In truth, I’ve been laid out these last few weeks with the flu, and this has effected my ability to sample beer. Luckily, I’ve been backlogged with a number of samples that I tried back in September, and just needed to provide a complete write up on. Two such samples were part of my ongoing campaign to drink all the beer that’s been coming up from the south of late. This time out, both come from the great state of Washington!
Diamond Knot Brown Ale:
This is my second sampling from the Diamond Knot brewery. And much like the first, I was not terribly impressed with it. While it is certainly an inoffensive and decent enough American-style brown ale, it was a little on the light side, and had a rather strange flavor profile. This became evident with the smell first, which consisted of nicely toasted malts, a hint of sweetness, and then a strange herbal aroma that put me in mind of Jagermeister. And then the taste, which was lacking in the dark malt flavor department and instead was slightly sour, tangy, and quite light. Only in the aftertaste did I detect the telltale signs of chocolate and coffee that are common to this variety. And by then, I had lost a lot of interest.
Appearance: Deep brown/amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Mild sugars, toasted malts, trace herbal essence reminiscent of Jagermeister
Taste: Mild tang, mild sourness, slightly toasted malt flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering sourness, hint of cocoa and coffee
Skagit River Gospel IPA:
This second installment from the Skagit River brewery did better. As a special release IPA, the Gospel is certainly comparable to the Scullers, in that it boasts a good mix of strong malts, a highly respectable dose of floral, citrusy hops and weights in at a respectable 7.4% alc/vol (just slightly stronger than the Sculler). However, I marked it down slightly from its predecessor in that the hop bite tends to obscure the malts when you taste it. While you can certainly smell a good, syrupy malt base in this beer, its really not discernible on the tongue. What’s more, the hop bitterness can be a little too much all the way through. Citrus fruit is appealing, but citrus rind? Not so much.
Appearance: Light amber, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong floral and citrus aroma, good malts and sugars
Taste: Strong citrus bite, notes of grapefruit and citrus rind
Aftertaste: Strong and lingering bitterness with plenty of citrus rind