August 2019 Preview Tasting Assorted Notes: 1) In case you've been living under a rock and somehow missed all other mentions, the Festivals of Dankness will be taking place 08/24 in San Diego and 08/31 in Portland. The VIP tickets for San Diego sold out entirely to League members, marking the first time that's ever happened for one of MT's major festivals. Hopefully, the first of many times. 2) As Steven and Leanne had previously mentioned, there will be Midnight of the Monsters-style events centered around the MT Ultra beers. Details on tickets should be coming this week, but we were told that every location except North Park will be holding an event (even Encinitas) and that most of them will be on Labor Day weekend. I didn't catch which location will be a couple weeks later. Keep an eye on your inbox, you won't want to miss that one. 3) Tentbier will be returning next month, once again in 19.2oz cans. They've been happy with the response to the lager releases so far. As long as we continue to purchase them, we can expect to see frequent releases of a variety of crushable styles. There's also been some talk of creative packages for lagers - 12packs, 18packs, etc. - but all of that is still in the conceptual stage. 4) More importantly, there will be a canned batch of Foeder Ice coming later this year. Start making space in your refrigerator now. Throw out those years-old condiments you never use. Get used to buying fewer vegetables. Perhaps even kick out your roommate/significant other/children so that their food isn't taking up valuable real estate. I can think of no better use for fridge space than cans of Foeder Ice. 5) Steven also teased a new batch of Cloud Daggers for later in the year. He seemed to wait until everyone had stopped asking questions, then would drop a nugget like that to spur interaction. I think the takeaway here is to sit in complete silence and let the teasers roll in. The Beers: 1) Lilliput Style: Kolsch-style Ale Score: 3.75 Notes: This was pretty much the ideal way to start a tasting on a warm Sunday afternoon - "just the job," as some might say. The aroma opens with a rich dose of honey, layered atop sweet, doughy biscuits. Pears and citrus follow while floral hops float around the background. The first sip reveals a far drier experience than the nose indicates. Crispy white bread gives way to lightly-candied lemon, herbal tea, hop-derived floral notes, and a faint grassy character. The discrepancy between the sweet aroma and dry flavor and body is a bit disconcerting but doesn't derail an otherwise quaffable crusher. 2) Star Projector: Tiki Edition Style: Mega-Berliner w/ Pineapple, Orange, Coconut, & Nutmeg Score: 3.25 Notes: For those who may not recognize the ingredients, this was inspired by the Painkiller, which - as Steven was all-too-eager to say repeatedly - is a trademarked name that belongs to Pusser's Rum. To pay tribute to what happens to be my favorite tiki drink - as well as a phenomenal Judas Priest song - they added 3 lbs/gallon pineapple and orange, 5 lbs/barrel coconut, and a touch of nutmeg to their 10% ABV mega-Berliner base. The nose opens with a quick hit of nutmeg before heavy coconut takes over, followed by juicy oranges and subtle pineapple. Not terribly acidic on the nose, thanks in large part to the heavy coconut. On the palate, pineapple and orange pulp hit first, followed by unsweetened coconut flesh and light nutmeg that never rises beyond a supporting role. A burst of acidity comes in on the finish, mingling with the pineapple and coconut to form a bit of a strange finish that lingers on the palate just a bit too long. The adjuncts don't come together in the intended fashion for me - I wouldn't call it bad, but it's disjointed and misses the mark. I'd love to try more cocktail-inspired sours - kettle or barrel-aged - but it would seem wise to tinker with them at a draft-only scale. 3) Deeds & Exploits Aged in Bourbon Barrels w/ Coffee & Vanilla Style: Blend of BA Strong Ales w/ Vanilla & Bourbon-and-Vanilla Infused Coffee Score: 3.5 Notes: The base blend is 60% Infinity Gauntlet aged in bourbon barrels for twelve months and 40% Cloud Daggers aged in bourbon barrels for seven months. They used 3 lbs/bbl Tega & Tula Farm Ethiopian coffee beans, which they conditioned with bourbon and vanilla for 24 hours before roasting. Vanilla was added at a rate of 1 lb/bbl, comprised of a blend of Madagascan, Mexican, Ugandan, Tahitian, and Papua New Guinean beans. The aroma opens with a somewhat-harsh wave of coffee grounds that yields to marshmallow, light brown sugar, sweet vanilla, bourbon, semisweet chocolate, ethanol, and faint oak character. The coffee rounds a bit as it warms, but retains an edge that's absent in most of Modern Times' coffee beers. The flavor mostly follows the nose, with bourbon-soaked coffee grounds out front, followed by marshmallow and sweet vanilla. Toffee, turbinado sugar, cocoa, and alcohol heat meld on the mid-palate, giving way to a thin, boozy finish. There's an underlying harshness that runs front to back on the palate that seems to be derived from the spirits-infusion process used on the coffee beans. It stands in sharp contrast to the level of refinement found in most of Modern Times' barrel-aged stouts, barleywines, and strong ales. By no means does it ruin the beer, but it's an unavoidable distraction that knocks the overall score down. For the sake of context, I scored it lower on Untappd than anyone else from the Sunday tasting, so perhaps I found the heat and harshness more offputting than most people. 4) Analog: Barrel-Aged Riesling Edition Style: Saison/Wine Hybrid Aged in Red Wine Barrels Score: 4.5 Notes: This batch is a blend of 70% saison and 30% riesling juice sourced from Lo-Fi Wines, co-fermented with house cultures, then racked to red wine barrels for six months. Unlike the last batch, this had no contact with the grape pomace, nor did it spend any time in an amphora. The riesling asserts itself on the nose with a bright melange of fruit leaping out of the glass - grapes, apricots, and pears dominate, while papaya and sweet lemon lurk - followed by oak, restrained vanilla, barnyard funk, and faint white pepper. Soft lactic adicity leads on the tongue, followed by vinous notes that transition into stonefruit with hints of pineapple and papaya poking through. Oak wafts around in the background along with vanilla and funk, giving way to an effervescent and lightly acidic finish of pears and vinous notes. While this edition lacks the minerality of the last release, it's no less enjoyable. 5) Analog: Red Cabernet Franc Edition Style: Sour Red/Wine Hybrid Aged in Red Wine and Port Barrels Score: 4.25 Notes: This version of analog is even more of a departure from prior editions, as it's a blend of 58% sour red ale and 42% Lo-Fi cabernet franc juice. It was aged on the grape skins for five days, co-fermented with house cultures, then racked to red wine and port barrels for six months. The smell on this was deftly balanced, with soft acidity, moderate funk, light vanilla, oak, barrel-derived port notes blending seamlessly with wine-derived plum, roasted pepper, and light tannins. If you're sensitive to acetic acid, have no fear - this isn't vinegar, it merely plays a supporting role in a rich and diverse tapestry of aromas. On the palate, acidity plays a slightly more prominent role, although it's still neither overly acetic nor harsh. The cab franc character shines through brilliantly as bright grapes, and plums mingle with a savory, peppery component. Oak and port notes assert themselves before a long finish of moderately acidic wine with touches of aged balsamic vinegar.