Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Founders Nemesis 2010

Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, Michigan has long been one of my personal favorite mid-western breweries. Pumping out a great line up of year round beers that never fail to impress along with a great line up of seasonal and specialty releases, there is always something tasty to look forward to from Founders.

Last year they added a new brand under the moniker Nemesis. This is a different, one-of-a-kind beer that is brewed each year and vintage dated upon release, with no promises it will ever be brewed again. Limited quantities make this one a bit hard to find, so you might need to do a bit of extra searching. The 2009 version was a maple bourbon barrel aged wheat wine clocking in at 12%. This 2010 version this year happens to be a dark barleywine that also clocks in at a hefty 12%. Thanks to a tip from a buddy, I was able to track down a 4 pack of this elusive brew. Here are my thoughts:

Pours into my glass a deep dark garnet brown that borders on black when you view it from a distance. A quarter inch of khaki head on top leaves some splotchy lacing as it falls. Aromas start off with dark fruits and toffee melding with some roast, coffee and cocoa. Piney, herbal hops make themselves known alongside dense malts.

First sip brings smooth, dense malts upfront with tons of dark fruits, toffee and roast. Notes of cocoa and coffee combine in as the brew flows down with a good hit of bitterness from pine resiny hops. Sweetness is there but is well balanced. Alcohol is well hidden also. Tasty dark barleywine.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy with good carbonation. Pretty easy to drink considering the ABV on this one. Overall, another tasty treat from Founders and a nice twist on a standard barleywine. Borderline on the price for this one though.

Overall rating on this brew is Great. It will be interesting to see what a bit of age does to it as well.

Price: $21.99 / 4 pack

Surf on over to Founders for more info on their great brews: http://www.foundersbrewing.com/

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Cigar City Guava Grove

This brew comes from a microbrewery in Tampa, FL that's still quite young. Opening in 2009, Cigar City brewing has quickly become a big name due to their desire to experiment and brew up some very tasty concoctions. One of their signatures has been aging beers with cedar, a nod to Tampa's cigar history, which imparts quite an interesting and tasty flavor to their beers. Thanks to my buddy Kevin who brought this one back up from FL for me to sample:

Pours into my glass a somewhat hazy orange with a touch of pink as well. Small white head forms and then falls to a ring above the brew with a few bubbles. Aromas of tropical fruit, guava and spice upfront. Fresh Belgian yeast tones with a touch of tart funk. Really nice and I like the bright guava aroma.

First sip brings a lot of fruitiness upfront with lemon, banana and plenty of bright guava. Spiciness weaves in with vibrant Belgian yeast along with a touch of tart, earthy funk. Creamy and smooth finish with lingering guava and spice aftertaste. Alcohol is well hidden.

Mouthfeel is smooth and light with a creaminess imparted from the carbonation. Really enjoyable and refreshing as well. Well, this is just a damn fine beer and I would gladly drink this again. Cigar City continues to impress me. Well worth seeking out!

Overall this gets a rating of Great from me!

Click here for everything you need to know about Cigar City: http://www.cigarcitybrewing.com