Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Bad, The Confusing, And The Underwhelming

The summer did not consist of all good beers.  At some point I had to have a few clunkers or misfires.  Here are the three beers I struggled over:

I hate Monk's Cafe Sour.  I tried it several years ago and did not care for it, but I know people like this beer, so earlier this summer I tried it again to see if my initial impression was wrong.  No, I was right the first time.  Monk's Cafe Sour is too sweet for my taste, and worse, I did not find it that sour.  It was unpleasant and hard to drink from start to finish, a finish that came before the bottom of the bottle.  If you are new to sour beers avoid Monk's Cafe Sour and get one made by Russian River, or The Lost Abbey, or nearly any brewery other than the one that made Monk's Cafe Sour. 

I didn't get Stone's Quadrotriticale.  I was bored by its blandness.  It wasn't a bad beer, and maybe I don't understand what Stone is attempting with its Stochasticity Project, but a 9.3% Belgian-style quadrupel should have had more complexity.  It is an easy drinking beer, which is always positive, but I found it dull.  I probably need to try Quadrotriticale again in a proper frame of mind.

I was disappointed with Modern Times' Phalanx IPA.  This beer was released for Modern Times' One-Year Anniversary Party in early July, and I tried it on tap at the brewery a few days after the celebration.  I found it overly malty and not that hoppy, a bad combination for an IPA.  I tasted candy or medicinal flavors, like children's cough syrup.  Modern Times used an Australian hop variety with which I was unfamiliar (Australian Summer hops).  I'm alright with trying new hop varietals, but different for the sake of being different can backfire.  Different needs to taste good, not just different.  Remember the first time tasting a Nelson hop beer?  Different and delicious.  I think I read that for the bottle-version of Phalanx, Modern Times toned down the malt and upped the hops.   If read that right, this beer needs a re-try.

I don't like panning a beer from a new brewery like Modern Times, especially since it's in my community, but it needs to hear the bad with the good.  (It's new saison, Universal Friend, is excellent.)  I'll try Phalanx IPA again and post whether my first impression needs updating.

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