2006 | REVIEWS | NEW BEER RELEASES
NEW BEER RELEASES
Does your brewery have a new release or new seasonal
release? To have it reviewed here, please send at least two
bottles, a flat label and information about the beer to our
CBN offices located at: New Releases, Celebrator Beer
News, 22455 Maple Court, Lower Level, Hayward, CA 94541
Unibroue 15 celebrates the iconoclastic Canadian brewery’s
15th anniversary. This beer’s soft, malty nose is very
complex, with hints of peppermint, white pepper, flowers and
grains of paradise. With a cloudy golden-orange color, it
is reminiscent of a tripel. It is 10% abv, has a candied-sugar
mouthfeel and is surprisingly light with great conditioning.
It has very complex flavors of apple honey and peach esters,
along with a hoppiness that’s very well integrated and
coats your tongue as it falls off at the finish. It seems
like a young, very lively beer, and age should only improve
what one might describe as an imperial saison. Outstanding.
Bison Organic IPA
Bison Brewing Company, California
Bison’s newest organic beer, an IPA, is brewed with
Tomahawk, Cascade and Centennial hops. It boasts a lemony-citrus
hop nose, a bright gold color and a decent light tan head.
At 6.8% abv, it’s an impressively big beer. It has creamy
flavors with great hop character and a nice, clean finish.
This is one the best organic IPAs we’ve had. Highly
Broken Top Bock
Deschutes Brewery, Oregon
Part of the Bond Street Series from Deschutes Brewery’s
downtown brewpub, this new bock is 6.5% abv. It has a light,
malty, biscuity nose, deep mahogany color and a tan head.
This is a complex, malty beer with a good finish. It’s
a great example of the style and would be ideal to give to
people who claim they don’t like lagers. Outstanding.
Brother Thelonious Belgian
Style Abbey Ale
North Coast Brewing Company, California
You won’t find North Coast’s newest beer in the
usual places. That’s because it has been made exclusively
for jazz clubs, and proceeds will benefit the Thelonious Monk
Institute of Jazz (monkinstitute.org). Brown in color with
a tan head, the beer starts with a light nose of nutty, yeasty
plum wine. At 9% abv, it packs a wallop to rival Monk’s
playing, and we could easily imagine having this beer at the
Church of John Coltrane. It’s very malt-forward, most
likely with Special B malt, and is candy-sweet with over-roasted
plum notes. It’s not so much a traditional style as
a jazz riff on a style. Highly Recommended — for intention
Buzzsaw Brown Seasonal Ale
Deschutes Brewery, Oregon
A session brown at 4.8%, the Buzzsaw is thin-bodied and refreshing.
It has a complex nose of sweet honey, fresh-toasted bread
and dry powdered cocoa. It’s brown in color, of course,
with a generous tan head. The flavors are creamy and chocolaty
with a light, clean finish. Highly Recommended.
Chambly Noire, Dark Ale on
Black with red streaks and a volatile, thick tan head. Holy
moly, this is a fun beer — one of the best we’ve
had in a long time. It is hugely complex and toasty, with
chocolate-covered raisin and pumpernickel notes. Well-conditioned
and an absolute treat to drink. Outstanding.
Six Rivers Brewery, California
This new raspberry beer is bright red in color with a pink
head. Fruity raspberry aromas assault your nose, and there’s
a hint of smokiness underneath. It’s not too sweet and
not really sour, either, though it is tart. It’s not
quite a lambic, but it is quite good, whatever label we put
on it. Recommended.
Hot Shot ESB
Great Divide Brewing Company, Colorado
According to Great Divide’s own press release, this
new ESB could have been in our session-beer tasting, at 5%
abv with a light, refreshing taste that fits. Amber in color,
this beer has a great noble hop aroma with tons of malt character.
It’s a very drinkable beer that’s fun on the palate
and nicely balanced. A quick-hit beer that finishes clean.
Imperial Russian Stout, Limited
Spring 2006 Release
Stone Brewing Company, California
Roasty, toasty aromas with hints of licorice and raisins.
The color is black as night, with a rich, tan head. It’s
a big, viscous, chewy beer with impressive gravity. It boasts
the extremes of bitter and sweet simultaneously, balancing
them like a high-wire circus act. Its flavors reminded us
of 100 percent dark chocolate or Turkish coffee. A very amazing
Insanity Czech (Pilsner)
Valley Brewing Company, California
At 53 IBUs, this is no ordinary pilsner. Valley characterizes
the beer as a “traditional-style Bohemian-style pilsner,”
but really now, how many pilsners do you know that are that
hoppy? No matter. It’s more like an Americanized version
of a classic style, a shock and awe pilsner. Valley’s
new brew was created using a new yeast, the HP (high-pressure)
lager yeast, which allowed them to make the beer in only two
and a half weeks. The nose does have nice Saaz aromas. Clear
golden color with a pillowy white head. All in all, this beer
works quite well despite its Frankenstein-like construction.
Undercover Investigation Shut-Down
Lagunitas Brewing Company, California
As many readers may know, Lagunitas had some trouble last
year. To commemorate that trouble, or perhaps to celebrate
its end, the brewery’s newest beer is a paean to freedom.
It has big, hoppy aromas, a dark brown color and a tan head.
The beer is viscous, with a huge mouthful of hops, and the
hop level stays on top of the malt and rides it like a wave,
surfing through to a delightful bitter finish. Outstanding.
Drake’s Brewing Company, California
The Whombak is a single-hop beer, made with only Summit hops,
a new variety. It has a strong, almost harsh alpha-hop aroma.
It’s a big beer all around at 9.5% abv and over 100
IBUs. As an experimental beer, it’s weird science, and
though there is undoubtedly malt fighting to be noticed, the
Summit is king of the hill. The finish, though, is surprisingly
clean. Recommended, especially if you love science experiments.
On cask, this beer is amazing.