Monday, November 10, 2008
Beer Review: Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale
For quite some time in my beer loving days I had searched high and low for this beer. I worked to set up a number of trades to pick just one up to try, each inevitably falling dead in their own tracks. Then one day, as if the gods themselves had been watching my search, it just showed up. And I'm not talking about a trip to Grand Rapids I took in search of the beer (to no avail), nor stops on the same trip a handful of local Michigan beer stores (again to no avail), and I'm not even talking about a happen-chance finding of a single bottle in the back room of a store no one would have ever thought to look. No. I mean it just showed up. Seriously - right now, it's all over Cincinnati. I mean everywhere. How about that for serendipitous notion? But hey, I'm not complaining! And either way, it showed up, and then it found its way into my cellar - from the looks of it by the truckload at that.
But I digress. I poured this beer almost 10 minutes ago and my taste buds are getting impatient. It is worthy to note that I have poured my Curmudgeon at cellar temperature into a deep stemless white wine glass - my glass of choice of lately for enjoying anything as particularly malty as this.
This beer pours a beautiful, deep red mahogany, and quickly gathers a finger and a half of light brown head. The head dissipates a little too quickly, but leaves an amoeba of lacing griping tight to the glass. There is a touch of standing sediment hanging out in the beer, but nothing to frown upon for this style.
The smell! This one knocks in with some thick, boozy notes that are backed up by caramel, molasses, deep grape, and, although I can't touch what this particular flavor is, I will describe the overall smell as "burnt sticky caramel corn." I am fighting the urge to find the correct words to describe this beer with my desire to toss this one down the hatch. And in that case... bottoms up!
Burnt Sticky Caramel Corn is pretty accurate if you ask me. The Old Curmudgeon hits the tongue with a quickly waning hit of fresh hops, grazes the tongue gracefully through its candy-like mid-body and rushes down the back of the throat almost like it wasn't even there. This one sits on the tongue after finish and simply bubbles for a while, asking for another sip. The sweetness sits with a light glaze through the mouth and reaffirms my newly coined burnt sticky caramel corn flavor profile. Plus some plum... yeah, a little bit of plum. Once it goes down, though, it's like I'm breathing fire here. Not like some crazy burn-down-the-house fire; more like a sitting by the campfire making s'mores (s'more what?) fire. The booze sits nicely and keeps the warming coming quite nicely. I could take this one out in 40 degree weather in shorts and a t-shirt and keep warm. I like that.
As much as I really like this beer, I'd love to have a little more variety in flavor aside from the aforementioned notes. For what is there, however, I can certainly appreciate the flavors, and there is nothing about this one that says, you can't have just one. On a good night with some good company, I could sip on these for quite some time. Well worth the wait to finally try these, and I am more than appreciative that I had quite a few more of these in my cellar.
Overall Rating: B+