Halloween isn't fun if you're sober...or under 14. And while we can't turn back the clock, we can make sure you have a great beer to drink.
This week Carter had to take a leave of absence but our good friend Norm Miller was more than happy to fill in for him and he sampled one of Founders' seasonal beers.
Norman: I'll be the guest reviewer this week, stepping in for Carter. He's left me some pretty big steins to fill in his absence, but I'm happy to finally drink beer with a viable reason.
There's been no shortage of pale ale's in this series, and far be it for me to break that pattern. Being that fall is upon us, these beers fit perfectly with the season. Late October lends itself to full bodied, hearty beers. It also gives us the best holiday ever, Halloween. So, with these things in mind, I've chosen Founder's "Dark Penance" to sample at this week.
This is a black American ale from the well known Founders Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. As the name suggests, this beer appears black pouring into your glass. It will finish off with a nice creamy, tan head of medium size. With enough light behind it, you can get a slight trace of an auburn hue. Just the kind of beer you'd want on a cool, Autumn day.
The aroma is not over powering. It has a pleasant, earthy, nose to it that is a combination of the fruity hops and burnt malt. The aroma was more mild than I expected. If you have not had a black ale like this, the aroma would do nothing to scare you off.
The taste is a bit stronger than it's smell. A rush of dark chocolate and coffee will have you take notice right away. While the hops and alcohol greet you on the back side. Between the two main flavors here, malt and hops, I give a slight edge to the malt being the dominant overall flavor. For those who like to get very complex in their pallet flavors, there is also a slight note of roasted pine and a hint of orange peel.
Overall this is a really good black ale. At roughly $12 a four pack, this is not the kind beer you rifle through a bunch of, sweating out a QB rotation system in a game you thought your Huskies would be winning easily before the season started. Plus, at 8.9% alcohol you might not make to the fourth quarter. Instead you'll want to grab one of these lovely ales, sit out back wearing a hoodie, and enjoy the season with the perfectly appropriate beer. Overall, I give it a 7.5.
This week I have decided to review one of Left Hand's seasonal beers - their Warrior IPA.
Dave: Left Hand Brewing began in 1994 and calls Longmont, Colorado home. Their name honors a local Native American chief from that area, Chief Niwot, which means Left Hand in the Arapahoe language. You can find Left Hand in the majority of the US - unless you live in the west. But - as they are located mostly in the Midwest, East, and South - all of MAC country should be able to find them.
Their Warrior IPA uses freshly harvested hops (usually within a few hours of them being harvested, according to the bottle) and pours copper in color and with just a thin layer of head. It smells quite hoppy, with hints of citrus. As you drink Warrior, it leaves just a layering around the glass, but the taste is not what you'd expect from the smell.
When drinking, the malts and pine come out way more than the hops or citrus. The flavor is not overpowering, which makes it a very drinkable beer no matter what flavor profile you like. At 7.3% ABV and 60 IBUs, it doesn't taste nearly as strong as it should, but it is quite dry.
Overall, it's good, but nothing special. At $5.99 for a 22 ounce bomber, it's not extremely priced, just nothing to write home about. It's like the Ohio Bobcats of beers - not bad, not great, and you could take it or leave it. I give it a seven.
As always, we're grateful of any suggestions. But until next week, have a safe and happy Halloween!