Often times when you discover a really unique blend of coffee and cascara (dried coffee cherries), you stand up and say “Why has it been such a long time for this flavoring to make it here?” Then you stand back and casually read the label of the beer you have been drinking and it hits you – if you were going to have a guess, it would be Ocelot Brewing Company and the blend would be Purple Black Eye.
Ocelot Brewing Company (23600 Overland Drive, Sterling, VA Voice: 703-665-2146; www.ocelotbrewing.com) is nothing new to the National Capital area. Nestled to the west of the Dulles International Airport (www.iad.com) on the Loudon County Parkway, I have made note a couple of times of these breweries experiments with deep brewed stouts. This time is no exception with this classic tasting and unique brew.
Purple Black Eye takes two approaches to its coffee laden stout flavor. First, it takes the traditional fashion of using hops to arrive at the the flavor. The Purple Black Eye does this pretty early and begins to bring in the drinker. But then, it socks it to you with in the surprise, a dried coffee cherry, known as a cascara. It is a sweet cherry but it is tempered by its bitter coffee taste. The two flavors taken together with their strong stout base make this a truly flavorful beverage that leaves the drinker wanting more. It is a truly fantastic experience.
I gave this is 4.5 out of five star on Untapped. This is a really outstanding drink – and I think the cascara and coffee combination is headed for bigger things if it is to be realized.
OK, apricots and I have an agreement. I don’t like them and they don’t like me. It goes way back to having to climb the apricot tree in the backyard, sorting them out and picking the ripe ones. This applies as well to apricots in beer. But lately, I have begun to notice that apricots in beer are not so bad. So, when I tried decided to try an apricot beer, my inner voice said, “Go for it – this may not be bad!”
The Systema Natvrae – Devilwood and Apricot by D9 Brewing Company (11138-C Treynorth Drive, Cornelius, NC 28031 Voice: 704-457-9368 Web: info@D9brewing.com) was not only nice but an apricot brew that I would like to drink again. The apricot was soured, so I had an advantage going into to the battle, but the key was the Devilwood which lent a unique and soured taste to the brew. It stayed with the beer as well, so it was not a “one hit wonder”, but rather a really unique flavor that makes you want to have another.
ABV: 6% 31 IBU Color: Dark Aroma: Dark chocolate
Taste: A slight dark chocolate taste, but nothing remarkable. A cavalcade of mild hops that manage to keep it balanced, but other than that there is more in the name than there is in the taste. Another in a long line of chocolate stouts that claim to offer more than they have.
Purchased at Spacebar as a draft. 3 stars on Untappd.