Full Boar Scotch Ale & Midnight Expressions Black Lager

Two dark beer reviews to pique your interest.

Full Boar: Scotch Ale Brewed by Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company, Belmont CA.  7.4% ABV.  I tasted this beer from a 22 oz bomber on August 9, 2012.  This is a wee heavy style beer.  It pours dark/black with a creamy tan head.  The aroma is coffee.  It has a nice rich chocolaty flavor with a slight smokiness (malt smoked with peat moss – ah, those Scotts!).  There is a hint of cherry late and in the aftertaste.  This is a sweet beer with no hoppiness, but it’s not overly sweet or cloying.  It’s nicely done, and I recommend it if you like dark beers.  Pair this with heavy BBQ meat (like ribs) or maybe with dessert.  It’s not a thirst quencher, but very flavorful and rich.  I highly recommend this one.

Midnight Expression: Brewed by Port Brewing Company, San Marcos, CA.  5.0% ABV.  This is a black lager, sampled from a 22 oz bomber on August 17, 2012.  The first black lager I ever tasted (several years ago) was brewed by Samuel Adams and I instantly fell in love with the style.  It pours black as midnight (actually, like Guinness, it’s a very dark ruby red color, but looks black) with a creamy tan head.  Right out of the refrigerator it has a very subdued chocolaty, roasty aroma.  As it warms up, the chocolate nose becomes much more apparent.  The mouth feel is light and lager like.  The flavor is clean and crisp, chocolate and coffee.  The flavor is reminiscent of Guinness Draught, but cleaner, not as intense, less coffee and more chocolate.  There is no hoppiness, but it displays some grain bitterness (roasted barley?).  The aftertaste is coffee which lingers on the palate, but is not heavy.

Midnight Expression is a good example of a black lager.  Taste this side-by-side with a Guinness Draught to get a good feel for the difference between an ale and a lager.  The black lager is not quite as flavorful, but is crisper, and more refreshing than an ale (Guinness).  This is very good beer.  I’ve had this several times in the past, and obviously like it (or I wouldn’t keep buying it).  I can recommend this to any beer drinker, even those who don’t normally drink dark beers or those who don’t typically drink lagers.


Rogue Voodoo Doughnut & Noble Ale Works India Pale Ale

It’s been awhile since I posted a beer review.  It’s not that I haven’t been trying different beers, it’s just that I have not had much time to post on this site.  Here are some comments about a couple of beers I recently tasted.

Voodoo Doughnut: Brewed by Rogue Brewing (Newport, Oregon).  This is a bacon maple ale.  No, that’s not a typo, this is a bacon maple ale (at least that’s what it says on the label).  I first saw this at Total Wine a few months ago in their walk-in cooler.  The bottle is bright pink (think Pepto-Bismol), which intrigued me as much as the name, Voodoo Doughnut (more on the name later).  In spite of the interesting bottle and name, the sub-title/description, Maple Bacon Ale, sounded a little strange, so I passed it up several times.  I finally couldn’t resist (my curiosity and sense of adventure) and purchased one bottle a couple of months ago.  It sat in my refrigerator for several weeks until I summoned the courage to give it a try on July 19th.

Alright, now for the part you’ve all been waiting for, the review of this bacon maple ale.  Rogue markets this as a brown ale, but I would describe it as amber in color with a light beige creamy head.  This ale is crystal clear (no haze whatsoever).  The aroma is all maple, but subtle, not like sniffing a bottle of maple syrup.  The initial flavor is maple with a hint of bacon (like bacon cured with maple syrup).  You then get a mild pale ale flavor as you swallow.  The aftertaste is smoked bacon with a hint of maple.  I would describe it as similar to a mild Rauchbier, but somewhat sweeter.  As the aftertaste fades, the maple is evident again.

Now for a little more information on the name of this beer, Voodoo Doughnut.  This information comes to me (and now to you) courtesy of my good friend (always) and one time partner, Joe Garcia (Mr. High and Mighty).  Voodoo Doughnut is a doughnut shop in Portland, Oregon.  It’s open 24 hours a day, and (according to Joe) there is always a long line of customers waiting to buy their doughnuts.  Their flagship/most popular doughnut is their Bacon Maple Bar (a maple bar with bacon on top).  If interested, see their website (voodoodoughnut.com) for more about Voodoo Doughnuts – there is a reference to this beer.

This beer comes in a 750 ml bottle, and is medium priced (I think it was $13.99 at Total Wine).  The alcohol content is not specified, but I would guess that this brown ale is below 6% ABV (brown ales are typically not that strong, and when I drank this beer – 750 ml at one sitting – the first pint didn’t really produce much of a buzz).  As I previously stated, I passed this up several times because it seemed too weird.  The sweet bacon and maple flavors, however, are subtle, making this a nice brew.  I might purchase one more bottle (if I can find it; no longer available at Total Wine), but would not make it a habit.  I recommend this to the adventurous beer drinker, someone looking for a new/different taste experience.  I suppose this could be a considered a breakfast beer, and might go well with a Denver omelette or with pancakes.

IPA: Brewed by Noble Ale Works (Anaheim, California).  Noble makes a variety of really good craft beers.  Their IPA is no exception.  This pours a hazy dark golden color and has a nice hoppy, citrus aroma.  The haze is to be expected in an unfiltered IPA.  Pour this one carefully, as it’s unfiltered and there is sediment on the bottom.

This IPA has a creamy head and leaves nice lacing in the glass.  It has a great bitter, citrus flavor, but with a nice malt foundation to back it up.  This is a substantial, flavorful IPA, well worth the price of admission.  From start to finish (hoppy aroma, nice hoppy/citrus flavor, great grapefruit aftertaste), it’s all about the hops.  I highly recommend this beer, especially during the summer as it’s a nice, thirst quenching beverage.  It’s available in 22 oz bombers or on draft at Noble Ale Works tasting room (at their brewery in Anaheim, near the stadium) and is 6.9% ABV.