-three discussing beers brewed by members of the Merri Mashers brewing club for their 2015 case swap celebration.

Traveling brewer Chris brewed this West Coast IPA, a style he knows well from his time in British Columbia. Named the Passport the ale is billed as “a hoppy west coast IPA with an OG of 1067”.

This inviting beer smells crisp and fruity with melon bombs and a white grape refrain. It is a deep amber colour, quite dark for an IPA, and has a rollicking thick head that retains with vigour. Further aroma exploration delivers touches of frozen, muted mango and sparkling sweet lemon.

I drank this beer very cold and was surprised at its thick, malty kick. It has a very big body, high FG and low bitterness for a West Coast IPA-style beer. There’s a kind of rotting fruit, or very very ripe fruit flavour contribution to the doughy sweet malts that prevents it from balancing dry.

Nothing is wrong with the brewing on this beer, I sense no “faults” – but the recipe is confounding. I would drink it again, but with only a few tweaks it could be a sensational West Coast IPA I would not only drink but seek out!