Drinking at The Birch: BFM/Terrapin Spike and Jerome’s Collaboration Ale, Nøgne Ø Sunturnbrew, Allagash Old HLT, Allagash Saison Mihm and Evil Twin Brewing Biscotti Break
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve visited one of my local beer bars a few times. The Birch has been around for maybe a little bit over a year. I could be wrong though, if anyone knows please correct me =) It’s currently ranked as one of the best beer bars in the world according to Ratebeer. If you know me you’ll hear me bitch about The Birch once in awhile because of their lack of American beer and how when I walk out I feel like I’ve been raped out all my money but in the end I do really like the place. They do offer half pours for a cheaper bill. Owners are nice people and know their beer and I do like the atmosphere. I just need to not go twice in a two week period like I did recently. So enough talking about the place, here is what I drank. Oh one more thing. Sorry about the photos. I know they’re shitty but it’s hard to take good pictures in this place.
BFM/Terrapin Spike and Jerome’s Collaboration Ale – First off don’t ask which beer it is in the picture above. I was about 3 beers in already when I took this. This is a 10% abv English Barleywine aged in Rum Barrels. They call it a Rye Barleywine. This beer has some low scores on BA and Ratebeer. I really don’t get that at all. I really enjoyed this beer. Now I didn’t expect what I got from this beer. I was expecting a straight up Barleywine but I was pleasantly surprised that when I put it up to my nose, there was a bit of sourness to it. It was nice. Aroma is full of sourness, oak, funk, and spice. Taste is more of the same really. It really tasted a lot like a Flanders Red Ale to me and I loved every bit of it. Something I would sip on again. Don’t expect a Barleywine here, expect something different.
Nøgne Ø Sunturnbrew – Here is another Barleywine. This time it’s a 11% abv. It’s sort of a Smoked Barleywine if there was ever such a thing. It’s brewed with 30% Smoked Malt and 20% Rye. The smokiness from grain comes through big time here. Smoke, rubber, band aid, dark fruits, and caramel. Unique Barleywine just like the one above. When I told my fiance it smelled and tasted like a band aid she’s like you’re nuts but seriously it’s what I got from this brew. In the end I really liked it and would of drank more.
Allagash Old HLT – Last night they had a Allagash Steal the Glass night at The Birch. They had two brand new Allagash beers. Both draft only at this point. The first one I tried was Old HLT. I was really excited to try this one. Here’s a little bit about it
Old HLT, a new limited-release sour ale. Old HLT is named for the stainless hot liquor tank in which it was aged. “Roughly 30 barrels of the base beer sat in the tank for just around two years, with 2,000 pounds of Michigan cherries,” Germain said. The draft release will be followed by a brewery store-only release of 375ml bottles.
So after reading that it would only be available at one of their small releases I had to drive over and give it a try. When put up to the nose this one is pretty damn nice. It’s a nice sourness, not over the top, and the cherries come through really nicely. But both the fiance and I agreed that the taste was rather lacking. The really nice sourness and cherries were there but it was just really really light and faded away really fast off the palette. I just kept on drinking and drinking it hoping it would all add up but it didn’t. I really just wanted a bit more from this beer. It’s not horrible, just felt like it had the chance to be great and fell flat.
Allagash Saison Mihm – The other Allagash beer was Saison Mihm. Once again here’s a little about the brew
Saison Mihm (a draft only release at 8% ABV), brewed with local honey from Overland Apiaries, a sustainable beekeeping operation in Maine owned by Allagash’s controller, Erin Forbes. Brewer, Ryan Mihm, created the recipe, adding botanical hints of lemongrass and juniper berries.
In the end I liked this one much more than the other Allagash offering. This is a beer I would of drank all night. A nice Saison, a style I’m learning to just love more and more and something I need to brew soon. The honey in this beer is the star in my opinion. It doesn’t come through to much but what is there is really nice. Mix in the sweetness, grassiness, and spiciness and you have a really nice enjoyable brew. I’d put a keg of this stuff in my house for the summer months. Refreshing and yes I know it’s not exactly session able but it honestly feels that way.
Evil Twin Biscotti Break – Last but not least is a 8.40% American Porter brewed with Espresso, Vanilla Beans, and toasted almonds. Sounds pretty damn fantastic doesn’t it. In the end yes I thought it was pretty damn good. Stouts and porters with coffee really just get me. Which the Espresso used here wasn’t really strong it was still there and was great. Chocolate, espresso, almonds, vanilla, and char. Mix that in with a thick, smooth, and slick mouthfeel and you have a winner in my book. Now to find a bottle.