31 October 2007

New Belgium Brewery 1554 Enlightened Black Ale

1554 - just delicious. Chocolately malt, not too sweet or bitter - very smooth, very tasty and, as they say, "Other than being dark in color, 1554 has little in common with Porters or Stouts." At a certain point of excellence, you can't say much more. Buy this beer whenever possible (which for me is... not often); come to think of it, buy pretty much any and every New Belgium beer whenever you can. Maybe the best Colorado brewery, and that's saying something.

30 October 2007

Ft. Collins Brewery Z Lager

With all the (overwhelmingly positive) developments in microbrews these last years, if there's one area of beers that can be said have been neglected it's that most American of brews, the humble lager. There are of course exceptions - Pilsners (a subspecies of the lager) are fair game for innovation, as the much-praised-here Victory Prima Pils shows, and Great Lakes (sadly unavailable in NC) produces two of the best American lagers, Dortmunder Gold and Elliot Ness Amber. Mostly, even when lagers are made they're Helles lagers, Vienna lagers, Czech-style pilsners - remakes of successful and proven formulae. America's leading edge of beer (the West and Northwest), focus most of their energies on ales - not that I'm complaining. But it was a nice surprise to receive in my birthday Colorado variety pack (thx MKD!) a Z Lager from Ft. Collins Brewery. The first impression (after the excellent, creamy head) is its smokiness - as the label says, it's not overpowering and does blend nicely into the malty, creamy body of the beer. Not an every-night kind of beer, but it's a nice change of pace, both for a microbrew and from lagers generally.