Author Archives: Shawn P. Wilbur
I see people rave about Southern Tier’s releases, but I haven’t had much luck with them thus far. I thought this year’s “Mokah” was overpowered by chocolate, and not terribly appealing chocolate at that. (Others feel very different about it, so don’t let me scare you off completely, if overpowering chocolate doesn’t sound too bad to you.) But I think I have found a Southern Tier brew I can honestly rave about with their “Harvest Ale.” It’s an ESB (extra special bitter) brewed up with fresh English hops (four varieties) and a solid malt base. It has that earthy, oily fresh-hop character, but the hop profile is quite a bit different than most of the harvest ales we see in the northwest. It’s delicious. So delicious that I have no idea why there were six-packs of this autumn release floating around the supermarkets in November…
The Stillwater “Import” series has provided a series of fascinating beer encounters, if not always (as I mentioned in a past post) good fodder for coherent beer reviews. “Of Love and Regret” was a lovely, peppery herbal saison-like brew, which went away far too soon. “Jaded,” a dark Belgian ale with some saison characteristics, is an experiment I need to repeat sometime soon. And by all accounts “A Saison Darkly,” which I missed, was also very nice.
“Rule of Thirds” is described as a “hoppy Belgian triple” on the bottle. It is 8% ABV. The Stillwater site adds these details:
A hoppy Belgian triple brewed with Dr. Canarus at Huisbrouwerij Sint Canarus in Deinze-Gottem, Belgium. Three fermentables (Pils & Munich malt and Light Candi Sugar), generously hopped with Styrian Goldings, Hallertau Mittelfruh, and Amarillo.
The nose is rather like cider, and the taste is perhaps what you would expect from a sweet triple, loaded up with earthy hops. It is indeed a hoppy tripel, but also a very different affair than we might expect from, say, a northwest brewer approaching the same sort of style. Stillwater seems to have a talent for turning everything in the direction of a saison, emphasizing the earthy character of the ingredients, mixing them so that there are elements that hover just on the edge of taste. Indeed, my only real objection to the ‘Import” series is that 11.2 ounces doesn’t seem to be enough to really let me wrap my tastebuds around the brew. Perhaps, from now on, I’ll have to pick up two bottles to do an adequate taste. This is how they get you….