Monday, October 20, 2014

The Best Thing I Swallowed on Sunday Episode 19

Wherein I find three good things on tap that capture my attention and describe them.
Here we go!

I generally have a difficult time designating a "winner" among my Sunday selections because the beers I pick are always of high quality and offer something unique to beer drinkers. This is certainly the case today, as I thoroughly enjoyed imbibing all three of these beers. My selections are Poperings Hommel Ale Dry Hopped, Marz Community Brewing Jungle Boogie, and Jolly Pumpkin Fuego del Otono. Three great beers in three very different styles.

Dry-Hopped Hommel Ale

Hommel Ale Dry Hopping is a Belgian IPA from Brouwerij van Eecke in Watau (7.5% ABV). The van Eecke family has been brewing since 1840. The brewery is best known for its original Hommelbier, which I will review alongside this more recent release (2012). Michael Jackson considered the original Hommelbier to be a world class beer, and we shall see why. But first the Dry Hopping. This Belgian is hazy blond and holds a small, white head. The aroma is sweet and a bit fruity from the yeast. It has a low carbonation, soft mouthfeel and is medium bodied. The flavors in Dry Hopping are rather subtle, but there is a sweet yeast flavor that hints at peach. This is followed by a superb bitter ending.

The original Poperings Hommelbier (Bumblebee Beer) is a bit more sugary sweet than its dry-hopped version. I pulled an 11.2 oz bottle of it to compare with its younger cousin. It has the same hazy golden blonde color and holds a fluffy white head. It feels a bit more carbonated, and the hops tingle on the tip of the tongue and the back of the throat. The Brewers' Gold and Hallertau hops are muted (40 IBUs). Hommelbier is light and surprisingly refreshing, and more flavorful than the dry-hopped variation.

I know I just included Marz Community Brewing in the last episode, but we added Jungle Boogie to our taps this week. Marz has earned a second spot in my blog with this very interesting beer. Jungle Boogie weights in at 5.5% ABV and is a medium-bodied amber ale that uses Cascade hops for bittering and is dry-hopped with Mosaic hops, giving this beer a very balanced sweet, floral hoppy aroma. Amber colored and displaying a fluffy head, Jungle Boogie is a nice surprise and great twist on an amber ale. That twist namely comes in the form of rooibos tea, and this beer does not taste like any rooibos I've ever had. The flavor is initially Cascade hops bitter balanced out by a great sweet finish from the tea. There's not much of this available. From what I understand, only Maria's Packaged Goods in Bridgeport and the Hopleaf in Andersonville have any on draft.

Jungle Boogie
Last, we arrive at Jolly Pumpkin's Fuego del Otono, aka Autumn Fire (6.1% ABV). This has been on our menu for just about one week, so I was happy it lasted until I could review it this Sunday. Fuego is a hazy orange/amber Biere de Garde that has the general appearance of a pumpkin ale. It also holds a small head, at least on tap. The aroma is super tart, and the flavor is pretty much the same. There is definitely some nuttiness and a bit of spice in this beer, but tartness dominates the palate. It's medium bodied, with a fair amount of carbonation. The carbonation allows the acidity of the beer to fizzle on the tongue, roof, and back of the mouth. This tartness compels you to spend some time getting to know Fuego, which is a good thing to be forced into. Once you have recovered from the initial tartness, you begin to taste the other flavors that are present beneath the wave of acidity that defines this beer. Initially, the flavors are citrusy, but there are traces of caramel and nuts, and a bit of herbs. This is followed by a musty, woody tartness and a bit of vinegar. Overall, a very good sour ale from Jolly Pumpkin. Perhaps for the sheer intensity of flavor, I shall declare Fuego del Otono the best thing I swallowed on Sunday--although any of these three beers could've taken top honor.


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