Now on Tap and Cask

I am going to start a new blog series writing reviews of what is currently available on tap and cask each week at the Daily Pint.  I figure I will select two beers available on tap and two beers available on cask.  The good news is that you will get some information about the beers before you try them from an opinionated beer drinker,  the bad news is that I am that opinionated beer drinker! 

This week from the tap I selected Ommegang‘s Scythe and Sickle Amber Harvest Ale.  5.8%  The description from the brewer reads:  Scythe and Sickle is Ommegang’s foray into honoring the harvest season. Using barley, oats, wheat, and rye, we’ve brought the mood of fall to life with vibrant and flavorful passion.  The beer appeared copper colored a tiny bit cloudy with a good white head and clinging lace.

The nose reminded me of bread with oats and rye being paired with the fruity esters from the yeast used.  It had a light effervescent mouthfeel and tasted malty, moderately bitter with a dry finish.  The Belgian yeast strain was not as prominent as I would expect from Ommegang and in fact at first sip you might think this was a German beer.   It is however extremely drinkable and refreshing! 

I really this beer and would recommend it as a great starting beer! 

Black Market's Quadrophenia 

The other tap beer I selected was Black Market‘s Quadrophenia a Belgian Quad 11%.  The description from the brewery reads: As its namesake suggests, Quadrophenia is a Belgian style quadruple ale. We ferment Quadrophenia using Trappist ale yeast, which produces the spicy, phenolic flavors sometimes mistaken for added spices. The unique characteristics of caramel don’t come from the Pale and Munich malts, but from the introduction of Coconut Palm Sugar used in the brewing process.

For a quad, this beer was a clear copper color instead of dark brown, off white head with light lace.  It was medium bodied, moderately carbonated and effervescent.  It smelled like cinnamon bread pudding with and alcohol frosting!  A strong caramel malt note combined with fruit esters from the yeast.  The coconut palm sugar really comes through in the taste, the caramel quality is prominent followed by hints of plum and raisins and a dry finish.  It sort of reminded me of an old ale which is odd given the copper color.   Black Market is making some really neat interesting ales!

For the cask ales a couple of Bastards stopped by the Pint so I had them both!  Stone‘s Arrogant Bastard with American Oak and Arrogant Bastard with Centennial Hops, both 7.2%. 

Stone Arogant Bastards 

They were both Dark red, low head with light lace.  The Bastard with centennial hops displayed hop haze as well from the massive dry hops applied.  It smelled of malt and hops, lots of hops, a Stone trademark.  I also got hints of leather and a touch of diacetyl, but that too might be from the hops.

It was smooth and lightly carbonated (cask, duh!) but coated my tongue with a velvet malt feel and tasted of alcohol and massive amounts of centennial hops, which have a red wine viscosity to me.  It almost tasted like low bittering hops were used followed by large amounts of dry hops; as if the arrogance was smoothed out of it by them.  It was a little thin for a Arrogant Bastard, but if you like your hops, you will like this beer!

The Arrogant Bastard on American Oak smelled of sawdust and resin, tart up front with and oak finish.  It was smooth and silky, low carbonation (cask!) the oak profile was borderline overpowering this beer.  It tasted tart with the malt and hops taking the backseat to the oak presence.  There were hints of rye suggested by the wood as well.  It is an interesting combination when hops and oak are paired together in the same beer, on the one hand the hops tend to blend with the wood and suggest bourbon like qualities, on the other hand, the wood really transforms those hops so that they finish muted and not as prominent as they are in regular Arrogant Bastard.  If you like your bourbon barrel ales then this is the cask ale for you!

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