Being a serious beer guy means that you have to do something really out of the way to challenge your palate. I purchased two beers from Heavy Seas’ 2016 Unchartered Waters collection and thought “can’t we have both?”
It was a Friday night, and I had to finish my daily workout routine because working out after a beer is a funky experience and always feels like a waste. I grabbed my bombers, opened both of them, poured a small amount into my two smallish tasting goblets and sipped away.
I had the Siren Noire and the Plank IV. I’ve had a lot of bourbon-barrel stouts (the former) and they tend to be a bit too front-end boozy for my tastes. The quad (the latter) is a style I’ve enjoyed, but again they are quite boozy. The Siren was 9.5% and the Plank was 10.5%.
Let’s describe the Plank: The wood is very pronounced. There are four kinds of wood (retrified Poplar, retrified Cherry, Jamaican Allspice and Cuban Cedar) involved and my palate is not refined enough to differentiate. I liked the flavor and it’s the first time I’ve had it in a Quad. A quad generally hits you with the booze then you get the secondary fruit flavors, in this case plum, raisin, and dates. Of the two, this is the beer that I went back to my local Greens and purchased two more bombers the following week. At the $8 price, it’s a good value and I’ll save one for next year, see how that goes.
The Siren Noire is darker, my preferred beer color, Darth Vader helmet. Both beers smell great and you get that bourbon appetizer. The chocolate is nice (three pounds of Belgian coco nibs per barrel), and even though others who have tasted this beer mention wood, I don’t get that. That’s probably because the other beer was like drinking a tree stump, but only in the best way. I enjoyed it but did not buy any extras for saving. At the $8 bomber price, it’s a good value for this style. I’m seeing similar beers go for twice as much, and that pushes the budget.
Drinking both bombers in a relatively short time period is a good recipe for a headache the following morning so if you’re going this route, put the bombers in the fridge, alternate, sip, enjoy.
Previous beer(s) of the week columns:
Busting the Beer Budget
Beering on a Budget
Triple Brewery Experience
Other beers from the weekend that was: Two of my near and dear friends (hello Don and Denise) were day drinking on Friday and Denise, who’s on my level with the Goses, mentioned Sierra Nevada’s Otra Vez. On that recommendation I bought a 12-pack at the stupendous price of $13.99. I don’t go for Sierra’s IPAs but I’ve enjoyed their Tumblr Autumn Ale when it’s available. This is a Gose like the Westbrook, which I almost never can find. It mentions grapefruit and cactus but it’s pretty neutral in the fruitiness. You get the sour bite and for a lighter beer that’s what I’m looking for and at the low price this is a good spring/summer beer to avoid the Lites and some of the more IPA-ish session-style brews.
I bought a four-pack of Wild Heaven’s Invocation because Don goes wild for it (during our tour, that’s all he drank). As I was taking it out of the fridge I knicked the corner of one of the bottle tops and noticed some head inside the bottle. Every beer we poured from the four-pack gave is a monstrous amount of white head. This is a golden ale that’s pretty balanced, not my usual jam but I’ll drink one in a pinch.
My finish for the evening was a well named local beer called Hype Whale from Red Brick. Red Brick’s been around so long that I remember “touring” the brewery in the 90s when a tour meant looking around for a minute and drinking until they kicked you out. I thought I might have tweeted more about it but all I have is “bourbony stout” which is accurate. It’s an imperial stout aged on bourbon barrel oak chips, so looky here, boozy and woody. I’ll have to try one more and maybe hold onto the other two from the four-pack for cellaring (closeting in my case because that’s where my extra beer lives).
Oh, and by the way I’m having way too much fun with the Google Doc beer wizard Mike Margossian put together so we can compare prices and notes on beer that we buy. That’s one of the best parts of being a beer lover, the community and shared love for the product.