Looking at a couple FoCo seasonals

Okay, I have to be straight. For the past couple posts, I’ve had what looks like a plan for my episodes, with “good next-step beers,” and “beers that challenge me.” But really, I have a whole refrigerator full of random beers.  I’ve just been thinking of creative ways to drink them, review them and get rid of them. I’d like to say that I’ve changed my ways, but I just can’t do it yet. The good news is, I can see the light. Just one more beer I want to review that’s been in my fridge for more than a month. That being said, my next two beers aren’t ones I’m trying to get rid of; I’ve just had them for far too long to not give them any love.

I reviewed a couple of seasonals over the past week that I absolutely loved. Yes, we’re kind of in that funky time where it’s still technically winter, but it was 50 degrees this afternoon and spring isn’t that far away, even though it’s almost a month from now and it might snow in a few days. Whatever. I tried Odell’s Mountain Standard Double Black IPA —  which is around from November to April, apparently — and New Belgium’s spring seasonal Dig, which just came out. Seems like perfect timing to me. 

Mountain Standard Double Black IPA

I love this beer with a fiery passion. Odell said they wanted something warm and roasty for the season, and they delivered with a well-hopped, elegantly-malted 9.5% ABV cocktail. Another plus: all of the beer’s hops come from Colorado growers. Check out their description here or watch this short, nifty video here.

The beer pours almost completely black, with a hot chocolate-brown head that doesn’t fade. The lacings on the side of the glass are interesting, too, since they really seem to stick.  You get a lot of hops on the nose, with a little bit of chocolately sweetness. All of that comes out in the taste as well, which is more flavorful than bitter. It feels like the hops and malts are battling each other for top taste, but the result is a complex and flowing feel. The bitterness and alcohol content don’t come out until the very end, and by that point all it does is warm you up.

I give it a 94 out of 100. The only thing I would say is that I would’ve like a little more boldness from the hops, but that’s just personal preference.

New Belgium Dig Seasonal Pale Ale

Okay, so I’ve only had three real posts and I’ve reviewed four New Belgium beers, but 1. Like I said before, I’m pretty much reviewing whatever was in my fridge pre-beer blog, which happens to have a lot of New Belgium beers, and 2. I like New Belgium, and people have been anticipating their spring seasonal since last year’s Mighty Arrow.  I promise I won’t look at a New Belgium beer in the next post.

Dig pleasantly met my expectations when I reviewed it a few days ago, which means that it definitely didn’t let me down, but it didn’t surprise me either.

The crisp amber color, thick egg white head and hoppy, fruity smell all put Dig into the “acceptable” category for me right away. All of those marks were signs of a quality beer. The label promises a cornucopia of fruity tastes (just read the description here), and I definitely got that in the taste, but I don’t think they followed through on their word. Let me be clear, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I could taste a little bit of the mango and a good bit of the lemony, grapefruity citrus, but it tasted nothing like a fruit beer. It was light, smooth and slightly sweet: perfect for spring.

The biggest issue I had, however, was how the beer finished. It didn’t. It hits you right up front with sweet, complex, refreshing flavors and drops into an abyss at the end. I guess you could say that it lends itself to the beer’s drinkability and freshness, but I’m not buying it. Still, I’ll go ahead and say I like it better than Snow Day, and I’d be more than willing to pick this out at a bar. I give it an 89 out of 100.

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