Goose Island Matilda (2010)

I’ve slacked off a bit on buying beers to age, but this was one that I bought awhile back to age and try.

ABV: 7%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Inspired by great Trappist ales, our complex Belgian Style Pale Ale is fermented with the wild yeast Brettanomyces. Matilda pours a golden sunrise color with dried fruit and clove aromas, a spicy yeast flavor, and a satisfying dry finish. According to legend, a grateful Countess Matilda founded a monastery where, over centuries, monks have been brewing ale unique in character. While in Belgium, we were inspired by the story and the monks’ beer. We returned to Chicago and brewed our homage – a Belgian Style Pale Ale named Matilda.”

Random: This is a year round offering

The beer poured with a half a finger of tan head. It dissipated slowly, but left no lacing on the glass. The body was a cloudy, medium brown color with little carbonation visible. The nose was filled with Belgian yeast along with a lot of spice, specifically clove and nutmeg. I think some of the fruit wore off in the time it aged, but there was still some dates along with brown sugar. The taste started off with the same Belgian yeast character. I got some clove and dried prunes next. After that, the candy sugar came through. The booze was well-hidden on this one. It had a relatively thick mouthfeel with low carbonation. The finish was lengthy with clove. I don’t remember what I paid for this one since I bought it in 2010 (before they were bought out), but this was really interesting to age and finally pop open. I would be interested in trying a fresh one too.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

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Cape May Devil’s Reach

I’ve never been to Cape May, but always wanted to go. Hopefully Val and I will make a trip down there at some point. Until then, I’ll just drink their beer.

ABV: 8.4%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “A Belgian beast, this strong ale is one of our top selling, award winning, and most highly sought after beers. At 8.6% alcohol by volume this is our strongest full time offering, but you would never know it at first sip. Fruity esters and a super light body makes for an easy drinking and refreshing beverage, however caution is demanded because before you know it Devil’s Reach has swallowed you whole. One of our simplest beer – one hop variety used minimally and the fermentables coming primarily from one grain – this beer receives it’s complexity and character from a funky Belgian yeast strain, which keeps you coming back for more.”

Random: This is another New Jersey brewery that I haven’t made my way out to yet.

The brew poured with a half a finger of pure white head. It went away quickly and left almost no lacing on the glass, but a slight crown. The body was a cloudy yellow color with light carbonation. The nose was filled with lemon zest, dried apricots, golden raisins and white grape skins. The taste had some spice with clove and coriander. It transitioned into golden raisins and white grapes and had wildflower honey as well. It had some booze to it as well that could have benefitted from being tamed a bit. The body was lighter than expected and didn’t hit the point of syrupy, which is something I was afraid of. Moderate carbonation complemented the flavors well. The finish was lengthy with a lot of honey. A bottle of this was $2.17, which came to $.18 per ounce. This was a solid beer, I just wish it didn’t have as much of a booze bite.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Off Color Jerkbird

Tonight’s selection is another beer from Off Color. Time to crack it open.

jerkbird

ABV: 9.5%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “At some point John and Dave were born. They did other stuff for a while and then they figured out they were better at making beer than at the other stuff. So that’s what they do now. They met while both studied at the oldest and most respected brewing school (of the two…and by the brewers that went to the one) in the US, the Siebel Institute, in 2008 and the brewery was envisioned while they both interned at Metropolitan Brewing afterwards. Most of Off Color’s business plan is based off of Doug and Tracy at Metro knowing what they’re doing, so you should go buy some of their beer too. After cutting their teeth at larger breweries, the two somehow convinced enough otherwise-very-smart-people to invest enough money for them to buy some big shiny things to make their own beer in. So that’s what they do now.”

Random: Val got the cutest tote bag for me one Christmas from them. She also got me a tee-shirt, which is one of my favorites.

The beer poured with a three finger, fluffy white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was hazy and bright yellow with a lot of carbonation. The nose had notes of peach, golden raisins and yeast. There wasn’t much spice. The taste had oak with golden raisins up front. It went into apricot, peach and vanilla. The body was very light with a touch of alcohol and high carbonation. The finish was quick and clean with apricot and yeast. A bomber of this was $18 ($.82 per ounce). This beer was on the more expensive side, but yet another solid beer from Off Color.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Allagash Evora

Tonight’s selection is a beer from Allagash that gets high marks. Everything from their barrel collection tends to be pretty solid.

evora

ABV: 9%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Evora is a golden hued ale with aromas of tropical fruit, honey, and spice. Citrus, oak, and earthiness dominate the flavor and give way to hints of bread crust. Malty and robust, this medium bodied beer finishes fruity, dry, and slightly tart. We brew this beer with Maris Otter Malt and flaked oats, and hop with Sorachi Ace, Hallertau and Northern Brewer. Evora begins fermenting on stainless steel with a classic Belgian yeast strain, then moves over to Portuguese Brandy Barrels, where it ages with Brettanomyces Bruxellensis for over a year.”

