Sunday, April 10, 2011

COOP Ale Works: The Tour Continued

Yesterday, I blogged about out tour of COOP Ale Works Brewery in OKC. Today, as promised, I am going to tell you a little about their beers.

I was surprised how different the COOP Ale beers were, both from each other and from other beers I had tasted. Blake the brewmaster, told us that most of the flavor comes from the yeast, the type and the amount used in brewing. Most large scale breweries use one kind of yeast. COOP Ale regularly used 3 kinds.

Horny Toad 5.3% ABV

This was the first up. I'd had this one before. It's very light in color and taste, crisp and clean. If you like light beers this one was good.

Zeppelin Wheat 5.6% ABV

COOP describes this one as having "notes of clove and banana along with hints of spice." It was yummy, and if you like something not dark, but a little beer-y-er, I'd suggest trying this one.

Native Amber 6.3% ABV

So yum. This was our third taste and instantly my favorite of the batch to this point. If you like Ambers, you'll like this. At this point in the tasting, I was really hit by how different the beers were from other similar styles of beer.

DNR 10.0% ABV

This was surprisingly light in color and surprisingly sweet. Obviously, the high alcohol level makes it a big hit in the bars. It was really tasty too, though.

Gran Sport Porter 5.4% ABV

I don't usually drink porters, so I didn't quite know what to expect. Blake told us it would be "very chocolaty" and it was. It was more like drinking a chocolate drink than a beer. It was so tasty, but I don't think I could sit around sipping this during a football game. It was more of an after-dinner dessert drink, in my opinion.

F5-IPA 7.7 ABV

This one really tasted like no other beer I'd tried before. It's very tart and actually tastes a lot like grapefruit juice. This was another favorite because it was so unusual. It helps that I really like tart flavors.

Finally, we got to sample a mistake, an experiment, an amazing limited edition. The Farmhouse Ale started life as a batch of Zeppelin, but when they finished fermenting it wasn't quite right. Evidently, even the smallest variation in the yeast and other microbe balance can really change the beer's flavor. They call these sour beers or wild beers. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen. Sometimes, brewers even do this on purpose.

They were going to dump it, but Brewmaster Blake thought the beer "had potential." He rounded up some extra barrels to age it and added tart cherries to the mix. The result is awesome. Our friend Matt said it was the best fruit-flavored beer he'd ever tasted and I agree. You really taste the cherries, but it's a tart fresh cherry kind of flavor, not a sticky sweet cherry flavor.

Farmhouse will be in a few local pubs by the end of the week, RePubLic and Drunken Fry, along with a few others, will have it. There is only one batch, though. For now, when it's gone it's gone forever. Blake has sent a sample off to the lab to try and reproduce the yeast variant that produced it. Keep your fingers crossed for him!

No comments: