Counterpoint: Malt & Hops with Unibroue & Sierra Nevada

When a couple of brewer friends came to visit at the Lumberyard Tavern last week, I pulled out two beers I’d been holding onto. My mouth watering each time my gaze landed upon them, I kept waiting for the right moment and the right people. I knew homebrew contest winners Steven Strupp and Marty Frank were those people. One a professed malt fanatic, the other a verified hophead, together they comprised the perfect counterpoint. And so did the beers…

Unibroue Terrible, 10.5% ABV: Described as a “dark ale on lees,” Terrible is, according to their website, only produced for the U.S. market. I feel blessed to say the least. As a longtime fan of any and every beer Unibroue produces, I couldn’t wait to relish in the first sip. In true Unibroue form, it did not disappoint. Full & rich, with wonderfully rounded notes of caramel, chocolate, dried dark fruits, & Asian spice. Glorious maltiness that makes for one of the smoothest palates on a beer I’ve seen. And remarkably, there is zero burn on a beer of this alcohol content. Which makes it rather dangerous to drink, but oh so delicious. Go beer fans, and seek this out.

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary, Oak Aged Ale: I couldn’t wait to see what this specialty brew would show us. A blend of their groundbreaking Bigfoot barley wine, Celebration (their cult-status hoppy Christmas beer), and their classic fresh Pale Ale, it was sure to be a beer of interest. Released in the fall of 2010, this bottle was a gift to me, and quite frankly, I couldn’t wait to get it open.

The Celebration truly sings in this beer. Dominant hoppiness still reigns, with pine taking the forefront, with citrus and tropical fruits right behind. But coming around the bend is a good wallop from the Bigfoot, with rich caramelly notes, layered with brown sugar, toffee, & toast. The freshness from the Pale I imagine was there upon release, is now more subdued and blends into the mix. A truly interesting beer.

Beers like these make being a Craft geek ever so much fun.



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