The Super List: February 2010
For those who missed the list for January or our introduction to the series, we'll start with a quick catch-up on what the Super List is. In a nutshell, we like beer and we drink a lot of it. Tammy writes about the new brews we encounter in her beer journal. Some are rated as "Super," some are marked "Yuck," but most are somewhere in the middle. We have decided to share the best new beers we drink each month, and compare the list to our "Super" beers from three years ago.
The theme this month? We'll call it "eclectic with a kick." Each of our super beers have something unique about them, but they all pack a nice alcoholic punch. A look back at 2007's high-rated beers show that we loved big beers then, too. This month's brews are each fairly rare, so if you have had any or them, or are lucky enough to stumble upon one and decide to try it, we'd be thrilled to know what you thought of it.
- Nøgne Ø & Yoho Brewing Double IPA (in bottle at Pizzeria Paradiso in Georgetown) – This 8% ABV Norwegian-Japanese collaboration beer between Nøgne-Ø's head brewer Kjetil Jikiun and Yoho Brewing's Toshi Ishii was a real treat. Pulled from Bar Manager Greg Jasgur's stash of rare bottles, this DIPA poured a hazy golden amber and tasted like it was brewed with an entire orchard of fig trees. Despite how malty and (dark) fruity the beer began, it was balanced out with a nice dry finish.
- Clipper City Heavy Seas Below Decks Barleywine Aged in Cabernet Sauvignon Barrels (on cask at ChurchKey) – Heavy Seas Yuletide Tripel made our Super List last month, and the Baltimore brewery is back again with this limited release. Along with the requisite vanilla and wood flavors of a barrel-aged beer, this dark 10% ABV beer had a hint of wine underneath its barleywine base. We are not sure how a beer's mouthfeel can be creamy and silky and have a gritty red wine character at the same time, but this complex brew did and we enjoyed it.
- Birrificio Le Baladin Al-Iksir (on draft at Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle) - We wrote about Birrificio Le Baladin’s Nora a few weeks ago in our post about herbed beers. The same Italian brewery's 10% Belgian-style strong pale ale was packed with such strong, sweet pineapple and guava flavors that we thought the glass should have had an umbrella and a bright pink straw in it. Despite the high ABV, Al-Iksir was not a heavy beer but it became sharper and stronger as it warmed. We dug it.
- Strubbe Grand Cru (on draft at Max's Belgian Beer Fest in Baltimore) – A palate feat for The Lagerheads, this Flemish red ale may be the first sour beer to get a Super rating in the ol' journal. It poured like brown liquor and smelled like candied oranges, Scotch, and a touch of vinegar. The brew was deliciously sour but buttery, and was a nice way to finish our third year at Max's 72 Hours of Belgium, the Belgian beer festival that is held every February at the Fell's Point beer bar.
As we look back at our favorite beers from three years ago, true to form so far our "Super" beers from February 2007 are all big, Belgian behemoths. All three were consumed at the aforementioned Belgian Beer Fest at Max's in Baltimore.
- Brasserie des Géants Goliath Tripel – This 9% ABV cloudy yellow beer had notes of honey, sugar, and peach. The honey came through in the taste along with banana, malt, pepper, and cream. It was nicely carbonated and had a dry, bitter finish.
- Brasserie Dubuisson Scaldis – Ah, another quadrupel. At 12%, this murky gold-colored brew smelled malty and strong, and its caramel and brandy flavors solidified its place on our favorite beer list.
- Brasserie d'Ecaussinnes Ultra Brune – This sweet, dark-caramel flavored 10% ABV beer smelled like raisins and plums. It had everything we loved, and continue to love, about strong dark Belgian ales. Still a favorite.
And there was one YUCK this month, De Ranke Noir de Dottignies, which we also had at Max's Belgian Beer Fest over President's Day Weekend. The beer smelled like cola, raisin, and dates and tasted about the same, but was flat and had an unpleasant powdery Aspirin-like aftertaste. The problem could have been the condition of the keg, which is one of the reasons we aren't too keen on reporting our Yuck Lists. We would be willing to give this beer another try, especially from the bottle.