On January 19th, Southside CSA hosted one of our fave events — the Beer Tasting Potluck. It’s the day when we get together, drink delicious small batch craft beer brewed by James Kinnie of Broken Stove Brewery and eat tasty treats. Eat and drink local, that’s our motto!
In addition to our soiree, members of the Beer Tasting Club picked up their monthly stash of hyper-local, craft beer. This month’s selections are a Rye IPA, Belgian Dubbel, and Oatmeal Stout. Below are exerts from the tasting notes which accompany the beers.
RYE IPA – History – In the early 19th century technological advances in malting — mainly cheap coal making malting a possibility instead of roasting — gave way to a cost efficient way of producing pale malt. In addition were some socio-economic factors caused by the fact that Britain had the world under it’s thumb. Taxes being one; hops at this time was cheaply taxed and therefore a cheap export. Basically, places like India didn’t have a need for British goods so most ships left London empty and came back full creating the problem of how to keep a beer fresh for the trip to India. Turns out hops are a preservative! The answer was to put lots of hops in the casks for export. The IPA was born and the people rejoiced! Fast forward a couple of centuries and a few land wars to the late 90’s. West coast craft brewers riding on the popularity of hoppy beers try to recreate this illustrious ride. Aroma – A prominent to intense hop aroma with a citrusy, floral perfume-like, resinous, piney and/or fruity character derived from American hops. Many versions are dry hopped and can have an additional grassy aroma, although this is not required. Some clean malty sweetness may be found in the background, but should be at a lower level than in English examples. Fruitness, either from esters or hops, may also be detected in some versions. Appearance – Color ranges from medium gold to medium reddish copper; some versions can have an orange tint. Should be clear, although unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be a bit hazy. Good head stand with white to off-white color should persist.
Oatmeal Stout – History – The term Stout first appears as an adjective describing the strength of a beer, around 1677. These beers were strong in flavor and alcohol content – most often a blend of old (stale) and fresh porter. Somewhere around 1817 malting technology and techniques evolve to allow for the specialty malts like black patent malt and roasted barley. Giving way to a style of beer referred to as Stout. Though the meaning of the word doesn’t really change, Stouts start to be more distinctive from other English Brown Ales. Around the same time people began to see and use Stouts as a nutritional supplement! Brewers and brewery owners seeing this played into the trend by adding “health foods” like oysters, milk sugar, and yes — oatmeal into their brews. Aroma – Mild roasted grain aromas, often with a coffee-like character. Fruitiness should be low to medium. Hop aroma low to none. A light oatmeal aroma is optional. Appearance – Medium brown black in color. Thick, creamy, persistent tan-to-brown colored head. Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear). Flavor – Medium sweet to medium dry palate, with the complexity of oats and dark roasted grains present. Oats can add a nutty, grainy, or earthy flavor. Mouthfeel – Medium-full to full body, smooth, silky, sometimes an almost oily slickness from the oatmeal. Creamy. Medium to medium high carbonation.
Belgian Dubbel – History – A Belgian Dubbel is a style of beer developed by Trappist monks in Northern Europe. The Trappist monks are an off shoot of Benedictian thought. Trappist’s wear blue and white; Benedictian wear brown robes. During the Middle Ages, Trappist monasteries were safe havens for the weary traveler. They provided beer, bread, cheese and a place to stay to those in need. All pre-industrial breweries made beers of different strengths, not styles like today. Diversity of product came way after the industrial age. Free shipping from Asia wasn’t possible yet! The term Dubbel refers to the alcohol content of the beer in relation to other beers the brewery (or monastery in those days) made. Dubbel was the second weakest or the middle beer a monastery would offer. There’s a wonderful book by Stan Heironymus called “Brew Like a Monk” that tells the story of the Trappists and their wonderful brew better than I can. Aroma – Complex, rich malty sweetness; malt may have hint of chocoalte, caramel, and/or toast. Moderate fruity esters (usually including raisins and plums, sometimes also dried cherries). Esters sometimes include banana or apple. Spicy phenols and higher alcohols are common (may include light clove and spice, peppery, rose like and/or perfumy notes). Appearance – Dark amber to copper in color, with an attractive reddish depth of color. Generally clear. Large, dense, and long-lasting cream head. Flavor – Rich, complex medium to medium-full malty sweetness on the palate yet finishes moderately dry. Complex malt, ester, alcohol, and phenol interplay (raisiny flavors are common; dried fruit flavors are welcome; clove-like spiciness is optional).
Membership in the Tasting Club is still available. Contact us today to get in on the craft beer-travaganza!