Tag Archives: A Tutta Birra

Sour Ales

20 Jan

When you create an account with Ratebeer they ask you your favorite style of beer. In the beginning, I was a barley wine girl then a fruit lambic lady and now I feel like I might be delving into the world of sours. Barley wines were appealing, and still are, because of the high abv and they tend to have interesting sweetnesses going on.  Fruit lambics were of particular interest because they produced flavors reminiscent of those found in our family orchard and the lambic style is so varied and surprising.  Sour ales also fall into this category of surprise and a variety of flavors that can vastly differ from one to the next.  My recent excursion to Lola had the added bonus of Jolly Pumpkin’s sour ale, La Roja.  I hadn’t had one since July and it was such a pleasant reminder of the greatness of sour ales.  Off to expand the horizons once again.

The Line Up

Verhaeghe Duchesse De Bourgogne:

I wrote about this weird yet great sour earlier in “Salty Bitches” but here’s a run-down again of my notes on it.  Straight from the bottle enjoyed on a summit over Lago Lugano, Switzerland. This was recommended to me by the wife/owner of A Tutta Birra in Milano as her favorite. Most interesting beer I’ve had so far in Italy. The aroma reminded me of rotting trash and at first sip so did the flavor. Further sips revealed sour cherries, dark fruits, apricot and vanilla. Incredibly smooth on the palate, absolutely no kick at the end. Much too sweet for me, almost could be considered a dessert beer in the same vein as dessert wines.

De Ranke Kriek:

Pours a muddy purple/red with no head. On the nose: same white grape tartness as lambic gueuzes but the flavor is really watered down. Flat but crisp. Don’t get the cherry taste but more lemon and white grape. Love the crisp cool character and the slightly boozier aroma of this as compared to the guezes. Very drinkable but not very complex.

Jolly Pumpkin Perseguidor (Batch 4):

On draft at Beer Engine Sour Ale tasting. Pours a dark brown/black with ruby tinges on the side. No head. Nose: cognac as is the flavor with that white grape/almost smokey aftertaste. Flat, slightly tart and crisp. Yum. The tartness is really present in the corners of the mouth which inspires you to keep sipping away.

Rodenbach Grand Cru:

Bottle at The Beer Engine: Color: same as Rochefort 8 with no head. Aroma is funky bleu cheese and sour white grapes. Smooth slightly tart but boozier flavor at the beginning of the sip then tart bite at the back of the palate. Very refreshing and completely different than the last Flemish Red I had, Duchesse de Bourgogne. Love the diversity of this style – it felt like a borderline lambic.

Jolly Pumpkin La Roja:

750 at Lola into white wine glass. I love the label as I love all the Jolly Pumpkin label but this one is just great. The color is simply beautiful like a cross between a hoppy IPA and a mead. Fluffy orangey/tan head with a nice fruity aroma almost a kin to red wine sangria. Flavor is similar with some dark wood background notes and again that really nice fermented fruit sweet/sour combination. Such a delight.

Shiny Happy Bottles

1 Aug

I’m an Art History major, which doesn’t come close to making me an expert in art but it’s any easy way of saying I’ve always got my eyes peeled for and focused on all things visually stimulating.  It means I also like to figure out what and who is behind the art.  One of my favorite facets of seeking out and enjoying craft beer is the label.  There is something so satisfying when you find a beer that pleases all 5 senses.  That’s when I fall in love with a beer.  I fell in love with 2 beer shops in Milano, A Tutta Birra and Roybeer and came away with some great beers and great labels.  My first trip to A Tutta Birra, I almost broke my arms carrying home my bags of beer.  I stashed a few of my babies in the fridge and others in the closet where there was more room.  I showed them to anyone who would listen to me gush about my new finds.

first beer shop excursion

Here are a few of my fav-o-rite things:

Brouwerij de Molen: simple, bold, interesting, commanding, DROP DEAD SEXY (and that’s just the label!)

de molen

Three Floyds:  my heart is heavy and sad that they stopped distributing to Ohio but it makes the pleasure of getting or even seeing one that much more rewarding.  A beer named Fantabulous Resplendence needs no intro.

Three Floyds 10th Anniversary

Le Baladin:  a birreria in Italy that has some very curvaceous bottles with some funky and some somber labels.  Take for instance their celebrated Baladin Xyauyù barley wine.

Baladin Xyauyù

I could wax rhapsodic on these images for pages but would rather inspire others to keep an eye out for the beer or beers that makes all 5 senses very happy.  Cheers.

UPDATE:  Thanks to fellow ratebeerian OldMrCrow, I’ve been introduced to The Dissident.  Dude’s right, this label is great.  And it brings up another point, why is the only label artist I’ve heard of Ralph Steadman?  Does that even count!?!  He’d been famous long before Flying Dog Brewery.  Where is the talk of the people behind the labels?  This is usually our first encounter with a beer, visual — the label or the tap.  For something so primary and basic where’s the attention?

The Dissident

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