Franz Solo has been a busy little beer drinker of late, so we asked him to share more of his favorites with all of you. Thus, a rare Saturday story from the Crew. Enjoy! — Stoutmeister
While spring cleaning my beer fridge (drinking all the bombers, bottles, etc., left over from my winter stash), I happened upon a delightful old ale emblazoned with Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer) on the label. It hails from Eel River brewing company in Fortuna, Calif., which brews purely organic ales and whose slogan is “be natural, drink naked.”
An interesting back story for the source, indeed. Now on to the tasting: The head on this beer is enormous; on my first pour, the stein I chose was nearly two-thirds head and one-third beer. I waited. And waited, but the head on this beer was stubborn and refused to yield. As for the aroma, it was complex — sweet malts and dried plums were on the forefront of a wave of delightful smells.
The taste was as complex as the aroma suggested, containing multiple layers like a good barley wine crossed with an imperial red and then something extra to boot. The beer is smooth with a wonderful malt kick mid-palate, and then plum and apple crisp finish the flavorful onslaught.
The mouthfeel is simply marvelous. It starts slowly and spreads to a sweet and delicious finish. It is devilishly smooth and sessionable like a horn of good mead drunk round a fire. Halfway through the beer the complexity of flavors deepens or sharpens as you like it, and near the end I got more notes of brandy and blackberry as well.
The imagery on the bottle is very apt, this drinks like an ale I would want to have in the halls of Valhalla amongst legions of Vikings and the gods of old Norseland celebrating a glorious battle. The nose on this is just fantastic, sweet and dark at the same time with notes of mejdool dates and good port.
I rated this beer a 4.5 on Untappd, wanting just a shade more overall presence in the flavor of this otherwise outstanding “old ale.”
— Franz Solo