Tag Archives: Spain

Day 22 – Evil Twin – Sauerkirsche

It’s that time of year. We are down to the last few beers and we are working on getting through them while also planning/partying. It’s a busy time of year and I hope that people are making the most of the season. Whatever you celebrate, it’s a beautiful time of year, and it presents some great opportunities and sees people doing some good.

Today we have a beer coming to us from Evil Twin Brewing and it is a really interesting one. It’s a Russian Imperial Stout made with sour cherries and it’s called Sauerkirsche Stout.

Evil Twin was Founded by Jeppe Jarnit–Bjergsø in 2010, Evil Twin isn’t really a brewery.  Jeppe is known as the “gypsy brewer” in that he brews all over the place.  He develops recipe after recipe of unique styles and plays on styles that are brewed out of other breweries and exported around the world.  At the moment, he brews out of 10 different breweries in 6 different countries around the world.  This means that Evil Twin doesn’t really have any year-round beers but rather a huge number of different and interesting one-off brews. To put it in perspective, Evil Twin launched more than 40 beers in 2012.

Jeppe was born in Denmark and began his adult life as a school teacher.  In 2012 he moved his family to Brooklyn, NY so that he could be closer to where it all happens and to grow his brand.  His goal is to make New York the beer capital of the world.  While many of the beers that he makes are experimental, they are also in many cases critically acclaimed.  Brewing in small batches, usually no more than 2500-3000 barrels (~3500 hectoliters), the beers tend to be a bit more on the expensive side and very difficult to find. This particular beer was brewed in Spain.

Russian Imperial Stouts are a style that I’ve really started to enjoy and appreciate.  These beers age incredibly well and change over time.  This style of beer was originally brewed in the 1800s by Thrale’s brewery in London England for export to the court of Catherine II of Russia. This same beer is brewed today now under the Courage brewery name and is called Courage Russian Imperial Stout (RIS).   Ranging between 8%-12% alcohol with strong malt notes of coffee, caramel, chocolate and dark fruit (plums, prunes or raisins for example), it is a perfect beer for a winter night.

Appearance – Pours a viscous black with a short lived fluffy beige head.
Smell – Roasted malt, sour cherry, chocolate, and sweet malt.
Taste – Roasted malt, subtle tartness, sour cherry notes, chocolate, coffee and some bitterness on the finish.
Mouth feel – Full bodied, oily, slight astringent mouth feel.
Overall – Bringing some bold flavours to the already bold Russian Imperial Stout style, this really represents the style fairly well. It’s roasty, matly, full bodied and brings a bit of a punch. The sour cherry notes are interesting addition but they don’t take away from the “chewiness” of this stout.
Do I like it?
– I did like it. It had a really bold profile and was certainly a bit forward. That said, I didn’t find it too in your face. I like strong beers and I love good Russian imperial stouts. The sour cherry added a bit of complexity to the flavours of this one that I really enjoyed. A bit tarter and sour than I would have expected given the sweetness of a RIS, but I found myself enjoying the sips.

Day 10 – Biir – Equinox Triple IPA

Well, today was a busy day. Even though it is a Saturday, I still had to get up and go to work. It was busy. On the weekends, I really enjoy getting to spend time with my daughter and wife and relax a bit. Luckily, I get to do that now.

Today’s beer comes to us from a Spanish brewery, Biir, and is a Triple IPA. What’s interesting about the beer is that even though the brewery is in Barcelona, Spain, this beer was brewed in Zichem, Belgium.

I’ve written about Evil Twin last year in the advent calendar and mentioned that he brews beers all over the world in collaboration with other breweries. Today’s brewery, Biir, is similar in many respects. One of their main goals as a brewery is to collaborate with others. Run by three friends, Albert Galan, Gunther Bensch, and Pere Mora, Biir doesn’t produce all of it’s beers in the same brewery. This Triple IPA, as I mentioned, was brewed in Belgium, while others have been brewed in Spain, and another brewed in collaboration with a brewery in Singapore.

While this may be one aspect of the brewery, they are often interested in creating unique and interesting beers. They’ve brewed this Triple IPA, a Belgian Style Dark Ale that’s been hopped up, A sweet and sour beer and an Oude Geuze. Not really sticking to any style in particular, they try different things and expand their horizons. They’ve got some delicious sounding beers and I’d be interested in trying many of them.

The beer we have today is a Triple IPA and is described by the brewery as such:

Inspired by Californian Triple IPA, we have brewed this extreme beer for the most exigent beer lovers, with lots of malts and Equinox hops. Despite it’s alcohol volume and bitterness, it’s a very well balanced beer.

Now, to be fair, a Triple IPA is really a bit of a misnomer. I’d describe it as likely being a top end Imperial IPA and many of the characteristics will be the same. The style of Imperial IPA, is a beer that is an American craft beer invention that began in the 1990s. Craft breweries were trying to “push the envelope” on their beers and appease the hop aficionados who were growing ever more interested in the flavor and variety that this plant can provide. By the 2000s this style had become much more mainstream and provides a way for brewers to experiment and be creative with hops. The adjective “Triple” really doesn’t mean anything other than this beer is stronger than a regular IPA and likely on the upper range of an Imperial IPA. You will see “Imperial” used quite regularly as well. It’s the same style.

