A weekend made of an early family Christmas in Wilkes-Barre, PA and a night game of Eagles football viewed at a local brewery didn’t yield a lot of high profile Untappd (DrewsBrewsReviews) check-ins, but I had a few good ones this week. I shuttled some recent favorites up with me, Big Lushious and Bourbon County Stout, and hit my favorite local beer place, Sabatini’s Pizza, for whatever treasures lurk in their two fully stock coolers. This time, Sabatini’s was beyond my expectations as I got a personal tour of their amazing beer storage area and I’ll be reviewing the fruits of this trip in the coming weeks. Huge thanks to Lindo for showing me around and selling me some extremely rare beers. But that’s for another week. Here’s last weeks best:
The Bruery – 7 Swans-A-Swimming
Original Comment: Peaty raisin, plum, astringent alcohol aroma, soft, dark, dark fruit, toffee,not quite candied sugar sweet, dry, plum finish, no heat at all
Additional Comment: This is a case where sticking to the traditional elements of a style, in this instance a Quad, yielded some pretty great results. There isn’t huge depth past the layered sweet of plum, raisin, dark fruits, and toffee malt, but it’s a tasty sweet that isn’t cloying. Not a lot beyond the traditional Quad flavors, but also not a lot of heat. As a matter of fact, this hid the 11% ABV completely. No hot coal in the stomach, no chest warming, and no real indication of alcohol beyond the heavier mouth feel. Smooth, straightforward Quad that tastes as if it already has a few years on it. Good stuff and reasonably priced ($14).
Deschutes – Zarabanda
Original Comment: Belgian yeast, bubblegum, citrus, pear aroma, soft mf,bread, dry apple/pear mid, slightly tangy lime finish. Quite refreshing and tasty
Additional Comment: This is more Belgian than Saison and clearly not for the barnyard funk and hay bale crowd, but it turns out that’s ok. I think the high marks came more from it’s refreshing qualities of apple, pear, and tangy lime resting on a soft piece of liquid bread rather than it being an expertly crafted Saison. I didn’t get much of the unnecessarily obscure ingredients (no idea what the pink peppercorn added), but the end result is a positive one, especially for $11.
Bear Republic – Racer X
Location: Sabatini’s Pizza
Original Comment: Early Christmas with family and one my absolute favorite DIPAs.
Additional Comment: I didn’t have much to say on Racer X as I’ve had it a number of times and it’s become more a drinking not thinking beer for me. I included it here more for the picture and my love for its juicy ways. The near perfect emphasis of toasty orange juice and just the right about of boozy tang makes it one of the best sub $10 DIPAs (bomber sized) you can find not brewed by Lagunitas. Typically, I give this a higher rating, but the bottle might have seen just a touch of age (doubtful given the level of respect Sabatini’s has for beer) or the batch was a little different as the bitterness was harsher than usual and the orange juice more subdued. Whatever the case, it’s a delicious beer that I will buy any time I see it.