Meridian Vanilla Stout (Ecliptic Brewing)

Meridian begins with hints of wheat and toasted malt on its nose, with a fair amount of tannish head and considerable lacing as one starts into their first sip. The toastiness of this malt expands as one takes that first quaff, with subsequent pulls bringing a bit more bitterness into the mix. There is a rich body and a thicker mouthfeel to Meridian than other similar dry / irish stouts on the market. Ecliptic’s desire to ramp things up here stops the brew from moving into a too-sweet end; the overall flavor profile initially enjoyed at the onset is replicated to near-perfection by the time one hits the bottle for the final rodeo.

Meridian would be a solid pairing with strongly-flavored meats (smoked fare, boudin, prosciutto) as well as region-specific fare including dishes from the middle east and North Africa. Nuts and cheeses would also be highlighted to great success if matched with Meridian.

For those looking for a stout that has a bit more complexity than many of the cooler standards in a similar style, Meridian should be what you search out. We’d love it if Ecliptic decides to put some of this stout into bourbon barrels for a bit and release toward the beginning of 2021. Our fingers are crossed.

We’ve previously covered Ecliptic’s Orange Giant barleywine and Five Years / Five Beers (Hazy Double IPA) a few years back.

Meridian Vanilla Stout (Ecliptic Brewing) / Irish-Style Stout / 5.2% ABV / Facebook / Twitter

Fredersdorfer (Seedstock Brewery)

Pouring with a orange-brown to mahogany coloration, Seedstock (Denver)’s Fredersdorker immediately yields hints of grain and wheat in its initial bouquet. The Fredersdorfer style is a call back to the first half of the 19th century; this German style links together sweetness (from molasses) with a bit of a spicy, peppery hop bite. Hitting at a 7.5% ABV, this brew will keep one warm during the last vestiges of winter while constantly refreshing one’s palette. There’s a layered approach that dominates here, so with each subsequent sip one will experience different facets of the Fredersdorfer as it shifts and changes in one’s mouth. The robustness of the materials included here ensure that the Fredersdorfer maintains its distinctive flavor profile throughout a session. This means that it kept its zing even an hour after we initially cracked our crowler.

Pairing Seedstock’s Fredersdorfer with a variety of cuisines – strongly-flavored style like a curry, Tandoori chicken, or larb – would add further complexity to an already fascinating effort. The strength of the wheat and hop elements here match well with lamb and beef as well.

Seedstock’s desire to bring back extinct beer styles should be applauded as it creates an alternative to the toolbox of styles many breweries utilize (e.g. stout, red, pilsner, ipa, brown ale). Just take their current lineup – aside from a pilsner, an amber, and a kolsch, Seedstock has tackled a pair of unique styles in a Broyhan and a Bohemian Barn Beer (a self-professed callback to their great-grandfathers). For a full run down of the beers that Seedstock is currently offering, check out their main domain or stock by their Denver brewery. Can’t argue with specials like a 3 for $24 crowler, that’s for sure.

Rating: 9.0/10

Fredersdorfer (Seedstock Brewery) / 7.5% ABV / Domain / Facebook /

Sedna (Tiramisu Stout)

Ecliptic has just released Sedna, their imperial, tiramisu-flavored stout. The nose of Sedna is heavy on the toasted malt with just hints of a sweeter side evident before one cracks into the brew. The 8.5% ABV of Sedna is masterfully hidden. Hints of bitterness peek through at points, making this the perfect effort to quaff while eating strongly-flavored fare (Thai, Greek) or cheeses and charcuterie. Sedna does not move into the cloying sweetness that many breweries fall into when they attempt a dessert / pastry stout. With this offering, Ecliptic refines the traditional stout into a high art form. Pegging the ABV at this mark ensures that Sedna stays coherent from the second that one cracks a bottle until the moment when they drain its last drips. Only a small amount of lacing is present here, providing little bits of off-white foam as one continues to work on each 16.9 ounce bottle.

