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Guest review: Rare beers at the Flying Saucer’s 16th anniversary party

May 29, 2013 By: mike Category: Craft beer, Events, FuzzyBrew Review, Memphis

Memphis homebrewer and craft beer aficionado Charlie Patrick attended Saturday’s 16th anniversary party at the Flying Saucer. He tried 14 beers in all and filed this dispatch from the Downtown craft beer bar.

The Flying Saucer Memphis celebrated its 16th Anniversary in style this past Saturday. The concept was a tapping of sixteen special brews over sixteen hours. We went to check out the festivities. Here’s a rundown of the beers and our brief reviews. A special shout out, by the way, to our server, Sam, who helped us along the way.

Blackstone Tripel

Blackstone Tripel

Blackstone Tripel – This special brew from our friends down the road in Nashville is darker than most tripels; it’s almost light caramel in color. It’s fruity smelling with bubble gum and just a slight banana flavor. There’s not a lot of spice, making it seem more like a golden strong ale than a tripel.

Yazoo/New Belgium “Rufus” – Many may already be familiar with this special sour ale collaboration between one of our own Tennessee breweries and a well-known neighbor in Colorado, New Belgium. A funk and fruit nose is present. The taste is sour on the front and back end with “horse blanket” funk in the middle with an added touch of sweetness on the end as well.

Sweetwater IPA – Sweetwater is a well-regarded brewery out of Georgia expanding its market. This regular strength IPA has a good combination of citrus and spice in both aroma and taste with a somewhat sweetish finish.

Goose Island Matilda

Goose Island Matilda

Goose Island Matilda – This entry from the famed Chicago brewery fancies itself a Belgian pale ale. It has an orange, kind of rusty hue and a tiny bit of funky aroma. It’s hop forward with some earthy and barnyard notes that fade into malt and a citrusy, dry finish.

Schneider Aventinus Eisbock – Unfortunately, the bar had an issue with their equipment and getting this beast of an Eisbock (12% ABV) tapped. Alas, it will go unreviewed here.

Green Flash Grand Cru – Boy, there was a lot going on here with this Belgian dark strong ale from the malt to the Belgian yeast to the hops. Almost cinnamon-like qualities seemed to come from the combo.

Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien

Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien

Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien – A great smelling sour that has elements of cherry, oranges, and funk. It starts off with just a bit of sweetness before you get a pop of sour. It lingers just a bit and gives you a slight pucker before subsiding. It’s amazingly 11% alcohol by volume (and here’s no way to tell).

Ommegang Game Of Thrones Blonde – The name of this beer pretty much tells you everything you need to know. We’re not sure how much the series really “inspired” this beer from Cooperstown, New York, but it was very smooth with nice lemon and pepper notes to go with the classic blonde character.

Green Flash 7th Anniversary Red Rye IPA – Another beer where the name says a lot. What makes it interesting is the Belgian yeast used and its interplay with the rye malt.

Sierra Nevada Blindfold IPA

Sierra Nevada Blindfold IPA

Sierra Nevada Blindfold IPA – A new entry from this brewery’s “Beer Camp” series. Coffee and American hops intermingled on the nose. The taste, similar to the aroma, was clean, yet robust with a touch of spice.

Green Flash Park West Porter – Yet another superior beer from this San Diego brewery. It smells mainly of coffee, but there are also some fruity esters. The taste is somewhat grainy with coffee then some sweet, sugary bits before it finishes with some hop bite.

New Belgium Lips of Faith: Beire De Garde – Another collaboration beer, this time finding New Belgium teaming with Brewery Viviant (Michigan) – Perhaps an “Imperial” Biere De Garde. The aroma was a little funky with some orange peel. Surprisingly, it’s a very sweet beer with substantial alcohol presence that dries with candy, citrus notes on the end.

Rogue XS Dead Guy Ale

Rogue XS Dead Guy Ale

Rogue XS Dead Guy – Our pals at Rogue used to call this one “Double Dead Guy,” and if you’re familiar with the regular Dead Guy maibock, that’s exciting. There was not much aroma, but the flavor had bold, sweetish malt character followed by a substantial hop bite that finished clean. It almost comes off like a barleywine but cleaner and easier to drink.

