The Saucer stepped up their usual Thursday “Tap Nite” this week, with two rare beers on offer instead of the usual one — Avery Out of Bounds Stout (firkin) and Brooklyn Monster Ale (draft).
That was as good an excuse as any to make a night of it, so we did. I drank the two Tap Nite selections, and then wrapped up the night with a Real Ale Oktoberfest (draft).
Dark brown with plenty of nutty brown highlights. The head out of the tap is decent — light latte color, 1-finger, fluffy and bubbly. Eventually ends up a thin cap. Despite some early signs of stickiness, there’s not much in the way of lacing by the time I’m done with the pint.
The nose is like a roasted smoky porter with a touch of hops, interesting and not exactly what I expected (maybe I didn’t do my research very well).
There isn’t much in the way of subtlety here (no surprise, given the brewery). It tastes like darkly roasted and maybe even burnt coffee, with a touch of smoke thrown in. It’s a bit bitter and hoppy, too, but that gets overwhelmed. I’m not getting much sweetness at all, and that’s a big disappointment — I like my stouts to have at least some chocolate or dark fruit or something along those lines. In that sense, it certainly stands out for a stout.
Big caveat on the mouthfeel — they served it out of a firkin. Unsurprisingly, it’s smooth and chewy, if not quite thick. This is the beer’s best attribute, by far.
As I drank the Avery Out of Bounds Stout, I kept thinking it was like a coffee porter with a stout body. I found it interesting and worthwhile for about the first half of the pint glass, but its appeal kinda faded the more I drank. It’s only 5.1% abv, so in that sense it’s quite drinkable. Still, I was pretty tired of it by the end of the glass. I can’t imagine seeking it out.
C+ (The nerds over at Beer Advocate give it a B+)
Clearish and reddish caramel with some golden orange highlights. All four of us get slim caps for the head, mine has a thick white ring and some oily slick covering nearly the whole surface. Don’t expect any lacing whatsoever, and there isn’t.
The nose is both subtle and sweet for a barleywine. There are hints of a Belgian dubbel here, as I get a bit of dark fruit, some slight spiciness and even yeasty sweetness. But I’m also reaching — it was a bit of a struggle to smell much at all.
This tastes like no other barleywine I’ve ever had, and I can’t quite describe it. It’s sharply boozy and maybe a bit fruity, but I wouldn’t call it sugary sweet. Maybe berries? I’m looking for other stuff, but it’s hard to find much else. I still get mostly booze, and I mean that in a liquor-ish sense I think — whisky or scotch? And those dubbel characteristics I got in the nose are nowhere to be found here.
The mouthfeel doesn’t really live up to the style. It’s velvety and very slightly chewy, but not thick. There’s also some fizz that is subtle but noticeably sharp.
My main conclusion here is that Brooklyn Monster Ale desperately needs to be aged and tamed. There’s just way too much alcohol presence, and the rest of the package doesn’t have a chance. For now, it’s really hard to drink — I left a couple of sips at the bottom of the snifter. If I can get my hands on a bottle, I’ll definitely give it another chance in a year or three.
C- (The nerds over at Beer Advocate give it a B+)
Light and bright orangeish brown. There’s a thin cap at first, but pretty soon it’s just some oily slick with a decent off-white ring around the edge of the glass. No lacing to speak of at any point.
Smells almost like nothing. I struggle to find some bready and musty malt, and that’s about it.
Let’s see….there’s plenty of bready or biscuity malt sweetness, and there’s a definite floral hoppiness to it as well. As I type that I think it sounds like a good starting point for a balanced Oktoberfest, but as I was drinking it I didn’t think it tasted all that great.
Oktoberfests rarely have much of a body, and this is no exception. It’s fizzy and watery and only just better than light-bodied.
Real Ale Oktoberfest is not awful or even close to that, but it’s certainly not special. My biggest mistake was having this as my last beer of the night. I could see starting the night with one, but after a bitter burnt-coffee stout and a harshly boozy barleywine, this just never had a chance. Still…considering it’s a style I don’t particularly like, I’ll try it again sometime.
B (The nerds over at Beer Advocate give it a B)