Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut…
It’s that weird in-between time of the year where the crazy holiday hubbub is well in the rearview mirror, but the weather is still just a bit too questionable to start doing anything too Spring-like. Luckily, beer doesn’t care what the weather does(or doesn’t) do. Here are a couple of great, uniquely nutty-flavored beers that I stumbled across while perusing the shelves at Northwest Liquid Gold. NWLG is a favorite bottle shop and taproom of mine, that I love for their unique and eclectic selection of beers that I don’t find in other larger bottle shops.
Trap Door Brewing; Vancouver, Washington
Imperial Porter/ Double | 8.3% ABV | No IBUs
Trap Door Brewing has four generations of beer industry experience to lend itself to their success. They opened in the fall of 2015 and still managed to be named the 2015 Startup of the Year by the Vancouver Business Journal… And things have only gone up from there as they were named Best Brewery of the Year in 2019 by the VBJ. They have earned gold and silver medals at such places as the Washington Beer Awards and the NABA International Beer Awards. All of this while growing from an 80 barrel operation when they first opened in 2015 to brewing over 1,100 barrels last year alone. A second location will be opening in Ridgefield, Washington later this year with a full restaurant, barrel aging facility, and fermentation room. Nut Tree is a nicely balanced beer made with candied nuts – as a tribute to the candied nut vendors at the Portland, Oregon Holiday Ale Festival where the beer debuted. One of my favorite things at many local holiday festivals and markets are fresh roasted, candied nuts, so when I saw the picture on the can at my local bottle shop, I knew I just had to give it a try. It starts out with a massive sweet, but nutty flavor with just a hint of bitter coffee in the middle, but the end… Oh, the end!…has all of the flavors you would expect from a handful of fresh candied nuts. The huge nutty flavor continues, but is joined by cinnamon and nutmeg, and a bit of vanilla to imbibe the candied flavor. And at the very, very end there is just a hint of salt that brings all of the other flavors together in a way that couldn’t be any more perfect. Though it is definitely more on the sweeter side as far as imperial porters go, there is a really good balance with just that hint of coffee in the middle.
Imperial Biscotti Break
Evil Twin Brewing; Ridgewood, New York
Imperial Stout/ Double | 11.5% ABV | 66 IBUs
The first time that I had ever heard of Evil Twin Brewing was at the 2019 Spring Vancouver Brewfest. The Spring Edition of the Vancouver Brewfest is a lot of fun because unlike with the Summer Edition there isn’t a lot of other things going on, the Spring Edition is one of the first outdoor brew fests of the year. Though the brew fest is under tents in anticipation of the very common rain that we associate with Spring here in the Pacific Northwest, more times than not, by mid-April, there are often at least sun breaks mixed in with the showers. We always go with a group of friends and we were drawn back to the Evil Twin Brewing taps many times by the delicious offerings they had. So when I saw this beer at a bottle shop, I knew that, given how well I liked their beer from the Brewfest last Spring, that I just had to give it a chance. The first sniff was very nutty with just a hint of a dark cherry and vanilla flavor… kind of like an amaretto… one I would really like to try, but the flavor develops into so much more. The first part of the sip was very coffee, with just a little malt to give it a biscuity flavor. The middle was kind of like a cinnamon roll with nuts on top… but without the cinnamon.(I know it sounds crazy, but imagine it.) It heads into a slightly dry, but bitter, dark chocolate note at the end… And then BAM!… Just when you think it is over, you get a warm mouth feel that reminded me of other beers that I have drank that tote some sort of spicy pepper. I did some searching on Evil Twin’s website and couldn’t find anything to indicate that there were any peppers in this beer, but somehow there…just at the very end… is just a hint of heat. There are so many flavors and depths to this beer, like so many other beers by Evil Twin, but I wish that there was just a little more sweet at the end with the heat. But as the saying goes… Wish in one hand, and…