The style should be intensely hoppy and strong with an IBU (international bitterness unit) range of 60-120, an ABV of between 7.5% and 10% with a lighter colour. Drinkability of the style is important and it should be well balanced with strong malt backbone and residual sweetness. Triple IPAs would be pushing to the upper end of this range and this bee, coming in at 9.4% for a 330ml bottle is certainly close.

Appearance – Hazy, pale amber, with a ridiculous head that just won’t go away.
Smell – Resin, pine notes, pineapple, and grapefruit from the hops, caramel notes come in from the malt at the end.
Taste – Up front, in the face, resinous citrusy hop bitterness that quickly transitions into a nice sweet malty caramel with that lingering resinous/grapefruit bitterness.
Mouth feel – Medium bodied, slightly oily mouthfeel, lingering bitterness, subtle alcohol warmth.
Overall – Very hoppy, good malt balance, alcohol content hardly noticeable for this 9.4% ABV beer. Big hop flavour balanced with good malt backbone is a pretty darn good Imperial IPA.
Do I like it?
– Yes. While I don’t always seek out IPAs these days anymore, I do still enjoy good ones. I’m still interested in trying beers where they’re doing something out of the ordinary. A triple IPA certainly is. Well balanced, great hop bitterness, very much enjoyed day 10s beer.

 

 

Day 7 -Naparbier – The Crimson Bird

Man it’s snowy out there again today. Yesterday and today have been difficult driving. I’ve got to say it’s been rough. Before I get into today’s beer I want to mention that Torque’s taproom officially opened today. So, that means you can pop in, enjoy their beers and snacks right on site. I’ll also mention that Half Pints has a really neat sounding event coming up on December 21st. They are doing a 12 beers of Christmas at their taproom. So, add this to your calendar. I’d also suggest you take a look at their new untapped profile as it provides an up to date list of the beers available and upcoming events. Check it out here.

Onto today’s beer. Day 7 comes to us from Napabier, a microbrewery located in Noain, Spain. The beer, The Crimson Bird, is a saison made with raspberries. One thing I will say right off the top about this brewery is that they have fantastic artwork. Check the awesomeness of the art here.

Naparbier was founded in 2009 and was originally located in Pamplona, Navarra, Spain. Not necessarily as well known for beer as it is for Bull Fighting or Hemingway, Naparbier was looking to change that. The name is a combination of the Basque word for Navarra (Napar) and the German name for beer (bier, of course).

Originally they started with just two beers — a pilsner and a dunkel — and now have a range of 14, five of which are year-round.

These guys are focused on freshness and creativity. With the exception of something like an imperial stout, their beers shouldn’t be aged. Head Brewer Juan Rodriguez is passionate and innovative, exploring both classic styles and more out-there endeavors. One such endeavor is the Pumpkin Tzar Russian Imperial Stout, brewed with pumpkin and habañero chile. They also recently launched a new range of “avant-garde” beers that the brewer calls “a little bit different” from what they usually brew, including a Belgian dubbel and a barley wine aged in whisky barrels. You can see all of their beers here.

Naparbier has been growing in reputation over the years and some of their brews have included collaborations with the likes of Evil Twin Brewing. They’ve also made an impression on the folks at Brew Dogs who specially brought in these beers for a £30 a person dinner and beer tasting. The beer we have today is one they’ve done with both Strawberries and Raspberries and I’m pretty excited to give it a try.

Saison’s are a sturdy farmhouse style of beer.  Originally brewed in Wallonia, the French speaking part of Belgium, it was a beer brewed at the end of the cool season to last through the warmer months before refrigeration was common.  It had to be sturdy enough to be able to last but also not too strong so it would quench your thirst in the summer months.   This style of beer is very complex with a lot fruit notes, spices, and earth yeast notes to the beer.    They tend to combine nice fruity notes with spice and a subtle sourness or tartness.  Usually lots of spice with mild bitterness and a dry crisp finish and only a hint of sweetness.

At one point in time Saison’s were an almost extinct beer style but they have seen a great resurgence and are commonly brewed by a number of craft breweries across Canada.  We are seeing them pop-up more and more here in Manitoba and it’s a style of beer that I really enjoy drinking. Let’s see how this one tastes.

Appearance – Pour slight rose amber colour with a good 4” head that fades slowly to a retained 1” head.
Smell – Smells of raspberries with a tartness on the nose. Some funk comes through from the yeast as well as some subtle citrus notes.
Taste – Raspberries with some moderate tartness and a good sweetness to balance it out. Some subtle almost peppery spice and yeast funkiness is noticeable on the end.
Mouth feel – Medium-light body with a good carbonation and slightly tart/funky finish.
Overall – The raspberry and tartness from that fruit are at the forefront. The funkiness from the yeast is there but not as prominent. Overall a good beer.
Do I like it?
– I did very much like it. I think the balance of tartness with sweetness and a subtle funkiness was great. It was a refreshing beer and very drinkable. I’d be happy drinking more of it.