Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Austrian powerhouse not named Schwarzenegger.

Brewery: Brauerei Hofstettena
Location: St. Martin, Austria
Named: Seit 1229 (At least that's what I think its name is)
Type: Barleywine
This was another Tessa special...she knows me well!! This majestic import flows freely in the form of a beautiful cascade of dark ruby and brown. Like most barelywines the head on 1229 peaked early with a slight off-white color. Hell of a bouquet on this one, folks! I caught the nose from about 6 feet away from this bad boy. BIG malt gets up in your nostrils and then dances with a mixed fruit potpourri consisting of apples and cherries. Past all that is a slight hint of alcohol, though the alcohol is not the main attraction. Seit 1229 comes in at a respectable 8.3% ABV. In spite of this alcohol content, 1229 is alive with carbonation as little bubbles of happiness leave a pleasant mouthfeel. What's it taste like? Right. Not surprising is the tart and tang of fruit that 1229 starts off with. Once the slightly sour taste fades toffee jumps in for a quick "Hello!" and then bows out gracefully for the strong coffee finish. It really is all like that. I was pleasantly surprised! I found this beer to be incredibly enjoyable. Even with my partial bias towards barleywines I would recommend this beer to just about anyone who falls into 1 of 2 categories; Category 1: They like a good beer and are looking for something new and exciting, or Category 2: A Europhile.

Sidenote: I couldn't find a picture of the label, so you get Johnny Questionmark up there. Also, I spelled Schwarzenegger correctly without the help of the internet, or a copy of Commando.

There can be only one.

Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Location: Milton, DE
Name: Immort Ale
Type: Strong Ale
This, my friends, is the beer version of "the Quickening." It's a decent reference if you don't know what I'm talking about. Immort pours velvety smooth, like liquified chocolate. The glass filled quickly with a dark, honey gold color that would make Midas himself happy. To give a better reference point, the color of the beer matched that of a beer bottle with slightly higher yellow hues. Bad for other immortals, this beer lost its head super early. In fact, it was barely there to begin with. I blame this massive amount of alcohol this beast carries, 11.0% for those keeping score at home. Staying true to what the label says, you will pick up mild hints of vanilla and maple. The nose is that of sweet, syrupy malt laced with dark, tart fruit; similar to that of a barelywine. Your first step will leave you confused and wanting more. I, being the consummate beer journalist that I am, dove in for another mouthful...and another... You do get some vanilla right up front and then blasting through like a bull is a nutty taste. Once you get past the tang there's a wonderful finish consisting of roasted malt and burnt caramel. Making a late showing is the maple...a nice little treat at the end! There isn't a whole lot going on in the carbonation department, but what little it has plays nicely with the flavor profile. Dogfish Head does work! Immort Ale is definitely a masterpiece worth investing in. In fact, I'm willing to bet that this tastes better than anything Picasso ever painted.