Get to Know: Maestro

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Get to Know: Maestro

maes • tro

/’mīstrō/
noun

            a distinguished musician, especially a conductor of classical styles

In the beer world, it’s hard to find a style more classic than a barleywine. We’re all for respecting the classics here at Alesong, and that’s why with this release we are offering a new version of a beer we first released a couple of years ago: Maestro, our bourbon-barrel aged Barleywine. Deriving their name from a higher than average alcohol content (not dissimilar to that of wine), Barleywines have earned a place as the dean of beer styles. The style originated in England, and the first commercially-named example was packaged by the famous Bass & Co in 1903. Strong, malty and complex, Barleywines tend to age very well.  In fact, many of these robust ales were originally aged in wooden casks like we do at Alesong, lending to their unique complexities.

British Barleywines are typically very malty sweet, while American versions, as is typical with most US styles, become very hoppy and often lean toward bitter.  This hop character, while almost Double IPA-like at first, ages out over time to a complex balancing act.  So, where does Maestro fall on the British vs American Barleywine Spectrum? We're pretty much settled into the middle.  We add enough hops for balance, and to make sure the beer doesn't overwhelm with sweetness,  but really want the malt to be the star of the show.  After aging in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for nearly a year, any modest amounts of hops we have added are fairly faded. 

In the barrel, Maestro picked up aromas of toffee, vanilla and spice which play well over the sweet, caramel-like malt flavors. This full-bodied ale is certainly big enough to keep you warm through winter’s bitter end.

Cheers!

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Get to Know: Kriek

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Get to Know: Kriek

It’s no secret that we take inspiration from Belgian Lambic brewers here at Alesong, and this quarter we’re sending a humble nod to their practices and releasing our own take on the classic Belgian Kriek. Kriek, deriving its name from the Flemish word for cherry, is a style that indicates a refermentation on cherries where the additional sugars from the fruit send the beer through another cycle of fermentation. Thus, leaving the beer with the essence and flavor of the fruit without the added sweetness.

Our Kriek started from our Lambic inspired base (slightly tart and dry with a good dose of unmalted wheat) aged in French Oak barrels. After barrel aging we introduced two varietals of cherries for refermentation: sweet Lambert cherries that we got hold of from Detering Orchards up the road, and Montmorency cherries from another local grower providing powerful tartness. Initially, we introduced these cherries to the beer separately in two blends, but after some methodic blending trials, we decided the balanced character we got from the two varietals together yielded a much better beer.  

What came to fruition is a brilliant red beer —most of the color coming from the addition of the Lambert cherries— with a tart cherry profile and underlying notes of vanilla and a subtle spiciness from the barrels. Grab a glass of this Kriek after from our February 17th release, and put the final cherry on top of your day.

Cheers!

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Get to Know: Mocha Rhino Suit

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Get to Know: Mocha Rhino Suit

There are few things in this world that pair together as well as coffee and chocolate. Throw some beer into the mix, and what you have is a winning trio. That’s why this winter, we’re bringing back one of our most celebrated Rhinos to date! Mocha Rhino Suit was first released back in 2017 and we haven’t forgotten just how well those velvety layers of chocolate intermingle with the roasty flavors of the coffee and malts. The decadent beer won us over, and we find ourselves thinking of it often (i.e., every morning when we wish our morning coffee was just a little more potent, not that we would ever indulge before noon…).

This beer started from our typical Rhino Suit process— we brewed an imperial stout with the addition of lactose (a sugar non-fermentable by yeast) resulting in a the rich and creamy beer that we all know is Rhino Suit. We then threw it in freshly emptied Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels —our bourbon of choice for these stouts— to mature for 10 months and worked with the local artisans over at Slightly Coffee and Chocolate Alchemy in Eugene to hand-select the freshly roasted coffee and cocoa beans to finish it off! What comes together are velvety layers of bourbon, vanilla and coconut that marry with dark cocoa and coffee flavors for a decadent treat any time of day.

Cheers!

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Winter Release 2019!

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Winter Release 2019!

We could all use a little something to keep us going through these grey winter days, and our next release couldn’t be a better highlight to keep us excited! On February 17th, we will be releasing four new beers and hosting a release party for our membership at the tasting room. We dove into our archive this release to bring back some Alesong favorites, worked on an awesome collaboration, and of course brought fruit to the party! Here’s what we’ve got on beer line-up this February:

  • Mocha Rhino Suit– A blend of imperial stouts aged over 10 months in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels and finished on hand-selected and freshly roasted coffee and cacao beans from the local artisans at Slightly Coffee Roasters and Chocolate Alchemy. Velvety layers of vanilla and coconut marry with dark cocoa and roasty coffee flavors for a decadent treat any time of day.