Random: I can’t remember if I’ve ever had apple brandy on its own.

This brew poured with a half a finger of white head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a golden-yellow with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was bright with apple juice, apricot and golden raisin and light spice. The Sorachi Ace hops came through with lemongrass too. The taste had some bright tropical hops. Again, the Sorachi Ace really stood out. There was also an apple brandy note which gave it more depth. The spice characteristic was lacking, but what did come out was clove. It had some tartness at the end. The body was lighter than expected with high carbonation. It had a lengthy lemongrass and tart finish. The bottle was $18.99 as you can see from the convenient price tag on the bottle. It came to $1.50 per ounce. I enjoyed this beer, but the price point is prohibitive of buying a second bottle. If you have the extra cash, this is worth picking up.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Night Shift Trifecta

Hot tubs gross me out. I’m watching a commercial with people in a hot tub and they just make me think of a tub of bacteria. Anyways, let’s get to the beer.

trifecta

ABV: 7%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Belgian-style pale ale aged with vanilla beans & fermented with three Trappist yeast strains; zesty hops, gentle malts, and a clean, smooth profile.”

Random: I love the can art from Night Shift. I also like owls, so that helps. If a brewery used an otter on their labels, I would have to buy that.

This beer poured with a half a finger of white head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a golden-copper color with moderate carbonation. On the nose, I picked up golden raisins, Belgian yeast, spice and a touch of alcohol. I didn’t get any of the vanilla bean that was advertised on the can. But, I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. There was some vanilla up front, along with the same golden raisins that were in the nose. There was also Belgian yeast, coriander and a touch of apricot at the end. It had a thick body with a lot of carbonation, which made this insanely drinkable. The finish was quick with coriander and yeast. The flavors in the beer were well-balanced and the addition of vanilla was unique and interesting. Since this was a gift, I’m not sure how much it was, but I would get this one again.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Wicked Weed Bedeviled Golden Strong

Last night, I made burgers for dinner. I love making my own burgers and I think they come out a lot better than the pre-made ones. This beer is one that would go well with any type of food, including burgers.

bedeviled

ABV: 8.4%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Located in West Asheville, the most recent Wicked Weed addition is this 50 barrel Production Brewery responsible for brewing and distributing our fresh beer offerings such as Freak of Nature Double IPA and Pernicious IPA. Christened in July 2015, the Production Brewery is our answer to the Southeast’s call for more of our beer. Currently, our focus is brewing and packaging our fresh beer to send to North Carolina and surrounding markets with future plans to expand the facility to include tours and a tasting room.”

Random: I made portabello mushroom caps as well. Those were quite tasty.

This beer poured with a one finger, thick, pure white head. It dissipated slowly and left limited lacing on the glass. The body was very cloudy and straw yellow in color with a lot of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with yeast, golden raisins and lemon flesh. There was some coriander spice as well. I didn’t pick up any alcohol in the nose. The taste had golden raisins and honey sweetness. There was also some peach flesh and a lot of yeast. Coriander and clove came out as well. There was some alcohol noticeable, but not strong enough to take away from the flavor. It had a medium thick body with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy with bread and coriander. I have no idea how much the beer was since this was received as a gift. I really enjoyed this beer. It reminded me a bit of Duvel. I would highly recommend this beer.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

De Proef Flanders Fred

When I was at Local 44 in Philly, they also had this beer on tap. I had absolutely no idea what to expect from it and this was also my first beer from De Proef. It was also one of the few beers left on tap that I hadn’t reviewed, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

flandersfred

ABV: 7.5%

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The ‘proef’ brewery is specifically equipped for the development and production of beers for third parties. We brew on a relatively small scale: most often between 10 and 140 hectoliters per order. Our customers include beer architects (who most often contribute to their own recipe), start-up or existing breweries (who have their own recipe or a recipe that is jointly developed), and individual initiatives.”

Random: I thought their small logo glasses were adorable.

This beer poured with a one finger, thick and dimpled cream-colored head. It took awhile to dissipate, but left very little lacing on the glass. The body was a hazy amber with mild carbonation visible. The nose was filled with freshly milled grain and white wine grapes with a touch of lemon juice. The taste wasn’t tart. Instead, it was very dry and filled with white wine grapes. It had the same lightly toasted grain and some cracker from the yeast. I couldn’t pick up any booze from this one. It had a medium thick body with light carbonation. The finish was lengthy with grain and white grapes. A 10 ounce pour of this was $8 at a bar in Philly ($.80 per ounce). I really enjoyed this beer and glad I got it. I didn’t know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0