Beer of the Week: Stone Collaboration La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Another week, another Stone collaboration beer review. I should qualify this by saying that we did a horizontal tasting of all of the Stone collaboration beers I had at that point, so you should be seeing the rest of these in the coming weeks. The La Citrueille Celeste de Citracado (say that 3 times fast) is the collaboration pumpkin beer done between The Bruery, Stone and Elysian (should I have been surprised). This beer made its debut at the 2011 Elysian Pumpkin Beer Festival and made an encore appearance at the 2012 fest. I am reviewing this beer from the 12 oz. bottle that I purchased at around $3.

From the Stone Website:

The eclectic mix of ingredients was selected to introduce a decidedly different spin on traditional pumpkin beers. “The taste starts with citrus and herbal notes, but then a very smooth roasted malt character comes into play,” Steele explains. “The yam and pumpkin make their appearance on the finish, with some Eastern-influenced spiciness and trace maple notes from the toasted fenugreek, combining with hints of birch. This is no pumpkin pie beer. No cloves. No nutmeg. No cinnamon.”

Malt bill: Pale, Rye, Crystal, Chocolate Rye, English Brown, Aromatic, and Honey malt
Hops bill: Warrior, Motueka
Adjuncts: Pumpkins (grown at Stone Farms), yams, toasted fenugreek, lemon verbena
5% abv, 47 IBUs

This beer pours orange-amber in color. Lots of roasted pumpkin and birch dominate the nose of this beer with hints of lemon lccdc_bruery-labelverbena in the background. The beer drinks like a soda – syrupy birch and toasted pumpkin are the dominant flavors, fading very quickly. There are slight notes of toffee and hers on the finish, but they come and go so quickly that you almost don’t realize they are there. The beer was more complex when I had it on tap – in the bottle it lacks the dominant pumpkin and roast that I was expecting. I am wondering, despite proper storage, if this beer was past its prime when I opened it.

It they ever decided to brew this beer again, I recommend that you try La Citrueille, especially if you like Pumpkin beers that showcase the pumpkin rather than the spice.

I was originally going to give this beer a rating, but considering that the bottle may have been bad and how much I did like the previous times I drank the beer, I am going to not score this beer at all. I would recommend drinking this beer fresh if you have the chance.

Beer of the Week: Elysian Brewing Good, Bad & Red

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Since I don't have a picture of the beer, are you feeling lucky, punk?
Since I don’t have a picture of the beer, are you feeling lucky, punk?

I love going to Elysian’s location near the stadium since they have a great staff, good food and an extensive beer list. One of the benefits of their list is that they tend to have stuff on tap at any given point that I have not tried before, which keeps it interesting, and generally means that I will order those beers (the exception is when they have Dark of the Moon on tap – that is what gets ordered). A recent trip to Fields was no exception as I stumbled upon “Good, Bad & Red.” I can’t find Elysian’s description of the beer , so I can tell you it is 6.2% ABV and 35 IBU is made with 4 hop varieties including Cara, C-77 and Columbus, and is only available on tap.

The beer pours a beautiful rosy red color. The nose is awash in malt and barley complimented with a heavy dose of citrus. The initial sip is a hammer of grapefruit and citrus peel followed by a mellow malty sweetness and just a hint of bitterness and barley at the very end. Despite its low IBU, this beer was very hop forward with its citrus flavors, but not bitterness, so I think that this one is a nice compromise for hop heads and casual beer drinkers alike. As it warms, the grapefruit remains the dominant up-front flavor with the sweetness and citrus peel much more restrained. The finish becomes dominated by the malt and barley with just a slight hint of bitter hop resin.

Overall this beer was a nice change of pace from what I usually get at Elysian.

Elysian’s Good, Bad & Red saunters into town with an inspired performance of 3 Blondie’s out of 5.

Ed Note: In case you don’t get it, Blondie was Clint Eastwood’s character’s name in “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

Beer of the Week: Elysian Trip XIV Imperial Fresh Hop

By Iron Chef Leftovers

beer_188108A couple of times a year, the brewers from New Belgium and Elysian get together and brew a beer in a collaboration series called “Hop Trip”. These beers are generally unusual and pretty good. In honor of fresh hop season, they brewed an Imperial Fresh Hop, basically a fresh hop double IPA. I couldn’t find much info on the beer other than it was 8.6% ABV and ran $6.99 for a 22 oz. bottle.

The beer pours hazy orange in color. There is light grain on the nose, but it is dominated by citrus and green hops with hints of spice in the background. The initial taste is potent – burnt orange peel and citrus juice on the front end followed by green hops and resin with a long, slightly bitter, grapefruit finish that lingers with a slight sweetness. This beer is a great balance of sweet and bitter with huge citrus character. This is definitely one that you don’t want to drink if you don’t like a big hoppy beer, but it is complex and assertive and should please just about any hop head.

Elysian Trip XIV Imperial Fresh Hop meanders down the road with a smooth 4 Winnebagoes out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Elysian Brewing Split Shot Espresso Milk Stout

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Living in Seattle, which does have a slight (and justified) reputation for being an over-caffinated city, you would expect that you would see more coffee based beers, but you don’t. For the 2012 Seattle Beer Week, Elysian Brewing was selected to come up with the beer for the event and they produced Split Shot Stout – marrying the city’s love of coffee with its love of beer. I generally will try anything new that Elysian puts out and I really think that their dark beers tend to be their best work. I have tried Split Shot both on tap and in 22 oz. bottles, and the review is for the bottle release. The beer runs around $6 at your local bottle shop (although it is often on sale at mega marts with a better beer selection).

