Friday, April 15, 2011

Beer of the Week (Vol XCV)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the gritty folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who have to strength and fortitude to help you explore the wide world of wine, whiskey, and beer.

Last week, a few of us who were closely following the progress of the “Surly Bill” (to allow Minnesota breweries to join the 21st 20th century and sell pints on premises) as it began its journey through the halls of the Minnesota Legislature were having a bit of fun on Twitter using the noted brewer’s various beer names to predict what might happen. To our credit, we managed to avoid the easy reference to “Furious” while working in “Cynic,” “Coffee Bender,” “Mild,” “Wet,” “Smoke,” “Bitter Brewer,” and “Hell.” The fun all started with a well-made pun employing Surly’s Abrasive Ale which just happens to be our featured beer this week:

We brewed this beer originally at the end of 2008 as a farewell to growler sales. As usual, we underestimated the demand for the first Double IPA in Minnesota. We brewed the beer again in the spring and released it as a draft only beer. It was originally called 16 Grit, a size of abrasive grit used at the old Abrasive factory that once stood where the brewery now resides.

Abrasive Ale is a limited release beer and you likely will not find it on store shelves much longer. Saint Paul (the blogger not the city) recently suggested that I include the price of the beer in these weekly reviews. My first inclination was to say, “If you have to ask, you can’t afford it,” but he probably does have a point. Prices are like preferences when it comes to beer. There’s no objective answer to how much is that beer really worth? To adopt an adage about classic cars, it’s worth as much as what some SOB is willing to pay for it. In case of Abrasive Ale, there are apparently enough beer loving SOBs out there willing to shell out some long green. While it’s often sold in four-packs like most Surly, at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits a pint-sized can of Abrasive goes for $4.99.

Mostly black can a touch of red and gold follows the usual sharp Surly design.

Style: American Double IPA

Alcohol by Volume: 9.0%

COLOR (0-2): Beautiful golden orange color that’s nicely cloudy. 2

AROMA (0-2): Strong fragrances of grapefruit and pine with a hint of honey. 2

HEAD (0-2): Sharp white color. Good volume and excellent lacing. 2

TASTE (0-5): Explodes with bold hop flavor. Pine and citrus lead the way with a touch of sweet malt and a deliciously bitter finish. Medium bodied, not especially hot consider the alcohol content, and actually pretty drinkable. 5

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Flavors linger pleasantly. 2

OVERALL (0-6): Looks gorgeous in the glass. Smells wonderful with well-rounded taste to match. Damn near a perfect beer. In fact, that’s exactly how I’m going to rate it making Abrasive Ale the second beer ever to score a perfect nineteen. Is it worth it? That’s up to you to decide, but for this SOB it certainly is. 6

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 19