I’m not afraid of the dark!

This weekend I picked up my second beer in the Throwback Brewery Unafraid of the Dark IV program. Every January, Throwback releases a new, unique dark beer every two weeks. Each of these brews are made with one or more local ingredient. This program has two subscription levels, a full growler, or a half-growler (growlette) of each new brew.

I am in the growlette program, so every two weeks, I get my hands on a liter of great beer. The first beer in the series was a stout called Tangled up in Blueberry. This stout was brewed with 60 pounds of New Hampshire grown blueberries, and it was good.

Tangled up in Blueberries StoutUnlike a typical fruit beer, where the fruit flavor is strong and prominent, here the blueberries were a subtle addition, complementing the chocolate flavors in the stout. Or, as the brewer said “resulting in undertones of chocolate covered berries.”

The next beer in the program is a milk stout called The Invisible Yam. This beer is brewed with 50 pounds of cooked sweet potatoes and includes allspice, vanilla and nutmeg. Surprisingly, there was no sweet potato taste in the beer. I was expecting a sweet tasting beer, something like a sweet potato pie. Instead, it was a wonderful, roasted malty flavor, with a hint of spiciness on the finish. All of the ingredients in the brew were of perfect proportion, allowing each to complement the flavor without taking over the beer.

So far both of these stouts have been excellent, and worthy of checking out. Each time I went to pickup my “share”, the brewery had the brew available for general purchase in their tasting room. If you are in the area, I highly recommend you get to the brewery in try the latest batch. However with the quality of these beers, I do not imagine they last long.



2015 : A New Year, A New Direction

The original intent of this blog was to explore the state of brewing and distribution within the United States. Over the course of 2013, I sampled beer from each state — in the order the state joined the union — while exploring the history of brewing within the state at its conception. Once that project was completed, the blog went somewhat stagnant as I took a year off and considered what to do next.

We are now in 2015, two years beyond the start of that original project, and it is time for the blog to take a new direction. This year I intend to explore the ingredients that are used in the beer making process. It is not uncommon these days to encounter beer with strange ingredients botrytis infected grapes in Dogfish Head’s Noble Rot, or the Banana and Peanut Butter used in Rogue’s Voodoo Doughnut. These ingredients deviated a long way from the original Bavarian Beer Purity Law that required all beer to be made with only barley, hops and water (yeast was added to the law when it was discovered).

I intend to explore some of these unique ingredients and how they effect the character and flavor of the beer, while also learning more about tasting beer to better recognize, distinguish, and enjoy the unique flavors the various ingredients bring to each brew.

I hope you will join along on this years exploration. The first post, which will appear in the next week or two will focus on one of the core ingredients of beer.