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Fall Beer Tasting Fun

Hello Beer Fiends,

A few friends and I took a trip down beer tasting lane and did a Great Pumpkin Tasting event at one of the friends’ houses a while ago. Everyone brought a selection of beers to share, and a few munchies to pass around, and the hosts provided the glasses and a spot for everyone to congregate! Awesome!

So that said, before we get into the plethora of Charlotte Oktoberfest beer tastings, I wanted to outline the beers we tasted for this fun get together event.

pumpkin beer tap carving oktoberfest

Inspiring Pumpkin ‘Beer’!

Disclaimer: I am pretty sure that I missed a few of the beers, so if you see a favorite Fall beer is missing, comment and tell us all about it so we can go find it to share the love!

These are in no particular order:

Oak Jacked Imperial Pumpkin Ale by Uinta Brewing Company: this 10.31% pumpkin ale was strong, with a hearty feel to each sip, slightly heavy on the oak undertones, and had some strong pumpkin (not pie spice) flavors intertwining with it all to tie it together. Another good one by Uinta.

Ace Hard Pumpkin Cider by Ace Cider: this was probably the best hard cider I’ve tasted. And I really like hard cider. Pumpkin juice overtones, pumpkin spice undertones, with a hint of the apple cider crispness and feel at the beginning and end of the sip. The light flavor was not understated at all, and made the flavors that much more enjoyable. YUM.

Gordgeous by Noda Brewing Company: ahhh, Noda Seasonals. How I love thee, let me count the ways. Seriously, if you like everything by Noda like me, you’ll just add this to the checklist of “YUM” productions. Since I did a write-up on this beer already, I’m just going to link & copy here: At 6.4% ABV with 17 SRMs and 29 IBUs, this is a fantastic pumpkin ale that isn’t too pumpkiny, isn’t too pumpkin pie-spiced, and isn’t too heavy. The carmelization of the pumpkin comes through the sips, as do each of the spices they added. The ginger adds a nice balancing note that makes it not taste like every other pumpkin ale. This beer has a great “this is fall!” feel to it while you sip it staring at the falling leaves. It tastes, quite simply, like a harvest pumpkin beer should: pumpkin, blended spices and harvest married on a medium-bodied sip of ale. Maybe under a full moon. In a gordgeous tux, no less.

Fat Jack Double Pumpkin by Samuel Adams: this 8.5% ABV beer has a molasses and malty flavor winding through the strong pumpkin and caramel-pumpkin pie spice flavors. Has a heavy feel on the front and middle, but finishes with a flourish of flavor. Another great and delicious contribution by Sam Adams to the seasonal selections!

Oktoberfest by Blue Point Brewing Company: this 5.5% ABV ale is crafted in the spirit of the Oktoberfest origins, with hints of malt, caramel, honey, toast, nuts and a touch of apple to take you on the journey from start to finish of this beer. It had a definite fall taste and aroma to it throughout!

Gruntled Pumpkin by RJ Rockers Brewing Company: this 7.3% ABV ale has an aroma of more straight pumpkin and a taste of more pumpkin pie spice. It was delicious, I thought, and very pumpkiny while not being super overwhelmed by the ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove flavors that you can definitely teaste. There was also a hint of a pie crust taste underneath, which was very hard to describe in any other way.

The Great’ER Pumpkin by Heavy Seas Beer: this 9% ABV bourban barrel-aged pumpkin ale spends an apparent 3 weeks going from The Great Pumpkin to The Great’ER Pumpkin, courtesy of the barrels at Virginia’s A. Smith Bowman Distillery! Taking the brown sugar and caramel flavors, and intertwining them with cinnamon, vanilla, graham cracker crust (aka, with butter!), nutmeg, slight amount of ginger, and then pulling them all together with the pumpkin (gourd, not pie spice) flavor making everything taste delicious from start to finish. Three of the partiers dodn’t really like pumpkin, but all of them LOVED this beer. I love pumpkin, so this was high on my list of the days selections! Mmmm.

Coney Island Freaktoberfest by Shmaltz Brewing Company: this is a Freaky looking beer. If you want a great Halloween trick, give this in bottle to some friends with a glass, and make them pour it out in front of you. Observe and enjoy the exclamations that proceed! This delightfully dry, hoppy, slightly citrusy Oktoberfest surprises you mightily (at least it did all of us) by not being very ‘berry’ tasting at all. At least we didn’t think so. I expected it to taste like old school Robitussin, but it didn’t. It wasn’t my favorite beer, but it was definitely a decent and fun selection to add to the party!

Shmaltz Brewing Coney Island Freaktoberfest red beer

Shmaltz Brewing’s Coney Island Freaktoberfest!

Wookey Jack by Firestone Walker Brewing Company:  this delicious 8.3% ABV Black IPA is an unfiltered Rye Black IPA that carries the traditional Rye flavors along with the caramel, chocolate and coffee notes, to carry you from start to finish of each sip. As a fan of rye ales, this was really a nice surprise to sip on, and provided a nice contrast as well amongst all of the pumpkin and Oktoberfest offerings! Definitely a beer to drink at a bonfire or something equally woodsy, as well!

Cherry Saison by Funkwerks: this surprisingly delicious 9.5% ABV cherry saison completely blew my mind. Now, most of you probably don’t know it, but the first beer I ever actually liked (which is why I now still drink beer) was Cherry Wheat by Sam Adams. So I am very partial to the cherry beers, especially ones that don’t taste like lambics or cough syrup. I am also a little picky about them. This one was deeeelicious. Dark candied sugar and cherry (think bing or dark, not maraschino) flavors are up front, with a little cocoa and a little caramel on the back side of the sip. This beer I do believe was aged a little by the person who brought it, which may be why it was so smooth and delicious. It did have a little of the yeasty saison flavor and aroma but to me that was very understated compared to the other flavors and aromas. Definitely a good one to try though for fruit beer lovers!

