So, apologies again and again and again. I’ve quite honestly wracked my brains trying to think of a “relationship”-ish post, but I wasn’t able to come up with one. As such, I’ve decided in the spirit of my laziness and lackluster creativity to do a double beer post.
Here’s to Off Color Brewery in Chicago and New Holland Brewery from Holland, MI.
Off Color Scurry
So a bit of a problem on this one actually. I don’t think I can do a proper review on this particular tasting because I don’t believe I’ve used an appropriate glass. With good reason however!
Off Color Brewery is an absolutely fantastic brewery in Chicago and aptly named. I don’t believe a single product of theirs has a similar counterpart or flavor profile with the products of any other Chicago brew. Further, I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad brew from Off Color, and I note I absolutely enjoyed their gose (a sour beer) which isn’t something I usually enjoy.
But here’s the problem, these guys are so freaking off color that I actually ended up screwing up the glassware for this drink. You see, Scurry is a Kottbusser style beer, a tradition of brewing that predates the (in)famous German Purity Laws of 1516 (woohoo, 500th bday!). In other words, this “wheat” beer doesn’t abide by the rule of *German Accent* “BEER MUST BE ONLY BARLEY, HOPS, AND WATER!” For those who want more information, here’s Off Color’s explanation of Scurry.
In abiding to a tradition, so obscure Google only gives me forums and Off Color’s website, the only information on appropriate glassware I could find for this drink was the classification of “wheat” beer. So, I dusted off my wheat beer glass, and let ‘er pour…………………………..and ended up with lackluster results.
The wheat glass’s hourglass shape does some really wacky stuff; the top of the glass affects the beer differently from the bottom. If you were to cut the glass asymmetrically, the top portion behaves much like a pint glass: the aroma is dispersed and the carbonation hits the tongue heavily releasing, in this case, a hop heavy forward. This was the unpleasant, unfamiliar part. The bottom half, however, gathers the aromas into the narrow belly, essentially acting as a snifter. I don’t think it does too much to the mouthfeel however, as the hourglass shape seems to do little to nothing with how the lip of the glass affects the bubbles.
[On a separate note, I’m a little convinced storing the beer in the garage where outdoor temperatures went anywhere from 35 to -3 degrees Fahrenheit may have impacted the quality of the beer……………..details :P]
So basically, this has been my excuse for why I can’t accurately judge this beer, especially since a pint glass did a much better job of delivering the honey, molasses flavors the Off Color advertises. This is a beer we will come back to on a later date.
Overall: x/10 cuz I have bad memory and poor judgement. Mistakes were made, I’ll learn not to serve this in the wheat glass.
New Holland Brewing Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Vanilla Chai
Visually: A rich, dark velvety black. Really reminiscent of the luscious super dark chocolates you see at your stores. The head foams up easily, and is semi-robust. It’ll hold its structure, but it’ll dissipate after 3-4 minutes unfortunately.
Smell: VANILLA + BOURBON there is no greater dessert combo. The chai part of it brings a slight floral essence to the drink, as if light caffeine were being floated out on alcoholic vanilla notes. Of course, being an imperial stout (ABV: 11%), very heavy on the alcohol smell as well.
Taste/Mouthfeel: THIIIICK MWAHAHAHHAHAHA. Some will know that I’m the type that actually like to chew my beer. The beer has the consistency of a light simply syrup and the carbonation of the head delivers pockets of bursting alcohol to the tongue. The body’s carbonation provides texture and a medium that let’s you taste everything at once. Vanilla, bourbon, hints of floral (probably the chai). It’s a thick, rich, powerfully sweet drink.
Overall: This is a no-brainer variation of the standard Dragon’s Milk. I might decide to age one of these bad boys. This is the first time I’ve ever had a variation on the Dragon’s Milk, and there are 3 others (but those will be out in the remaining quarters of 2016) I’m a sucker for Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stouts, but if New Holland’s specials were more accessible to me I’d be a poor destitute man with too many bottles to choose from. Simply put, I love this beer. Excellent dessert drink and also an excellent pairing for a bourbon tasting.
9.5/10 [for there is alas no such thing as a perfect beer]
(Also, one of the bottles I had had a special cap dedicated to prostate cancer awareness. Good on you New Holland. I give you an extra 0.5/10 for that]