Brouwerij (959) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - NOV 18, 2012
Opaque brown pour with a finger of tan head that dissipates in minutes. Aromas of coffee with subtle fruity and floral hints. Tastes strong coffee up front with some definite belgian/fruity character afterwards. Slightly bitter coffee finish that lingers. Soft carbonation with medium body. Belgian character becomes more apparent as the beer warms. A pleasant rendition of their great java porter, although next time I’ll stick with the real deal. TAR (2776) - Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, USA - OCT 10, 2012
Draught snifter at Southern Sun: Deep obsidian. Off-tan head clings nicely to the glass. Highly boring nose of grapefruit, spruce resin, chalky roast, burnt toffee, smoky coffee, tar, black licorice. Prominent alcohol. Fuzzy carbonation. Frail body. Incongruous acidic hops and brash roasty acids immediately stifle all malty richness, rendering the core quite hollow. Relentless grapefruit pummels all subtlety, leaving behind a cottony astringency in its wake. Soft-malt development is further hampered by a burnt cookie and ashy sharpness as well as a high level of unripe plum skin acid which buckles the cheeks. No dextrinous heft or texture to fill in the empty gaps. All too faint smoke presents the only relative semblance of softness to the otherwise starkly hollow center. Closes astringently with char, and perpetually shallow as well, with chocolate wafer cookie doing nothing to salvage the striking absence of depth or neutralize the overpowering grapefruit sting. A pretty sorry example of a hoppy dark ale, I must say. Take away the hops and this would lack the fat malt character to carry it as a proper dark ale. And if you stripped the dark malt you’d be left with your run-of-the-mill, one-dimensional grapefruit-laden Americanized ubiquity. A silly beer.