By Iron Chef Leftovers
Having been a member of the MountainBeer club at NW Peaks for over a year now, we are starting to see some of the beers make a return appearance. Since they are only brewed once a year, they warrant inclusion in my beer notes as well as posting here, just so I can compare how the beers and my tastes changed year over year. I posted a review of the Esmeralda Ale a mere 9 months ago and that was actually 5 months after I drank the beer. This time I am posting a review of it just 2 weeks after I drank the 2014 version. I am getting better at timely reviews.
From the NW Peaks Website:
The name. The mountain. Esmeralda is located in the Teanaway River drainage just S of Ingalls peak and SW of Mt Stuart – one of our favorite areas. It’s on the other side of the Teanaway River from its beastly neighbors and is a much easier approach/climb than that of it’s neighbors. The “class 2″ trek to the summit offers some great views of the massive Mt Stuart and the Stuart range and is part of a great loop for a day hike.
The story of two experiences. Because of its popularity from past renditions, we bring Esmeralda Ale back for another late winter mountainBeer. Of course it is always fun (or not) to remember the comedy of errors that was our first batch brewed on our current system (Esmeralda Ale), while now we have everything dialed in.
The Beer. Esmeralda is one of our ‘adjunct’ beers for March. The adjuncts in Esmeralda are corn and molasses that create a unique character. The corn provides a nice sweetness and smoothness and complements the molasses notes. Esmeralda was fermented with an English ale yeast adding a smooth fruity flavor on top. With very little few hop notes, the slight grain sweetness and dark sugar properties are uniquely featured.
Malts: ESB, munich, corn, special B, biscuit, carafa 2. Hops: Apollo and Goldings. Fermented with British Ale yeast. OG/TG 1.058/1.016 ~5.5% ABV
The beer pours light mahogany brown in color with a thin tan head. The beer has a significant up front nose of corn and grain with hints of spice and grass and just a touch of bread. It starts out on the palate with a slight grain and corn sweetness before bringing in a very light hop bitterness that stays until the end of the beer, when it couples with a pleasant note of corn cakes, molasses spice and an almost pilsner maltiness that linger in a crisp, long fade. This is a full-bodied beer and different from almost anything out there, this beer brings hints of fresh corn to the party in a well-balanced and easy drinking way.
NW Peaks Esmeralda Ale travels down the yellow brick road with 4 flying monkeys out of 5.