Monday, October 25, 2010

Slaking the Relentless Thirst

I like beer. That may be a fairly obvious statement given that I write a blog about beer, drink beer and brew my own beer, not to mention working in a brewery tasting room. Rarely does a day go by when I don't think about, read about or wonder about something to do with beer.

Of the many things I like about beer, possibly the best aspect is meeting other beery people. Since Mrs Velkyal and I left the loveliness of LagerLand for the United States of Ale, we have been fortunate to meet many fellow travellers in the beer world. Of those fellow travellers, Eric Delia, author of the Relentless Thirst blog, has been one of the highlights.

Recently Eric and his future wife came up to Charlottesville from Richmond and we met up in the Starr Hill tasting room and then went for some food and beer at Beer Run. I came prepared with home brew for Eric to take away and try, some of which he is blogging about today. A week later, when passing through Richmond from Williamsburg, we met up again for food and beer, and Eric gave me some bottles of his home brew, about which I will write about now.

The first bottle I popped open was his dunkelweizen, although just as with mine, Eric thinks of it more as a wheat porter or stout. As you can see from the picture, it is certainly very very dark, pitch black would be an apt description really. Unlike a stout though, the dunkelweizen was very well carbonated, that head remained until the end of the beer and there were constant streams of bubbles refreshing the head. The nose was quite roasty, in particular a roasted coffee aroma, though in the background there were floral hop traces. Drinking the beer confirmed the stout/porter thing, up front was caramel and coffee, but as the beer warmed a dark chocolate note came to the fore. The body was quite velvety despite the weizen style carbonation, and all in all this was a very good beer. I would be happy to have more. Given the similarities to my own dunkelweizen, the beer gave me an idea to re-seed my next batch of dunkelweizen with brett and see where that takes the beer.

Next up was Eric's pale ale, which judging from the cloudiness of the beer I left in the fridge too long, or wasn't as careful in my pouring as I should have been. The beer itself though was amber, topped with the thin white head you can see in the picture. I have to admit here that I was expecting this to be a typical American full on assault on the olfactory glands, you know the kind of thing, grapefruit, grapefruit and well, more grapefruit. What I got was a nice balance of citrus, floral and a spicy notes, no one of them overpowering the others, but creating a whole which was very pleasant. In the mouth, there was a nice malty sweetness than balanced out the hop bite, and even a slightly fruity thing going on. I liked it immensely. Again a good beer to sit in the pub and drink all night whilst putting the world to rights. (I am starting to think that is my key criteria when evaluating a beer, could I drink this all night in the pub?).

I left the most intriguing beer to last. The dark amber delight you see in the picture is a chilli pepper beer, an ingredient I don't recall having ever had in a beer before. The nose was fragrant hops to begin with, kind of herbal in you like, but as the beer warmed up the chilli really started to be more and more noticeable. The same could be said of drinking the beer, out of the traps was a malty sweetness tinged with pepper, but as time passed the pepper came to the fore, but without being too much. The more I drank the warmer the chilli effect became, and I liked it a lot. The body of the beer was very smooth, almost oily, I imagine from the use of chilli peppers. Fascinating and very tasty drinking.

3 very good beers from a singularly excellent person.


  1. Oh wow. Now I'm really thirsty. I'm really intrigued by that chili beer; I can't say that I've yet had a decent beer made with chilis. More's the pity, since I love spicy food.

  2. Looks like a few good brews. Chili peppers can be a great addition to a beer. Did you ever get a chance to try that bottle of my Chili Pepper Lager?

  3. It is still in the fridge - I am planning to drink your last two bottles this weekend and write about them next Monday.

  4. Glad you enjoyed them! The pepper beer actually had mesquite honey in there as well, which maybe lent some aromatics and sweetness to that one. I was hoping it wouldn't be too overpowering with spice/heat, so I'm glad that came through without being too aggressive.

    Great trading with you. We'll have to do this again some time, hopefully sooner rather than later - or at the very least a pint at the local!

  5. Would be great if there was a decent pub somewhere half way between Richmond and CVille!


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