Beer 511

Exploring Craft Beer and Homebrew in Peru (Country Code 51) and the USA (Country Code 1)

Category: California Beers

Nightshade by Epidemic Ales

When one operates a small craft brewery the vicissitudes of barrel-aging beers means that one cannot foresee with any great anticipation when a such a beer will be released. It will be ready when it is ready, as they say.

Well, yesterday was the release of this year’s batch of Nightshade by Epidemic Ales. I was reminded of why I so much look forward to when this beer comes out.

Nightshade is a 10.3% abv vanilla stout. It is released on tap at the brewery in Concord, CA, and in 22-oz. bottles, about once a year, after spending, if I recall correctly, up to six months or so in Bourbon barrels.

It is a gorgeous beer; intensely dark, with deep mahogany tones, and a moderate head. It doesn’t have any harsh coffee notes or overt bitterness. Instead it is rich and smooth, with notable sweetness, and plenty of vanilla -some undoubtedly contributed by the oak.

With its high alcohol content, Nighshade does pack a punch despite not having any alcoholic or Bourboney “heat”. So, while it goes down easily at any time of day, a 22-ouncer of Nightshade is particularly nice shared as part of a dessert course; specially at this time of year.

Alvarado’s Daiquiri Island

A few days ago Concord’s Hop Grenade Taproom & Bottle Shop played host to Monterey County’s Alvarado Street Brewery.

While Alvarado Street Brewery’s brewers were guest on a broadcast on The Brewing Network at the in-venue studio, a number of taps were dedicated to Alvarado Street’s beers.

It was there that I came across Alvarado Street’s Daiquiri Island.

Now, let it be said upfront, Daiquiri Island is not for everyone.

It is a 5.5% abv kettle-soured ale, made with the addition of lime, lactose, and several thousand pounds of bananas.

It is creamy, like a milkshake IPA. It is sweet, t is tart, it tastes like banana, and it is certainly unique. It is a beer that requires one to put aside pretty much any preconceived notion of what a beer is and is not like.

If you’re a hophead, you’ll likely not quite get it. But, if on the other hand, like myself, you enjoy Runts® candy or Laffy-Taffy®, or if you’re a fan of banana daiquiris you’ll probably really like this beer.

I can’t imagine that it could ever be a regular offering, so if you’re curious, the time to try it would be now.

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