Beer of the Week: Sound Brewery Mayan Cave Bear

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitledThere are some beers that are available once a year in a very limited window that are worth the wait. These generally tend to be really over the top hoppy IPA’s that have a huge following. For me, it is the obscure styles of dark beers, generally ones that have been sitting in a barrel aging. Sound Brewing Mayan Cave Bear has been a bit of a white whale for me – the last couple of releases I wasn’t able to get to try the beer and I have been wanting to for quite a while since their Imperial Stout – Ursus Spelaeus is one of my favorites. Fortunately for me I went to the cask festival and Mayan Cave Bear was available, so I figured what better time to try it.

The beer pours jet black with significant amounts of vanilla, chocolate and coffee with hints of malt and chilies on the nose. The beer starts off with huge notes of chocolate and coffee on the palate before throwing in a hint of green chili pepper that brings a touch of heat to the party, but not in an overpowering way, and some fruitiness from the pepper. The beer finishes long with chocolate, coffee, toffee, roast malt and a pleasant background heat that ties this beer altogether. The beer is big and complex and 10% ABV but well balanced and smooth making it easy to drink. This beer is one I probably couldn’t drink all day, but it would be a great one to have a snifter or 2 of on a cold winter day.

Sound Brewery Mayan Cave Beer staves off extinction with a spectacular 5 human sacrifices out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Snoqualmie Brewing Louis Quatorze 14th Anniversary Stout

By Iron Chef Leftovers

unt0itledI have become a big fan of Russian Imperial Stout over the years, so I was excited when loyal reader Annie S. was willing to share a bottle of Snoqualmie’s 14th Anniversary beer – Louis Quatorze, which she had been aging for about a year. The beer came in a 22oz. bottle and clocked in at 8.6% ABV and 60 ibu.

The beer pours jet black with a tan head as expected. Coffee and chocolate dominate the nose with hints of toffee and what smells like either oak or vanilla, but it does not appear that there was any oak aging on this beer, so it is probably coming from the malt. The initial sip has loads of malt and chocolate character up front with a slight astringency (licorice maybe?) before mellowing out to a roasted malt middle and then finishing with an oddly aggressive finish reminiscent of juniper with a bit of alcohol bite. The initial taste is wonderful, the smell is wonderful, but the finish isn’t the most pleasant I have ever had and is somewhat off-putting. The beer lacks the balance of many Imperial Stouts, and I would love this beer more if the finish was less aggressive and more subdued.  Maybe this beer could have used another year of aging to round out the finish.

Snoqualmie Brewing’s Louis Quatorze 14th Anniversary Stout rises to power with 3 sun kings out of 5.