Goodness From Across The Pond!

Each time I sit down to write a beer review, I have to put that on hold to inform you all about new beers in the Nashville market. I suppose that's a good thing!

There are two reasons that I am excited about Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout arriving in Nashville. One, because this is a very good Imperial Stout brewed by Nøgne Ø out of Grimsted, Norway. Two, because they imported by Shelton Brothers, who have a reputation for importing quality and rare beers. Does that mean more goodness is on the way? I sure hope so. Nashville just upped it's beer credibility by adding beers from the Shelton portfolio.

Another Shelton Brothers import that I am excited about is K-O Blonde Bier out of Belgium. This is a solid example of a Belgian Strong Ale and is worth a try. More Belgian arrivals are from them are Witkap Pater Singel, Witkap Pater Tripel, Jenlain Blonde, and Slaapmutske Tripel Nightcap. I almost forgot Scaldis 12, a very well made Quadruple Ale. On the beer store side, sourheads can rejoice with and authentic and outstanding Framboise lambic, Cantillon Rose De Gambrinus.Warning- it's not for the pedestrian beer drinker. For those used to the candy sweet Lindeman's Framboise, this beer may shock your palate with it's sourness and acetic acid.

Italian made Panil Barriquee, is also back after a hiatus. While it is pricey, it's a world class Flanders Red Ale. Don't try cellaring this one, as it oxidizes in less than two years. Drink it fresh.

Note to Midtown Wine and Spirits- please get these beers away from the windows. There are plenty of less desirable beers you can swap shelf space with. All Shelton Brothers imports should get premium shelf space- nuff said!

I don't know if this is new, but I just noticed it. I picked up and thoroughly enjoyed a Castelain Blonde, brewed in Benifontain, France. This is a nice earthy, unfiltered example of a Bière de Garde. It paired very well with pan seared scallops.

I highly recommended Kulmbacher Eisbock a few months back and it quickly disappeared from the shelves. I am happy to say it's back and in the new packaging. Any craft beer lover owes it to themselves to try this classic.

All of these beers should be available at the usual liquor stores with a good craft beer selection- Frugal MacDougal, Midtown Wine and Spirits, Red Dog, Cool Springs Wine & Spirits, JBarleycorn, and Total Beverage (Murfreesboro). Always call ahead to be sure.

That's it for now. Cheers!


Who Says Tennessee Does Not Get Good Beer?

I am not happy. My wallet is empty and yet more beer finds it's way to Tennessee. As soon as I am done typing, I am going to look under the couch cushions and make my way to the Coinstar machine.

High gravity offerings from Brooklyn are finally here. Look for Brooklyn No. 1 (Saison) and No. 2 (Dark Belgian Ale) in corked 750ml bottles. Also on the shelves are the India Pale Ale and Monster Ale (Barleywine). Our state only received 20 cases of the Monster Ale, so the supply is very limited for this year. Expect the Black Chocolate Stout in the fall, which I highly recommend.

Brideport has also entered the high gravity side with their Hop Czar Imperial IPA. This is priced at 9.99 per six and packs an 87 IBUs. Terrapin has promoted the Monk's Revenge from the Side Project Series to an official beer in the product line. This Belgian style Imperial IPA is now available as a seasonal in 4 paks.

While I have not spotted Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, it is being sold in the Knoxville market. That means we should get it any day now. This is yet another Black IPA on the Nashville beer scene, but is the same recipe as the Stone 11th Anniversary beer that was released a few years back. I was lucky enough to try it dry hopped on cask during my visit to Stone Brewing World Bistro and Garden, compliments of Greg Koch.

Word on the street is that Boulevard Rye on Rye will not make it to Tennessse this year. Bouleveard Dark Truth (Imperial Stout) has arrived in EXTREMELY limited quantities, although I have not seen one yet.

That's it for now. Cheers!


Terrapin Side Project 10 is here!

