New Belgium Clutch Dark Sour Ale Review

New Belgium Clutch Dark Sour Ale

[Type 42, 48, 49] 9% ABV

New Belgium calls this a dark sour ale, which may bring to mind visions of the other New Belgium Lips of Faith sour beer, La Folie, but they couldn't be more different. La Folie is sour like a SweetTart, but Clutch just has a hint of sour to fight the malts. Clutch tastes like a really rich porter, coffee and chocolate and heavy, but the sour really makes this beer shine. I just couldn't stop drinking it. Which is bad, because it is 9% alcohol.

Rating

One of the best beers I have had all year. You know a beer is good when you have to beat the pregant lady off it.

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Flagstaff BrewHaHa

Tonight we went to a new beer festival in Flagstaff. Like the summer Sun Sounds beer festival, this benefits charity, in this case Habitat for Humanity. It was well done, with the exception of the food. The food was included in the cost of the tickets, but the quantity was such that there was never enough. However, this festival was delightfully understated. There were never crowds inside the conference center, or long lines to get a taste of beer. The tasters were 100 mL, which is more than enough beer for me. 15 tastes were included in the price of admission. Hopefully this festival will continue in Flagstaff. Now on to the beer!

I started with Fat Tire's La Folie sour brown. I have had this beer before, so I knew I liked it.

Next was Velvet Merlin from Firestone Walker. It used to be called Velvet Merkin, but it was considered too offensive. This is an oatmeal stout [Type 49]. 5.5% ABV. It is very creamy, but has a nuttiness like their Double Barrel Ale.

Then I had San Tan Brewery's Devil's Ale. This is an American Pale Ale [Type 17]. 5.5% ABV. A nice even pale ale.

Blue Moon had their spring seasonal, Rising Moon. This is a light amber ale. [Type 44] 5.4% ABV It looks and tastes like a light lager, but with a bit more body.

There were a great many beers sampled, including:

Barrio Ben's IPA

Deschutes Greenlakes Organic

Powder Hound Winter Ale

Stone Russian Imperial Stout

Stone Arrogant Bastard

Levity Amber

Oak Creek King Crimson

Sierra Blanca Alien Amber

Beer Club December 2010

Stouts and Porters

December 2010 Lineup

Porters come from Merrie Old England. The first recorded examples of the style are from the 1700s. They were blended beers, a combination of a stale or old ale, a new ale, and a weak or mild ale. Various flavors could be achieved by different blends. After blending, the beer is then aged for several months in wooden maturation vats. This was a beer of the the Industrial/Scientific revolution. The name reportedly comes from the popularity of the beer with the transportation workers of London.

Stouts are a kind of porter, or vice versa. Stouts are porters with blackened or roasted grains. Sometimes, this grain is not actually malted. Originally, stout referred to the strength of a beer rather than its style, but over time the roasted flavor of the most popular stout beer, Guinness, helped to spawn a style that can range from mild to extremely alcoholic.

Sierra Nevada Fritz and Ken's Ale

A 30th anniversary beer from Sierra Nevada, they teamed up with the founder of Anchor Brewing to create this Imperial Stout [Type 36]. Imperial or double stouts combine fruity flavors with strong roasted grains and high alcohol content. This one tasted of cocoa, hops, and nuts. It has a noticable alcohol warming as well. 9.2% ABV. 1 beer.

Rogue Chocolate Stout

An American take on the Stout style [Type 35], this beer tastes much like a chocolate soda from a soda fountain. It has a solvent taste to it, with a slighty rancid and coppery finish. 6.0% ABV. 3 beers.

Rogue Double Chocolate Stout

Another Imperial Stout, the double chocolate stout is smoother than the chocolate stout. It is a darker beer, with more of a cocoa flavor. 8.0% ABV. 2 beers.

Rogue Double Mocha Porter

Previously known as XS Imperial Porter, this is a robust porter [Type 48]. It is much less sweet than the chocolate stouts, with a bit of an alkaline finish. 8.2% ABV. 3 beers.

Stone Smoked Porter

As smoked beers go, this one is pretty mild. A standard porter [Type 34]. The smoke flavor is suggestive rather than overwhelming. Slighty bitter and metallic. 5.9% ABV. 3 beers.

Anchor Porter

A little bit nutty, 5.6% ABV. 2 beers.

Dogfish Head World Wide Stout

This beer is a little unbelievable. 18.0% ABV! It is priced to match. The flavor is unusual, vinegar and mustard, with yeasty notes. Pretty good for the alcohol content. Fun, but probably only worth drinking on a lark. 1 beer.

Oatmeal Stout home brew

A home brew brought to the tasting. It is an Oatmeal Stout [Type 49]. Good flavor, easy drinking, but a little watery. Not bad though. You could down a large number of these.

Kalamazoo Stout

Made with brewer's licorice, it says. This concerned me at first, but the licorice flavor is quite nice. Very subtle. A bit of a fruity taste, like apples. 6.0% ABV. 2 beers.

Home brew

Another home brew, but unfortunately an undistinguished one.

Black Butte Porter

A passable porter, but it really pales in comparison to the other beers available tonight. 5.2% ABV. 4 beers.

Left Hand Milk Stout

A sweet stout [Type 35], of the milk stout sub-type. It has added lactose for extra sweetness. Very smooth and flavorful. One of the fan favorites of the night. 5.2% ABV. 2 beers.

Lump of Coal

A foreign/export stout, this type was created to be shipped across the ocean on steamships. [Type 22] Tends to be stronger to survive the voyage. 8.0% ABV. 4 beers.

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout

You can smell the chicory, a good addition to this style. A tasty beer, with a pleasing but unusual flavor combination. 5.2% ABV. 2 beers.

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