Parallel 49 Sahti Claws Finnish Sahti

p49sahti_clawsAnother seasonal beer has arrived in time for the holidays! And in true Parallel 49 fashion, their latest limited release is an interesting mix of brewing traditions, the likes of which I have tried only once before (that would be Odin’s Gift Juniper Pale Ale). It’s known as a Finnish Sahti, a Scandinavian style of beer that is made with rye, barley and juniper berries and served unfiltered. The good folks at P49 then added a dose of piney Chinook and Simcoe hops.

And of all their experimental brews, this is definitely one that works very well. The dose of piney hops are very complimentary to the crisp, bitter flavor provided by the rye and juniper. This is further complimented by the use of Pilsner, Munich, Crystal and Wheat malt, which provide a light, smooth backbone to it – which is surprising given its strength (7.7% alc/vol). It tops it all off with a smooth and creamy finish, and the cloudy, dark amber color is very appealing to the eye. Definitely a nice spin on the Sahti, combining this traditional style with some a little Pacific Northwest character.

Appearance: Dark amber, cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Piney hops, dry, crisp rye notes
Taste: Immediate tang, smooth malt, piney hops, strong bitterness of rye and juniper
Aftertaste: Mild and varied bitterness, creamy finish
Overall: 9/10

Holiday drinking has been good so far! In the coming weeks, I will be getting into that pack of Historic Scottish Ales, McAuslan’s 2013 Millennial Ale, and grabbing as many limited holiday releases as possible. ‘Tis the season, after all!

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Tuatara Double Trouble Extra-Dimensional APA

tuatara_logoQuite the mouthfull, isn’t it? Well, believe me when I say that nothing about this beer seems tame or conventional. In addition to a label that is designed to look like something that requires 3D glasses, this New Zealand brew and its patrons were clearly going for something overwhelming, yet nuanced, powerful, yet balanced.

Tuatara_DoubleTroubleAnd the style, IAPA, I can only assume means Imperial Australian Pale Ale, or possible Imperial American Pale Ale. Hard to say. All I know is, given its strength, maltiness, and extreme hoppy profile, this beer is essentially an Imperial IPA with a big twist!

But I digress… This beer came highly recommended from one of my buds at the beer store. Weighing in at a heft 9% alc/vol, and loaded with hops to the point that it ranks at a stunning 167 IBUs (most IPAs rank between 40 and 80). The varieties include Pacific Jade, Nelson Sauvin, and Simcoe hops to bitter the beer, then Zythos late in the boil for flavour and aroma, and then more Nelson Sauvin for the first dry-hop, followed by more Simcoe and Zythos a second dry-hop. And the result, as I said, is something truly multi-faceted and powerful, though not overwhelming.

Appearance: Deep orange/amber, cloudy, medium foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Very malty, syrupy nose, massive bouquet of citrus, pine, floral, tropical fruit
Taste: Sweet, slightly coarse malts, citrus fruit and rind, notes of pineapple and apricot
Aftertaste: Lingering bitterness and heavy malt flavor
Overall: 9/10

awards2012poster

Apparently, this brew also won a the silver medal for the 2012 Brewers Guild of New Zealand (BGNZ) Awards. This is just one of several medals collected by the brewery in 2012, but don’t expect them to brag about that much. For as they say on their website, no doubt with much irony: “Awards are just irrelevant wank for beer snobs. But dammit, somebody’s got to win them!”

My God… can you really say “wank” on a website? Apparently, they can! A good first sampling from this Kiwi brewery, and I will be looking for more. In addition to much foul language, their website would seem to indicate they have a rather full lineup. I will have to go searching for some very soon…