THE NEW KID :: All Beers are NOT created equal…

by admin on January 19, 2012

Hello, my name is Trevor White. I’m 27 years old and I like good beer. This wasn’t always the case. In fact, up until about 2008 a good beer could have walked up to me, kicked me in the mouth, shouted a litany of expletives concerning my parentage, and gone on its merry way without me being so much the wiser. During this period in my life, which will henceforth be simply referred to as “the dark times,” I was convinced that beer was something one drank in order to get drunk and, beyond that singular purpose, it was worthless. That is until I was introduced to the Belgian Dubble. From that point forward my life has, for the most part, been conducted around the acquisition, consumption, and production of “good beer.”

At this point, you’re no doubt wondering, “But Trevor, doesn’t espousing the very concept of ‘good beer’ make you just another beer snob? And if so, why should I even bother listening to you?” To that, I have a very simple response, “Shut up, you don’t matter.” No, that’s not true…well, not entirely. No, I’m not a beer snob. It’s just that I’ve had my fair share of swill beer and I can safely say that there are good beers and there are bad beers. You’re also probably wondering, “But Trevor, you’re only 27 years old—where do you get off saying that beer created by men and women who are twice as old as you is good or bad?” Again, the simple answer, “Because I know what I like and I’m confident in my ability to determine what does and doesn’t work in a beer.”

The Market Garden Brewery – Cleveland, Ohio

Live at the Beergeioise (Beer-zhwa-zee)

—Festivus Ale

—Winter Porter

—St. Emeric’s Stout

Special Guest:
—Avery the Czar Imperial Stout

Suggested Listening: Muse – Black Holes and Revelations

When you walk into The Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City you know that you’ve walked into a place where beer is held in the highest regard. The whole place has a well-loved vibe while simultaneously sporting a retro-modern decor that lets you, the patron, know that regardless of whatever your intentions when you walked through the door, you are here to drink beer and enjoy the company of those around you.

The retro-modern atmosphere is bolstered by the old school naked bulb BEER sign above the bar and the mostly modern selection of music being piped through the hidden speakers. Ranging from more modern bands such as The Killers, Kings of Leon, KMFDM, and Paramour, to more classic standards such as Johnny Cash and Paul McCartney.

Now that you’ve basked in the description of the audio-visual portion of my review, it’s time to get down to what’s really important: the beer.

The opening act to our four-part show is Market Garden Brewery’s own Festivus Ale with an ABV of 8%.
Festivus Ale is a subtle tasting, honey colored, seasonal ale. From the outset, the taste of  Festivus Ale is elusive. You can taste a hint of the spices the menu’s description names on the backend. What is unexpected is the high level of carbonation this ale has. At times, it was almost as if I was drinking something mixed with soda water, a not entirely bad experience. Once the Festivus Ale has been allowed to sit and open up is when the real flavor of this ale comes to the forefront. All of the spices, from the cinnamon to the ginger, are on full display. The only thing I found lacking was the malty flavor promised by the description on the menu.
Suggestion: Take your time with this beer. If you do, the beer you start with and the beer you finish with will be totally different in the best possible way.

Our second act will be the Market Garden Brewery Winter Porter with an ABV of 6.5%. The Winter Porter is strange. Strange in that its level of hoppiness, which I would more commonly associate with an IPA, is totally belied by its deep dark color. My only problem with this beer is that I’m convinced it’s production is the result of some seriously dark witchcraft/wizardry. Throughout the entire glass my brain just couldn’t reconcile the two totally different signals it was receiving; the deep dark color and the hoppiness. The longer the Winter Porter sat out and opened up to the air, the more those hidden porter qualities came to the forefront; however, the hoppiness barely subsided.
Suggestion: Don’t be caught off guard with this beer. Know what you’re getting into ahead of time, especially if you’re not a fan of hoppy beers.

A brief intermission will now commence. Please enjoy the smooth stylings of The Czar Imperial Stout from Avery Brewing Company, ABV 11.03%.
The Czar Imperial Stout is everything a stout should be, and more. Before you can even taste this beer, your nose is assaulted with an aroma so fantastic that, could they successfully capture it, would be the only thing that would willingly get a straight man into one of those stinky candle shops. Once you’ve managed to taste this beer, your tongue is immediately given a front row seat to an epic battle between coffee and chocolate. The chocolate/coffee flavor manages to be very compelling without being too overpowering.
Suggestion: Do you like trains? I only ask because a coffee/chocolate train is what is going to come out of your glass! Just saying.

Please, return to your seats. The show will continue in a moment.

Our penultimate act is the Market Garden Brewery St. Emeric’s Stout with an ABV of 5%.
St. Emeric’s Stout is an excellent addition to our evening’s lineup. This stout is surprisingly mild. However, don’t let its mildness fool you, this stout is also packed to the brim with flavor. St. Emeric’s is a dry stout with a very upfront roasty taste. Its aroma immediately reminded me of freshly ground coffee. In addition to its relative mildness, St. Emeric’s was also surprisingly light and more carbonated that I had initially expected. (Perhaps this is a greater trend with Market Garden Brewery beers?)
Suggestion: An excellent after dinner beer. Had there been a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream included it would have been perfect.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!! Our final act is taking the stage now…

Our final act is the incomparable Market Garden Brewery Cluster Fuggle IPA with an ABV of 7%.
Cluster Fuggle IPA, beyond having one of the most awesome names I’ve ever heard, is excellent. A beautiful golden amber color with a taste to match. The hoppiness is immediately at the front, though not overpowering in its presence, and finishes with a satisfying bitterness. This is the kind of IPA you use to bring non-IPA drinkers into the fold. The flavor of this beer is surprisingly consistent after opening it to the air. The only real change is that the various flavors seem more distinct and separate.
Suggestion: Use this IPA to convert non-IPA drinking heathens.

Tonight’s show will not not be featuring an encore so the lot of you can just get the hell out.
— Trevor White

In the event of the impending Zombie apocalypse, all sales are final.
— Management

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Carol, the beer doctor January 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Bring it on, Trevor! Love your perspective. I also started with Belgian doubles–after I first learned the value of English bitters. Sadly, I doubt that I’ll every visit Market Garden Brewery, but your description rocks. I’m also a fan of anything Avery makes.


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