New Belgium Lips of Faith: Heavenly Feijoa Tripel – Another New Belgium collaboration with Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel (Montreal). Another darker tripel, likely influenced by using hibiscus. A relatively standard tripel smell with some spice. There was a tart taste from the feijoa fruit and the hibiscus with an herbal quality. However, the flavor seemed a bit out of balance.

Green Flash Black IPA – A very citrus forward smelling black IPA with a strong hop flavor profile that, to be honest, kind of overpowered the malt character, although there was a bit of a roasty, coffee finish.

Out of the beers tried (there were actually fourteen in total), there were some real standouts, all bringing something a bit different to the table. Green Flash really stood out with its Park West Porter and Grand Cru, while Sierra Nevada’s Blindfold IPA showed they still really know what they are doing their when it comes to hops. Also, the Abbaye De Saint Bon-Chien is not to be missed, if you are a sour fan. In years past, The Saucer has held on to leftovers from their birthday celebrations for further consumption, so if you stop by, be sure to ask them if you can try any of these beers that spark your curiosity.

FuzzyBrew Review: Shiner Bohemian Black Lager

February 07, 2013 By: mike Category: Craft beer, FuzzyBrew Review

Shiner Black LagerBrewery: Spoetzl Brewery

Location: Shiner, Texas

Style: Schwarzbier

ABV: 4.9%

IBU: 18

FuzzyBrew Rating: 3.5 of 5

I’d seen Shiner Bohemian Black Lager on the shelves of Memphis-area grocery stores for awhile now, but never had a chance to pick up a six-pack. When the beer took the gold medal in the German-Style Schwarzbier category in October at the Great American Beer Festival, I knew it was time to try it.

Originally brewed as a limited edition beer to commemorate Spoetzl Brewery’s 97th anniversary, it became a permanent part of Spoetzl’s brand portfolio in 2007.

“Crafted according to exacting old-world standards with imported Czech Saaz, Styrians Hops and selected roasted malts, it’s the darkest beer Shiner brews,” according to the brewery.

So how is it?

The beer pours a dark brown — nearly black — and has a nice, mild coffee-like aroma of roasted malts. Any hop aroma is minimal. The flavor is mild as well — malty with a clean finish, making it a pretty easy-drinking beer.

For those new to craft beers or dark beers, it’s definitely a good starter beer. And it’s got just enough malts to satisfy drinkers with more sophisticated palates.

FuzzyBrew Review: 3 Floyds Dreadnaught

November 12, 2011 By: grant Category: Craft beer, FuzzyBrew Review, Travelin'

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Brewery: 3 Floyds

Location: Munster, In

Style: Imperial India Pale Ale

ABV: 9.5%

IBU: 99

This standout Imperial IPA from 3 Floyds has a solid caramel flavor that balances out the massive citrus hops. Very smooth and somewhat creamy, I could drink this all day, if I took it slow.

This is a wonderful beer that homebrewers can aspire to.

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FuzzyBrew Review: Atlantic Brewing Company’s Coal Porter

September 15, 2011 By: mike Category: FuzzyBrew Review

Atlantic Brewing Company's Coal PorterBrewery: Atlantic Brewing Company

Location: Bar Harbor, Maine

Style: American Porter

ABV: 6.5%

IBU: n/a

FuzzyBrew Rating: 5 of 5

With a name like Coal Porter, I somewhat expected to sip a smoked porter after I cracked open this beer.

But this craft brew, made with pale, crystal, Munich, chocolate and black malts, is a good ol’ hearty and rich American Porter; the “Coal” a reference to its dark brown – almost black – color.

This beer ages in cellars for close to six months before it’s released, and the result is a highly drinkable porter.

The brewers use Target and Willamette hops, which produce only a subtle hop flavor. What really shines are the roasted and chocolate malt notes that linger with a slight bitterness at the end.