Tart of Darkness & So Happens It’s Tuesday

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The Bruery in Placentia California, has become world renowned in a relatively short time (founded in 2008).  When you taste their beers, you understand why, and might concede their reputation is well deserved.  Today I review two of their somewhat pricey  beers that are seasonal or limited release.  Please read responsibly.

Tart of Darkness: The Bruery, Placentia, CA.  7.2% ABV.
The first time I tasted this beer was in the Tasting Room at The Bruery.  It was just a sample glass, but it was so good, yet unusual, that I was hooked.  I recently looked back through my archives on this blog, but realized I have never published a review of this gem.  For my laziness, I offer my apologies (and shame on me!).

I poured Tart of Darkness into a Bruery tulip glass.  It is dark, in fact it’s nearly black, and produces a 1/2″ light tan head.  The head faded rapidly, leaving a razor thin ring around the perimeter.  The aroma is tart, sour cherries, with a little chocolate.  As it warms in the tulip glass, the chocolate aroma increases, but remains behind the tartness.

The overwhelming flavor is described in the name of the beer – TART.  It is extremely tart, from start to finish, making one pucker.  However, upon reflection and further tasting, the complexity and the subtleties become apparent.  It exhibits a sweetness, so I would describe the flavor as “sweet-tart”.  The chocolate notes and the roastiness, from the dark grains, peek through to moderate the tart and sour cherry flavors.  The chocolate and roasty notes also increase with the beer temperature, but the tartness remains the overwhelming flavor sensation.  That tartness smooths out a bit in the aftertaste, with a little bit of sweet chocolate lingering (though not for long).  Although this is a barrel aged beer, I get none of the oaky, vanilla aromas or flavors.

Tart of Darkness sports a medium body, and the carbonation is well developed for a stout. The alcohol content is only 7.2%, but I drank it on an empty stomach, and it went right to my head.  Nothing wrong with that, I say, let’s get the full effect of this beer.

The tartness of this beer is so overwhelming that the palate is rapidly wrecked, and it becomes difficult to distinguish any other flavors.  However, this beer is EXCELLENT!  You gotta taste it to appreciate this awesome beer.  I’m afraid my description does not do it justice.  I sampled this beer from a 750 ML bomber, purchased at Total Wine for $20.49.  Yes, I know that’s expensive for one bottle of beer, but if you like dark beers and you like sour beers, you really need to buy one.

So Happens It’s Tuesday: The Bruery, Placentia, CA.  14% ABV.
This is a huge Imperial Russian Stout.  Black Tuesday, by The Bruery, is, without a doubt, the biggest baddest Imperial Stout on the block.  However, unless you’re a member of The Bruery’s Reserve Society (I’m not – too expensive), it’s almost impossible to come by.  But, So Happens It’s Tuesday, is Black Tuesday’s little brother.  Although he’s the little brother, he’s by no means whimpy.  Let me explain.

So Happens It’s Tuesday pours pitch black with a 1/4″ cocoa colored creamy head.  The foamy head remained for a few minutes, then faded to a ring and a thin layer on top.  The aroma is complex – brown sugar, dark fruit, raisin, tart cherry, with an almost red wine-like character.

This beer is silky smooth and quite thick, and the flavor is unbelievably rich.  It’s sweet, with noticeable chocolate, and caramel notes.  Those flavors fade to dark, roasty chocolate, which fades to vanilla, coconut and mellow oaky bourbon flavors.  It’s 14% ABV, but the alcohol is well hidden and only slightly noted in the taste.

Like any big stout (especially one as high in alcohol as this), the subtle flavors shine through as this beer warms up.  As big as this beer is, it is unbelievably easy to drink.  Watch out, though, the high alcohol content will kick your butt.  I had a buzz when I was 1/3 of the way through my first glass (a Buery tulip glass).

Even though I live only a few miles from The Bruery, I find it almost impossible to come by Black Tuesday.  In contrast, however, So Happens It’s Tuesday is widely available right now.  It is an awesome beer, and although it is only the little brother of Black Tuesday, I can’t recommend it highly enough.  I purchased a 750 ML bomber of So Happens It’s Tuesday at Total Wine for $19.99.

So there you have it, reviews of two wonderful beers from The Bruery.  I highly recommend both, with one caveat – if you’re a fizzy yellow beer drinker, don’t bother!  Although both are about the same price (Tart of Darkness is 50¢ per bottle more), for my money I much prefer So Happens It’s Tuesday.  Of course, I’m an Imperial Stout lover, and although I like sour beers, they are more of a novelty to me and not to be visited frequently.  The bottom line is that even though these are expensive beers, both are well worth the price of admission.  If you’re interested, though, you better hurry, as there are limited quantities and availability.

I need to interject a few thoughts about Black Tuesday, since it was mentioned prominently in this post.  In my opinion, Black Tuesday is the best beer in the world.  Yes, it is better than Heady Topper (The Alchemist), Pliny the Elder (Russian River) and Dark Lord (Three Floyds).  I have never reviewed Black Tuesday, but that will change someday.  I have reviewed Heady Topper and referenced it’s standing in the beer world (along with MY ranking compared to Black Tuesday).  I refer you to my Beer Review post of November 4, 2014 if  you are interested in additional details.

