Tag Archives: rye

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.

Disturbing Brown Thing

This post is part of a series discussing beers brewed by members of the Merri Mashers brewing club as part of their 2015 case swap celebration. In essence, I have twenty-three different beers by twenty-three different brewers all from the inner-northern suburbs of Melbourne. I’ll be drinking and blogging them over the first quarter of the year.

The first beer for the 2015 case swap series is named the “Disturbing Brown Thing”. It was described on the tag as a light brown ale with 50% rye malt, two obscure herbs and egg white. Trời ơi! I have read here and there about old English brewers fining their beers, or attempting to clarify their beers, using egg white – but I never thought I’d be drinking such a concoction in the twenty-first century. Kudos to the brewer Timothy Train for giving it a go!

The “thing” poured well with a proud head that quickly shrunk away to zero. Carbonation was brisk and businesslike, the myriad small bubbles obscuring similarly-sized flakes of sediment, lifting them up and swirling them around inside the glass like a dust devil at a bush doof. Colour is deep copper, not too brown, and the aroma is sourly tannic with hints of rosemary and garlic. The note is similar to the beer I brewed with goji berries earlier this year.

It is a spicy devil of a drink; the rye comes through clear and strong, too much spice for many palates but I didn’t mind it. Bitterness is low, hop character zero. The rye tang, taken in conjunction here with a rough, medicinal sourness, reminded me a little of the delicious harshness given by plain lemon juice. My glass was very cold and I think this may be key to this beer’s potability. The carbonation also helps. On the whole the mouthfeel is thin and spritzy – not at all what one imagines upon reading “brown ale” and “egg whites” on the label.

I struggle to ascertain what the egg whites have given – the beer is opaque, does not smell, nor taste like egg and the body is thin. This is a very strange beverage. But not a horrible one, which bodes well for the rest of the case swap beers – I went with the weirdest first!

Dainton Bastard Brother

The Dainton brewery is one of the funnest outfits in my home state of Victoria. Their attitude is positive but harbours a dark, edgy theme right across their beers. They are also one of the only Australian microbreweries to stress the “family” nature of their operation; reminding me of the millions of “family” restaurants dotted across the United States. It’s taken me a while to write a tasting post for these guys, but I picked a winner: their latest beer is the Bastard Brother Belgian Rye IPA. It’s big and it’s good!

However, it’s neither particularly “Belgian” or “rye”. Instead it feels more like a typical U.S.-style double IPA. I don’t know if this is simply another case of naming the beer after the wrong ingredients i.e. it is meant to taste this way, or if they were were simply subdued by the brutal malt and hop bill. Regardless the beer presents the grandest, tightest head I have seen in a while. It neither thinned nor changed in the twenty minutes it took for me to drink my pint: it just sat, dense, foreboding.

The beer is a piercing orange with a whopping citrus hop aroma, bringing pineapple, grapefruit, cane sugar and wet carpet in equal measures. It’s a phenomenal aroma pushing into barley-wine territory: rich, rich, rich. It wafted across the table, it swirled through the air, it thickened the very atmosphere of the place. Gooood.

A haze is definitely present. The beer is not clear at all – my glass was ice cold, so it could be chill haze, but is more likely from wheat in the grist given the Belgian designation. A super bitter punch of hops still manages to sit under a sickly cordial sweetness – there are a lot of residual sugars, nothing dry about it. Hints of orange peel but so so so small you wouldn’t notice if not looking.

This is a punishing IPA perfect for winter’s eve. I got nothing interesting from the supposedly Belgian yeast, and it could be a touch drier, but it’s a damn fine drop and comparatively cheap to boot.

I drank a pint of this draught beer at Carwyn Cellars, Thornbury.

Fuggles & Warlock / Dead Frog Hyper Combo Red Rye IPA

This Red Rye IPA is a collaboration brew between the Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks and the Dead Frog Brewery. After contract brewing for three years, F&W are now based out of lower Vancouver and are a brewery focused on “weird beers and geek culture”. Sounds good to me. Dead Frog Brewery are a bit further out of town to the east, in the burbs, and is an older brewery hailing from 2006. This collaboration brew was released in January of this year.

This is a big IPA, holding an 8% ABV, pushing into double territory. It is a rusty crimson, a nice red EBC. Good solid head. The bottle label is lush, adding value and a little something special to the appearance of the beer itself. Unfortunately the hop aroma of my sample was very disappointing – there’s nothing going. The beer advertises itself heavily on its dry hopping regimen, but ironically this beer faintly smelt of vomit. Damn. I could put the absence of aroma down to an old bottle – it’s possible the bottle I enjoyed was up to three months old – but the stale smell that endured, or manifested after the hops stripped away? That’s just a shame.

The beer is definitely bitter with a nice dry rye finish. There was a deluge of caramel over spicy rye, a very smooth alcohol hint and a puckering aftertaste on first sip. An almost medicinal, cleansing quality was present when keeping the beer in the mouth. Clearly this beer is heavy on the crystal malts – so watch out if you’re more of a drier IPA drinker.

Ultimately an interesting beer, but severely let down by its aroma.

I bought this bottled beer at Liquor Depot, Kitsilano and drank it in a house nearby.