May 26, 2015

Memorial Day in Massachusetts - Gordon's Four Roses & Pretty Things FlowerLand IPA

Up in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains this weekend it's beautiful but chilly, with a cold wind coming from the west.  We figured a hearty boilermaker would do just the trick, so we're pairing a nice cask strength bourbon with a rich, hoppy, and sweet IPA beer back.  It's a safe bet we won't be feeling that chill for long!

Pretty Things is a boutique project run by Dann, Martha, and Seth.  They contract with Buzzards Bay Brewery in Westport, MA to make small runs of original recipes and release one-time only runs of very rich and special full-flavored beers.  FlowerLand "Overgrown" IPA is no exception.  It's made from Apollo, Southern Cross, Chinook, and Rakau hops.  It's a double IPA style coming in at 8.5%.

Gordon's Wine & Spirits is one of the best whiskey stores in the Boston area.  They have a mighty malt selection, a formidable stash of American whiskey, and both Joe and Nicholas really know their stuff when it comes to the brown liquors.  When we saw they had a private barrel of Four Roses, not to mention a cask strength 11 year, we grabbed one no questions asked.

And now, at 6:30 on Saturday of a long weekend, as a nice big piece of salmon marinates in olive oil and fresh dill, and the charcoal starts its long road from black to grey, we're ready for some serious mountain fresh air happy hour.

First the bourbon:

Joe & company picked a winner with this barrel.  It's an OESO - a high corn mash bill, with the "O" yeast which is supposed to taste of red berries.  The sweetness comes through on the nose right off the bat.  The palate is very rich with honey and lemons, maybe not berries as much as honeydew melon and butterscotch candies.  It's just DANGEROUSLY drinkable with a very smooth finish (almost 100% honey) and then spirit warmth coming up from the sides of the throat to tickle the soft palate.  At 57%, this is a slippery slope for sure.

And now for the chaser:

The FlowerLand is a rich and powerful one-two punch with the bourbon.  We're not experts when it comes to beers, but can tell you that this one is something to write home about.  It's got an herbal brown-sugar maltiness that cuts across the hops for a sweet, but not overly sweet - hoppy but not bitter, round and robust beer.  We're very sensitive to sweet beers (in a negative way) and this one is pretty sweet, but it's got a whole lot of hops and malt to balance it out so it's not at all cloying.

Budda-bing, budda-bang, this night is really shaping up nicely!


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