Monday, September 29, 2014

The Best Thing I Swallowed on Sunday Episode 17

Thanks to the Bears v. Packers game this Sunday, I had plenty of time to plot my beer selections, what with the bar being almost empty most of the day. After some serious consideration, I settled on two relative newcomers to Chicago's beer scene (Ten Ninety Brewing Company out of Zion, Illinois and Empirical Brewing in Andersonville Ravenswood) and one that I simply could not pass up (Petrus Aged Pale Ale from Brouwerij de Brabandere). All three breweries have produced exceptional beers, but the Petrus Aged Pale Ale was easily the day's standout.

De Ogen Pumpkin Ale

All three of today's picks were on the sweetish side. First up is Ten Ninety's De Ogen (8.4% ABV). This is the Zion brewery's debut at the Hopleaf, and it is a fortuitous one. De Ogen is a reddish-brown pumpkin beer that has a full head that dissipates quickly. It has really great pumpkin aromas with all the right spiciness affiliated with pumpkin ales. The pumpkin flavor dominates the palate early, followed by sweetness, and then an odd, dry finish that is nonetheless pleasing. This is probably the most interesting pumpkin beer I have had this season.

Honey Hypothesis

Honey Hypothesis (6.7% ABV) also made its debut at the Hopleaf just a few short weeks ago. Empirical Brewing is brand spanking new to the city. If you want to read more about them, Phil Montoro has the details here. The long and short of it is that this brewery popped up out of nowhere. It was founded by Sumit Mehta and Bill Hurley, who hired brewmaster Art Steinhoff. I think it's going well so far. Honey Hypothesis is honey sweet (duh) with nice malty notes. There's also a light hoppiness on the tongue that precedes a caramel finish. This beer is very nice and is selling well.

Petrus Aged Pale Ale (7.3% ABV) is a standout beer and a rare treat to have on draft. This beer spends at least two years in oak, which mellows the sour tartness to perfection. Petrus has a light gold color and holds a nice head that quickly recedes, leaving nice lacing in the glass. The nose is fruity, and the body is very light and effervescent. Initially, Petrus Aged Pale Ale is tart, but finishes with an amazing sourness, making this the best thing I swallowed on Sunday.

Petrus Aged Pale Ale

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