I’ve tried a lot of beers in my short time on this odd little planet (ales, lagers, stouts, porters, helles, weizens, lambics, pilsners, wheat-beers, marzens, altbiers, kolschs, steam-beers, spice-beers, sommerbraus, and even vegetable beers), but this is by far the weirdest.
My friend Justin bought me this beer as a companion to his wedding gift: a metallic cat that holds large bottles in a manner most fanciful. It is a pretty kickass present.
This beer came in an unusual bottle. Tall, thick brown glass, with a capacity of 750ml. It seems odd to package 1.562 pints in a bottle, but perhaps that is a custom in this “Napa Valley” place advertised across the bottom of the label.
The first thing I noticed about the beer was its odd, red color. It almost has a purple hue in the right light, if you hold the glass up to a a lightbulb and tilt your head a little bit. Short of some cranberry lambics or highly fruited beers, I’ve never had a really red beer until now.
I was a bit startled when this beer hit my tongue and it had no carbonation. I thought it odd that the beer had absolutely no head as I poured it into my glass. I’ve had small-batch cask conditioned ales that had very little carbonation, but never a beer that was completely void of bubbles entirely. It made for an odd drinking experience that was admittedly not very beer-like.
It smelled just like old-grapes. I didn’t detect any of the subtle flowery notes or spices of any kind. I really started to wonder about the veracity of this recipe.
The flavor was buttery and fruity, but I did not detect any level of malt or hops. It seems odd that a brewer would be so judicious with the two main ingredients of a beer, but I am not one to dismiss creativity for the sake of creativity. Maybe this is a new take on an old classic? I’m not sure.
About halfway through my second pint, I noticed that I was very drunk. Although it didn’t taste it, this beer was very high in alcohol: 13.5%, I would later find out. I’m usually pretty tolerant of the alcohol levels in beer, but have to admit that this particular brew rocked my world until it was spinning aggressively when I closed my eyes.
I woke up the next day with an incredible headache. I can’t imagine how anyone could drink more than one of these beers.
It did taste good though, despite its unorthodox ingredients and presentation.
Would drink again. But less next time.
9 out of 10.