For those looking for a deeper complexity and a bit of additional fire from Sedna, Ecliptic has made available limited quantities of a barrel-aged variant. Spending a hair under a year in whiskey barrels, this stout packs a bit more heat at 11.5% ABV.

We previously covered Five Years / Five Beers from Ecliptic and Firestone Walker and Ecliptic’s Orange Giant barleywine. Let us know what you think about Sedna in the comments below. We’ll be stocking up on this stout to have a store for when the winter thaw begins. Check out Ecliptic’s Facebook and Twitter for information about the full range of beers that the company offers and the latest news about the brewery.

Rating: 9/10

Sedna (Tiramisu Stout) / 8.5% ABV / Facebook / Twitter

Founders Brewing Brings Back Frangelic Mountain Brown

Press Release replicated from Gregory Vine.

Founders Brewing Co. has announced the return of Frangelic Mountain Brown to the lineup beginning in December 2019. Last bottled in 2012, this deliciously sweet and nutty coffee brown ale brewed with hazelnut coffee quickly became a favorite amongst beer fans and inspired Founders to continue pushing the coffee and beer envelope.

“Finally, we get to bring back one of my favorite coffee beers of all time,” said Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki. “Frangelic Mountain Brown was last distributed in 2012 and, get this, was the very first brown ale we ever bottled! Not long ago, we asked our super amazing enthusiast club, the Cadre, what beers they’d like to see in the lineup and Frangelic Mountain Brown was one of their tops picks. So, of course, we had to make it happen.”

Frangelic Mountain Brown (9% ABV) will have a retail price of $10/4-pack and will be available in 12oz bottles and draft beginning on December 6 in the Grand Rapids taproom. Frangelic Mountain Brown will ship to the brewery’s entire distribution network later in December and will be available through March 2020. Prices will vary by market.

About Founders Brewing Co.

Established in 1997 by two craft beer enthusiasts—Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens—with day jobs and a dream, Founders Brewing Co. brews complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics and tons of flavor. Founders ranks among the top 10 largest craft breweries in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing. The brewery has received numerous awards from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival and RateBeer and BeerAdvocate users often rate its beers among the best in the world. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders is a member of the Michigan Brewers Guild. For more information, visit foundersbrewing.com

Funky Monks (Weyerbacher)

As many of our long-time readers know, we love any sort of Belgian-styled beer that one can put in front of us. The tripel may be tied with a Belgian strong for our favorite. Pennsylvania’s Weyerbacher has made their own riff on the Belgian style with their Funky Monks, a soured tripel. The 9.3% ABV of the brew is hidden masterfully, with the trio of phenolic bite, sour tartness, and candi sugar all fighting for dominance. What ultimately results with Funky Monks is a beer that is utterly unique when compared to the rest of effortds currently out on the market. The beer is cohesive from beginning to end, but does go through a number of delightful transformations as each twelve ounce can is able to warm to room temperature.

This means that there are times during one’s Funky Monks experience where clove and banana are dominant, while hints of hay and wheat may ultimately come to the fore shortly after that. The elements are able to stay in focus from beginning to end, rather than the brew falling into an overly-sugary mess. Weyerbacher’s newest beer marches to the beat of a different drummer, but has enough to it that fans of Belgian beers as well as sour ales will be able to find something deeply impressive with this effort.

So, make sure to pick up your own Funky Monks and let the button go on your Tally-Weijl clothing. It’s going to be a tremendous summer with Weyerbacher’s ales at the fore.

For additional information about the entire range of Weyerbacher beers, take a trip over to the brewery’s social media pages. Further depth in regards to beer-specific facts can be gleaned from the brewery’s own domain. Let us know what you think about Funky Monks.

