Tasting Beers from Offshoot Breweries
Tasting notes on the following beers accompanied “Offshoot Breweries,” which appeared in our July 2015 issue.
Upper Hand IPAABV: 5.5%
Tasting Notes: This is a relaxed outdoors beer. It needs to be in nature, not on a table next to a couch indoors. It needs to be consumed at a picnic, or next to a lake, or around a fire pit. This mildly hopped ale, at just over 5%, is good for a few rounds. Aromas and flavors of honey apples and strawberry, along with a light brown sugar sweetness and slight cereal grain, give it complexity but no pretentiousness. Unfiltered and smooth, it goes down faster than a sunset.
Noble Star Dawn of AuroraABV: 8%
Tasting Notes: Fresh from the bottle, it smells like warm French toast with apple compote. The taste reveals more; a hit of salinity and slightly acidic sour flavor dominate along with an apple skin tannic finish. Earthy hayfield and not-quite-ripe strawberry flavors also present in this very soft wheat ale. Despite the hidden and hefty ABV, it’s a beer that complements many of the dishes associated with brunch.
Firestone Walker Barrelworks AgresticABV: 6.6%
Tasting Notes: A hazy deep beauty, the color of the oak it was aged on, this beer is the essence of what American wild ale is today. More than “funk,” it’s a subtle, continuously evolving tapestry of all things earth’s bounty: fruit, field, forest. Lemony citrus, green strawberry and raspberry—even some vanilla—are all present. It remains humble despite the great talent that went into the final product. Finishes dry, like English tea. If you’re able, get two bottles.
Bruery Terreux Saison RueABV: 8.5%
Tasting Notes: It’s a transporter, taking you, in the mind’s eye, from the bar to a wild field on a hot summer afternoon, underneath the shade of a tree. There is little more you could ask for in a saison. It pours thick hazy, slightly murky golden with an at-first-robust head, which fades to a thin skin over time. Aromas of honeydew melon, slight lemon and tannic grape aromas combine on the taste with an earthy, peppery character that has a hint of aged leather. Lusciously creamy with a dry and pleasing bitter finish.
John is the editor of All About Beer Magazine and the author of three books, including The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Find him on Twitter @John_Holl.