Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Trixie’s Kiss – Mobcraft Beer

Trixie’s Kiss from Mobcraft Beer is a seasonal offering of sorts, a chocolate and mint stout brewed for Trixie’s Liquor Store in Madison, WI.  Mobcraft Beer, which is quickly becoming a standout brewery in the Madison area, is known for releasing excellent beers.  That alone however is not the best part about the brewery, after all many of the Wisconsin craft breweries release excellent beers.  The aspect of their business that really helps Mobcraft stand apart from their competitors is that all of their beers have been brewed because they received pre-orders from craft beer drinkers.  Every new beer recipe is voted on, and must win out in pre-orders over alternative beers before any new beer is brewed.  The twist to put their customers in charge of the beers they brew helps to ensure that every new Mobcraft beer is particularly unique, off the wall, and often completely different from any beer brewed by any other brewery. 

Opened in mid-2013 by Henry Schawartz, Giotto Troia, and Andrew Gierczak; the story of Mobcraft Beer goes back to 2008 when the three met in South Central Wisconsin.  Before founding Mobcraft, each sought to gain experience in the craft beer industry.  Giotto gained experience at Capital Brewery as a bartender and tour guide. Andrew gained experience with microbiology at UW-Madison, and wrapped up a Bacleors in Entrepreneurship at UW-Whitewater.  Henry has a strong Entrepreneurial background, founding multiple businesses prior to entering into a partnership with Giotto and Andrew to found Mobcraft.

            After home brewing together, and gaining experience, the three pooled their cash to purchase a 7 barrel (220.5 gallon) fermentation tank and started brewing out of House of Brews in Madison, WI.  Over time the Mobcraft crew scaled up, and in Septemper of 2014 they became the first business in the state of Wiscosnin to take advantage of the new Wisconsin Crowdfunding Law, which allows the brewery to sell stock over the internet to the general public to fund expansions.  The law, while somewhat controversial should allow Mobcraft to increase production and expand beyond the walls of House of Brews and open a location of their own.

            Much like Mobcraft Beer, Trixie’s Liquors is quickly becoming a Madison landmark, having only recently celebrated their third anniversary (June, 2014).  Choosing to focus on craft beers, with a great selection of Wisconsin craft beers, Trixie’s is at the forefront of the Madison craftbeer scene.  It’s only fitting that a great Madison liquor store should be honored with its own beer; the only question is whether Trixie’s Kiss lives up to the best that can come out of Mobcraft, and the reputation of its namesake.  On with the review…
            Trixie’s Kiss does not currently have a score on either Beeradvocate or ratebeer, likely due to its limited release.

They Say:

Mint Chocolate Stout - Mint? You want Mint?! We've got some Chocolate too, so BOOM! This baby's full bodies, not too viscous, but will make your mouth happy! Fresh Mint leaves and Chocolate Malts are used to tickle your winter fancy! Enjoy this fabulous limited collaboration!

I Say:

Trixie’s Kiss pours an opaque black with a thick, creamy tan head that holds very good retention (3-5 minutes), and leaves a moderate amount of lacing behind in the glass.  With the oils from the mint leaves, I was expecting this beer to have a small head that dissipated immediately, what I got was a pleasant surprise.  Minty aromas come to the forefront during the pour.  In the glass, roasted malts, dark chocolate, and vanilla mingle well with fresh mint and a hint of malty sweetness.

            Sweet chocolate malts come to the forefront in the flavor, with notes of vanilla, peppermint and cocoa nibs rounding out the back end.  Cool mint and a hint of chocolate linger long after the last sip.  The flavor is reminiscent of the best parts of a Peppermint Patty, a Grasshopper mixed drink, and a Show shoe (peppermint schnapps in hot chocolate) all mixed together.  This is a moderately malty stout with just enough hop bitterness to keep it from being cloyingly sweet.  It is moderately full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation.

            When I picked up this bottle, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  There are many ways that a Peppermint stout can go wrong, fortunately that is not the case with Trixie’s Kiss.  This beer, like many previous releases from Mobcraft is an excellent example of what craft beer can be.  The smooth chocolate malts blend perfectly with the mint, with neither one stealing the show.  This is truly a remarkable beer and I for one hope this becomes a Christmas seasonal.  What better way for two champions of the Madison craftbeer scene to celebrate the holidays than with this amazing beer being added into rotation?  If you have not tried it yet, and can find it in stock, pick up a few bottles to toast on New Year’s Eve.  This is an amazing brew, you will not be disappointed!

            That’s all for tonight, check back soon for another review…

            Happy Drinking, and remember to always Drink Wisconsinbly!

Friday, December 19, 2014

St. Nikklilaus – Black Husky Brewing

                It’s time once again for the Christmas spiced beers to show up on the shelves.  The quality of the Christmas offerings varies widely from brewery to brewery, and more Christmas spice beers show up every year.  The latest release from Black Husky is St. Nikkilausthe brewery’s take on a Christmas Spiced Ale.  Christmas beers can be hit or miss, and even great breweries can release a less than stellar Christmas beer just to have one in their lineup.  People like seasonal beers, just look at the annual release of pumpkin beers; and any new seasonal beer that can be added to a lineup represents additional sales potential.  That said however, I have never had a bad beer from Black Husky so I figured it was safe to pick up a bottle the last time I was out looking for beer.         

                Moving on to the review, neither Beeradvocate or ratebeer currently have a score for St. Nikkilaus since it’s new to the shelves.

They Say:

                Nikki is the most unlikely of candidates to wear a silly Santa hat?? and be the spokesdog for our Christmas beer as he came to us from a musher who treated him unkindly.  Over time Nikki learned that there is kindness and there is charity to be found on this earth – and after all, is that not the true spirit of Christmas?

I Say:

                St Nikkilaus pours an opaque deep black walnut in color with a thick, creamy khaki head that holds very good retention (~4 min) before fading to a collar around the ends of the glass and leaving thin lacing behind.  Sweet caramelized sugars, dark malts and Christmas spices lead the aroma.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, and cloves are all prevalent along with a slight hint of citrus on the back end.  The aroma is reminiscent of Wassail.

                The flavor is very similar to the aroma, although it is both more complex, and more intense.  Nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, and clove lead in the flavor with slightly sweet, toasted malt notes and caramelized sugars rounding out the back end.  The finish and aftertaste, much like the front end has a massive dose of all spice, clove, and cinnamon.  St. Nikkilaus is a full bodied beer with a moderately high level of carbonation, giving the beer a hint of carbonic bite.

                St. Nikkilaus is exactly what I expected out of a Black Husky Christmas beer.  It is decidedly not balanced, but balanced isn’t really what Black Husky is all about.  This is not a beer for the meek, or for that matter, the average beer drinker.  If you like Christmas spices, or mulled beverages, you will love this beer.  If however, you have an aversion to Christmas spices, please send the bottles my way and I will dispose of them properly.  As with every previous Black Husky release, St. Nikkilaus is a great beer, it might just be a little extreme for some people but pick up a bottle while it’s still in stock, and toast it at over the holidays!

                That’s all for today, check back soon for another post!

                Happy Drinking, Happy Holidays, and always remember to Drink Wisconsinbly!