Just in time for the crisp Autumn beer-drinking weather and October’s second annual Cleveland Beer Week, Cleveland’s own Buckeye Brewing Company has released two new beers in 22oz bottles. ‘2010 Cleveland Beer Week India Black Ale’ is a Black IPA and ‘Quitness’ is a Belgian Witbier. These are available in better beer stores in Northeast Ohio and at Heinen’s supermarkets and both are selling quite well at a $5.99 price point per bottle! If you like what you read, don’t wait to get yours, as both of these beers are limited, seasonal releases and won’t be around for long.
Bobby sat down during the Browns triumphant (and currently only) win against the Cincinnati Bengals and examined how these beers measure up. Both beers were sampled in a clean pint glass and served at the proper temperature for their respective style. In the end, one beer was at the top of it’s game – a carbonated Josh Cribbs – while the other, unfortunately, was just a mediocre Jake Delhomme of a brew.
Buckeye Brewing 2010 Cleveland Beer Week India-Style Black Ale
This fresh-tasting Black IPA was released in late September and should be at its peak of freshness through October, perfect for Cleveland beer week. One cool fact – the label features a new silk-screening process that looks like a sticker. It’s very innovative and environmentally friendly! As for the beer, this is right up Buckeye’s alley, as brewer Garin Wright has been making some of the best hoppy beers in the Midwest for the last 10 years. When poured into my glass, it looks quite nice – the dark brown body has some mahogany and deep amber hues when held to the light. The tan head is fluffy and eventually settles back into the glass, leaving excellent, soapy looking lace. This is a very nice looking beer. Hopefully the smell, taste, and mouthfeel will keep up this momentum. The smell of this beauty is full of pine-tree smelling hops with just a hint of citrus (Chinook and Columbus hops add depth and are very expressive). The hops dance on a caramel body with a decent amount of toasty biscuit and roasted chocolate flavors. It’s very expressive and also clean thanks to the lack of esters from the very transparent American yeast strain. Enough of the smelling already, how’s about a sip? Well, the beer tastes wonderful! The two biggest components of the Cascadian Dark Ale or Black IPA style (prominent Northwest Hops and roasted malt) work well together. This is a flavor bomb, very hoppy with notes of pine and grapefruit. The malt is sweet with a touch of roast, and the overall taste is bitter but not too unbalanced. The only big flaw of this beer was the slightly excessive carbonation. A Black IPA should have just a touch of creaminess and this misses that mark from the bottle, but the body is substantial. I was fortunate enough to also enjoy this on tap at the Beer Engine, and I found the carbonation from the draft version to be quite creamy. The finish is bitter and lingering. This beer will be a ton of fun to enjoy the next few weeks. I’ve loved this style since Stone’s XI anniversary ale, now reincarnated as Sublimely Self Righteous, and I consider that beer the benchmark of the style. While a few others (Southern Tier’s Iniquity, for example) are just a touch more perfect than this, Buckeye has thrown their hat in the ring with a very nice tasting beer!
Does Bobby Like Buckeye Brewing India-Style Black Ale?
Buckeye Brewing Witless
Time for round two. OK, this was actually sampled before the Black IPA, as any beer tasting with different styles should have the less flavorful and less bitter beers earlier in the sitting. Witless Looks OK in the glass. It is cloudy and orange with some golden touches around the edges. A small ring of head is left after just a short time. It really has poor head retention for a Witbier – the best beers in the style tend to have huge, rocky heads that look like meringue. The smell starts to make up for the average appearance with some familiar scents of coriander, orange peel, and a touch of lemon. There’s a slight tartness from the yeast, and the spicy coriander (and a touch of clove) are there but aren’t expressive enough to warrant a higher praise for its smell. The taste also has the requisite, traditional flavors of orange and coriander. There’s just a touch of white pepper and lemon peel keeping this both interesting and refreshing. However, in the end, the taste of Witless leaves me wanting more; the best Witbiers of the world leave such powerful and well-defined flavors and this just can’t hang on that stage. For a truly magical Belgian Witbier experience, I recommend Allagash White, Southampton Double White Ale, or the amazing St. Bernardus Blanche. That’s not to say drinking this beer isn’t a pleasurable experience. I certainly encourage Belgian beer lovers to try it for themselves. The beer does feel nice in my mouth, with its sparkling carbonation, creamy medium body, and dry finish with just a touch of chalk. A decent beer but nothing extraordinary. If this beer went to South Beach, I don’t think anyone in Cleveland would follow.
Does Bobby Like Buckeye Brewing Witless?
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