Thursday, March 17, 2011

No Green Beer Here

The day has arrived to collectively attack our livers with black, Irish liquidation. But when the St. Patrick’s Day hangover has lost its grip, you may find yourself wanting something a bit more substantial in the way of malt and hops. Here’s a couple of brews to persue when you’re back on your feet again.

Let’s start with the dark one. Over at Dublin’s they’ve just added Goose Island’s Pepe Nero to their tap line-up. It’s a Saison and a breed apart from its straw-colored brethren. This Saison is black. The aroma is more typical with a good balance of sweet malt and peppery spice. Pepe Nero is brewed with peppercorns and as you drink it you’ll notice the spiciness they impart, but that aspect isn’t overdone. The beer is light bodied and refreshing with enough Belgian earthiness to keep it continually interesting. It finishes dry with a reserved, lemon-like sourness that’s just prominent enough to clean the palate. At 6% it’s very easy to enjoy a couple of these. I liked this beer quite a bit.

Meanwhile, at Festival Food in Oshkosh a recent brewing of something completely different has arrived. The 2011 batch of Central Waters Illumination Double IPA was brought in on Tuesday and it’s a beer geared for lupulin addicts in need of a heroic fix. Illumination is large in every respect with an ABV of 9% and well over 100 IBUs. But for all that, the beer is surprisingly approachable. Eventually, it’ll kick your ass, but it’ll shake your hand first. Illumination pours out bright and golden with a gust of clean, pine aromatics. The initial flavors are almost gentle. At the front end all those hops come in like peach, mango and tropical fruit with a near candy-like sweetness. It doesn’t stay sweet long, though. Soon enough, a huge wave of bitterness washes all that away and you’re left with a mouth that’s good for nothing other than more of this beer. Oh, and there’s malt in there somewhere, too. I’m sure of it. I just can’t taste it. After about the third pull you’ll feel the heat flushing your face and the world will be a brighter place. I suppose that’s the reason they call it Illumination. If this sounds like your brand of pain, you’ll want to get on this beer quick. Festival has a limited supply and it’s fresh as can be, with this first batch having been bottled in late February.

But all this is for later. Now’s the time for an ocean of black stout, corned beef & cabbage and plenty of good craic. Sláinte!


  1. Another excellent post, Lee!

  2. Reading your notes always makes me thirsty!

  3. Thanks, Mike, I'll bet the Illumination is right up your alley.

    Hey Randy, did you notice that spiffy opener. Look familiar?