Friday, January 7, 2011

Beer Review: S1NIST0R Black Ale

S1NIST0R Black Ale
10 Barrel Brewing Co.
Bend, OR.
Dark ale, Swarzbier style
5.3% ABV(stated on bottle)

Color/appearance: Pours a very dark brown with a ruby red tinge bordering the outer edge as you look at the beer in a lamp light. A much lighter head formed than I anticipated, almost bright white. Holding the beer up to a fluorescent light you definitely get the solid black color. A thick lacing coats the inner portion of the glass as I swirl it gently. That says a lot about the makeup of the beer and my glass, it means it is clean and residue free!

Aroma: Right away I get that note of chocolate on the nose and sort of a licorice scent that comes with it. The licorice, which is pretty mild, might be a roasty type character, but I can't quite pinpoint it and it certainly doesn't smell bad! I definitely don't pick up any coffee like roast, but there seems to be a hint of spiciness to it and an earthy hop character that lays low.

Taste: Smooth and spicy as it hits my palate, exciting my taste buds. Kind of leans towards the dry side with a medium body feel. It does not have that bitter roast character that you would normally find in stouts and some porters, but I do sense a combination of toffe, chocolate, and that licorice note again. Black licorice to be exact. I am thinking that the licorice flavor might be from a special malt, perhaps, and I would guess that there is a de-bittered type of black malt used in this beer, which would explain the avoidance of roasty flavors.

Last April, 2010, I was fortunate enough to take my family on a week long trip up to Bend, Oregon. It was kind of a birthday present to myself and I chose Bend because I had been there once before and just couldn't get over the beauty of the town and the welcoming attitude of the people. Did I mention there are some great breweries, brewpubs and restaurants in town?! 10 Barrel happens to be one of them and their new brewpub was just a short couple of blocks away from where we were staying. They had just opened the place about  two months prior to our visit, and for being in an off-peak season, the brewpub was jam packed every night. They have a nice patio area behind the restaurant with a good size fire pit and bench where people can gather around on chilly evenings with a beer in hand while waiting for a table. We quickly found out why this place was packed every night! The food and service was excellent, and of course the beer, which I had a number of. I was able to pick up a few bottles at a local market in town to take home with me, knowing I would post at least one of them on here. When I cracked this S1NIST0R Black Ale open it brought those memories back of our trip to Bend and standing around the warm fire in the back patio sipping on this liquid goodness. Check out their website, I highly recommend a stop at the 10 Barrel Brewpub if you ever plan to visit Central Oregon.


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