Last weekend, we had a beer sampling session and then attended Tadg’s Bar & AQ Bevolution Epic Brewing Co. & Gyoza Party in Kyoto. AQ Bevolution is one of the newer beer distributors bringing great U.S. craft beer to Japan.
First, some of the sampling highlights:
Weyerbacher Insanity -- 4 (out of 5)
This one was a 2010 vintage bottle. Big sweet oak nose. Clear dark brown with a thin touch of foam. Very smooth sweet initial flavors, with a lot of heavy oak in mid palate. Some bourbon emerged near the end. Great mouth feel. Lovely stuff.
Mikkeller/To Øl Walk On Water -- 3.8
Big sweetness and grapefruit in the nose. At first, the alcohol is like a hard slap. Golden blond color. Slightly sour, and then it becomes very sweet. Strong fruit notes: peaches, oranges, prunes. A heavy-hitting beer, full of flavors.
St. Bernardus Prior 8 -- 3.7
2005 vintage. Smooth, rich fruit aroma -- prunes, raisins, dates -- and dark sugar. Watery brown color. Very mild fruity initial; the alcohol becomes noticeable in mid palate; flavors smoothly slip away in final. Perhaps it has lost a bit of its flavor over the seven years, but it has also mellowed very nicely.
Deschutes Conflux No. 1 – Collage -- 3.5
The is a collaboration beer, which is a blend of Deschutes’ The Dissident and The Stoic, and Hair of the Dog’s Fred and Adam. Sharp phenolic nose, some vinegar, a slight chemical note, too. Clear dark brown brandy-like color. The distinctive characteristics of each of the four brews are mellowed out into a kind of sweet beer soup. The oak comes out clearly in the finish. I do like this, but would really prefer to drink the four beers by themselves, as individual experiences.
Thanks to Albert of AQ Bevolution, we had a chance to sample several brews from Utah's Epic Brewing Co., both bottled or on tap, including the following:
Epic Brainless Belgian-Style Golden Ale -- 4
Fruity nose (peach, berries), with light hopping. Clear medium dark straw color. Beautiful peach flavor in initial; this strengthens in mid palate; in the finish, it all levels out and glides down to a pleasant sweetness. Lip-smacking stuff.
Epic Hopulent IPA -- 3.8
Great stinky hop aroma. Cloudy orange color. Hops dominate the initial; a mild sweet fruitiness emerges in mid palate; final leaves strong tracks of hop bitterness. Very good.
Epic / DC Brau Fermentation Without Representation -- 3.6
Epic’s first collaboration brew. Good coffee nose, with pumpkin and spice. Very spicy initial flavor; mid palate has some chocolate notes; the finish lets the chocolate develop a bit more. I hate pumpkin pie, but I like this.
Epic Brainless on Peaches -- 3.5
Mild yeastiness and very fresh fruity nose. Pretty hazy orangeish color. Mild initial; the peaches are not apparent until the finish. Very pleasant stuff.