The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2011

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Page 119 of 124

GADD’S SIXPACK LAST YEAR, I DISCOVERED TWITTER AND REDISCOVERED CANNED BEER. I’M STILL TRYING TO FIND A USE FOR TWITTER (LOL)—MEANWHILE, HERE’S THE NEXT INSTALLMENT OF Pop-Top Wonders by David Gadd Caldera Ashland Amber Although they’ve also moved into 22-ounce bottles, Caldera was the fi rst microbrewery in Oregon to brew and can its own beer. The rainbow- colored aluminum cans, seemingly designed with input from Wavy Gravy, prevent light damage and oxidation, are safer and lighter to carry than glass bottles and—ask any physicist—will chill quicker. A year- round staple at Caldera, Ashland Amber is a straight-ahead beer-lover’s brew with expressive malt and nicely tipped-in hops that show their best (‘natch) when the beer is poured into a glass. A Pacifi c Northwest classic in a can. Narragansett Bock I was fi rst attracted to this Rhode Island outfi t after running across their cheeky JAM OUT WITH YOUR CLAM OUT teeshirts online. One week later, out of nowhere, come samples of their superb Bock, in cans. Perhaps there is a Supreme Being after all. Fruit-ester aromas like those wafting from a cluster of speckled bananas come leaping out of the glass like an adolescent’s dream of 13-proof Juicy Fruit gum. In the mouth, fl avors of bittersweet hops are perfectly synched with lacquer-y malt tones on a texture as nigh-unto-perfect as my loofah of a cerebellum can recall. The tall, garishly green can contains a full 16 ounces of fun fl uid, so haul out your pint glass and pour yourself a beer with meaning deeper than Moby-Dick. Avery White Rascal Fresh-pineapple yellow in color, this cloudy Belgian-style ale from Colorado comes on like Carmen Miranda in Technicolor, delivering spicy fruit- cocktail fl avors on top with a promise of sweet tropical seduction down below, all of it singing along on a voluptuous and fi nely beaded texture. As the samba winds down, it leaves an exotic sugared-bitters fi nish that demands a reprise. Uncommon Brewers Siamese Twin Ale It takes a while to get your mind and palate around this uncommon California-brewed, Belgian-style ale, fl avored with Thai spices: coriander, lemongrass and Kaffi r lime. The critter from Santa Cruz stages an intense entry onto the naive, unsuspecting tongue, with edgy, bitter love-’em-or- leave-’em fl avors and the downright aggressive efferves- cence of a soft drink. My fi rst reaction: WTF? Ten minutes later, I’m completely sold. Heady, strange and wonderful. Minott’s Black Star Double Hopped Golden Lager This Montana lager—created in 1995 by Minott Wessinger, fi fth-generation brewer and great-great- grandson of West Coast brewing pioneer Henry Weinhard—is now available in 24-ounce cans. Thanks to its double dose of hops, it’s as bracing as a night spent under the open sky, and the new, generous packaging makes it even more convenient to tote along for outdoor recreation. (That suggestion is void where prohibited by law. —Legal Dept.) A treasure from the Treasure State. Oranjeboom Premium Beer Created in Holland but now brewed in Germany by InBev, this bourgeois-in-a-good-way pilsner is as ready as Rembrandt’s Night Watch guards to keep you company in a session of midnight quaffery (hey, it’s just 5.0 abv). With its quick, incisive attack on the palate and unpretentious drinkability, it’s now offi cially my favorite “cheap” beer. FYI, the name means “orange tree”—say bohm, not boom. AB INBEV Victoria After rolling out in Texas and Colorado, Victoria—“Mexico’s best-kept secret”—is expanding to more north-of-the-border markets, including Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada and Washington State. The coppery Vienna-style lager has been produced in Mexico since 1865, making it that country’s oldest beer brand and bringing it immediate loyalty among Hispanic consumers. Considering the dusky, crisp-textured fl avor that puts it at least a couple of sombreros above Mexico’s most ubiquitous import (which is also brought in by Crown), premium Victoria should appeal to gringos looking for the next word in Latin American beer. A great brew to have on-hand 24/7/365. CROWN IMPORTS april 201 1 / the tasting panel / 117

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