Welcome to beer and cigar review Wednesday where we take a look at any notable (or not-so-notable) beers and cigars I’ve had over the past week. As always, we’ve got some interesting stuff here to review so let’s just get down to it!
Deep Ellum Darkest Hour
This Imperial Stout from Deep Ellum brewery in Dallas, Texas weighs in at a hefty 11% ABV and 65 IBU. It has pedigree with the Deep Ellum name and I had high expectations going into this one and was not to be let down.
Pours the typical Imperial Stout appearance of an opaque jet black body with a thin tan head. Aromas of dark fruit, coffee alcohol and yeast. Flavor profile is complex and interesting blending elements of Belgian Dark Ale and stout – bold with a roasted malt backbone with hints of plum, molasses and a bit of a tartness. Back end consists of dark chocolate and coffee. Smooth and warming finish. Thick in body and medium carbonation; definitely a sipper.
Deep Ellum brings us another winner! A bold, complex beer that ranks up there with the best of them. Rating: 4.5/5.
Deep Ellum Rye Pils
Though not the typical heavy alcohol and IBU affair I tend to enjoy, I picked this up on a whim at it was on sale and it seemed interesting. It weighs in at a light 5.2% ABV and 13 IBU so my expectations weren’t through the roof on this one but it was good in its own right.
Pours a fizzy yellow-orange color with a one finger head that doesn’t recede at all (a bit unusual for the style). Aromas of fresh baked rye bread and a slightly “skunky” pilsner aroma. Flavors of rye, yeast and pale malt. Flavor profile is typical pilsner, but no detectable adjunct grains at all. Sharp, clean flavors of pale malt with a rye overtone. Light bodied and high carbonation. Easily quaffable.
Though not my favorite beer ever, it was pleasant and enjoyable. Refreshing and satisfying, would be a good beer to take to the racetrack or after yard work. Rating: 3/5.
Sweetwater Hash Brown
Sweetwater Brewing Company it Atlanta, Georgia brings us this rather unusual beer. An “India Brown,” it takes elements of both a brown ale and an IPA. It is bottle conditioned and comes in at 6.2% ABV and 60 IBU.
Pours a medium, slightly hazy reddish-brown with a thick head. Head recedes to about 1/4″ and laces the glass like crazy. Aroma is dominated by citrusy and floral hops with a slight undertone of caramel malt. Caramel malt backbone supplemented by a grapefruit hoppy bitterness and a touch of green apple tartness. Medium body and high carbonation. Not a quaffer but drinks easily enough.
A rather interesting beer that I don’t know what to make of. I liked it but I found the hops in general a bit overbearing for a brown ale. Rating: 3.5/5.
And now for this week’s cigar reviews:
Rocky Patel Vintage 1990 Churchill
I reviewed the Toro size of this cigar awhile back and it’s one of my favorites. As with the Toro, this features a Connecticut broadleaf Maduro wrapper and Domincan and Nicaraguan long filler. The Churchill vitola is 7″ x 48 RG (as opposed to the 6.5″ x 52 RG Toro). Of course there were many similarities between the two but they were different in the emphasized flavors.
First light revealed a slightly snug draw but plenty of smoke output. Medium bodied flavors of cream, cocoa and a hint of black pepper on the retrohale. A subtle caramel joins the draw about 1/2″ in. The second third brings in a rich roasted coffee note and the caramel and cocoa become fleeting. Last third really ramps up the coffee and pepper while dropping the cocoa and caramel, leading to a more medium/full body. Ending at an hour and a half no further changes.
Construction was not surprisingly impeccable with an almost razor-sharp burn all the way down not requiring any touchups. A mild/medium nicotine strength comes in toward the end. Overall the Churchill emphasizes the darker flavors (coffee/pepper) more than the Toro (which emphasized the dessert flavors) and as such I do prefer the Toro but did enjoy this one too. Rating: 4/5.
Nub by Oliva 460 Cameroon
Finally, I get to round out my tastings of the Nub 460 series with the Cameroon variety. As the others, it comes in a 4″ x 60 RG short Gordo size and features Nicaraguan long filler. True to its name, it features a chocolate brown Cameroon wrapper.
First light revealed a slightly loose draw with a huge volume of smoke output. Medium-full bodied flavors of a touch of generic sweetness and a metallic zing on the draw. Retrohale consisted of an aromatic cedar and a slight pepper. Just into the cigar the body dials down to a medium and drops the pepper and ramps up the sweetness slightly. No further changes except for the body coming back up to a medium-full in the last third. Rather dry textured. Ending at 50 minutes with the first hot draw, the smoke time was equivalent to the other Nub 460s.
Great construction and burn; not razor sharp but not requiring any correction. Mild/medium nicotine strength. It had a lot of the signature complex Cameroon flavors but a little smoother. Cameroons tend not to be my favorite but if you’re looking for a good Cameroon this one to check out and I will rate it accordingly at a 4/5.
Overall, I liked all the Nubs. My favorite was the Maduro but the Habano was a close 2nd. I would put the Connecticut as my 3rd favorite and one I’d have with a cup of coffee. I didn’t dislike the Cameroon, but it’s generally not my taste preference so that’s why it comes in 4th but that’s not knocking it – it was a very good example of what a Cameroon cigar should be.
And that’s a wrap for this week. I’m afraid we probably won’t have an episode next Wednesday because I’ve caught a cold and can’t taste properly at the moment but we’ll be back the following week with more!