Goldenberg/Monkey Paw/Stone 24 Carrot Golden Ale
8.5% ABV/40 IBUs
Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning October 5
Want some carrot cake with your beer? How about some carrot cake IN your beer? Leave it to Stone Brewing to push the boundaries and break the rules by using ingredients or a dessert favorite heretofore never considered for use in beer making. However, in this case it was the winner of Stone’s annual Homebrew Competition & American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Rally won by QUAFF (Quality Ale and Fermentation Fraternity) homebrew club member and founder of the San Diego Suds Sorority, Juli Goldenberg (the first female brewer to win the competition), whose winning entry was a creative recipe inspired by carrot cake.
When formulating her creation, Goldenberg relied on unconventional brewing ingredients such as raisins and carrots for a medium bodied brew that’s creamy and smooth; and milk sugar (lactose), cinnamon and vanilla beans to replicate the flavor of cream cheese frosting, and beet juice was also added to help with the carrot cake color.
In replicating Goldenberg’s recipe, Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele noted, “If we followed Juli’s exact recipe, more than 10,000 pounds of shredded carrots would have been needed per batch. That’s a heck of a lot of carrots! Luckily, we were able to source locally produced carrot juice concentrate of amazing quality that has lots of fermentable sugars, which contributed to a final result that tastes just like carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.”
Stone is also renowned for collaborating with other breweries, and in this case, as the winning homebrewer is allowed to select the brewery, Goldenberg chose San Diego-based Monkey Paw Brewing Company to complete the collaborative trifecta, with Head Brewer Cosimo Sorrentino chosen in part for his culinary background.
What’s noteworthy in this Belgian-style golden strong ale is that, while this beer captures the essence of a carrot cake, it still tastes like beer, and the Belgian yeast offsets the sweetness with fruity and spicy esters. Be sure to give it time to warm up a bit. I found as it approached room temperature the carrot cake flavors intensified.
Deschutes Jubelale6.7% ABV/60 IBUs
Availability: Mid-September through December
A tradition that began in 1988 with the first beer the Bend, Oregon-based brewery ever bottled, continues with its 28th rendition of Jubelale. This deep garnet colored winter ale ishopped with Nugget, Cascade, Delta, Tettnang, East Kent Goldings and contains Pale, Crystal, Extra Special, Carapils, and Roasted Barley malts. Warm spiciness and layered flavors unfold to reveal chicory, dried fruit and toffee notes with a lingering hoppy tang in the finish.
One of the aspects that make this brew unique is its label artwork, which is anticipated nearly as much as the beer’s release each year. The brewery’s dedication to art is evident, as it selects a local artist each year to illustrate the label featuring wintery scenes, such as this year’s wintery hiking scene depicting a couple and their dog walking along a snow covered trail peering into a trout-filled river, designed by Oregon-native, Taylor Rose.
Sam Adams Pumpkin Batch
5.6% ABV/26 IBUs
Availability: seasonal limited release
Pumpkin Batch is Sam Adams’s latest take on a pumpkin beer, and this year the brewery goes out of the box, by brewing a Saison-style using a Belgian yeast strain with real pumpkin, East Kent Goldings and Fuggles hops; Samuel Adams two-row pale malt blend and Carafoam; and cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg spices. This version is certainly not one dimensional, as the pumpkin pie spices work well with the herbal, floral, spicy clove and estery notes from the saison yeast. It pours a golden hue with a touch of copper, in keeping with its saison pedigree. I found the most enjoyable aspect was in the finish, with a dryness joined by an intermingling of spice, vegetal pumpkin and a bit of saison-like tartness.
Here’s to drinking interesting and flavorful beers to get us through the colder months of fall and winter.
Bob Barnes is editorial director of The Las Vegas Food & Beverage Professional, regional correspondent for Celebrator Beer News and writes the Top 10 Beer lists for Gayot.com. He welcomes your inquiries and can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC, its affiliates, or its employees.