11 February 2010

Beer Week: Three Beers From Three Floyds

More beer treasures thanks to the benevolence of Dave and Thomas Rickert and the occasional deliveries by the former. Cheers to you both, gents. Sláinte!

Three Floyds is an irreverent brewery based out of Munster, Indiana near Chicago. They've got a brewpub and a faithful following in the Midwest. I previously reviewed their Apocalypse Cow alongside some Sloppy Buffaloes, but was happy to try some other offerings.

Alpha King is the current flagship of the Three Floyds line, coming in at 6% abv and 66 IBUs in a standard 12 oz. bottle. It's a classic IPA, strong and bitter with a touch of orange peel. Tastes surprisingly like a fresh draft brew from a pub. The great part is that this is so light, smooth, and refreshing that it disappears quickly. I rarely quote directly from company tasting notes, but the information is important: "This ale is brewed with Centennial, Cascade, and Warrior hops giving it an intense citrus aroma and a crisp hoppy finish." Hell yes. My beer contains Warrior hops. Much like Conan, it knows what is best in life: "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women."

The Broo Doo was one that I kept laughing at, and The Roommate found terrifying. She's not cool with Troll Dolls, and I had to knock this one out early so it didn't sit too long in the fridge staring at her every time she reached for a Diet Coke. 7% abv, 80 IBUs, 22 oz. bottle.

Spicy, low on the bitter scale despite the high IBU rating, with an earth/wheat profile. Translucent with lots of suspended particles. Beautiful amber color, smooth drinking, with just a little bite of bitterness on the finish. This is a good example of how a heavily hopped beer doesn't necessarily have to be that bitter. Other elements came into play here, leading to a well-balanced beer. Though I have to admit that the label, a mix of 80s kitsch and Grateful Dead typography with just a dash of Barbie's Malibu Dream House, is not going to appeal to the average beer drinker or even the committed beer geek.

Lastly, I finally got the opportunity to try the Dark Lord, the most acclaimed of the Three Floyds beers and the one most likely to disappoint my childhood Sunday School teachers. The white wax indicates that this was the 2009 release. This 22 oz. bottle has a whopping 13% abv, putting it in the wine category for many states. If you are fortunate enough to get a bottle of this, hang onto it until you can enjoy it properly. While it needs to be served and consumed like a Port, it's not going to hold up as long once the bottle is opened. Grab two or three friends if necessary so you can enjoy it before the magic dissipates.

This is an Imperial Stout. I've reviewed a few of these, but if you are a newbie to the world of beer tasting, I will give you one bit of advice. When you are served your first Imperial Stout, SIT DOWN SHUT YOUR MOUTH ZIP YOUR LIPS AND LISTEN HARD. After the host has explained it to you, take a sniff and then sip it slowly.

Tasting notes: very Port-like in aroma, body, and flavor, but dark as molasses. There's an espresso and bitter chocolate flavor, with notes of raisins and spice. Sweet and thick, but balanced against the strong bitter elements in the hops. Definitely an after-dinner drink, and one that will require sharing and long contemplation. I can't imagine drinking a whole bottle by myself. Note that this is only sold from the physical brewery once a year, so it's a special, rare beer. I said similar things about the Ten Fidy on Monday, but this one is far sweeter, making the Port comparison even more apt.

Fun thing to do with this beer: when you're done and there's those last two or three drops clinging to the bottom of the glass, fill it full of water. You will now have a glass of liquid the same shade as Budweiser. That's how dark and concentrated this beer is. In its undiluted state it practically absorbs all light that comes near it.

After tasting through several beers in one day, I was staring at the Dark Lord label and wondered why the Russian word for beer was apparently Иуук. And I knew that the Russian word for "Russian" sounded nothing like "Kgyynft". It should be Русский, pronounced "Rooskie". SHENANIGANS! Somebody just used a Cyrillic font for the fake Russian here on the label. Though I will admit that this is somewhat less annoying than the standard N=И, R=Я laziness.

That's not a slam on Three Floyds or their graphic designers, hell, it's possibly just an intentional joke meant to irritate Russians in the Chicago area. Regardless of the quirky designs, these are seriously incredible beers that deserve critical attention and stand among the most impressive beers I've ever quaffed. Certainly check them out if you're in the area or if you've got a friend willing to do some cross-border smuggling for you.


fredric koeppel said...

wow, what a service you have provided today, among which is alerting us to the wonderful and quirky diversity of the state of brewing in the USA.

Benito said...


One more day to go, with a lengthy screed on the state of American brewing coming up!

We have a pretty good selection of beers here in Memphis--The Flying Saucer, Young Avenue Deli, and a few other places will give you access to hundreds of beers. There's not a lot that's brewed around here, with notable exceptions like Bosco's and Ghost River. For real fun try Denver, CO or Portland, OR.