«

»

Oct 02

The Series: One-shots that go too fast

The American culture is a curious thing. Its peoples are big on a lot of things, like series. We like things in sequences and categories. All kinds of sports series, television series, movie series (‘Star Wars’ I understand, but the ‘Transformers,’ really?!). Even our craft breweries are creating sequels and series.

Brewery series are both loveable and annoying. The beers in the series are wonderfully innovative, collaborative, and mouth-watering, bust worst of all they’re all short-timers.

Innovative? Beer? Yes, but I’m not talking “innovative” like the innovations listed in the Dallas Observer. These beers are innovative like a dish prepared by a great chef. Our brewers aren’t limited by ingredient laws and are free to create! Local and regional brewers are pushing the boundaries, together or on their own. They’re creating new styles, like the white IPA. They’re barrel-aging ales, introducing aromatics and flavors from the wood -new oak, cedar,… and its former contents: wine, bourbon, gin, sherry,..

Southern Tier BlackWater Series: Creme Brulee, Aug/Sept/OctSome of these beers are really beautiful.

Aromas captured in my snifter, tulip or goblet, my tastebuds savor the flavors. So pleasurable when they’re here; receiving declarations of my love, sparking a passion. So annoying with they’re gone.

For me, one of these beers is Creme Brulee. Months after it’s gone, I’m drooling like Pavlov’s dogs at the mere thought of a glass filled with that delicious beer; that nectar of the gods. It’s “oh-my-god” aroma! It’s like the waiter just topped off that coffee and delivered a cup of fresh-torched creme brulee. The flavor is sweet vanilla creme, rich deep roasty dark malts, with a big coffee note.

Five beer series to love

1. Bond Street Series

Delighting hop fans, this series includes Hop Henge experimental imperial IPA, Hop in the Dark dark American-style ale (CDA/Black IPA), Hop Trip fresh hop IPA, and the brand new Fresh Hop Mirror Pond pale ale fresh-hopped with heirloom hops.
Deschutes Brewery, Oregon

2. BlackWater Series

Loved by stout fans, this series includes Choklat Stout, Jah*va Imperial Coffee Stout, Mokah, Crème Brulee Imperial Milk Sout, Oat Imperial Oatmeal Stout. They are all delicious, but my favorites are Crème Brulee (almost gone!), Chocklat and Oat.
Southern Tier Brewing, New York

3. Reserve Series

This is a luxurious line of ales with one static regular: The Abyss Imperial Stout is the annual staple, arriving at bottle shops in November. Another to-be-counted on annual is their anniversary beer, the imperialized Black Butte Porter. Previous years live in cellars, rarely seen on the shelf of a store are XX, XXI, XXIII. Look for XXIV in summer 2012. The others? Could be years between releases.
Deschutes Brewery, Oregon

Conflux 2, a White IPA recipe collaboration by Deschutes and Boulevard breweries

4. Rotating beers

Some rotating beers come out annually, some every few years, yet others just one time…so far! Some are on a schedule, others so sporadic that I’ve not yet discovered a release pattern to their sightings. Check out the current beer from New Belgium (“Lips of Faith” and “THE TRIP” a draught-only series of collaboration beers with Elysian), Lagunitas, Ninkasi, Deschutes (“Conflux Series”), Boulevard (“Collaboration Series”), Stone (simply called Stone Collaborations“), The Harmon,…

5. Seasonal beers

Mixing it up and teasing our palates, breweries release beers appropriate to Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Some reflect the weather — from crisp and refreshing for hot sunny weather, to full and waming ales, some sweet and spiced, most bringing higher alcohol for those cool nights. Plus fresh-hop ales in the harvest season.

Limited series: A starry-eyed tale of beer, love, and grief

It’s one-shots in the Reserve Series from Deschutes …These ales are so delicious when young and fresh, but also develop into smooth, refined delights just by sitting in a cool, dark location for years… in this way, they are both loveable and annoying.

This is a series I love and hate.

I love to drink each one.

The Reserve Series is deserving of a few bottles to drink, plus a few extra bottles for the cellar to age. One for me in six months, a year, two years (“Will I be able to wait that long?”), to share at a family gathering or with my best friend on her next visit Washington. This ultimately leads to internal debates and thoughts—

“Will we crack it? Or, will I have to leave it?” A bottle brought to share, left unshared with me. Bwahh.

Such thoughts result in guilt coming to the fore: “Am I being stingy?”
No. The intent was “share” not “give.”

I have learned for such beers, bring just one and crack it soon upon arrival, pouring tastes for everyone. If not open right away, it is likely to be converted into a “gift.”

As a beer store owner, I love limited release beers because they help draw folks back in.

But I hate that as more and more businesses branch into craft beer (many for a buck, not for the love of beer), the same amount of beer must now be spread across more retailers. This means shortages for the shop. It means shortages for my customers. It means politicing all year in the world of beer and working within limitations of alcohol distribution laws that protect and prevent. Laws that protect us from a beer showing up only at one big box chain, shorting the little guy specialty shop, but laws that also prevent us from getting as much as we need to supply our customers, requiring the beer to be distributed to so many different businesses. (Ah, the joys and sorrows of alcohol distribution…an entirely different subject!)

And six months after the beer is gone, it means repetitive questions, pushing me into another “Groundhog” kinda day, with people asking: “Do you have Mirror-Mirror?” “Do you have Mirror-Mirror?” “Do you have Mirror-Mirror?” “When you gonna’ get it again?” The ultimate question, of availability, I have no answer. I direct them to the brewery. They sigh in exasperation, my being unable to help is interpreted as an inability to provide “good” service.

Deschutes Reserve Series: The Stoic, fall 2011The current Reserve Series ale, The Stoic, so complex — I can’t wait to see its development in six months. It’s good now, but has so much going on: Vinous notes from the wine barrels, Spicy notes from the rye whiskey barrels, a pomegranate juiciness, a clean malt and Belgian yeast. And in six months when beer connoisseurs cracking them from the cellars and share them with friends, beer bloggers begin to pipe up, this is when the phone calls and questions will come, “Do you have The Stoic?”


Note: Beers noted here have been distributed in Washington state.

2 comments

  1. Aaron Bean

    I wouldn’t really call it a series, but I love all the “-tion” beers from Russian River. Consecration, Temptation, Sanctification, Redemption, Supplication, and Damnation are all great.

    I guess the way I look at beer releases, especially the rare releases, is that it is fun to try and find those beers, and once you do, it gives you a great feeling. and yeah, buying a few is a must for the ones that can be put away to be aged.

  2. Tiffany

    Oh yes, I love Russian River too. So good!!

    And the “Twelve Days of Christmas” series from The Bruery. One of the days each year. I will likely never have all twelve in my cellar; they drink so well when young.

Comments have been disabled.

Sharing Buttons by Linksku