Sierra Nevada Beer Review, Pt. 2

draught-picks-headerWhen I last wrote about this fine brewery it was accompanied by the news that I had recently graced the Daves Of Thunder Podcast. Mere days later the show disappeared from the Ace Broadcasting Network. I didn’t think much of it since I’m unmotivated to think about most everything, until a terrible realization struck me — did I kill it?

I don’t know why I’d blame myself. For all I know the show was unraveling well before I got there. I guess I just can’t shake the feeling that using my wish-granting monkey paw to get on the show might have something to do with it. The crooked old man who sold it to me did ramble on and on about its wishes having “far reaching consequences” and “Seriously, this thing is totally cursed,” but I didn’t believe him. How could something wonderful and magical NOT come from a crusty, severed monkey appendage?

monkeyhandAs elegant as it is beautiful

Perhaps my enthusiasm in preaching the Brew Gospel was so infectious that the cast was driven to shed their worldly possessions and embark on a beer pilgrimage. The heady mix of delicious Sierra Nevada beers and my penchant for cult leadership may have been too compelling for anyone to resist.

hebrews“And now a reading from the book of HeBREWS. Get it?!“

Only one thing can be said for sure. My personal appearances are currently batting 1 for 1 on podcast assassination. It could be coincidental or I could be an unwitting reaper of podcast souls. In short, if anyone out there wishes to deliver their media outlet to an untimely death, please let me know if I can be of assistance.

I’m looking at you, Oprah.

Bigfoot Barleywine Style Ale (9.6% ABV)

bigfootThe Bigfoot pours out a tall finger of foamy taupe head on the hazy ruby ale. It smells strongly flowery and astringent, indicating that it has every intention of punishing me. I ain’t scurred, but I probably should be.

There’s no two ways about it — this is a tall pint of Kickin Your Ass. Between the massive hop flavors and the elevated alcohol content, Bigfoot is able to do significant damage in one kick. That stands to reason, not because of the magnitude of Bigfoot’s extremities, but the lesser known fact that Bigfoot is a 7th dan black belt in Hapkido. How is it that only Judah Friedlander and I know this?

judahIt has a lot of toffee and cherry flavors. The beer I mean, not Bigfoot. I imagine he tastes more of undergrowth and lotrimin. Anyway, that sweetness, when combined with the syrupy texture, gives it a somewhat medicinal tone. Those notes are quickly challenged in an incoming tide of hop flavors that’s as piney as it is spicy as it is earthy as it is fuck yeah.

The astringency nips at your tongue somewhat, which suggests this bottle might do well with some aging. The alcohol likewise gnaws at the stomach, warming (and probably slowly dissolving) my gullet.

Despite this coming in 12 ounce bottles, I’d probably prefer it served in glassware that encourages sipping. The belts you pull off a pint glass have all the subtlety of a beer-soaked two by four snapping across your muzzle. In other words, this isn’t for everyone, but those seeking a big experience will find it here.

Grade: A-

Ovila (7.5% ABV)

ovilaI noticed something curious about this beer that has almost nothing to do with the beer whatsoever (when I go off on a tangent, I go BIG.) Despite writing the name of this beer a couple dozen times while crafting this review, I reflexively pronounced it “Olivia” every time in my head. At first I assumed the culprit was a criminally neglectful public school education, but watching “House” this week reminded me why the subconscious juxtaposition was occurring:

wildeOlivia Wilde, a.k.a. Dr. Homina Homina Awoooooooogah!

It occurs to me that we are in the midst of a Olivia-based revolution. I can’t recall a time in history where there were concurrently hot Olivias. Olivia Newton John was hot in a “It sure would be swell to take her to the malt shop” sort of way, but she stood alone. Olivia D’Abo picked up the slack for her generation as a stunner in “The Wonder Years,” but she was always playing a distant second fiddle in my heart to Winnie Cooper. But these days you can’t swing a telephoto lens around in LA without hitting a piping hot Olivia, be it Wilde or Munn. If the trend continues at this rate, Hollywood will be solely populated by Olivias by the year 2026 like some sexy, sexy viral infection.

olivia munn wildeI, for one, welcome our Olivian Overlords

I’m going to jump back into the beer review now. I understand if that suddenly doesn’t interest you as much, but let me offer that my articles make terrific reading during one’s refractory period.

The Ovila is a muddy, reddish brew with a quickly-dissolving tan head. The aromas in it are awash with fig newtons, bread and cloves, really delivering on the dubbel experience. The first taste, however, begins to deviate from expectations with a marked sharpness that’s a bit cidery. Just as prominent is the black pepper note that follows, so the Belgian yeasts are really working overtime on this.

There are some nice malty squaw bread and caramel notes, and even a touch of earthy hops to keep the experience beery, but ultimately the focus of this dubbel felt off to me.

Grade: B

Glissade Golden Block (6.4% ABV)

glissadeI’m not sure where they got the name of this beer. Glissade has multiple meanings, but none of them really fit here. A glissade can be:

  • a technique for descending a snow-covered slope, which doesn’t jive with the exuberant springtime above
  • a ballet dance move, which seems counter-intuitive for a beverage that exterminates the requisite balance for prancing
  • a fencing move that may disarm the opponent. This doesn’t make any more sense than the others, but it does give me a great idea to petition the IOC with…
fencingOlympic Bar Shanking in 2012!

This golden ale has a mild aroma of grass clippings and grainy bread. The first sip is slightly more audacious and hop forward, but without being sticky on the palate. It has a floral and herbal hop bite with a bit of red-pepper in the mix. As the hop notes diminish I get a bit more bread, honey and alcohol.

The bottle’s description of the Glissade as “remarkably mellow” was a bit modest. It is very flavorful, but it maintains an effervescent dryness. If I was looking for something lagery on a hot day, this would be near the top of my choices, despite with the somewhat aggressive alcohol profile.

Or more likely because of it.

Grade: B+