Thursday, January 13, 2011

Flavored Lagers — Three Skulls Ales vs. Caldera Brewing Co.

Three Skulls Ales
Buccaneer Bacon
(Lager Brewed with Bacon)
ABV ?%

Golden yellow.
Clean sweet lemon, wood smoke and some Belgian yeast funk.
Light bodied, tart and fruity.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced):
Acidic and tart with some lingering smoke and grain.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad):

Caldera Brewing Co.
Rauch Ur Bock
(Smoked Lager)
ABV 7.4%

Light orangish brown.
Aroma: Smoky meat.
Flavor: Full bodied, syrupy sweet, raisins & prunes.
Hops vs. Malts (Hoppy, Malty or Balanced): Malty
Finish: Huge, sweet smoke bomb. Teriyaki beef jerky. Slight bitterness.
Overall (Fantastic, Good, Mediocre or Bad): Good -

Blow by Blow
Who can pass up a beer brewed with Bacon? Obviously not us. When we put the Bacon beer in the fridge it immediately got into a scuffle with the Caldera smoked lager. So, on a dark and stormy winter night we hosted a bottle battle featuring two beers that have flavors that conjure up a sunny backyard barbecue.

First and foremost, did the Buccaneer taste or smell like bacon? We're sorry to report that it was not able to fully capture that elusive meaty/smokiness of good bacon. It did have some smoke in the aroma and finish, but none of the meat flavors we were hoping for. As a matter of fact, it was the Rauch Ur Bock that had more bacon character, but it was some really, really intensely smoked bacon. The Buccaneer, on the other hand, was more subtle with the smoke and had a strange tartness that didn't really seem to fit the style. Ultimately, it got totally bullied by the Bock. About half way through, the massive aroma and flavor of the Caldera completely overwhelmed the Three Skulls and kind of annihilated our palates in the process.

To be honest, we weren't huge fans of either of these beers. The Three Skulls was too subtle and confused us with the tart flavors while the Caldera was so intense we couldn't even finish the whole bottle. We ended up choosing the Caldera because, although it was too sweet and smoky for our tastes, it's not a beer we'll soon forget.

Winner by unanimous decision: Caldera

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