Monthly Archives: October 2012

Left Hand Fade to Black Volume 4 Coming Soon

Left Hand Fade to BlackLONGMONT, CO – Fade to Black. That time of year when the light fades away. In the fourth year of the renowned winter series, Left Hand introduces a Rocky Mountain Black Ale as Volume 4. Showcasing the duality of dry roasted malts and hop bitterness, Colorado Centennial hops take center stage of this pitch black ale.

Volume 4 looms overs its predecessors with a sharp bitterness and dry roast, celebrating the darkness and leering in the face of warmer days. The ale pours black as a winter night with an off white head. Your first inhale is dominated by citrus and roast, as slight sweet malt gets pushed back by initial citrusy hops followed by powerful Italian Amaro, Gentian and hop bitterness. The Rocky Mountain Black Ale finishes with a pleasant duality of dry roasted malts and hop bitterness.

Brewed for the darkness, Fade to Black speaks in volumes. Volume IV is the latest edition of Left Hand’s esteemed winter seasonal series. The Fade to Black family made its presence known beginning in 2009 with Volume 1, when the Foreign Export Stout won GABF Gold. The following years have presented our handsmoked Smoked Baltic Porter in 2010 and last year’s Pepper Porter featuring Chipotle, Serrano, & Ancho chiles, as Volume 2 and 3 respectively. This year’s Rocky Mountain Black Ale takes its place in the Fade to Black series, standing apart as the dry and bitter cousin. Perfect for those chilly winter nights, Left Hand’s Fade to Black is a cult favorite, as fans eagerly seek out each year’s offering.

About Left Hand Brewing Company

Celebrating nineteen years of brewing a well-balanced portfolio of craft beers, Left Hand Brewing Company is located at 1265 Boston Avenue in Longmont, Colorado. The brewery has received 18 medals at the Great American Beer Festival and 8 medals at the World Beer Cup, and its beers are now available in 25 states. “Sometimes you’re not in the mood for what everyone else is having.”

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New Holland El Mole Ocho

New Holland El Mole OchoI have rather high expectations for New Holland El Mole Ocho. Firstly, I have high expectations from anything from new Holland. I really like the concept of this beer, as well. It’s exotic, yet still within the realm of familiar flavors.

Pours a bit lighter than expected. Rather than being a dark brown, it’s closer to a dark iced tea. Fluffy beige head that has not settled a nanometer since the pour. Intense aroma of bitter chocolate, bitter coffee, and chiles. Big, big flavor with the chiles becoming more prominent. The chiles give this a distinct fruitiness, but I am not getting the heat I expected (and wanted) considering how much flavor there is. Mix of bitter chocolate and coffee give the back end a full, round taste and feel.

El Mole Ocho is part of New Holland’s High Gravity Series, clocking in at 9.8% ABV. There is not even a hint of alcohol heat here.

Really digging on this beer. Daring flavors, velvety texture, great balance, and unique. My one complaint is that I would like more chile heat. But that’s just nitpicking.

Grade: A

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The Brew Kettle Ruddy Rye

The Brew Kettle Ruddy Rye

An amber ale brewed with a third rye malt, here is The Brew Kettle Ruddy Rye.

Pours hazy orange, just like expected. Very sticky white head. Hops, rye, and caramel in the aroma. Spicy, hoppy, and a very long grapefruit finish. Big flavor and very well balanced. Definitely hoppier than I expected and the rye doesn’t come through as much as I had hoped, but it’s there.

Very nice beer from The Brew Kettle. The flavors all work together well, but I would prefer more rye flavor. Love the label.

Grade: B

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New Holland Mad Hatter IPA

New Holland Mad Hatter

I am finally having what is considered to be one of the better Midwestern IPAs, New Holland Mad Hatter.

Pours a cloudy copper with a clingy beige foam. Pungent citrus hops attack from the aroma. However, the hops are a little more subdued (don’t read scant) in the flavor. Decidedly bready malt offers a nice counter balance. Bitter finish leading to a lingering flavor from the Centennial hops.

Smooth for an IPA with enough hops to please the hop heads.

Another cool thing New Holland does with Mad Hatter is all the different variations, like Black Hatter, White Hatter, Imperial Hatter, Oak Aged Hatter, etc. All with fantastic labels.

Very nice IPA, even if it isn’t a bruiser.

Grade: A

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Colonial Brewing

From Colonial Williamsburg:

Did you know that in the 18th century, beer was the drink of choice for adults and children of all ages due to its nutritional value, its uncanny ability to lift the spirit, and the fact that it was considered cleaner than water?  This fall, Colonial Williamsburg is celebrating the rich tradition of the brewing process, the ale house, and the local seasonal flavors that the colonists pioneered and that we still enjoy today.

Guests are invited to witness first-hand the process, techniques, and secrets of 18th century brewing practices during The Arts and Mysteries of Brewing program. The demonstration will be held at Governor’s Palace Scullery on October 7, October 27, and November 11 from 10:00am-3:45pm. Admission to the program is included in a regular Colonial Williamsburg admission pass. A sneak peek video of the demonstration, highlighting how Williamsburg Alewerks Microbrewery recreates the colonial brewing process for modern consumption in Old Stitch, can be viewed here.

The brewery’s Old Stitch Ale comes bottled and is also available on tap at Colonial Williamsburg’s numerous local taverns, including Chowning’s Tavern, which offers décor, service, and menus evocative of the 18th century. After hours, it turns into an authentic 18th Century alehouse, complete with sing-alongs, character performances, and games. In addition to serving Old Stitch Ale, Chowning’s offers other local favorites such as St. George Nut Brown Ale and Legend Brown Ale, both made at local Virginia breweries.

Huzzah! BBQ Grille also offers a wide selection of unique regional artisanal beers in flights of full servings alongside Southern BBQ favorites.

Williamsburg, Virginia is a little far away for me to make, but it sounds like a pretty cool event. Being a modest homebrewer myself, I’d be interested to see how much the process has changed.

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Beer and Politics

Really interesting study from National Journal here. It looks at people’s beer preference and how it relates to voting Republican or Democrat and voter turn out, as well. Not surprisingly, microbrew (craft beer) drinkers tend to vote more Democrat and have a very high turn out. Bud Light drinkers are pretty much split right down the middle in all four categories. How does this match up for you?


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