Lots of beer I’ve got. With more to come. (And yes, I will be paying for much of it!) So with the notion of brevity being the soul of wit planted firmly in mind, let’s see if it can also be the soul of a tasting note. Or five.
1947 Premium Lager (4.72% alcohol, brewed for New World Beverages in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA): Purportedly meant to accompany spicy foods, this golden lager lacks the hop that would mellow the heat and offers instead a sugary nose and sweet, mildly herbaceous body.
Okanagan Spring Pale Ale (5% alcohol, Okanagan Spring Brewery, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada): More a pale ale than Alexander Keith’s India Pale Ale, but with its dearth of hoppy notes and almost märzen-like character, only just.
Grimbergen Ambrée (6.5% alcohol, Kronenbourg, Strasbourg, France): I like sweet malt in beer as much as the next guy, but I prefer it to be accompanied by some complexity and drying hop on the finish, which this is sorely lacking.
Three Bears Oatmeal Stout (5% alcohol, Alley Kat Brewing, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada): The silkiness that should be the hallmark of an oatmeal stout is here in abundance, coupled with rich roasty-chocolate malt and just enough palate-pleasing hop bitterness to keep it from becoming cloying.
Unplugged Smoked Rye Ale (unknown strength; New Glarus Brewing, New Glarus, Wisconsin, USA): Unusual for a smoked beer, this shows much less smoke in its spiced toffee-accented nose than it does in its intense, campfire-evoking, liquid pumpernickel body.
Now, at the risk of being called a traitor to my own rules, a quick coda or four. I was really hoping for more from the 1947, which was presented to me at the Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas by two earnest and evidently passionate young men; I was shocked to find the bottle of Grimbergen hailing from France rather than Belgium, and even more surprised by its sweetness in comparison to the already quite sweet draught version; Three Bears is yet another is a series of seasonal and one-off hits from a great Edmonton brewery; and now half way through the Smoked Rye, I’m still not sure what to make of it. But I’m pretty sure I like it.