Lolita (2011) by Goose Island Beer Company: This aged, 9% ABV “American wild ale” was probably the crowd favorite. This raspberry, CabSauv-oak barrel-aged ale was tart, fruity, oaky, with a little undertone of sour caramel (weird sounding, but that’s what it tasted like to me, okay!). The raspberry flavor was very strong, probably helped by being a 1-year aged (I think) bottle! I definitely recommend this one. I’m sure someone will correct me if my aging notes are wrong, though! 😉

The Great Pumpkin by Elysian Brewing Company: this 8% ABV imperial pumpkin ale has all of the roasted pumpkin flavor that I was hoping for with a side note of pumpkin pie spices (allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg). It was a good, strong-profiled pumpkin ale that definitely had some malt and brown sugar notes to complement the pumpkin and spice.

Barktoberfest by Thirsty Dog Brewing Company: this traditional-styled Oktoberfest was really delicious, and had just enough sweet malts to temper the hop and spice flavors. I don’t know if it was the candied brown sugar or the caramel or the spice notes – but one of them, or maybe the combination, definitely made me think of fall when drinking this beer. At 6% ABV, it wasn’t nearly as strong as many others we tried, but the flavor was definitely as full as the others we tested out!

Forewarning: because we all brought so many beers, not everything was tried, so we’ll be doing a follow-up to try more beers sometime soon, and I will be sure to let you all know how those wind up tasting as well! 😉

Craft You Later,
Beth

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Wednesday Beer Log- Noda New Releases

Hello Beer Friends,

I am sure you are going “what about Oktoberfest” right about now if you read my Friday beer log entry. However, I have decided to take this week to write them all up, then the next two weeks to post them up. This way I can be sure nothing is missed, and everyone gets to enjoy the awesomeness that is the list of beers from Charlotte Oktoberfest.

That said, Noda Brewing Company recently released a few new good (okay, great) beers into their line-up. Some for good, some for the season, and some for a very limited time. So let’s observe:

Get The Party Tarted: Cherry Sour Ale (until it runs out)
This beer was inspired by a Berliner Weisse…we call it a “NorthCarolinerWeisse”.  It’s infused with Bing cherries and raspberries. With 4.5% ABV and 10 IBUs, this tart and sour ale is absolutely delicious, light-bodied but full of flavor in every sip. I had two pints in a row of it, it was that good. (Yes, for me that is telling!) I really liked the fact this beer had a sour flavor that melded phenomenally with the tart cherry and light raspberry flavors. It never got too sour, too tart, nor too sweet. It was just perfectly balanced. Nice job Noda!

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Get the party tarted indeed!

Dark-o’-Lantern: Pumpkin Spice Porter (Nodable Series, Limited Amount)
This pumpkin spice porter has cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves which lend to a more earthy character, with cinnamon being the primary taste.  At 6% ABV, 38 IBUs and 36 SRM – this beer has a strong malt flavor along with toasted barley, and a hint of the pumpkin pie spices we all know & love. This smokier beer has vague hints of pumpkin, but it is enough that it is definitely classified by taste as a yummy pumpkin porter!

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Dark O' Lantern needs some light....or not!

Gordgeous: Pumpkin Ale (Fall Seasonal)
This Pumpkin is hot, and it knows it. Gordgeous uses over 100 lbs of organic pumpkin caramelized with 40 lbs of brown sugar. Noda used whole seed spices cracked on brew day and mixed allspice, cardamom, cloves and freshly shaved whole ginger root to create a unique pumpkin ale. At 6.4% ABV with 17 SRMs and 29 IBUs, this is a fantastic pumpkin ale that isn’t too pumpkiny, isn’t too pumpkin pie-spiced, and isn’t too heavy. The carmelization of the pumpkin comes through the sips, as do each of the spices they added. The ginger adds a nice balancing note that makes it not taste like every other pumpkin ale. This beer has a great “this is fall!” feel to it while you sip it staring at the falling leaves. It tastes, quite simply, like a harvest pumpkin beer should: pumpkin, blended spices and harvest married on a medium-bodied sip of ale. Maybe under a full moon. In a gordgeous tux, no less.

Hope’s Stout: Milk Stout (made for a great cause, click here for more information)
Noda wanted to achieve both a full bodied & complex stout character, but with the drinkability of a session ale, something that wouldn’t be unapproachable by the non-heavy dark beer drinkers. In part, probably because Hope’s dad (see link above if you’re lost by now) is a Budweiseresque beer drinker. Noda added a hefty amount of cocoa nibs to give the beer a distinctive dark chocolate character that melds well with the roasted notes from the dark malts. This 4% ABV, 39 SRM and 35 IBU beer is a definite keeper. This is a lighter-bodied stout, for sure, however it tastes like it was cooked with some steamed milk to bring the comfort of hot cocoa into a beer. I am not kidding here, nor waxing poetic. That is what it tastes like. With a little bit of malted milk ball flavor, a teeny bit of hoppiness (or happiness as the case is), and a lot of  the steamed milk flavor thrown in to give it just that perfect blend of a light stout. If you want a comfort beer, get this one. If you want to support a good cause, definitely get this one. Again, click the link above if you’re lost… 😉

Craft You Later,
Beth

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