Beer of the Week: Epic Ales Bottom of the Sea Batch 1

By Iron Chef Leftovers

epI like beers that are different; it makes drinking beer fun since I don’t tend to get caught in a style rut. I also, when I am in the mood, love sour beers since they tend to jumpstart the palate and, when they are done right, are as complex and deep as any beer out on the market. Epic Ales out of Sodo in Seattle cover both of those points – they make beers that are definitely different and they do a bunch of sour based styles. On a trip to Bottleworks, I noticed Bottom of the Sea – a beer brewed with oysters and wasn’t a stout. Actually, I had no idea what style it was until I opened it – it was a gose, an obscure German sour style. I figured that for $5 for a 22 oz. bottle, it was worth the shot. The beer is just 5% ABV and a minuscule 10 IBU.

The beer pours jet black with a creamy brown head and shows lots of malt and barley on the nose with light amounts of roast, hints of what reminded me of pilsner yeast and a vague smell of salt air. On the palate, the beer betrays its dark color by showing light on the palate with a hint of sourness upfront that gives way to salty malt and grain, before finishing with a long sour cherry, light roast and mildly salty ending. As the beer warms, the oyster component becomes more pronounced – more a briny sea water type taste than a fishy one and the sour component becomes more subdued. It is very complex and layered and brings to the table flavors that you would not regularly find in beer, especially the combination of cooked oysters and sour.

This is definitely not a beer for everyone. Heck, it isn’t a beer most people would enjoy. I will be honest, I thought the beer was good, but I struggled to finish off the 22 oz. bottle. I wish that is was available in a smaller bottle size. If you are feeling adventurous, find a couple of likeminded friends and give Bottom of the Sea a shot. You might find you like it.

Epic’s Bottom of the Sea (Batch 1) attaches itself to a rock with a solid 3 Ostrea conchaphilia out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Sam Adams Veloren

By Iron Chef Leftovers

Sam Adams in the last few years has been getting back to its roots with producing some interesting beers on a limited release basis. One of those beers is Veloren – which is an almost dead style called Gose. What is Gose you ask? From the Sam Adams website:

A link to the ales of Saxony that have all but vanished, Verloren (translating to “lost”) is a peculiar yet captivating brew. This gose style (pronounced “goes-uh”), with its base of an unfiltered wheat ale, is light and refreshing yet also has a softness to it. Verloren’s flavor is brought to life by an unexpected touch of salt for a mineral quality, and coriander for a peppery spice. The result is an unusual and delicate brew that’s full of flavors to discover.

Our rendition of an old German style, Verloren is brewed with 50 to 60 percent malted wheat creating a fine haze, cloudy straw color, and crisp twang. The singularity of this brew however, comes from its soft creaminess, dry finish, and spices. The addition of salt creates a slight sharpness against the soft cereal character and enhances the other flavors around it, while ground coriander creates a peppery bite to enliven the brew.

I picked up this beer because, for the life of me, I can’t remember ever having tried a Gose. The beer ran $7 for a 750ml bottle, wasn’t particularly difficult to find (megamarts with a better beer selection should carry it) and comes in at 6.0% ABV and a very light 15 IBU. Gose is brewed with a bunch of malts, Saaz hops and salt and coriander are added in the brewing process.

This beer pour amber and slightly coudy, you would almost think you are drinking a strange colored wit just by looking at it. The nose consists predominantly of malt and sugar with some citrus and hints of spice and herbs in the background. Malt also dominates the palate, giving way to some spice with hints of sweetness followed by citrus and citrus peel in a very long finish. As it warms, sugar starts to compliment the malt without being over the top and hints of hop bitterness come out on the finish. I never really got any distinct salt in the beer, but that is probably the point, salt should enhance all of the other flavors without being a player itself.

Veloren isn’t the best beer you will ever try, but you should try it just because you probably have never tried the style. I don’t know that I would run out myself and buy it again, but if I was in the mood for something different, I probably would pick one up.

Overall, Sam Adams Veloren gets 3 Bubo virginianus out of 5.