Well Worth A Pour

Bob Barnes - A review of three very different beers.

I am at your service, and happy to put my palate to the test to share with you new or seasonal releases. This week we’ll take a look at three offerings that earned my stamp of approval, from three of America’s most respected craft breweries: Escondido, California-based Stone Brewing; Deschutes Brewery out of Bend, Oregon; and Fort Collins, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing.

Stone Imperial Mutt Brown Ale

To “spotlight” its brewing team’s creativity in 2014, Stone Brewing introduced its Spotlight Series, an annual internal competition wherein ten teams of two vied for the chance to have their beer recipe brewed, packaged and distributed on a national scale. The champion entry from this year’s competition—Imperial Mutt Brown Ale—is the brainstorm of Stone Brewing Supervisor Drew Neldon and Brewer Steve Via, who attempted to combine the best qualities of the Alt and Brown Ale styles (hence the Mutt in the beer’s name). The style hybrid uses an English yeast strain but is brewed primarily with German malts (Vienna as the base malt with Chocolate Wheat Malt and some Honey Malt) combined with turbinado sugar to create a pleasant molasses-tinged sweetness. This unique one-time-only release goes astray of Stone’s hop-forward reputation, with coffee and toffee notes, a yeasty fruitiness and a rich and slightly sweet maltiness and mild dry finish, that despite its high 9% ABV is highly drinkable.

URL: Stonebrewing.com/spotlight/muttbrown

Stats: 9% ABV, 45 IBUsAvailability: One-time-only limited 22-ounce bottles and draft


Deschutes Twilight Summer Ale

This American Blonde Ale’s 5% ABV/35 IBU footprint, golden-orange appearance and refreshing crispness make it a good contender for a summertime beer pick. But what makes it stand out from the crowd is a floral hop aroma and hop bill that would normally describe a pale ale—Northern Brewer, Cascade, US Tettnang and the bold Amarillo—an interesting blend featuring American-grown citrusy variations that are balanced with a solid malt foundation of grainy malts that include NW Pale, Carastan, Carapils and Munich. 

URL: www.deschutesbrewery.com/brew/twilight-summer-ale

Stats: 5% ABV, 35 IBUs
Availability: 12 oz bottles and on draft, May-September

New Belgium Slow Ride Session IPA

IPA is currently the top selling craft beer style and recently the Session IPA sub-style has emerged for those wanting to enjoy full hop flavor without the added alcohol. The newly released Slow Ride from New Belgium Brewing delivers a powerful punch of citrusy-hop goodness while weighing in at only 4.5% ABV. No less than eight different hop varieties are used, as it’s pitched with Cascade, Target, Nelson Sauvin and Centennial hops in the kettle and dry hopped with Mosaic, Simcoe, Amarillo and Citra. To view a collection of entertaining videos of people riding the couch bike depicted on the label, visit www.newbelgium.com/slowride.aspx.

URL: www.newbelgium.com/beer/slow-ride

Stats: 4.5% ABV, 40 IBUs
Availability: 12 oz bottles and cans and on draft, year round

The Author:

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 bob@lvfnb.com.

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.

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