The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2013

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Page 85 of 152

GADD'S FOURPACK Big Beers, Big Bottles GOOD NEWS FOR THE EVER-THIRSTY CONNOISSEUR: THESE EXCELLENT BREWS COME IN LARGE-FORMAT PACKAGES The Bruery Bois Let's just start with the nose on this bourbon barrel–aged brown ale, which would be worth the price of admission all on its own: dark chocolate, horehound and oloroso sherry. If that's not enough, it downshifts on the palate to deep licorice notes, oak-fire smoke, herbs—is that cilantro?—and fresh tar. Just wow! Another sublime beer from this Orange County outfit. Estrella Damm Inedit Sommeliers take note: Chef Ferran Adrià, the planet's most talked-about master of molecular cuisine, and his sommelier team has collaborated with Spanish brewery Estrella Damm to create this gorgeously packaged beer crafted especially for food, even dishes difficult to match with wine. It's a malt-and-wheat brew, flavored with hops, coriander, orange peel and licorice—sounds heady but it's actually as refined and in-tune as a string quartet on the palate (and only 4.8 percent abv). If you're tired of artichokes killing your Chardonnay, this is your ticket. Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin Firestone Walker's brilliant brewmaster, Matt Brynildson, came up with this hilarious burlesque hall name for his stunningly velvety beer, an oatmeal stout aged for a year in bourbon barrels. Smooth is the name of the game here, with a mouthfeel softer than a pubic rug—and 8.5 percent alcohol that will sneak up on you faster than a cougar at last call. Beneath the crushed velvet texture there are heavy dark chocolate flavors with just the right amount of offset acidity, leading to a curiously dry/bitter finish. Consider me a merked man. North Coast Brewing Brother Thelonious By glass three (straight, no chaser) and a few jazz tracks in, I was digging the crepuscular color of this Belgian-style "abbey" ale, dedicated to the American monastic jazz maestro. Flavors as complex and challenging as a Monk chord cluster, nutty and completely misterioso. Just a note or two out of key and a beat or two off step in every good way. In short: superb. Purchase of Brother Thelonious helps support the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. TP1013_066-107.indd 85 9/23/13 10:35 PM

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