On a weekend in a wonderful beer kingdom some of the Hit Hop readers got together to taste some of the 1001 beers to try before you die.
The beers on offer were
1) Cascade First Harvest Ale
2) Estrella Damm Inedit
3) Sierra Nevada Kellerweis Hefeweizen
4) Chimay Grande Reserve
5) Weihenstephaner Pilsner
6) Dos Equis Amber
The night started with the strongest and by popular acclaim on the night the best beer, Chimay Grande Reserve.
This strong, dark trappist ale at 9.00%. It pours with a huge fluffy off white head and should be drunk out of a chalice, however I don’t have 10 chalices so that was out of the question.
When I was tasting this beer I got raisins, dark chocolate, treacle and some tart alcoholicy apple as well as a little yeasty flavours. The warming effect of this Chimay beer was delightful and on a cool winter night exactly what a beer connoisseur is looking for.
This beer is excellent. There really is no two ways about it. Strong and bold this is definitely a beer to savour on an important occasion of celebration with friends. The noble quest of getting through 1001 beers is certainly one of those such occasions.
This beer is a great one to age so while we enjoyed a couple of 2011 vintage, this would only have gotten better over the next half a decade.
Following quickly on the heels of the Belgium brilliance came the Mexican offering of Dos Equis Amber.
I have tried the Dos Equis lager previously and found it highly unenjoyable but I was certainly willing to give them another chance. By any stretch of the imagination the beer could not be as bad as Corona. It has a clear crisp taste and has just a hint of natural aroma as opposed to that chemical sort of taste you can get with other Mex beers.
This is not a great beer, but when compared to other offerings from it’s country of origin it is a superstar and one which if you are a Mexican is definitely part of the 1001 beers to try before you die. Still give me a James Squire Amber before the Dos Equis any day of the week if we are going to stick to Amber beers.
Clicking over to the half way point at which Queensland was already lost to the dark side I decided it might be time to go for a lighter beer, the Estrella Damm Inedit.
This offering for Spain was designed especially to go with food and is a wit beer. The beer pours out a pale yellow and holds a pure white head. It holds some intensely promising flavours but nothing on the scale of the Belgium wheat beers. It is like the flavours have been muted in order to help the beer to be sold as a brew with excellent food pairing potential.
Regardless this was a very classy beer for of excellent floral smells which were enticing and wonderfully light to taste. It went excellently with the soft cheese and water crackers we were having but I could imagine it would go well with light meat like fish or poultry that was not too heavily spiced.
Following this wheat beer was the 2011 edition of the Cascade First Harvest Ale, the tenth of it’s name and now a decade old.
At 5.5% this beer is quite sessionable and on the sweeter side, especially if you come into the drinking experience with the idea that you are going to get something very hoppy. Instead expect a big dose of malty sweetness followed by a rather rough hop character. I felt like the profile of this First Harvest was untempered and slightly out of balance and because of that it really wasn’t as good as previous generations.
The beer is a copper colour and has a strong persistent head which laces the glass really well but even when giving it a sniff I get the herbaceous flavours but still some of the harshness which is to come. regardless this beer is something that everyone should try.
As we get closer to the end we visit one of the most important breweries in the revitalization of beer, Sierra Nevada and it’s hefeweizen, Kellerweis.
This is the second wheat beer that has been made the first tasting. Unlike the Spanish offering Sierra Nevada make no effort to curb the flavours and apparently use the traditional open fermenters to create a deeper and more hazy type of beer as opposed to the clearer Estrella.
The beer is 4.8% and calls to mind bananas, clove and a dry spiciness that is mandatory in a Hefe. This is a beer which has spared nothing to create a wealth of flavour and it all explodes in your mouth. A definite mainstay in anyones fridge if they enjoy wheat beers.
Finally we move onto the last beer: Number 6, The Weihenstephaner Pilsner.
Brewed at the world’s oldest brewery, Germany’s Weihenstephaner this 5.4% Pilssner is a good example of a golden lager. Don’t be fooled though, while it is a good example when compared to a pint of VB, it is not a Pilsner Urquell. I found it to have a high level of malty sweetness which was very upfront but the mouthfeel was thin and anything interesting about this beer was quickly washed away.
This is even more upsetting considering that how amazing this beer looks in a glass with a beautiful gold colour and big thick fluffy white head which laces the glass magnificently.
All up this beer is a pils and a pils like almost every other.
Comrades, the beers for the next tasting will be as follows:
Hitachino Nest Beer White Ale
Old Rasputin Imperial Russian Stout
Strong Suffolk Vintage Ale
and something from Meantime. This time we will be taking a step up in the beer drinking world so it is a possibility this next tasting might be a little more expensive. Tomorrow there will be a poll about when the best time for the next tasting will be. If you are interested make sure you vote. It will be in the next 3 weeks.
Catch you up soon and enjoy good beer.