I was downtown and decided to stop in at Midtown Wine and Spirits (yet again) and saw that Terrapin Side Project 10 was fresh off the truck. This is titled Capt'n Krunkles Black IPA. Black IPAs are an unofficial style that has been emerging from some several craft brewers. In a nutshell, this style is an IPA brewed with dark malts and usually comes across as an overly hopped Porter or Brown ale. I am drinking one of these as I type, and it's definitely not for the pedestrian palate. It's loaded with a bold roasty malt core that is countered by a citrus rind and piney hop bite. There is some astrigency on the finish that fades as the beer warms.

Nashville has not had many examples of this unofficial style. Combine that with the fact that this beer is very limited, I suggest that the beer aficionados and adventurous beer drinkers grab one before they are gone for good. Expect to pay around $7.49 per 22 ounce bottle.You should also be able to find this at Frugal MacDougal, Graces Plaza Wine & Spirits, J Barleycorn, Red Dog, Cool Springs Wine & Spirits, or any other liquor store that carries craft beer.



More goodies showing up!

Just in to Midtown Wine and Spirits is New Belgium Belgian Blond and Eric's Ale, from their Lips of Faith Series. Also available is the one time release of Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary  Fritz and Ken's Ale, a collaborative Imperial Stout. I highly recommend you grab this one before it's gone forever. Oscar Blues Gubna was also on the shelves at $16.99 per 4pak. A bit pricey, but it is a very well crafted Double IPA (drink it as fresh as possible before the hops fade).

A new brewery hitting the Nashville shelves is Atwater Brewing out of Detroit, Michigan. On the beer store side, look for the Dirty Blond and Vanilla Java Porter. On the liquor store side, you can find the Voodoo Vator and Cherry Stout. Speaking of Michigan, will any of you distributors PLEASE try to get Bells or Founders to Nashville?

One more new sighting for me is Depot Street out of Jonesborough, TN. I have sampled their beers many times at the Music City Brewers Festival, but this is the first time I have seen bottles on the shelves. Look for the Loose Caboose Lager and a few other offerings. Always support your local and regional breweries!

The new Yazoo Tap Room is open and boy is it nice! Congrats to Linus and crew for expanding in such a tough business. There are plenty of taps so that you don't have to wait in line behind people filling growlers. They also have lots of seating, including an outdoor patio soon to be covered with hop vines.  It's at 910 Division St. near the gulch.



Beer Review- McNeill's Pullman's Porter

I mentioned that a few bottle offerings from McNeills' Brewery hit the Nashville market a few weeks ago. Although they are a very small brewery, they have a good reputation among online beer aficionados. I had never tried their Pullman's Porter, so I gladly picked up a bottle to share my thoughts.

McNeill's Pullman's Porter -
McNeill's Brewery, Brattleboro, VT

Commercial Description:
This bottle of Pullman's Porter is hand-made from choice domestic barley malt and fresh whole-flower hops. This rich, dark, hoppy brew is made in the style enjoyed by porters in Nineteenth century England. ABV: 6.4%

Smitty's Review: Sampled at 50 degrees. Pours a very dark brown with a two finger retentive beige head. The aroma smells like an IPA, with lots of floral hops and some fruity ale esters. Lighter side of medium bodied with average carbonation. The malt core has subtle notes of roast and mild chocolate, but the hop grapefruit bitterness really dominates here. Semi dry and piney hop finish with some slight astringency. Mouthfeel is a little lighter compared to most porters, and this is extremely hoppy for the style.There is an unofficial style that that has been emerging over the last few years called a "Black IPA." In my opinion, this beer leans more toward that as opposed to a typical Porter. Either way this was an enjoyable beer.

Rating*: 8 out of 10

Recommended Food Pairing: Chicken, Pork Chops, smoked foods, white cheeses (brie, gouda, havarti )

Moderate at $4.99 per 22 ounce bottle

Beer Audience: Hop Heads, Porter and Stout drinkers who don't mind extra bitterness

Where To Buy: Specialty beer stores. This was purchased at Midtown's Beer Store

* rating system based on aroma (1 pt), appearance (1pt), palate (2 pts) flavor (3pts), comparison to other commercial examples of the style (3pts)