Rating: 9.0/10

Funky Monks (Weyerbacher) / Sour Belgian Tripel / 9.3% ABV / 15 IBU / Domain / Facebook /

Uncle Billy’s Smokehouse

We were fortunate enough to take a trip down to Austin a few months back, and finally had a moment to provide NeuFutur with our impressions about this ATX institution. Uncle Billy’s has something for everyone, whether it be live music, a comfortable place to hang out, tremendous variation in their menu, or a collection of alcoholic beverages that mix up standard beer styles and do the classics well.

The Beer

During our visit to Uncle Billy’s, we had a few minute to talk to Stephen, the restaurant’s head brewer. Bringing us a pair of fully-stocked tasting paddles, Stephen broke down their main-line and seasonal offerings.

Uncle Billy’s also offers a pair of spirits – a Bourbon and a Vodka – that are utilized in the restaurant’s craft cocktails.

The Berdoll Brown (7.3%) is a wonderful take on the traditional brown ale, amping up the alcohol content to stave off some of the weakly sweet elements that often present themselves in the style. In a similar vein, Uncle Billy’s KCCO is an easy-drinking lager that is bursting with hints of malt and grain. Pegged at about 4.0%, the ABV of this brew ensures that one can have a fantastic session over the course of the night.

Crazy Day Lager (8%) is a maibock, a bold lager-type of brew that has a crispness and strength to its body that is able to match pound for pound the intense flavors present in the brewery’s cuisine. We’re moving a bit away from the winter seasonals at this point, but UB’s Shokolad was one of the best brews we’ve experienced so far in 2019. Bold and with assertive notes of chocolate and coffee, this Russian Imperial Stout went down as easily as the KCCo.

The Food

The side plates at Uncle Billy’s were a high-water mark for our experience. The macaroni and cheese married the succulent and rich cheese flavors with a bit of crunch and toasted element added considerably to the plate. The potato salad was another hit, with additional care taken to keep the potatoes from breaking down. The presence of a bit of green onion on the top of things make the dish pop. For our money, we were most impressed by the smokehouse’s cole slaw. Snap and a refreshing bite to the dish acted as a palette cleanser during both our beer and barbecue experiences.

The Smoked Brisket Hash ensured that one never had the same bite twice. Expertly-cooked potatoes are blended together with fried eggs and green onions, along with a goodly amount of cheddar and green chile-heavy salsa. Another strong selection would have to be their Redneck Road Kill, which layers the restaurant’s homemade kettle potato chips along with ample amounts of beef, avocado, sour cream. Pico de gallo and jalapenos ramp up the heat a bit.

Uncle Billy’s is top tier when it comes to their smoked meats. Brisket has supreme juiciness, while there is an intense flavor profile to the turkey breast and smoked chicken that many BBQs struggle with creating.

Verdict

Uncle Billy’s Smokehouse has a friendly staff, ample food offerings, and enough in the way of libations to ensure that one can keep having something new each time they make the trek out to Austin.

Uncle Billy’s Smokehouse / 1530 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78704 / / Domain / Facebook

Five Years / Five Beers (Ecliptic / Firestone Walker)

Pouring with a hazy goldenrod coloration and a fair amount of whitish head, this Hazy Double IPA from Ecliptic and Firestone Walker is incredibly well-balanced. The beer is able to take up equal parts from traditional West Coast India Pale Ale and modern juicy IPA styles. This means there are solid notes of pine resin, tropical fruits, and wheat elements that gradually come into focus as one continues along with each 500 mL bottle.

As this iteration of the Five Years / Five Beers release continues to warm to room temperature, one will be able to pick up additional notes of stone fruits and malt. The ABV of this brew is masterfully hidden; each potential sharpness (from the hops to the aforementioned alcohol bite) is pitted against the other big flavors. Eminently drinkable, Ecliptic and Firestone Walker have created something that goes down extremely easy. Make sure to source out your own bottle of FY/FB before they disappear from store shelves.

Rating: 8.0/10

We’ve previously covered Ecliptic’s Orange Giant barleywine a few years back. Ecliptic is releasing a set of brews through the year with Breakside, Bell’s, and Russian River to celebrate their 5-year anniversary. Check out their main domain or social media profiles for further information for this promotion.

