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A Patriotic Post…

April 20, 2010

Ahh Patriots’ Day (wait, don’t you mean Marathon Monday?)

Patriots’ Day is a day of many things here in Massachusetts.  A day to commemorate the Battles of Lexington & Concord.  A day to feel guilty that you can barely run a full mile, let alone 26, in a single day.  A day to watch the Red Sox play (wait, I mean get crushed by Tampa Bay…like they did today) entirely too early so that all the people stuck at work can’t even catch one inning after they get out of work (though this isn’t entirely bad…I’m glad I didn’t have to sit through another depressing defeat.  And we’re barely 3 weeks into the season.  Joy.)   A day to drink…beer??  You bet!

What better way to celebrate than to crack open the beer of a true Patriot?  No, I am not drinking beer from the 18th century.  That would be gross, among other things.  I’m talking about the modern-day beers created in the namesake of a true Boston legend; Samuel Adams.  The BBC has recently released their second annual Long Shot competition winners in a handy-dandy six pack with two beers of each flavor.  First, a bit about the contest.  The Long Shot competition asks homebrewers and BBC company employees alike to submit their best, most creative beers, in hopes of being chosen and distributed to the masses.  I wish I was a “homebrewer”…I would soo definitely win, ’cause I’m that creative.  Sadly, my first (and subsequently last) attempt at homebrewing was incredibly discouraging and I’m too scarred to try again…

Anyways…on to the beers!  What we have here, you see, is an interesting collection; Lemon Pepper Saison, Old Ben Ale, and Mile High Barley Wine Ale.  Hmmm….

Lemon Pepper Saison (created by Jeremy White from MA) What is this, a marinade or something?

All joking aside, I really do enjoy a good Saison.  Probably one of my favorite beers, and (well, I think, anyways…) a great way to introduce your Bud/Miller/Coors fans into the world of non-American craft beer.  A clear bright gold color, with than a less than typical head for a Saison.  Foams up a bit–but drops very quick.  Maybe not all hope is lost…it does create a bit of lacing on they way down.  Personally, I love a big, creamy head that I can stick my nose in on a Saison… the nose is pretty standard of what you find in other beers of the like.  There’s yeasty doughy smells along with a slightly herbal character.  Candied oranges, a heap of lemon oil and maybe the faintest hint of black pepper–if you dig deep enough.  The mouth starts off pretty true to character–but then goes in a totally different direction.  The tart lemon really comes to the front, with a big smack of bitter lemon oil behind it.  There’s an interesting drying black pepper quality that goes on at the finish.  Totally unexpected, but in a good way.  I would say it’s a bit light, especially on the finish.  This would be an excellent beer to serve alongside of salad or grilled chicken.  All in all, a pretty good start.

Old Ben Ale (created by Michael Robinson from NH)Oh Ben, old is a state of mind!

Not really familiar with “Old Ales”, as this is my first…So I can’t really give you bead on if it’s true to style or not, but, I can tell you if I like it!  And, I like it!  A bright and clear Mahogany color, with a light cream-colored head.  There’s a faint whiff of funkiness right off the bat–but not in the bad sense.  Funky in this case = things I’ve never smelled in beer before.  Almost like a bowl of weak beef broth with and hand full of Rasinettes thrown in and a dried flower/potpourri essence going on there as well.  Not really the most appealing way to describe it–but it works  (aannnd now I want a box of Rasinettes…damnit)  Good weight, with a strong malty structure upfront that transitions smoothly into some milk chocolate, “not completely dried” raisin flavors…and do I detect a hint of caramel?  This beer takes a hint from a Willy Wonka Everlasting Gobstopper — the finish goes on and on.  Forever.  Deceptively smooth at 9% abv.  A few of these would definitely sneak up on you.    Though I’m not a master “matchmaker,” this should pair well with bolder cheeses or maybe a hearty stew?  This is a beer that’s right up my alley.

Mile High Barley Wine Ale (created by Ben Miller from NM) — So what’s Denver got to do with it?? 

Vibrant copper with red reflections.  A bit thrown on the nose from this one.  Hoppy–and real piney.  A swath of orange zest.  Maybe some dried fruits and burnt brown sugar.  Sweet raisins, hops, citrus candy and a tart, juicy, slightly unripe black plum finish.  The alcohol is well intertwined, almost topping double digits at 9.8%.  It’s very interesting though I’m not sure if I’m sold on this one. ..too much in the hops department for me.  Not to say that the hops are overwhelming, evil, or bad–just never really seen this much in a Barleywine–then again, this is an American Barleywine (and I also haven’t drank a ton of Barleywine, either…) Regardless of whether or not I like it–this beer definitely has an audience.

All in all — some good, solid beers.    The Long Shot six-packs are a limited release, so stop by and pick one up while they’re still here!!

– lindsey

p.s. — I know this was posted a day late…I tried to do it yesterday.  Funny story, actually.  I spent a ton of time tasting the beers and writing this thing last night…and when I went to spell check the darn thing, my browser crapped out on me and I was left with my opening sentance (or two.)  Hooray for technology?!?  So, needless to say, I’ve tirelessly spent the morning and early afternoon hours trying to recreate my prose…I had an image, too–but that’s still on my camera at home.  Maybe next time I’ll have my act together…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Andrew Mitchell permalink
    April 20, 2010 8:45 pm

    The Longshots have been solid in past years. These look promising as well. Nice notes!

  2. April 21, 2010 12:32 am

    well done – a pleasure to read.

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