The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2012

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Page 46 of 124

GADD'S SIXPACK Back to Black FROM WHISKIES TO RUMS TO COGNACS, IS THE NEW BLACK—AND BLACK BEERS ARE BACK IN STYLE by David Gadd Guinness Black Lager Delicate but involving nose of oatmeal, Cocoa Puffs and lanolin; more lean and angular on the palate than Guinness's signature Extra Stout but every bit as black, with an aggressive lager bead and heady fl avors of burnt malt and bitter citrus rind. An entry to the Guinness family for lager lovers who will one day graduate to the real thing. Deschutes Black Butte XIII Bottle opener. Check. Paring knife. Check. Hammer and chisel. Check. Butane torch. Check. You are about to open—through a recalcitrant black wax seal that seems intent on protecting the bottle's contents like a Baptist protecting the sanctity of marriage—one of the best beers you will drink this year. This is the 23rd birthday release of Deschutes' pinnacle beer, a Seville orange- and cocoa-tinged porter. Once in the glass, this stuff clears the sinuses with medicinal notes of camphor and brine, then swaddles the tongue in a balsam of molasses, malt, hops and spice. A real beaut. Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout This bruiser from Brooklyn lays a thick, dark dragstrip of asphalt across the palate that's loaded with Dutch licorice, bitter cacao and 10W-40 motor oil, all topped by a bright racing stripe of acidity. With ten percent alcohol by volume, this one comes in a fourpack for your safety. A class act beer. 46 / the tasting panel / march 2012 Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout The thick, bubbly Mr. Wizard science experiment head on this bruin from Healdsburg is almost a meal in itself. Then you get to the beer. Deep, chewy, choco- laty and yet amazingly crisp and refreshing fl avors swirl around on the tongue, leaving behind a wake of pure wow. Ursus major. Uinta Baba Black Lager The nose on this year-rounder from Salt Lake City is a ringer for a perfect double cappuccino heavily dusted with cocoa powder. The fl avor profi le combines the best qualities of a crisp lager with the creamy texture and maltiness of a dark ale, with a good mid-palate surge of oomph. The fi nish goes a bit sheepish, but that just brings you back for another woolly mouthful. And who can resist that label? Widmer Brothers Pitch Black IPA The Portland-reared brew, offspring of a roving Irish stout and a wanton India Pale Ale, comes at you with its father's brawny malt base and teases with its mother's hopsy sass but transcends both parents to make its own seductive statement in the glass and on the palate. A 6.5 percent seasonal available only through April. Don't miss it. BL A CK

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