leaving on a jet plane

29 Nov

We are headed out of town tomorrow.  The wife, child and I are headed to the Lone Star State for my brother’s wedding.  Then it’s on to visit more family in El Paso, TX and Las Cruces, NM.  This brother is the last of the four boys to marry, so it is kind of  big deal to the parents.  We will be staying in the gulf town of Port Aransas, in a beach house overlooking the ocean.  Lots of family in one house?  That’s a recipe for drinking!

I did a quick bit of research and found Port Aransas Brewing Company.  Their website looks like it’s at least 15 years old, but I am intruiged by the offerings in-house and in bottles.  Pickings were slim on my last visit to other parts of Texas, so I am trying to temper my expectations for this go round.

Since I may be out of luck regarding decent beer for a few days, I decided to have a couple while I packed my suitcase tonight.  I settled on Allies Win The War! from Ninkasi and 21st Amendment. Interesting collaboration upon first inspection, right?  Turns out the brewers worked together back in the day…so I guess it makes sense.  I read a review on Beervana maybe?…and it sent me looking for the beer at my local Fred Meyer.  I have tried several of 21st Amendment’s beers in the last year (I got a thing for beer in a can), and have been less than impressed.  I think the ability is there, but the beers always feel “thin” to me, and not in a good way.  Regardless, I was willing to give it a go.

This one is a little better than other offerings from 21st.  From what I can make out on the packaging, it is an attempt at an Olde Ale.  It is brewed with California dates and ” an aggresive arsenal of NW hops”.  I guess I can agree with the hops statement, as the hops are paired nicely with the caramel and fruit notes on the nose.  The beer pours a really nice red/copper color with a tan head.  The flavor is interesting…more of the hops, caramel and what I guess are the dates.  Dates are a pretty specific fruit flavor to me, and I don’t think I am picking them up at all.  I can’t place the sweet flavor at all.  Raisins, maybe?  Clearly the sweetness in the beer is from the dates (the sugar content of ripe dates is 80%), but they don’t come out in the flavor at all.  According to Wikipedia, in northern Nigeria, dates added to the native beer are believed to make it less intoxicating.  Not sure that applies here, as the beer clocks in at 8.5% ABV.  There is a bit of the alcohol and astringency at the very end, but it’s not overwhelming.

So, all-in-all, this is a better beer than I have had in the past from 21st Amendment.  For instance, I was really excited about their CDA Back in Black, but it was really thin and I couldn’t get used to the huge piney hop nose.  What’s really interesting is that I think their canned  beer is brewed in Cold Springs, MN by a “Contract Brewer”.  They brew the recipes from 21st Amendment, then can the beer for distribution.  The only thing they brew themselves is what is sold at their taproom in San Francisco.   I have wondered what that meant to quality control, etc.  I assume they are out there often or tasting each batch in some way.  I don’t want to say that I know this is why I have not enjoyed their beer in the past, but it begs the question.  Perhaps Ninkasi’s involvement in the recipe creation makes a difference here.  Whatever the reason, it’s an interesting beer to pour from a can, and I was glad to find that it was really drinkable for me.  Not sure I would order it at the Brass if it was on tap, but I would definitely be happy if it was available at someone’s Christmas Party.

I’ll be posting from High Desert Brewing in Las Cruces, NM next week.  I am looking forward to tasting everything on tap for a long-overdue review of one of my favorite places back in grad school.  They still use the motto “None of our beers suck!”.  We’ll see about that, won’t we?  Hope everyone makes it out to the Holiday Ale Fest.  I am really bummed to be missing it, but family is more important than beer, right?  Right?  Why is everyone so quiet?

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2 Responses to “leaving on a jet plane”

  1. Chad January 27, 2012 at 4:16 PM #

    Wow man. Smack down on the Back In Black. That’s my favorite 21st Amendment beer; of course I do have the advantage of poping into their Brauhaus in the City and getting a fresh one. Each his own.

    Good blog man. I live vicariously through your adventures.

  2. Brian January 27, 2012 at 6:20 PM #

    Amen. From what Miranda tells me, the beers At the taproom in SF are solid. Don’t wonder If the contract brewery is the issue.

    Keep on drinking, buddy!

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