Friday, June 01, 2012

Beer of the Week (Vol. CXLVIII)

A return to normalcy edition of Beer of the Week sponsored as always by the contemplative folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help find the wine, whiskey, and beer you need to fortify your soul.

This week brings some exciting news on the local beer scene. And by local, I mean my basement where my previous beer storage device (a mini refrigerator) has been replaced by a full size version. More room for beer is always a good thing.

As is the brewery who produces our featured beer this week. They’re based in San Francisco and have a track record of cranking out good beer while displaying a welcome appreciation of history. 21st Amendment Brewery:

Around the turn of the 20th century, in the year 1900, there were thousands of small breweries operating across America. When Freccia and O’Sullivan were researching old San Francisco breweries (trying to find a cool name for their new brewery), what really made an impact was the discovery that there were about 40 breweries operating just within the city limits of San Francisco (by comparison, today there are eight with a population more than double what it was in 1900). They realized that the brewery captured the essence of the neighborhoods of San Francisco. They were the local gathering places. Places to exchange ideas, debate politics and philosophy. Places for families to come together on weekends. Places that provided something unique—hand crafted beer that was different at every brewery and that defined the taste of a neighborhood.

In 1920, Prohibition wiped out this culture and put the “local” out of business. For 13 years, social interaction was largely driven underground, to the speakeasies, where regular citizens became a nation of outlaws.

But with the passage of the 21st Amendment, repealing Prohibition, we, as a society, were able to begin the slow climb back to reclaiming the essence of the neighborhood gathering place. At the 21st Amendment, they celebrate the culture of the great breweries of old, making unique, hand crafted beers, great food, and providing a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere that invites conversation, interaction and a sense of community.

21st Amendment is also a brewery that packages their product in cans. Our beer of the week is their Monk's Blood:

21st Amendment founders Nico Freccia and Shaun O’Sullivan traveled to Belgium to develop the recipe for this special beer, visiting small, traditional breweries in the hop fields of west Flanders, not far from the famous Trappist abbey of Westvletren. Monk’s Blood is designed to pair beautifully with rich winter stews, creamy cheeses, unctuous desserts or just by itself, in a Belgian tulip glass, with a good book by the fire.

Four pack of 12oz cans in a carton container sells for $9.99. Brown colored can with name in large font and a visage of holy brothers in the background.

STYLE: Belgian dark ale


COLOR (0-2): Copper brown and somewhat cloudy. 2

AROMA (0-2): Malty, fruity and a little nutty. 2

HEAD (0-2): Tan color with good volume. 2

TASTE (0-5): Rich, deep flavors that include sweet bready malt, spice, nuts, raisins, and sour with a bitter finish. There’s a lot to take in with each sip and you definitely need to enjoy it that way. The body is more on the heavy side. The mouthfeel is syrupy and sticky and the heat is noticeable. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Take a sip, walk away for a few minutes and you’ll still be savoring the taste. 2

OVERALL (0-6): Monks Blood is a big beer with loads of complex flavors that are deep and wide. Lots to like here and another reason why 21st Amendment is fast becoming one of my favorite craft brewers. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 16