Yes, it’s January. Yes, there’s snow on the ground. No, this was not a timely post. BUT I still think it’s worth mentioning this one. Surly Brewing Co.’s Zwart Black Star 8 is a Brewmaster’s collaboration between Ben Smith, Jerrod Johnson, and Dirk Naudis of De Proef Brouwerij.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie
I received this ale as part of my monthly beer club from La Bodega. While I’m not always a fan of what I get as a member of this program, I can always rest assured the beers are unique. This collaboration was not a disappointment in that arena.
The ale was bright amber in color. The note of star anise was nice, but the Brett was not. I’m just not a fan. I’ve tried so many Brett beers and my tastebuds are still very much against them. After pour, there was a really nice head, and a pleasant aroma. The first taste was sour and sweet. More than one sip proved this a complicated beer. I actually really liked the first notes. I dared to swish it around in my mouth and I got sweet, sour, and decent effervescence. Overall it was pleasant if not for the Brett. Brett fan? Run and grab this beer.
Little tidbit: this was named after Bowie’s final album “Blackstar”. My mother had a major thing for Bowie. She’s a very proper person, but when I was growing up she’d drop hints. I think the most scaring moment for me was when, after watching the movie Labyrinth, she announced that David Bowie should always wear tights as pants. Wowza. The only thing I could do to cope with the blow was wait until I had children, let them watch Labyrinth, and then let them know about Nana’s desires. Done and done. You’re welcome S and L.
To prove how much I love my mamma, and how I really did recover from too much information, here are some gratuitous shots of the man. Although, please note the Labyrinth photos have been omitted. I can only handle so much.
I received this beer as part of Derek and my beer of the month subscription at La Bodega. Derek immediately assigned it to me. It was fair really as I make him take all of the barleywine type beers when we get them. Touted as a sour-gose, it started off as a “nope”, poor beer, but it needed to get a fair shake.
The smell was crisp and nice. There wasn’t a sweetness or off-putting aroma. The gose was a beautiful golden color with plenty of bubbles, but it wasn’t what I’d call clear. It was cloudy with a chance of pucker-face. The first sip was actually refreshing, but the second sip brought the sour in full force. The side of my tongue felt a tingle, my cheeks got all the peach, and my throat got the sour. If it was a little sweeter, it would be like drinking Sour Patch Kids.
I know people like sour beers. Some people also like watching “how to decoupage” videos and doing math. For what it’s worth, I did finish it. As established earlier, Derek doesn’t like sour beers but I made him try this one. Know how you drop garlic on the floor and your dog gobbles it up and then spits it out, and then continues smacking his tongue around like he can’t quite get it all out? Ya. Derek did that and then said, “No” with various inflection until the entire house knew his quote for this particular beer was “No” and would always be “No”.
So I’ll admit…today I woke up at 11 am. This does not happen often. I’m a grown-up after all, but today it did. Once my husband and I woke up, we got to cooking breakfast and taking care of pups. Derek was sweet and made us scrambled eggs and bacon while pups sunned themselves. I mention this because while bacon is amazing, it influences the tastebuds.
Once the cold brew IPA was opened it was obvious from the smell that we had a true coffee beer. I read the bottle Rogue notes and they promised a coffee start with a “punch” of hops in the end. I teased Derek that he was going to get hit with the hops, but we didn’t have that experience. In fact, I felt lied to. The coffee flavor was smooth and quite delicious, but the hops were just as delicious. They were complimentary. WTF? Don’t get me wrong, they were yummy, they just weren’t a punch.
The color was caramel and the head was decent. The flavor was light, smooth and lingering in a good way. I highly recommend this as a coffee beer. I can’t say there’s a very “special” ingredient or flavor, but it’s quite good, and I’ll be buying it again.
The best thing I can think of that came out of this tasting was a brain storm: hops flavored syrups for lattes! You’re welcome. Seriously, someone make money off this. (I’m talented, but apparently sworn to make zero profit off of said talent.)
If you’re curious about the pineapple, here’s the story. A student of mine knew I was allergic to apples, so he brought me a pineapple. I felt like that gesture deserved “fame”. I love this pineapple. XO