From the Elysian Press Release on the beer:

In Seattle, beer and coffee grew up together. They’re like siblings, jealously balancing the day between go-go and go-slow, dividing the hip and tattoo’d into brewers and roasters, barkeeps and baristas. Split Shot Coffee Milk Stout combines the talents of Elysian Brewing and Lighthouse Roasters, and commemorates not only Seattle Beer Week as its official beer for 2012, but the fact that it took a lot of talk and lot of Lighthouse coffee to get Elysian off the ground back in 1996. Split Shot has a radically complicated malt bill, with C-15 and C-45 dextrine malts, Franco-Belges kiln coffee malt, Black, Roasted and Chocolate malts and flaked oats. It’s bittered with Magnum and slightly sweetened with milk sugar. OG 16 (1.065); alcohol 7.25% by volume., Split Shot is the official beer for 2012 Seattle Beer Week. Available in select Seattle area restaurants, bars and stores, on draft and in 22-oz. bottles.

Split Shot pours with a tan head and a pitch black body. There is absolutely no question what this beer is from the smell – coffee and lots of roasted malt dominate and that is from a foot away from the beer. Up close, this beer smells like a coffee shop roasting its beans – heavy espresso with hints of smoke and grains, taking me back to my bachelor days when I lived near Lighthouse coffee and would smell them roasting beans in the afternoon. The beer has a creamy mouth feel, like taking a sip of espresso with a good crema. Lingering coffee dominates the palate, with a slight bitterness and just a hint of malt and milk sweetness on the back end – this beer could easily be confused for an iced espresso. The coffee is strong but not completely overpowering, but I would still not recommend this beer unless you really liked coffee. As the beer warms, the coffee becomes more restrained and notes of chocolate, sugar, barley and grain start to appear. I would recommend serving this beer between 40 and 45 degrees if you like slightly bitter coffee and 45 to 50 degrees if you want to taste the full range of flavors that this beer has to offer.

If you like coffee and beer, get your over-caffeinated self to a bottle shop and pick this one up, you won’t regret it.

Elysian Split Shot Stout shakes itself down to the local coffee shop with a delicious 4 grande, non-fat mocha with whips out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Elysian Brewing Maelstrom Blood Orange Ale

By Iron Chef Leftovers

In celebration of the potential end of the world (according to the Mayans), Elysian Brewing introduced their 12 Beers of the Apocalypse series – a monthly release of a really off the wall beer. The story from the Elysian website:

In a year-long run-up to the end of all time (according to the Mayan calendar), Elysian Brewing Company and Fantagraphics Books, both of Seattle, are releasing a series of twelve beers, issued on the 21st of each month in 2012 and featuring the label artwork of Charles Burns taken from his weirdly apocalyptic work “Black Hole.” The “Twelve Beers of the Apocalypse” will feature the creativity and unusual ingredients for which Elysian’s brewing team is known. What twelve beers would you brew (and drink) if you knew they would be your last?

The August release was the Maelstrom Blood Orange Ale. I love blood orange, so I had to try this one. The description from Elysian:

Down, down, down Maelstrom will go, pulling the hapless beer enthusiast in with a beguiling blend of blood orange, Northwest hops and sweet orange peel. Stray to close and you may not escape the currents of this tender trap. Blood orange provides tartness and the blush of a brazen sea, Citra and amarillo hops from the Yakima Valley offer bite and aroma, and orange peel suggests a little something else on the wind. Maelstrom is brewed with pale, Munich and Dextri-pils malts bittered with German Northern Brewer and finished and dry-hopped with Citra and Amarillo.

The beer comes in at a hefty 7.25% and is available in a limited release in both 22 oz. bottles for around $7and on tap. I poured mine from a bottle.

The beer pours a cloudy light orange in color with a white head, very reminiscent of a hefe. Hints of hops, blood orange peel and malt dominate the ones on this beer – if you did not know what you were drinking, you might think it was a funky IPA. The initial sip yielded very little character (it may have been a touch too cold) with a hint of grain and a hint of hops, but subsequent sips build up, first with a slightly sweet, orange juice punch, turning into slightly bitter orange peel which lingers for a few seconds before fading. The finish is a bit tannic but very interesting with a lasting bitterness of orange peel and hops that linger well after the sip. The bitterness becomes slightly more pronounced as the beer warms, but it is more enhancing rather than detracting from the overall experience.

One thing that I did try with this beer was pairing it with a classic flavor combination to orange – chocolate. Paired with a single origin Tanzania, 72% chocolate (it had a fruity flavor profile), the beer is enhanced to pack an incredible orange punch and becoming very IPA like with significant presence of hops and notes of bitterness. The chocolate really enhanced many of the flavors that I loved about this beer.

Assuming the world does not end, I would love to see Elysian bring back this beer. It was fantastic; definitely one that I would want to drink if I knew that it was going to be my last one.

Maelstrom Blood Orange Ale gets a sacred 4 blood sacrifices out of 5.