Saturday, February 11, 2012

Beer of the Week (Vol. CXXXIV)

Another edition of Beer of the Week sponsored as always by the enlightened folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help illuminate the wine, whiskey, and beer you need to find your way through the darkness.

There was a time not that long ago, when many people divided beer into two camps: dark and light. These classification was entirely based on color and the faulty assumption that “dark” beers had more flavor (and were stronger). The reality is that beers that are light in color can in fact be packed with flavors and carry heavy alcohol content. And some “dark” beers like Guinness, while providing plenty of taste, don’t actually punch that much of a punch. A good rule is to not judge a beer by its color.

On the subject of colors, a beer style that seems to be increasingly popular among craft brewers is American Black Ale:

Also referred to as a Black IPA (India Pale Ale) or Cascadian Dark Ale, ales of this style range from dark brown to pitch black and showcase malty and light to moderate roasty notes and are often quite hoppy generally with the use of American hops. Alcohol can range from average to high depending on if the brewery is going for a "double / imperial" version.

Our featured beer this week is just such an offering, Mountain Standard Reserve from Odell Brewing in Colorado:

As the Colorado hop growers prove they can produce world class hops, we as a Colorado Craft Brewer want to showcase what our state can offer, not only with our hand crafted beers, but also with the ingredients used in creating them. Mountain Standard, Double Black IPA, features the homegrown hops our Brewers helped pick from farms along Colorado’s western slope. MST pours committingly dark with a light tan head and a slightly roasted hoppy nose. An ephemeral bitterness, the result of combining roasted malts with an assertive American hop profile, contributes to MST’s act of balance and harmony. As the season’s darkness sets in, why shouldn’t your beer become darker too?

A four-pack of 12oz brown bottles goes for $9.99. The label is the usual high quality product from Odell with a parchment colored background with a rendering of a celestial clock.



COLOR (0-2): Deep dark black. 2

AROMA (0-2): Citrus and pine. 2

HEAD (0-2): Tan color, good volume, laces nicely. 2

TASTE (0-5): Prominent hop flavors of citrus and especially pine balanced well with roasted malt and a bit of cocoa and coffee. The heat is mostly muted. Medium-bodied with a smooth mouthfeel. Considering the high ABV, it’s actually surprisingly drinkable. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Bitter flavors linger.2

OVERALL (0-6): A really well-made and balanced beer that combines bold hop flavors with rich roasted malty goodness. The flavors blend together well and don’t overwhelm the beer. Neither does the alcohol which can be a concern with when the ABV is close to 10%. A great choice for this time of year. 5

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 17