Monday, January 15, 2007

Recap: Jungle Jim's Best of the New Tasting

Friday night, we headed down to Fairfield (north of Cincinnati) for our third Jungle Jim's beer tasting. The theme of the night was beers that were new to the Ohio market in 2006.

Derek, who hosted the last tasting, also ran this event, giving insightful commentary about the beers themselves, as well as the state of the beer industry (including a long discussion on Budmillcoors' recent reactions to the continued growth of the craft brew industry). He noted that this was a more difficult tasting to arrange this year than in years past because many breweries were limited from introducing new products by the ever-progressive state of Ohio.

Nevertheless, Derek arranged an interesting flight, with some old favorites and a fair number of beers I hadn't yet tried (or have even seen on the shelves of our local brew store). Below is the order, as well as a few comments about each.
  • Bell's Lager Beer (Bell's Brewery, Inc.)--sharp Saaz hop taste, relatively clean finish, with some metallic bite; an interesting beer, and a good one to start the night off with, but probably my least favorite offering from Bell's.
  • Celis White (Michigan Brewing Co.)--the classic Wit Bier has returned to Ohio; different that I recall when I first tasted it, years ago; a lot sweeter (almost too sweet), with loads of citrus and spice (particularly clove, presumably from the yeast).
  • Black Dog Ale (Spanish Peaks Brewing Co.)--on the sweet side, with low to moderate hops; easy to drink
  • Cocoa Porter (Tommyknocker Brewery)--strong chocolate nose, followed by strong chocolate taste; similar to Young's Double Chocolate, although not as smooth, and more powdery; slightest hints of roast flavor buried under mounds of cocoa
  • Prohibition Ale (Speakeasy Ales & Lagers)--this beer was a surprise hit--I thought the Speakeasy bit would be gimmicky, with a less than stellar beer, but I was pleasantly surprised; well-hopped with floral note and citrus and pine flavors
  • Double White (Southampton Ales & Lagers)--clove in the nose; tart mouthfeel; spices well-balanced; less sweet than Celis--drier
  • Celis Grand Cru (Michigan Brewing Co.)--spiciness, largely due to yeast; with slight hints of Brett in finish; honey and Champagne mouthfeel
  • Big Daddy IPA (Speakeasy Ales & Lagers)--another nice surprise with big piney hops reminicent of Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve; well-balanced, with malt carrying hops (citrus up front, then fades to pine) throughout swallow
  • Buffalo Stout (Brouwerij Van Den Bossche)--Belgian yeast dominates flavor, with hints of roast and chocolate swirling about; huge, effervescent mouthfeel
  • HopSickle (Moylan's Brewing Co.)--smells like opening a fresh bag of hops; extremely bitter, but somehow the beer works; probably the most complex hop flavor I've encountered

The full lineup
The only real disappointment of the night was that Ed was on vacation and had the keys to the adjacent bar, so we weren't able to hang out and put back a few pints after the event. A real bummer since there was still clearly a keg of HopSlam!

More upcoming tastings at Jungle Jim's:

January 26
Dave Engbers of Founders Brewing hosts. Expect BIG beers. Very big beers.

February 9
Old World vs. New World--European brews take on their American upstart cousins.

February 23
Mike Dewey of Mt. Carmel Brewing Company hosts. Mike runs a nano-brewery that is quickly gaining ground in the southwestern Ohio region. Special fondness for this brewery since it is located about 1/4 of a mile from the neighborhood where I grew up.

Greg demonstrates a true wit bier
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Bassoon said...

—On Tap
Honey effervescent champagney
throughout my swallow

Piney bitter orangey citrus
throughout my swallow

Chocolatey perfumey burning itchy
throughout my swallow

KevBrews said...

As always, bassoon, thank you for your thoughtful and poetic commentary.