Monday, April 13, 2009

Couple of New Brews Worth Drinking

Looking back at my last couple of blogs, I realized that I was delinquent in delivering on my promised review of Midnight Sun's Descent, the second in their 2009 Crew Brews Series. Since I'm a man of my word, let me remedy that oversight right now.

Descent is pretty solidly in the style of a Belgian dubbel. Dark, with plenty of malty sweetness, the 25 IBUs of bitterness is there just for balance. It is brewed with raisins and grains of paradise, which only enhance the fruity, spicy notes characteristic of the style. It resembles Midnight Sun's Monk's Mistress, in that they are both dubbels weighing in around 8.5% ABV, but Descent is hoppier, as the Mistress only has 13 IBUs. I found it very drinkable, perhaps even more so than the Mistress due to it's higher hop rate. A very worthy entry into the Crew Brews.

Another new brew that I got to try this weekend was the latest entry into Kenai River Brewing's Single Hop IPA series; this one is hopped with Warrior hops. I've never had occasion to use this hop variety before, so I was very curious as to how they would perform in such a solo act.

Warrior is a general-purpose bittering hop that offers a neutral, clean bittering primarily in ale styles. Alpha acids are in the typical to high bittering hop range of 15 to 17%. It has a relative low cohumulone content which contributes to a smooth, pleasing bitterness. This is a relatively new variety that was first bred at Yakima Chief Ranches, and is used in some well-known beers like Dogfish Head's 60 Minute IPA.

After tasting the Warrior Single-Hop IPA, I was impressed with how clean tasting it was. There were none of the citrus notes or the pine resin flavors you sometimes get in beers so heavily hopped with Pacific Northwest varieties. Instead, there was just the clean, crisp bitterness and excellent hop aroma. Given this experience, I think I will look for an opportunity to give Warriors a try in one of my homebrews.

I plan to be heading up to Anchorage again for a meeting later this week, so hopefully I'll have something else new and different to report on next week.

Until Then, Cheers!

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