Mikkeller Barrel-Aged Black Hole

At some point I will review beers that I find less than fabulous…but this is not one of them.

Last week I made it back over to The Trappist in Oakland after a hiatus of several months (shame on me!).  As always, there was an amazing selection of beers not only on tap, but also bottled. The Trappist is definitely one of the best beer bars in the bay area. But I digress as I’m here to speak specifically about a beer I had that evening, Mikkeller’s Barrel-Aged Black Hole.

I had tried Mikkeller’s Black Hole a few months back and found it to be a delicious example of an imperial stout. Add that to bourbon barrels and age it…it takes it up a notch!  The beer itself appeared very dark in color with a slight caramel colored head. The bottle states quite clearly, “brewed with coffee, honey and vanilla”.  I could definitely smell and taste the coffee and vanilla (oak barrels tend to give off a vanilla flavor and smell) but not so much of the honey.  The finish is creamy and smooth which makes it very drinkable, although I would say it isn’t quite as smooth as some other barrel-aged beers I’ve had…but that may be due to the age (better to age).

If you happen upon this beer, definitely worth trying. If you happen to see it in a store, buy it and age it for a while as it will only get better.

Four out of five pints!

Allagash Interlude

Photo courtesy of http://blog.winemag.com

On my recent trip down to San Diego, I stopped by Downtown Johnny Brown’s to check out their Allagash night.  In the past I’ve had a few Allagash beers and really enjoyed them, so was intrigued to try out more.  The favorite of the night for me was Allagash’s Interlude.

Interlude is categorized a an American Wild Ale.  I’m sure most of you haven’t heard of this style and neither had I until a couple months ago!  To be honest, I think when beers become complex, they aren’t easy to categorize and thus styles like “American Wild Ale” come into use.  That being said, most of the beers that are categorized as American Wild Ale are beers that I like…so I guess I shouldn’t badmouth it. 😉

My initial thoughts on this beer: beautiful golden color; clear, champagne-style carbonation with an off-white head.  Smells of apples and light fruit.  You can definitely taste the brett, which most people characterize as being “funky”.  I enjoy that funky flavor!  I definitely tasted the apples as well as grapes.  The finish had a white pepper flavor to it.  Slightly sour as well, although I wouldn’t characterize it as a sour beer.   Interlude has an ABV of 9.5%, which means it packs a tasty and oh-so-delicious punch.  This beer has a lot going on flavor wise, so I would suggest savoring it…bask in the beauty and uniqueness of this beer.

Results: 4 out of 5 pints

Allagash Curieux

Allagash is a craft brewery located in New England that has a great selection of Belgian Ale like Allagash White and Grand Cru.  This particular evening at La Trappe I had Allagash’s Curieux.  Aged in Jim Beam Barrels, this beer is another high alcohol beer (this will be a trend on this blog..:-P).  At 11% ABV, this packs a punch.  But what a delicious punch it is.  This beer is dry and oaky with a strong vanilla taste.  There is a definite taste of Brettanomyces here which is a taste you’ll either love or hate. There is something that I really loved about barrel aged beers….they pick up so many different flavors, including a bit of the alcohol that was previously aged in it!  If you’re a fan of belgians, give this one a try.  It’s not very common to find so you may as well try it if it’s there!