Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Voodoo Doughnut Pretzel, Raspberry, & Chocolate Ale – Rogue Ales

                The first two Voodoo DoughnutRogue Ales collaboration beers were interesting to say the least, and well worth trying at least once.  After all where else is it possible to find a maple bacon doughnut ale, or a chocolate, peanut butter, banana ale.  Sure, a wider selection of odd beer flavors is being brewed every year, just look at the amazing selection coming out of the Shorts Brewing tap-room.  However, with very few exceptions, Rogue is doing something no other brewery is even attempting.  Hopefully more commercial breweries will follow the lead and brew odd flavored beers for distribution.

                I enjoyed the previous two Voodoo Doughnut beers, and was looking forward to this newest release from the moment that I heard about it.  I mean come on, who doesn’t like a good jelly doughnut, and personally I love raspberries, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a bottle.  Unfortunately, Wisconsin always seems to get these new Voodoo Doughnut beers over a month after their release, so it was a long month of checking liquor store shelves for a bottle.

                The Voodoo Doughnut Pretzel, Raspberry & Chocolate Ale is based on the Voodoo Doll doughnut, a raised yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake.  Sounds pretty good, eh?

                Currently Voodoo Doughnut Pretzel, Raspberry, & Chocolate Ale has a score of 79 over at Beeradvocate.  At ratebeer, it has a score of 69 overall with a 92 for style.

They Say:

A Collision of Crazies. Rogue Ales has again collided with Voodoo Doughnut to create Pretzel, Raspberry & Chocolate Ale!

STYLE: Doughnut Ale 

FOOD PAIRING: Dessert, Doughnuts

Malts: 2-Row, Munich, C120, Chocolate, Black,  Kiln Coffee & Rogue Farms Dare™ and Risk™ Malts
Hops: Rogue Farms Rebel Hops™
Adjuncts: Pretzels, Raspberry Extract, Chocolate
Yeast & water: Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water
13° Plato
31 IBU
73 AA
78° Lovibond

I Say:

                Voodoo Pretzel, Raspberry & Chocolate Ale pours a slightly hazy deep mahogany with ruby highlights.  It sports a thick, creamy head with moderate breakup that has surprisingly little retention.   The aroma begins bready with subtle toasted malts, and milk chocolate, before developing a hint of raisin.  Midway through the aroma there are notes of raspberry and slightly salty pretzels before a long, lingering chocolate finish.  The aroma at least hits all the expected notes, with the right mix of doughnut-y malts, raspberry, pretzel, and chocolate.

                The flavor has a strong, up front milk chocolate character that quickly transitions into bready malts with a hint of caramel.  Subtle raspberries and pretzels come forward as the beer transitions to a lingering chocolate and pretzel finish.  The after taste is dominated by pretzels, chocolate and bready malts.  Voodoo Pretzel, Raspberry & Chocolate Ale has a medium-low body, with a moderate carbonation level.

                Out of the bottle, the raspberry flavor leaves much to be desired, it never really came forward and screamed raspberry, leaving subtle notes on the tongue instead.  I really would have enjoyed this beer more if there was a stronger, fresh raspberry flavor.  In fact, the next time I buy a bottle, I am going to puree some raspberries and mix them in for the added effect.  That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy Voodoo Pretzel, Raspberry & Chocolate Ale however, because I actually did.  Much like the previous Rogue - Voodoo Doughnut collaborative beers, this one struck a note that feels almost more like a homebrew than a commercial product from one of the country’s top breweries.  It has that playful quality that is all too often missing from commercial beers.

                This is definitely a beer that I will be buying again, and if the description above sounds even remotely interesting, it might be one you would enjoy as well.  So, if you enjoy what you read up top, pick up a bottle the next time you are in your local liquor store, it should be easy to find on a shelf, being pink and all.

                Well, that’s all for today, Check back soon for another review!!

