Archive for March, 2010

Bell’s Consecrator Dopplebock

Saturday, March 27th, 2010

This afternoon I am trying the Consecrator Dopplebock from Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan. This 8% beer is another newly available in Iowa thanks to the recent legislative change.

This copper-colored lager has a creamy tan head that slowly fades away. The nose is light but complicated. 2010-03-27-consecratorThere is a general malty sweet aroma of caramel and dark fruit. This is accented by a sharp spiciness from the hops and hints of alcohol.

Consecrator has a thick malty flavor with a serious hop balance. The malt is caramel sweet with toast and brown sugar. There is a flavor that borders on smokiness, reminiscent of rye. The sweetness is balanced by an earthy hop bitterness. Noble and grassy hop flavors are significant but subtle, if only due to the strength of the other flavors. The palate is strong enough to carry the flavors, but perhaps a bit thick, coating the mouth just a little long.

An impressive beer. Balanced in every respect, with many intriguing flavors.

++Bell’s Consecrator Dopplebock

4.4 (4-8-9-4-19)

The Taps Runneth

Friday, March 26th, 2010

I am tasting my first sips of freedom.


Today, at 12:00 AM, John’s Grocery officially began selling high-proof beers from Bell’s Brewery, including Two Hearted, Expedition Stout, and their Old Ale. This is the first strong beer I am aware of sold in Iowa.

The night perhaps had an atmosphere similar to an evening 77 years earlier.


They also got a number of kegs, including Hopslam that will be on tap at the Hideaway and Red’s in North Liberty, as well as a few from Peace Tree Brewing from Knoxville, Iowa.

I’ve had Two Hearted before, but never has it tasted this good.

Ein Prosit!

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Raise a glass today to brewer’s freedom! Finally the state of Iowa has normalized our Prohibition-era alcohol control laws. (Well not entirely.)

As part of an administrative reorganization bill the Alcoholic Beverages Division has lost control of high-proof beers. Interesting to note that this was a cost-cutting bill, since one of the arguments for maintaining the status quo has always been the vast sums of money the state made by having its fingers in the beer trade.

I still can’t figure out the exact nature of the change. An article from Cedar Rapids’ KCRG might indicate that the beer will still be considered liquor, and one from the Daily Iowan is not very clear. Following their recent history of stellar reporting, the Des Moines Register announces the change by reprinting a press release from Olde Main Brewing Co. in Ames.

If you feel up to it check out the text of Senate File 2088 here. The relevant section is “Division IX – Alcoholic Beverages Division – Reorganization”, however I can’t see exactly where the important change lies. Any lawyers feel free to enlighten me. Otherwise I’ll get back to you when I figure it out.

But regardless of the details, the end result is that Iowa brewers will now be able to competitively make and sell the full gamut of beer styles. And that is most definitely a good thing. Look forward to daring new offerings in the coming months from Iowa’s craft brewers.


Sierra Nevada 2009 Celebration Ale

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

2010-03-02-celebrationTonight I will be tasting the 2009 Celebration Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico, California. This is the newest in Sierra Nevada’s venerated line of hoppy winter beers.

The 2009 Celebration Ale pours a golden amber with a healthy bottle-condition haze. The tan head is absurdly thick and creamy, like meringue. The nose is richly hoppy. A tart grapefruit aroma prevails, accompanied by lemongrass and pineapple. A hint of malty sweetness comes through, but the grapefruit makes it difficult to detect.

The flavor of the Celebration Ale is supremely hoppy. Grapefruit dominates, to a fault. Almost nothing else is noticeable besides, even the bitterness from those hops. The tart citric flavor seems a bit flat, and is refreshing for only a little while before growing impertinent. The body is full and light but can’t make up for the lack of character on the taste.

+Sierra Nevada 2009 Celebration Ale

3.4 (5-8-6-4-14)