Thursday, May 8, 2008

1554 Enlightened Black Ale

Today we'll take a look at one of my wife's favorite beers, New Belgium's 1554 Enlightened Black Ale. This ale, weighing in at 5.6% ABV, is the recreation of a long lost recipe that was found in a library in Belgium and then recreated using modern brewing techniques.

Dark brown almost black ale with a ruby glow when held to the light. A thick beige colored head that settles into a light film on the surface and some lacing on the sides. The aromas start of with roasted malts and cocoa that are followed by some fruit, dark cherry and figs.

Flavor starts of with a creamy coffee note mixed in with some fruitiness and a touch of caramely sweetness. Some spice and earth notes from the hops make a quick appearance in the middle. The mouth feel is rich and velvety smooth. Finish is slightly dry with a lingering chocolate-like bitterness. Pretty complex mix of flavors, kind of like mixing a belgian dubble with a porter, very interesting and enjoyable. Don't hesitate to pick this one up and give it a try.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Goose Island India Pale Ale

Today I found myself in the mood for a hoppy beer, so I thought I would give the Goose Island IPA a try. Goose Island is a brewery based in Chicago and thanks to a distribution agreement with Anheuser-Busch you can find their beers everywhere.

Their IPA is a little on the mild side with 5.9% ABV and a decent 58 IBUs. Not quite as strong as the Odell or Titan. On the plus side Goose Island lists the bottled on date on the back label of their beers, which is always nice. Today's selection is a little on the old side with a bottled on date of January 17.

The ale pours out a rich golden straw color with a thick off-white head. The aroma is nice mix of pine and citric hops with a touch of malty sweetness, not as pungent as I'd like it to be.

The flavor is also a little on the subdued side. The first flavor I notice is a sweet bready maltiness that is quickly followed by the hops, mostly pine and floral. Good balance, but I'd like to taste more hops.

Mouth feel is medium bodied and smooth with a crisp dry finish and some moderate bitterness. Overall a good, but not great, IPA. I'll probably choose another brand if given the choice.