Mixed Pack #2 - Tasting Notes
by Ryan Fernandes, Night Shift Beer Educator + Certified Cicerone
For this mixed pack, I wanted to pick four beers that could go really well with summer activities whether it be a post gardening beer, grilling/smoking meats, or with smores by the fire. I would drink them in the following order:
What Day Is It? – Kellerbier 5.1% ABV
Kellerbier is a shorter conditioned lager meant to be drank fresh or straight from “Cellar”. Keller is German for Cellar. The shorter condition time creates a hazier look while also having a little more heft on the palate and hop aroma. We are also using a unique hop called Nelson Sauvin which is a New Zealand hop that has a unique fruitiness that is most similar to white wine grapes. We are also using a noble Czech hop called Saaz to add a floral, spicy complexity to the beer. For this beer, I really enjoy the lighter malt expressions as we are only using Pilsner and Vienna giving flavors of honey, biscuit with a pop of floral and lemon citrus notes from the hop selection.
Walk The Dinosaur – Farmhouse Ale 6.7% ABV
Farmhouse/Saison has had a recent resurgence in the past decade due to the blank canvas and lack of style guidelines and the curiosity of a lot of American brewers. Generally, with a farmhouse ale, they are yeast driven beers meaning the fermentation byproducts ester and phenol. Esters tend to be fruity; one beer style that it is noted for is a German-Style Hefeweizen which has a Banana character to it. Phenols tend to be spicy not in the sense of heat but in the spice cabinet with clove and pepper spice. For Walk the Dinosaur we brewed with Pilsner Malt, flaked wheat with a touch of Saaz and Huell Melon hops. I really enjoy the fruity character that comes off this beer with sweet banana and lemon zest character while remaining very light and dry on the palate.
Proud – Double Dry-Hopped Pale Ale 6.4% ABV
For our hoppy option, we have our latest pale ale Proud. Hops are a cool agricultural product where they are similar to wine grapes and have a sense of “terroir”. So you can have the same hop breed and plant it in different soil conditions and you will get a different flavor profile. In over simplification New World hops from Australia and New Zealand tend to be more tropical fruit-forward in aroma and flavor while American hops lean into citrus and pine-like character. For Proud we are using three hops, Ella, an Australian aroma hop, Citra an American aroma hop, and New Zealand Cascade which is a dual purpose (it recently changed its name to Taiheke). The New Zealand Cascade is cool just because Cascade hops are some of the OG hops from North America known for their punchy grapefruit and pine character while the New Zealand variant has a softer tropical fruit character. We tried packing as much hop aroma into the beery by double dry-hopping the beer. I found this beer to be super unique I was getting sweet watermelon notes like watermelon bubblicious with some sharper lemon rind notes.
Night Fever- Imperial Stout with Chocolate and Night Shift Coffee 8% ABV
This is going to be one of our darker, malt-forward products where yeast and hops take a back seat and the grain shine. Roasted malted barley provides the backbone of flavor to beer and it provides the color as well. Similar to coffee we can have varying degrees of roast (lightly roasted to dark roasted coffee). There is a whole spectrum of flavor that can happen from caramel to the sharpest espresso. For this, we have a complex bouquet of grain from 2-row barley malt, flaked barley, Pale Chocolate malt, Debittered Black Malt, C-60, and Roasted Barley. With adding darker grains we’re adding more roast character to the beer just from the grain selection. But we wanted to double down on the flavor intensity so we added dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee to beer about 48 hours before packaging. The dark roasted coffee is actually roasted by ourselves from Night Shift Coffee. We were using Colombian coffee that is part of our Lovejoy Coffee Blend. But by adding all this we are intensifying the beer. Flavor notes that I get Coffee Ice Cream, Baker’s Chocolate, and Dark Caramel.