  • Maestro– Barley wine ales have often been considered the dean of beer styles, and our Maestro is no exception. Aged in freshly emptied Heaven Hill bourbon barrels, this oak-forward leader crescendos from first sip to last. Toffee, vanilla, and spice aromas lead the band and a balanced sweet, caramel-like malt flavor rounds out this full-bodied ale.

  • Kriek– Robed in bright vermillion and with an aroma reminiscent of fresh cherry pie, our Kriek is a humble nod to Belgian Lambic brewers who craft these tart, fruity and complex beers.  Ours was matured with a blend of two Oregon-grown cherry varietals that burst from the glass to provide a luscious, sweet and sour experience.

  • Friend in Commons– Our first of two collaborations with The Commons Brewery  (look for the next one in May) resulted in this tart, mixed-culture farmhouse ale matured for nearly two years and then dry hopped with Citra.  Friend in Commons is a ‘beetje’ tribute to the wonderful folks at The Commons. If you know, you know.

As always, these beers will be released in conjunction with a celebration for our members at our tasting room.  From 12-6pm on 2/17 we will have tastings of each of the new beers paired with delicious small bites, and live music from David Helfand.  Beers will also be released online to our mailing list a few weeks prior to the event, and the only way to get into the party without being a member is to order at least 6 bottles from the presale. Remaining inventory will be released in our tasting room and to our accounts the following week.  

New this quarter, we are also hosting an intimate pairing dinner only for interested Blender’s Circle members the evening prior to the release. February 16th, members who purchase tickets in advance will enjoy 5 courses and 6 beers throughout the night. The dinner will also serve as an opportunity for members to pick up their February club shipment early.

Stay tuned for our release email coming the week of January 28th, and keep checking back here for the run down on each of these new beers!

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Ciao Trattoria Pairing Dinner Recap

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Ciao Trattoria Pairing Dinner Recap

Last month, we partnered with Chef Dave Lucht at Ciao Pizza Trattoria to create a six course beer dinner where each course was thoughtfully paired with one of our beers, accentuating and complementing the flavors in both the beer and the food! As we continue with these regular dinners, we love seeing so many people show up to take part in the delicious and educational events and really hope to demonstrate beer’s potential to pair with food. Between the complex array of flavors, varying levels of acidity and carbonation, there’s so much to play with!  So this holiday season, show up to your festive dinners with a bottle of beer in tow instead of wine and shock everyone with how well the flavors pair with the meal!   

And if you haven't been able to attend one yet, watch our social media and newsletter for the announcement of the next pairing dinner! 

The six courses featured:

1. Smoked Oysters w/ Alesong White this unique and briny delicacy paired amazingly with the subtle spicy flavors of the Alesong white. The crisp finish of the beer was perfect to wash down the tang of the oysters. 

2. Sorrel Salad tossed in spruce tip vinaigrette w/ Visions — the mild tartness and flavors of melon and citrus in the beer complemented the pickled kiwi berries of the sorrel salad while the spicy microgreens offered a balance to the tart fruit characteristics. 

3. Beet and potato ravioli w/ Touch of Brett: Mandarina — paired with the dense earthiness  of the beet and potato, the bright citrusy character of this beer was just right to add some contrast. We love how the tropical and spicy aromas from brett fermentation in this beer cut through the heavy and full flavors of the hopped-butter tossed raviolis. 

4. Porchetta & celeriac puree w/ Pomme —the earthy apple flavors of Pomme combined with the smoky Italian roast pork in a classic pairing while the mild acidity of the beer cut through the richness of the pork..

5. Sgroppino 75 w/ French 75 — by combining lemon sorbet, gin and French 75 this Sgroppino was the perfect palate cleanser to prepare us for the dense flavors to come. The botanicals in the French 75 were highlighted by the addition of gin, while the lemon sorbet gave the drink a creamy feel that washed over our entire palate. 

6. Stout Ciocolatto w/ Vanilla Rhino Suit — The layers of almond cake, hazelnut gianduja, chocolate mousse, and ganache in this Ciocolatto from Excelsior Bakery were the perfect pair to complement the deep cocoa and vanilla profiles of our vanilla rhino suit. Together, the sweet flavors in the cake and the beer came in smooth velvety harmony that left us savoring every bite like it was our last.  

Click through the gallery to see some of our captures from the evening!

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