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Shopping, a new blog, and some thoughts on Black Albert

By Joe Ruvel · December 16th, 2008 · 2 Comments

On Saturday I braved the cold (I know it is SF so it isn’t that cold – but damn it feels like it sometimes) and the crowds and went out to finish up our holiday shopping. Amazingly (and completely by accident – wink wink) that brought me right by City Beer Store – wow – OK, I guess I can stop in for a taste or two :-)

I sampled the famed Black Albert – a Russian Imperial Stout at 13.00% ABV by De Struise Brouwers. This beer is a perfect example of the weird place that the craft beer drinker finds himself in an urban area like SF or NY. There are so many great local beers being made and you want to try them all. There are also a bunch of great bottle shops and bars serving not only the local beers, but imported beers from tiny breweries you might or might not have heard of and to make matters worse you remember reading somewhere on Rate Beer or Beer Advocate that these beers are some of the best in the world. It’s a lot of noise. But alas you taste the beer and see what you think.

Black Albert was a fine beer. Black as can be – lots of flavor – chocolate with some berry in the nose (I kept thinking of making a raspberry pie and eating the entire pie with a six pack of Black Albert – yeah I know it won’t make me feel good but damn it will be fun). The malt smoothness was there and just a bit of an alcohol burn. Is it the most complex beer I have ever had? Not really – but overall it did rock and I am happyIi tasted some and bought some. The price is a point of contention – it isn’t cheap – but at least it was a controlled price (from the brewery website you get the idea that people have been gouging the prices of their beers on Ebay). And in the end, for 13 bucks I get a small bottle of great craft brew from a far off land. I have bought a lot of really crappy bottles of wine for a lot more then that. I guess it’s just how you think about it. I wonder how it will age?

Up next was a taste of He’Brew Jewbelation Twelve. What a fun beer. Lots of spice – almost too much going on – but you know what it is, He’Brew – and there are 12 malts and 12 hops so what the hell – Happy Chanukah! Oh and you have got to check out this product shot – great tag line too.

I forgot to mention the blog. So in looking for info on Black Albert after the tasting, I found the blog Beer & Nosh – I think I have seen it once before but this time I really gave it a look. Cool site – great pictures and a lot of good food coverage, which I love. Check out Beer & Nosh’s write up of the Black Albert tasting at City Beer Store.

Oh and a final note – if you haven’t tried the Marin Brewing Company’s Holidaze Christmas Ale give it a shot. Easy drinking for a holiday beer and full of ginger and other holiday cookie spices. Yum!

Tags: Around the Web · Beer I can't get my hands on · Tastings

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jesse // Dec 16, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    I think you may be on to something with the raspberry & black albert pairing, and I’m glad to hear I wasn’t the only one who was underwhelmed. Although, it really does hide it’s alcohol remarkably well, especially compared to Jewbelation, which proudly wears it on its sleeve.

    Also, for a great pairing with the Jewbelation, try it with some cocoa nibs, which will bring the chocolate malt flavors to the forefront.

    - Jesse

  • 2 Joe Ruvel // Dec 16, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    ohh – thanks for the tip – cocoa nibs and jewbelation it is. And you are totally right about Black Albert hiding it’s alcohol – a nice way to get drunk.