Beer of the Week: Laughing Dog De Achtste Hond

By Iron Chef Leftovers

It is easy to be an underrated brewery in the Northwest, since there are just so many great breweries. It is even easier to fly under the radar when you are located outside of the Seattle/Portland corridor, since that is where most of the beer drinkers tend to reside. Laughing Dog falls into the underrated category being located way out in Ponderay, Idaho. Fortunately for us, they do bottle and are readily available. I follow them on FB and I was bummed when they announced they were brewing a special sour beer for their 8th anniversary, which was only going to be in kegs. Unfortunately for us, kegs from Laughing Dog generally means we don’t get the beer in Seattle.  Fortunately, Chuck’s Hop Shop came to the rescue and managed to get their hands on De Achtste Hond – the 8th dog.

From the Laughing Dog Website:

…our anniversary beer De Achtste Hond” ( the eighth Dog) Belgian Sour Ale

Our first ever sour ale  7.2% abv  aged for 1 month in new oak   Crisp and Dry with a tartness to it.

untitl15edThe beer pours very orange in color with light floral notes and hints of citrus with just a hint of funk and Belgian yeast. The beer starts off more tangy than sour, almost like a tangerine chard candy, with just a hint of funkiness before moving into dry, crisp apples and just a note of sweetness and Belgian character. The finish is long and clean, mild tart sour flavors linger forever with hints of citrus, banana and apple. Very well balanced and sour enough to remind you that this is definitely a sour beer, but not so sour that it will make your lips pucker. Definitely not one to try if you don’t enjoy sour beers, but if you do, you might find yourself going back for a second without feeling like you won’t be able to drink it.

Laughing Dog De Achtste Hond grabs its leash and goes out for 5 long walks out of 5.

Beer of the Week: NW Peaks Black Berlinerweiss

By Iron Chef Leftovers

untitle8dWhat can I say, I am sucker for sour beers.  Mind you I do have my limits – if it tastes like you make pickles, I really don’t enjoy that flavor in my beer. Give me something with a hint of tartness and some complexity beyond that and I can almost guarantee that you will get me to try it. NW Peaks is back at it with their berlinerweiss, this time putting out a black version of the classic German sour, which is truly something that I had not seen before. I was excited to try it, but it meant that I was going to have to find some other folks to drink the beer with me, since my regular Mountainbeer friends are not much in the way of sour drinkers. Luckily, I know a couple beer people who were happy to share.

Unfortunately, NW Peaks didn’t put anything on their website describing the beer, but it I do remember it being something really low in alcohol (somewhere in the 3-4% range).

The beer pours light brown in color with a very light head and shows a complex nose – chocolate and roast are there without being dominating, coupled with notes of sour cherry and (surprisingly) some light notes of raisin make an appearance. All of this is supported with a tinge of floral barnyard character. The beer drinks light also, hints of roast and chocolate start before quickly yielding to a pleasantly mild sour component with hints of dried stone fruit that linger nicely before being joined at the end by light chocolate. The finish is dry and pleasant and the sour is balanced with the roast, making the beer surprisingly complex for both a small beer and a sour beer. There is an almost lightly gritty quality to the beer, giving it a very rustic quality.

If you don’t like sours, you probably won’t like this one, no matter how mild it is, but if you want to try something that is different without being completely bizarre, go for this. NW Peaks serves it in their taproom with a shot of raspberry syrup which does take the edge off the beer, but I honestly think that this one is better and much more interesting on its own without the syrup.

NW Peaks Black Berlinerweiss circles the city with a perfect 5 Alexanderplatz out of 5.

Beer of the Week: Populuxe Experimental Sour Brown Porter

By Iron Chef Leftovers

imagesCAAR87MMA few months back, Populuxe brewed a small batch of their Brown Porter as a sour beer. I tried it and thought that it was one of the better sours available and, for a while, thought it was the best beer that Populuxe brewed. It somehow got buried in my notebook and did not make it onto the blog as a result. It is time to correct that and oh, did I mention that the beer might be available on tap soon?

The beer pours medium brown in color with notes of chocolate and roasted malt dominating the nose with hints of light sour in the background. The first sip produces medium notes of chocolate and coffee at the front of the palate, yielding to malt and light English yeast in the middle before finishing off with a mildly sour/sweet malt finish. The sour lingers, not in a lip puckering way, but in a light and pleasant experience, almost like a sourball candy. The sour and chocolate flavors become slightly more pronounced as the beer warms, but neither ever become too heavy and dominate the beer. This isn’t a Flanders Ale – it has a great richness and complexity that you would expect in a porter and just enough sour to let you know that there is something beyond the porter going on here. The sourness integrates well with the malt character of the porter, leaving you with a complex and interesting drinking experience. The Experimental Brown Porter would be a good way to get someone who doesn’t like sours to try one – a number of friends who fall into this category tried this beer and liked it.

Populuxe Experimental Sour Brown Porter bellies up to the counter with a stellar 5 penny candies out of 5.

Beer of the Week: American Brewing Stupid Sexy Flanders

By Iron Chef Leftovers

I while back, January to be exact, I posted about my excitement about the Belgian Beer Festival and American Brewing’s entry, Stupid Sexy Flanders. In the perfect example of why I needed to increase the frequency of my beer posts, I am finally getting around to reviewing the beer – only 6 months after I had it.

Here is what we know of the beer from the festival guide:

A Brown Ale fermented with our Sour Yeast on locally grown raspberries and aged to perfection in red wine barrels. 8% ABV

I am usually hesitant about drinking barrel aged beers because too often they taste like the barrel they are aged in and nothing else. If I wanted whiskey, I would drink whiskey. If you are going to age a beer in a whiskey barrel, I better taste the beer with notes of whiskey. So with a slight trepidation, I told my pourer “Stupid Sexy Flanders, Please.”

Hi-dily, ho-dily, frienderinos!
Hi-dily, ho-dily, frienderinos! A different stupid, sexy Flanders.

The beer pours dark brown, almost black in color. There are tons of wood and roast malt on the nose with hints of fruit hiding in between. The beer starts out surprisingly subtle – tangy, but not lip puckeringly so, followed by a hint of wood before a long dried fruit finish. I was expecting this beer to be over the top sour and so woody that it would be like chewing on a log, (considering American’s festival beers tend to be over the top, it is not a bad assumption) but, to my surprise, the sour was nicely restrained and it balances the wood extremely well; I knew this was a wood-aged beer, but not so much so that it was all I tasted. Don’t get me wrong, this beer was sour and, if you don’t love sour beers, this is definitely not the one for you, but it was pleasant and acted as a wonderful counterbalance to the wood. My only complaint about this beer, and it is a personal preference rather than a flaw, is that I would love this beer to have a little more fruit flavor to bring it more to the front rather than being a supporting cast member at the end.

All in all this was a great beer and I would never hesitate to drink this one when I am in the mood for something sour.

American Brewing’s Stupid Sexy Flanders comes in for a landing at a spectacular 5 Brussel-Zaventem out of 5. What? You expected a Simpsons joke here, didn’t you neighborino?