Five Years / Five Beers (Ecliptic / Firestone Walker) / Hazy Double IPA / 8.0% ABV / Facebook / Twitter

Proximity Malt and Ska Brewing Collaborate on Green Silo Saison

Last month Ska Brewing and Proximity Malt collaborated on a Dark Rye Saison, Green Silo Saison, to recognize their partnership. Named for Ska Brewing’s new green silo filled with Proximity Malt, this beer was available in limited 12-ounce canned 6-packs beginning on January 11.

Ska Brewing supports Proximity Malt’s commitment to shorten supply chains by providing local, sustainable, and consistently malted barley, so much so that they added a large green silo outside their tasting room to hold more Proximity Malt. 

The Green Silo Saison was created by a conference call between the great minds of Ska Brewing, Proximity Malt, and Steve Dresler— a retired brewmaster from Sierra Nevada. Dave Kuske, Proximity Malt’s VP of Operations, described the recipe development process: “We wanted to think outside the box and showcase the spicy notes and characteristics of our chocolate rye with a brown Saison.“ 

Green Silo Saison finishes with all of the traits you’d expect from a Saison, with the delicate notes of silky chocolate, banana, and dark cherries. The spiciness on the nose has notes of subtle black pepper, allspice, clove and nutmeg— all from the use of malt, not additional spices.

“Proximity takes great pride in working as the intermediary between the brewers and the growers. We are excited to support their commitment to the region by working together and purchasing malt grown right here in our home state,” explained Ska Brewing’s CEO Dave Thibodeau. Ska utilizes Proximity’s base and specialty malts in many of its recipes. 

ABOUT SKA BREWING

Based in Durango, Colorado, Ska Brewing was founded in 1995 and produces more than a dozen award-winning beers fueled with Ska music, and lots of it. Pioneers in the canned craft beer movement, Ska Brewing is known for an array of styles in 12 oz cans that include Mexican Logger, Modus Hoperandi, and Rue B. Soho. For information (a lot of it), more music, and a good time, visit www.skabrewing.com.

ABOUT PROXIMITY MALT

Proximity Malt selects premium grain varieties and partners with local growers to ensure the best possible local supply. Creating efficiencies in the supply chain from field to glass reduces both costs and negative environmental impacts. Their advanced malting and roasting technologies also improve the quality, performance and flavor of malt.  Proximity Malt operates malthouses in two locations–Monte Vista, CO and Laurel, DE— making them the first and largest malt company dedicated to the unique needs of craft brewing, distilling and culinary businesses. Learn more at proximitymalt.com

Citradonkulous (Wiley Roots)

Along with the brewery’s slushes, we received a can of Wiley Roots (Greeley, Colorado)’s Citradonkulous. This double IPA (8.4% ABV) is one of the best brews we’ve reviewed in 2018, due to the sheer depth of flavors that it contains. This is even more impressive when one considers that Citradonkulous does not contain any fruit material. The beer pours with a opaque tangerine to goldenrod coloration and a small amount of white head that laces its way down the glass. Continue reading “Citradonkulous (Wiley Roots)”

BHC DIPA (Ska Brewing)

BHC DIPA, a double IPA released by Ska Brewing (Durango, Colorado) is well-balanced, linking together the traditional hoppy, piney, and floral elements of an India Pale Ale with a bit of juiciness. By hitting both of these marks, Ska is able to make something that any fan of hop-forward beers can appreciate. With an 8% ABV, the specific array of flavors that have been imparted upon this brew are extraordinarily stable. For every bit of citrus that peeks through, bits of wheat and peach are present shortly after. We’re digging the bitterness of this one; Ska’s double IPA is hop-forward (75 IBU) without being a one-note brew. It’s this easy to approach and easy to drink spirit that makes it a treat during warm summer nights. Continue reading “BHC DIPA (Ska Brewing)”