Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ska - DC Brau - Pietasters Taster's Choice review

Ska Brewing - DC Brau Taster's Choice DoppelbockWhen someone mentions Taster's Choice - what comes to mind? Coffee. And when you add that name to a beer, in particular a Doppelbock, it becomes a different creature entirely. Ska Brewing Company, DC Brau (of Washington, DC) and a member of the band The Pietasters all got together and collaborated on a beer called Ska / DC Brau / Pietasters "Taster's Choice" - a Doppelbock style lager brewed with coffee.

his beer was originally released in D.C. by DC Brau in March 2013 in 22oz bomber bottles and on draft. Then it was brewed in Durango, CO by Ska Brewing and debuted in Colorado around the 2013 GABF in October and put into 12oz cans. This beer is a lager and was fermented at much lower temperatures than an ale. The coffee in this beer was roasted by Desert Sun Coffee Roasters in Durango. The beer in this review was brewed in Durango, Colorado by Ska Brewing.

Coffee beers have become quite popular. Some are even used as a "breakfast" beer. But given the fact that this beer weighed in at 7.4% ABV, it's probably NOT what you want to drink before your morning commute to work. Fermentedly Challenged gave this beer the full review.

Appearance: Ska Taster's Choice Doppelbock poured out a very dark transparent brown with ruby red edges along the glass. There was a small light tan head that initially built up, but it fizzled out soon afterwards. There was no sign of any head within a minute after pouring. Swirling the beer didn't kick up much head either and what lacing there was quickly slid back into the beer. The beer was light enough that I could still see through it. There wasn't any sediment visible at all. There didn't seem to be a lot of carbonation in this beer, just enough to give rise to some tiny bubbles.

Aroma: After letting Taster's Choice Doppelbock warm up a bit, the full rich coffee and malt aroma came out. What hop aroma there was in the nose took a back seat to the big malt domination in this brew. I could pick up some earthy tones in the aroma though. The coffee aroma was not as strong as other coffee beers I've had, but it was definitely present. The overall scent of this beer was very inviting. This wasn't going to be a tasteless lager by any means, but something flavorful. I also gave this beer the burp test. I took a couple quick gulps and burped out through my nose. When you do that it's surprising how the hop aroma suddenly comes through. Quite pleasant surprisingly.

Ska Taster's Choice close-upTaste: The first thing I tasted in this beer was the dark malts and bitter coffee. There was just enough sweetness in the malts to counter the coffee's bitterness. I could pick up flavors of caramel, chocolate and roasted coffee as well. The brew was slightly more on the bitter side from the coffee and hops than it was sweet. This doppelbock was medium bodied and packed a lot of flavor. Nothing watery about this one. The bitterness from the coffee stayed with me for a while. As the beer warmed up, some of the sweeter malt flavor started coming through. It seemed to be well balanced. Don't drink this one too cold or you'll miss out on some of the flavors.

Overall: I'm glad I bought a six pack of this as 1 beer really peaked my curiosity and I immediately wanted another one. That's a good sign. Ska and DC Brau found the right mix of malts, hops and coffee in this blended Doppelbock. I would highly recommend this beer for those who want something malty yet with a kick of coffee. It's a tad strong to be a "breakfast beer" however. Save this one for the evenings.

Disclosure: I paid full retail price for this beer at my local liquor store.

Related articles:
- Ska and DC Brau collaborate on Taster's Choice (March 2013).
- Ska Hibernal Vinifera Stout review.
- Ska Autumnal Mole Stout review.

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