Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Red Poppy

Today is a day to share a beer... don’t you agree?

I am sharing with you a Lost Abbey Red Poppy Ale.

If you’re not familiar with Lost Abbey, YOU SHOULD BE!

I first became acquainted with the brewery when the head brewer @TheTomme Aka Tomme Arthur started following me on the Twitter. Another success of social media and a company honcho that is willing to interact with the fans! I may have been YEARS before developing interest in Lost Abbey had it not been for Tomme interacting with me on Twitter.

I was excited to try their brews at GABF a few years ago, and have never had one that I didn’t think surpassed expectations.

Because of my personal experience with them, I had no hesitation picking up a bottle of Red Poppy Ale. I saw it on the shelf, it had a pretty red flour on the label and it said “LOST ABBEY” What else do you need?

Pouring a dark, rich red-amber color, the beer formed a funny caramel colored, rocky head that was actually a surprise in itself, but depleted to nothing but a ring around the edge within moments.

The low carbonation level was first illustrated to me when I broke the cork trying to coax it from the bottle. This has never happened to me before. I ended up using a cork screw to get the rest of it out, and there was not but the slightest hiss of carbonation when I finally forced the cork out. I was afraid that the bottle was bad.

The nose is wonderfully sour and funky with slightly vanilla-oak note. I must admit that I did not detect the cherry in the nose. I didn’t even know it had cherries IN IT until I looked it up online after I drank it. One of the dangers of going into a beer that you know nothing about and trying to share it in a blog post.

First sip is thin. Really thin! With an acidic tartness that I was hoping for from the smell.

Not much malt, just really sour and funky. Not really fruity... but there is a nice sour cherry background and a perceived sweetness at the back of the palate. I say perceived because this beer is DRY and NOTHING is “Sweet” about it.

As this brew warms slightly, the malt begins to come through and it is a wonderfully balanced beam of greatness that makes me glad that I made it through Monday!

As it warms even more, I begin to detect a faint “Breaddy” note. This flavor profile reminds me of a crusty piece of sourdough bread dipped in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing at the end of a fabulous salad. I can almost see the candle light flickering and the crisp white linen table cloth. This isn’t the kind of flavor you find at home during Monday Night Football! This is top quality, mid-winter, special night out on the town with your wife kind of flavor.

As I continue to sip this 5.5% brew, I must say that the more I sip, the more I want about a dozen of these in the cellar to age out over the next few years. Not that it isn’t wonderful the way it is, but just to see how it changes and morphs.

The finish is short, tart and without drama. This beer is pretty much everything I look for in a sour!

Without getting overly excited about a beer that is giving me heartburn faster than a politician looking for a paycheck, I have to tell you that this beer is really setting LaFolie back a notch.

I have said for years that LaFolie is my favorite sour beer, and perhaps my favorite beer of all time. But this bottle of Lost Abby is definitely making me re-think that statement.

If you like sour beer, I would suggest that you NEVER walk by a  bottle of Red Poppy! There simply is not enough words in my limited vocabulary to explain it’s deep, rich, complex and tart character.

If you don’t like sour beer... Well, I’m just sad for you.... And I hope you’ll change your mind some day.

Perhaps if ultra premium sour and barrel aged craft isn’t your glass of beer, you’ll likely find something you like that is WAY more mainstream in their sister company, Port Brewing.

Look them up, give them a try! On the Kahuna Scale of 1-10 I give Red Poppy Ale a solid “Drink it or die trying!”


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