A Tale of Two Beers

So I know I have been lacking on my posts as of late.  As my regular readers already know, I am a teacher.  So I am technically off the whole summer; although, I do work part-time at a restaurant as well.  So, I have been there a lot lately as well.  Although it is a terrible excuse, I just haven’t really made a whole lot of time for blogging.  That however doesn’t mean I haven’t actually had any time to actually taste any new beers.  Although, I have had a few different beers lately I would like to talk about, I am going to focus more on two beers that really stand out.

The first beer I had a little over a week ago, despite the fact that it has been sitting in my beer fridge for a few weeks now.  I was drawn to this beer, New Grist by Lakefront Brewery, because I thought it sounded really different.  It is brewed using two ingredients I had never thought of: sorghum and rice extract.  Walking through the beer store I thought that this sounded really interesting; however, when I got home and actually looked it up, I realized that is actually brewed this way to make it gluten free.  Now, I didn’t set out to review something considered gluten-free, but it does add an interesting aspect to this beer.  Also, I thought it could add something interesting to the flavor.

Unfortunately, this didn’t have the interesting taste aspects I was hoping for.  First of all, this one pours out a very light golden hue.  Really it is almost more yellow than gold.  Although I don’t mind lighter beers in the summer, this one was so light I really had a big fear I had made a mistake in purchasing it.  This was only confirmed by the lack of any head on the glass.  The pour was extremely flat.  I knew this wouldn’t be a good sign.  This in my opinion was shaping up to be a very bad decision.

There were really no hefty smells of anything coming from this beer.  Yet another sign that I had made a terrible decision.   What I could pull out were some light citrus notes and, if any smell was really at the forefront, I would have to say there was some banana notes that were pretty strong as well.  I definitely didn’t really pull out any hops at all in here.  Also, no real malt aroma to this one really.  It just seemed to be lacking a lot even before the taste.

The taste was also unfortunate.  It had a very light flavor to it.  For me, I really enjoy a complex flavor that is more bold.  This did not meet any of those desires.  The citrus and banana flavors come out in the flavoring, but it’s almost hard to say this beer tasted much like anything.  There was a little bit of hops in the end of the flavoring, but otherwise, there really wasn’t anything to speak of.  This was just a very light pilsner that I think gives another option to the beer drinkers who are upset there is gluten in Miller and Coors light.

Finally, mouthfeel was actually the only redeeming quality here.  Over the summer you want something that has a light and refreshing taste to it, which this one achieves.  Of course, so does water.  But, that being said, it had a high amount of carbonation, which proves you can carbonate a beer without producing head.  It went down really smooth and had a really clean feel to it.  If you want to drink beer without knowing your drinking beer, here is your chance.

And now, on to the good stuff….

  Now if I’m being honest, I didn’t buy this one, bring it home, and decide it would be a great beer to review.  This past weekend I went with my wife and a few friends to Little Miss Wiskey’s Golden Dollar in Washington DC.  This is a great location a few blocks from where we live.  I of course started my night with a can of DC Brau Public ale; however, while sitting there in front of the beer cooler I noticed a category I had never seen before: a triple IPA.  IPA’s are definitely some of my favorite types of beer.  I’ve had imperials, and doubles, and of course the 120 minute IPA, but I have never had one that is considered a triple.  I knew I had to try this one.

This beer is produced by Founders and called Devil Dancer. Looking this one up on the Founder’s site revealed that it is 112 Ibu’s.  Therefore, definitely one of the hoppiest beers I have ever had.  Also, the site states that it is dry hopped with 10 different varieties of hops.  This really helped to explain the taste I was soon to experience.

The bartender gave me a little warning about this one before handing it over.  I assured him that I was ready for this delight.  Judging by the amount of Miller lite that was pulled from the fridge, I’m willing to bet he took me for another college boy trying to impress his friends.  However, he handed over the bottle and I began to indulge.

I believe I did make one not-so-fatal mistake.  He asked if I wanted a glass to put it in, to which I said no.  Upon reflection, I believe this would have allowed this beer to breathe a little more and given me a greater appreciation for the color and aroma.  The aroma even out of the bottle was still pretty obvious.  There were a lot of hops in there.

The taste of this one was pretty incredible.  It definitely still had a good malt backbone, so the hops weren’t the only thing coming through here.  I think that is a definite sign of a good hop-bomb; however, there was no hiding the amount of hops in the later half of the taste.  It was so herbal you would swear that you were drinking a straight up plant.  Perhaps even a plant that may not be legal.  This taste really hung around too.  The taste just developed and lingered so much that it was difficult for my wife and friends to really stand it.

If you’re looking for a real beer experience, I can’t help but steer you away from New Grist.  I suppose go for it if you love a good standard Miller lite, but can’t take gluton.  However, if you really want to challenge your taste buds and have a beer you won’t soon forget, check out Founder’s Devil Dancer.  It definitely might be a challenge for some, but I’m looking forward to giving it another shot.  Perhaps in a glass this time.

Teacher Rating: New Grist – F

Teacher Rating: Devil Dancer – A

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