Happy Drinking!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Splash Down Belgian Style Golden Ale – Grand Teton Brewing

                I really enjoy the beers that come out of Grand Teton Brewing, and I especially enjoy their Cellar Reserve Series, which I look forward to with each new release. The second beer in the 2014 Cellar Reserve Series is Slash Down, a Belgian-style Golden Ale. For a few years, Grand Teton was on a roll with the summer Cellar Reserve release being a sour beer, first Snarling Badger Berliner Weisse, which will be re-released this summer as a summer seasonal, and Oud Bruin. The switch to a Belgian Golden Ale caught me a little by surprise, but I had high hopes going into it.

                Splash Down currently has no reviews posted on either of the two major rating sites, but I am sure they will come rolling in after the May 15th release date. On to the review.

They Say:


Splash Down Belgian-Style Golden Ale

VICTOR, ID – Grand Teton Brewing Company, known throughout the West for their exceptional craft brews, is proud to announce the release of Splash Down Belgian-Style Golden Ale, the second offering in their 2014 Cellar Reserve series.

                Splash Down Belgian-Style Golden Ale is a smooth and crisp Golden Ale, brewed with Belgian practices and techniques in mind. True to style, this beer starts sweet, then finishes dry with a mild yet progressive bitterness from European Noble hops. Though pale in color, Splash Down proves to be complex and inviting, with intriguing spiciness created during fermentation by Belgian Abbey yeast.

                Splash Down contains Idaho 2-row barley that provides the pale golden color. A hint of Belgian caramel malt adds color in the cheeks and sweetness on the tongue. Clear Belgian candi sugar was added during the boil to help increase alcohol content while allowing for a dry finish and light body.

                Their Belgian Abbey yeast ferments warm and produces tastes and aromas like sweet bananas, bubble gum and cotton candy. A small kettle hop addition of Czech Saaz hops gives a spicy and earthy hop aroma, while imparting bitterness on the front of the palate that slowly fades to the back of the tongue.

                This Belgian-Style Golden Ale is perfect for summertime drinking and also for prolonged cellaring. Even with an alcohol by volume of 7.5%, this Belgian-Style Golden drinks smooth and easy and is very refreshing. Consume this beer thoroughly chilled. Enjoy with pungent cheeses, a simple arugula salad or grilled white meats such as chicken or fish lightly seasoned with ground black pepper and fresh squeezed lemon. A tart dessert like lemon meringue pie will balance well with the residual sweetness of this delicious summer seasonal.

Alcohol by Volume: 7.5%
Original Gravity (Plato): 18˚ P
Color (Lovibond): 8˚
International Bitterness Units: 25

Splash Down Belgian-Style Golden Ale will be available May 15, 2014 in 1/2 and 1/6 bbl kegs and bottle-conditioned 750 mL cases.

I Say:

                Splash Down Belgian-Style Golden Ale pours a slightly hazy pale golden amber with a moderately thick, off-white, rocky head that holds moderate retention but leaves behind very little lacing in the glass. The aroma is complex, as expected from a Belgian-style ale. It is all Belgian yeast on the front end with notes of banana and bubblegum with a hint of clove phenolics. Sweet malts and candi sugar round out the aroma, leading to clove phenolics, and earthy hops in the finish.

                The flavor is equally complex with sweet malts on the front end, transitioning to sweet, fresh bananas, and bubble gum complimented by earth and spicy hops. Clove phenolics and a moderate hop bitterness round out the up-front sweetness, with the beer finishing dry and becoming bitterer on the back end. The combination leads to a moderately bitter after taste. Splash Down is relatively light bodied with a moderately high level of carbonation.

                Splash Down Belgian-Style Golden Ale is a pretty interesting beer, it seems to straddle the line between a Belgian Pale Ale and a Belgian Golden Strong Ale. The complexity expected in a Belgian-style ale is definitely present with excellent sweet malts, banana, and bubblegum; however the bitterness seems a little too pronounced when combined with the phenolics, completely dominating the finish and aftertaste. There is no doubt that many of you will find this to be a refreshing summer ale.

                I usually pick up 4-6 bottles of every Grand Teton Cellar Reserve release, but I think this round I will only pick up a couple to see how it ages. If you enjoy hoppier Belgian-style ales, this might be exactly what you are looking for, so you might want to pick it up when it lands in stores on May 15th. For more Grand Teton Brewing reviews, click on the Grand Teton Brewing Company label at the bottom of this post.

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

Happy Drinking!