“A new year, a new me.” This has been the mantra of many optimistic New Years resolutions and skeptics are waiting to take pictures of empty gyms and broken diets. I however have a few resolutions for you that won’t be broken. I promise you that. The first resolution for me this year is to share. Share more beer with friends. I want to have more bottle shares, large and small. I want to share beers from out of market with others, whether they have had similar beers or not. I want to help friends explore new beer. And have them find a new appreciation for styles they wouldn’t have taken the chance on before. I have already been apart of a few this year. I recently got to have one with two really good friends and a few beers from Lost Abbey.
Lost Abbey Brewing is a brewery out of California near Escondido. This is also where Stone Brewing and Bearded Beaver Brewing (Yeah, you read that right.) is located. Lost Abbey is a brewery focused on Belgian style brewing. This one is on my list of breweries I want to visit. Side note: I should make a list of breweries that I want to visit.
My friends and I had three brews to try from Lost Abbey. Red Barn, Ten Commandments, and Angel’s Share.
Red Barn is a Saison made with Ginger. We poured the goldenrod colored beer and reveled in the phenolics and effervescence of the beer. The creamy head floating on top let the Belgian yeast shine through. I am no fan of ginger in much of anything. Interestingly enough none of us got the ginger out of the Red Barn. The peppery and phenolic was really good and is reminiscent of Boulevard’s Tank 7 made in California but not made by Firestone Walker. There was a mild sweetness from the malt characteristics that brought to mind Grains of Paradise. The subtle and earthy notes derived from the hops really balance this beer and makes it really enjoyable. The yeast may drown out any ginger or make it so I don’t recognize the ginger flavors but that is okay with me. The more I think of the name makes me wonder if it is word play on ginger and farmhouse style with red and barn. Either way, I would definitely get this one again.
God came down and gave the Ten Commandments and then said don’t forget the Brett. This might not be how the story went but Lost Abbey really combined the Belgian quad and the funk of Brettanomyoces. The Belgian phenols dance with the dark fruits of the Quad showcasing the cherry booziness of the style. The 12% ABV really came through the dark caramel almost bourbon flavors. With no real head retention, I didn’t get the full mouthfeel I was expecting. An immediate “That’s what she said…” rang out from my friends. We were looking for the oak from a barrel in the beer and one of them said that the beer saw the oak. He went on to say that there was a window on the fermenter and the beer stared at oak the whole fermentation process. Anyway the we missed out on the oak characteristics we expected. The beer reminded us of our remembered perception of Boulevard’s Bourbon Barrel Quad. While there wasn’t the traditional funk from Brett, the wild strain helped the harmony of the beer overall. We did enjoy this one a lot.
As whiskey ages in a barrel, some of the liquor is lost to evaporation and absorption into the barrel. This has been termed the Angel’s Share of the whiskey. That being said the Angel’s Share from Lost Abbey is a bourbon barrel aged English Style Barleywine. When we opened this 375 and poured the dark beer, the sweet malty aroma hits us with smooth vanilla. I got the boozy warmth in the nose that swirls with the fragrant aroma. When I read barleywine, I was expecting more presence but there was none distinguishable. Found out that the English part means there is a mutable hop presence in the presence of malts and other adjuncts specific to the style and is different than its American counterpart. What did my friends and I get? There was oak notes buoyed on the caramel and crystal malts. I think I got a little maple syrup but that might have been how the oak and maltiness combined with the bourbon flavors for me. I wish there was more of a bourbon characteristic shining through. The term Angel’s Share for me would need more to deserve the name. However, the beer is really good even though it is not as complex as I was expecting. I would definitely seek this one out again.
Do you want to join in on my next bottle share?