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Beer Review: Morimoto and Bourbon County

morimoto-black-obi-soba-labelI'm going to take a departure from my usual M.O. with this post. I will be reviewing 2 beers I recently picked up that were so damn good I just had to write about them. The first one is from the Rogue brewery (great name, huh?) in Newport, Oregon. First off, let me tell you that any beverage with a celebrities name on it I tend to shy away from, be it beer OR wine. Rogues new Morimoto Black Obi Soba Ale is an exception to that rule, and being a huge Morimoto fan my curiosity got the best of me and I HAD to try it. I was not disappointed. It claims to have roasted Soba in it, but that seems to be a supporting character to the 6 different malts and the 4 different hops used in this wonderfully nutty and crisp offering. Nutty and slightly sweet right up front, pleasant floral hoppiness in the middle, bright and well balanced clean bitter/sweet finish, with a mild nose of pure Caramel and Carafa malts and a faint smokiness. You barely notice the 30 IBU and at 36 degrees Lovibond the color is a gorgeous deep, rich, nutty, reddish brown. The slightly mild carbonation makes the medium bodied mouth feel that much smoother. This beer would pair well with any mushroom based dish, grilled or roasted red meats or pork, spiced duck, dark berries, Butterkase and aged White Cheddar cheeses, and chocolate. Rogue brewery has rarely disappointed me, though sometimes they do tend to get a little out there, but this may be one of they're most well rounded libations yet. It goes for around $7 - $8 for a 22oz. bottle, but it's money well spent for a beer enthusiast. bourbon-county-stout-newThe next beer is from Goose Island in Chicago, their 2009 Bourbon County Stout. This special run beer was surprising, to say the least. Goose Island makes good beer, but not usually mind-blowing. They've outdone themselves with this one. As the name implies, they age this stout in used Bourbon barrels, infusing the beer with the nose and flavor of that sweet, caramel heavy Kentucky whiskey. The nose hits you first, Bourbon, held up by the black barley scent typical of the style. Satin smooth mouth feel, and sweet Bourbon flavor right up front, bitterness from the heavily roasted malts in the middle, finishing with a heavy sweetness, hoppy bitterness, and the smell of Bourbon yet again as the fumes rise up through your nasal passages from the back of your throat. The heavy bitterness from both the black barley and the hops is well balanced by the sweetness. Lightly carbonated and almost syrupy with a whopping 13% alcohol, this sweet stout is purely a desert beer. Heavy, very sweet, but wildly complex, this beer would pair well with creme brulee, chocolates flavored with Raspberries, ganache, balsamic vinegar, peaches, granny smith apples, bleu and very sharp goat cheeses (Humboldt Fog comes to mind), or anything with enough balls and acidity to stand up to it. I wouldn't pair this with citrus, though. While citrus does have the acidity, citrus flavors are pretty mild and would get overpowered leaving you with just the acid cutting through. This is, however, a pricey one at around $14 per 22oz. bottle, but it's a rare treat for fans of the style, and fans of good Bourbon alike. 22 ounces is hard to get through on your own due to how heavy and sweet it is, so have a friend help you or serve it in small snifters after or during desert at a dinner party. I will endeavor to bring you new beer reviews in between my recipes, commentaries and rantings as I encounter inspiring new malty goodness. Until next I post, live well and drink better! Jack http://www.rogue.com/ http://www.gooseisland.com/