Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ithaca Beer Company's Excelsior! Series

I had VERY good intentions of trying to come up with a brew challenge during March Madness but couldn't quite pull it off this year....perhaps, Thing 1 and Thing 2 had something to do with my lack of time! So, onward and upward, a motto which works out perfectly with the beers I have had the privilege of tasting lately.  My friend, Jeff O'Neil, affiliated with the Ithaca Beer Company, sent along speciality beers from their Excelsior! Series for me to enjoy. 
The Excelsior! Series is IBC's:
  • "handcrafted speciality beers, issued in extremely limited runs. They meld complimentary flavors while defying existing style guidelines.  These beers are unfiltered, hand-packaged and bottle-conditioned.  Each one is alive, has a unique personality and may be cellared indefinitely." 
The two Excelsior! Series beers that I will review, as the blog's twelfth and thirteenth beers, are: White Gold and Thirteen Anniversary Ale.  I will save the Sour Blueberry Ale for later this spring or summer.

Both the White Gold and Thirteen came in pint bottles with unique labels describing their contents. The White Gold is characterized as a "Rustic Pale Wheat Ale" with Belgian influence. Additionally, the ale is brewed with "domestic barley and French wheat malts."
The Thirteen is described as a "Double Hoppy Wheat Ale" that has been brewed with "raw and malted wheat and flaked oats, assertively hopped with Citra and Sorachi Ace, spiked with an addition of orange and lemon peel and vigorously fermented with an American Ale Yeast."

Before I give my analysis of these two beers, let me just say that in receiving them, I felt like I had reached rock star status. Yes, Jeff and I are friends, but to taste beers that aren't typically available to the public felt really special and given that I just celebrated a special day--my 35th birthday--it was cool to sample these Excelsior! Series beers as a means of enhancing the celebratory spirit one feels as they age!

Onto the White Gold:

Taste:  a hoppy very full flavored sip with a gardenesque floral scent

Color:  extra golden like a bruised lemon peel

Thickness:  especially bubbly producing a frothy head

ABV: 8%

Now the Thirteen Anniversary Ale:

Taste:  the lemon was very pronounced, but not tart & helped to yield a refreshing sip; very aromatic, smelled like a spring day with each pour

Color:  beautiful orange hues that contrasted the bits of sediment floating in the glass

Thickness:  medium to moderate head; quite smooth

ABV:  Happy Birthday to ME as it was 8.9%

Mom Factoid:  Sometimes, you have to decide when is the best time to get your kids sugared up!  Obviously, there is no magic moment to watch a sugar high, but since it was my birthday, I allowed the cake with an intense sugary frosting to be eaten prior to dinner by the three year old!  It was fun and out of the ordinary and allowed for more time before bed to get the sugar out of her system!  Cheers to a new year and more beer :)  Thanks for reading!
 **If you are interested in learning more about the Excelsior! Series beers, check out this link:

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