I previously stated how hard it is go get a bottle of Black Tuesday, but in the last couple of weeks I came into possession of a bottle (2015 vintage).  And how, you ask, did I manage to get my hands on the best beer in the world?  My next door neighbor, Herbert Wang, graciously gave me a bottle (yes, GAVE it to me).  In exchange I have given him some Mac’s Brew (so far, Club 57 and Black Forest Stout) and will give him several more as compensation for his all too generous gift.  Herbert, you are a fine young man, a good neighbor, and a kind soul.  I only hope you enjoy the Mac’s Brew samples half as much as I am going to enjoy the bottle of Black Tuesday.  THANK YOU, HERBERT!!

Black Tuesday is very expensive, and is therefore a special occasion beer (yeah, and it’s also 20% ABV, so for that reason also, it’s not an everyday beer).  I will post a review when I drink it, but it may be quite awhile before that special occasion arises.  If you are intrigued enough about Black Tuesday, you will need to check back with this site often to avoid missing the much anticipated review.

Slainte!

 

Dark Lord & Black House

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Here is Mac’s review and opinion of two stouts.  As you will see, both are highly recommended.  Please read responsibly.

Dark Lord (2011): Three Floyds Brewing, Muncie IN.  15% ABV

Three Floyds Brewing releases this amazing Imperial Russian Stout on “Dark Lord Day” every year.  It is brewed in Muncie Indiana, and is hard to come by.  It is brewed in limited quantities and not widely distributed (available only at the Three Floyds Brew Pub on Dark Lord Day).  Dark Lord is generally considered one of the best beers in the world, and in fact is rated as the #2 beer worldwide (just behind Westvietern 12, a belgian brewed ale) on ratebeer.com, one spot ahead of Pliny the Younger.

So let’s get down to it now – this is why you tuned in, after all.  It pours opaque midnight black with a very limited cocoa colored foam ring around the edge.  There was no head to speak of, and the little bit of foam faded immediately.  The aroma was sweet, slightly chocolatey and roasty.  The predominant flavor is sweet, with a noticeable amount of chocolate and some notes of dark fruit.  It’s a little like drinking some special dark chocolate.  Although it’s 15% ABV, I noted no booziness in the flavor (note: my bottle was 4 years old, so any booziness should have mellowed).  As already noted, the predominant flavor is sweet, but it is very mellow, like port.  Dark Lord has a very heavy body with a velvety smooth mouthfeel.

So how did I manage to get my hands on a bottle of Dark Lord (2011 vintage), given that it’s not available outside of Indiana?  As I have noted in previous beer reviews (see Heady Topper), Mac has powerful and influential friends.  In this case, Dave Hollandbeck GENEROUSLY provided the 22 oz. bomber for my enjoyment.  Dave, a homebrewer himself, was doing electrical work at Mac’s Brew Pub when he recognized the brewing equipment and we struck up a friendship (such is the world of homebrewing).  HIs unselfish act of kindness in supplying me with this world class beer will not go unrewarded; we plan to collaborate on a brew in the near future.  Dave, you’re the bomb!

Black House: Modern Times Beer, San Diego, CA.  5.8% ABV.

Black House is an oatmeal coffee stout brewed by a small San Diego brewery, in business for a little under 2 years.  I have to say though, for such a new and small brewery (30 barrel capacity), they have certainly come up with a great beer, and with their distribution, will not likely remain small for long.  I bought this beer at Costco, $5.94 for a 22 oz. bomber.  Black House is brewed with coffee (roasted at the brewery), and this bottle was a special release, brewed with cocoa nibs and coconut.

This beer pours black with a nice creamy cocoa colored head that lasts for a couple of minutes.  The aroma is coffee, but not bitter.  Coffee predominates in the flavor as well, but chocolate is also present.  I did not notice the coconut until I read the label, but then it became apparent in the background.  It’s there, but very subdued.

I would describe the flavor as a really nice, slightly sweet mocha flavor, but well balanced with hop bitterness (40 IBU), so it’s not too sweet.  The carbonation level is in the medium range, leaving nice lacing on the glass.  The body is medium to full.

This is a REALLY nice oatmeal stout.  Even those who don’t like stouts should like this one.  The alcohol level is fairly low, although right within the style guidelines for an oatmeal stout, so it’s easy to drink.  Well done, Modern Times!  I highly recommend the special release Black House.

Dark Lord is hard to come by, and is not for the faint of heart.  It is a HUGE beer, with a very complex flavor.  Fizzy yellow beer drinkers, don’t even go there – you won’t like it and i’m sure it’s expensive.  Black House, on the other hand, is a very drinkable beer that just about any beer drinker could like.  I highly recommend both.  Cheers, and a special thank you to Dave Hollandbeck!