I thought we might stay on the other side of the pond this week, and finish clearing the backlog of beers in the bottom drawer of my refrigerator. (In other words, my wife wanted her veggie drawer back.)
Morehouse English Owd Ale, 5.9% abv, Lancashire England. Loads of malt on the nose of this amber ale, with a dry palate of malt, meaning molasses, caramel, grain, toffee, and good acidity in the background. The bitterness of the hops comes through on the finish. Great flavor.
Moorhouse Black Cat Ale, 3.4% abv, Lancashire England. Low alcohol, high flavor. Off white head, malty nose with hints of kernel. Dry palate, good bitterness, low tannin, good carbonation, medium body with flavors of chocolate and malt. Short finish, calling for a second sip.
I had done a couple of columns on Scottish ale a few months ago, and, believe it or not, did not exhaust the stash I had. Here's the rest:
Merlin's Ale, Broughton Ales Limited, Scotland. (No abv on label.) Gold-amber beer under a frothy white head, a pretty equal balance of hops and malt on the nose, a rich hops palate with loads of bitterness - hops fans take note - light bodied, low acidity, alcohol feels fairly minimum, good hops flavor intensity including citrus, herbal notes. Refreshing.
Black Douglas Ale, Broughton Ales Limited, Scotland. Back into the darker end of the ale spectrum, amber headed toward tawny beer, good malt nose under a frothy off-white head. Medium body, rich malt palate leaning toward chocolate, herbal note, some resin, pine. Rich palate that lingers after you finish.
Old Jock Ale, Broughton Ales Limited, Scotland, Amber again, with a frothy just off-white head, light intensity nose in which malt predominates; the malt comes clearly into focus on the palate, with a grainy/bready palate. Dry good bitterness, good carbonation, medium body ale, good flavor intensity, long finish.
Kinmont Willie, (Stout) Broughton Ales Limited, Scotland, 4.2% abv. Dark brown beer, almost black, under a very light tan head. Light malt nose, Off-dry palate, medium bitterness, low tannin, low alcohol, well-integrated into the assembly, medium-plus body, not the thickest Stout I've had this year, but certainly respectable, malt palate that includes hints of molasses, cookie dough, caramel, chocolate. Delicious. Bitter finish as the hops speak out.
Back here in the states, here's a new one from Sam Adams: Samuel Adams Grumpy Monk, Belgian IPA, 5.7% abv. Sam tells me that this is a “spirited reinvention of a traditional Belgian ale” recreated as an India Pale Ale. Brewed with Belgian ale yeast, 55 IBU's. You may see it as a member of the recently released Samuel Adams IPA Hop-ology Variety 12 Pack. So finishing out beer on a lighter note, amber-gold, white frothy head of substantial size, hoppy nose for sure, Light body, dry palate, lots of bitterness from those hops, flavors of citrus, spice, resin, clove, hints of ginger somewhere in the back there, medium body, good flavor intensity, long hoppy finish. Neither a Belgian ale nor an IPA per se, but somewhere in the middle, leaning toward the latter.
Lastly for beer, a look at a low alcohol one: Kaliber Non-alcoholic Premium Beer, “from the brewers of Guinness.” Less than 0.5% alcohol by volume, made by Diageo Ireland, through England and to us, it has an average head, gold beer, medium-minus malt intensity, aromas of caramel and toast, some nuttiness and hints of citrus. It's dry, with relatively low bitterness and acidity, medium carbonation, medium texture and body, and the palate reflects the malt nose. Best low alcohol beer for the column so far.
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And for a wine to wrap up:
2010 Vega Sindoa Tempranillo, Navarra Spain DO. Grown and made about a half hour south of Pamplona, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, this red has good clarity, medium hue, purple-ruby color, a medium intensity nose, developing aromas of deeper fruit. It's dry on the palate, with mouth-watering medium-plus acidity, low tannin, medium-plus alcohol at 14%, a bit out of balance, giving the wine a warm feel, medium body and flavor intensity of red berry, ripe raspberry, strawberry and hints of plum. If the previous line made you think “Pinot Noir,” I had that thought too, though in a Pinot the red fruit is deeper than it is here. Medium-plus length finish. 86 points.
Jim Beauregard is a local wine and beer writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.