Friday, November 14, 2008
Walking into the store today I instantly knew what I was going to write about tonight... Dark Horse's return; Bourbon County 08; Eel River Brewing; the truckload of of new imports we got in today. I had it all pictured perfectly in my head... Until a little creature called Krampus whacked me on my skull with his beatin' stick.
Krampus, the creature of legend, is a fanged, goat-horned nasty so-and-so who hands out beatings at Christmastime to all naughty children by way of stick and chain. Krampus, the beer, is an Imperial Helles Lager from the Southern Tier Brewing Company. At first this beer posed a problem to me... why the hell would anyone imperialize a lager? Lagers are all about subtlety. Let the magic of the lager yeast, mellow malt, grassy and slightly zesty hops do their thing. Why the need to throw tons of hops at it and make it 9%? Then I tasted it and found out why... because it' freakin' delicious! Surprised the hell out of me.
The nose is loaded with bright, citrusy and resiny hops. A bit of cut, fresh flowers and a touch of kitchen cabinet spice... Plenty of sweeter malt to balance the bright hops. Flavor tastes almost like a Double IPA. Bitter, floral, grassy and grapefruity hops assert themselves over a decent sweeter malt base. The biscuity flavors of the Munich malt shine through mid-palate and the floral and slightly soapy hops assert themselves on the finish.
This beer pretty much redefined my opinion of what a Helles Lager can be.
This is the first time Southern Tier has brewed this beer and it is their interpretation of a Winter Warmer. It's not going to be around for too much longer though... like all of their other seasonal beers, it is sure to fly off our shelves.
Get Krampused now... before he gets you with his beatin' stick!