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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bolt Cutter Barley Wine: Founders Brewing

Many of us eagerly await the releases of the beers from Founders Brewing Company's Back Stage Series.  The latest was Bolt Cutter, a barley wine that commemorates Founders 15th anniversary.  The beer was released in mid November, 2012.  The brewery has clearly gotten the hint that craft beer lovers were having a hard time acquiring bottles from this limited release series, as the last two releases have been fairly to find in stores.  Indeed, a few days after the release of Bolt Cutter I saw about 20 bottles in the beer section of a grocery store. I still see bottles of Frangelic Mountain Brown in stores.  I must admit, however, that I miss the pleasure of finding a bottle or two of these previously rare beer releases.

I purchased several bottle of Bolt Cutter to put away in my cellar.  At 14.5% ABV, they will age well. I love the story behind the label.  You can read it here:

The beer is pretty much what you would expect from a barley wine--sweet maltiness offset by a strong hop bitterness and a strong alcohol character.  I like barley wines and this is an excellent example of the style.  I was glad to see that for this back stage release the brewers at Founders decided to go with a traditional style.  I look forward to seeing how this fine beer ages over the next several years.


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Bruery: 5 Golden RIngs

The Christmas season is my favorite for beer.  It is this time of year, that the some of the best high gravity beers are released.  I eagerly await each year to try the newest Christmas beer from Anchor brewing and the Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing.  This year I had a special surprise.  As part of my Rare Beer Club monthly membership, I received a bottle of "5 Golden Rings" from The Breuery in Placentia (Orange County), California.

Everything about this beer is satisfying.  The beer is a limited release and is number five in a 12 part series that follows the verses of the 12 Days of Christmas.  Each year the brewery makes a one-time beer based on the next verse of the famous Christmas song (although the brewery is counting in the opposite direction than the song, starting with a partridge in a pear tree and ending with 12 drummers drumming).   I missed the first four verses, but am glad to have finally caught onto the tune.

5 Golden Rings is Strong Belgian Golden Ale that is made with a collection of spices and pineapple juice. It is an outstanding 11.5% ABV.  It is the best beer I've tasted this year, and the year is nearly over (and I drink a lot of beer).  The slight sourness of the Belgian yeasts is offset with the slight citrus and sweetness.  It is a thing to behold and I'm officially going to ask Santa for a few more bottles.  I'm interested to see how they interpret "6 Geese A Laying."