Thursday, March 7, 2013

Guest Blogger: Cicero's Beer School

Hello all;  my name is Kyle, you may have heard Don mention my name a few times, I will be writing a guest post about my experiences at Cicero's Beer School in Saint Louis MO.

Cicero's is a bar and grill in the Delmar Loop in University City here in Saint Louis, they were one of the first bar's in Saint Louis to start carrying craft beers, all the way back in 1996.  Beer School started in 2008 as a way for lovers of beer to have industry experts come in and talk about their products and beer making in general.  I have been to three classes now and can say it is one of the most interesting beer experiences I have had, the presenters have been knowledgeable and passionate about what they do, which always makes for a great time.

Beer School - 3/7/13 - Taylor Browning, Kona Brewing, Midwest Regional Sales Manager

On tap for tonight was Kona Brewing, Located on the Big Island in Hawaii, Kona is arguably the Flagship brewery in the state of Hawaii.  Kona offers three beers year-round; Longboard Island Lager, Big Wave Golden Ale, and Fire Rock Pale Ale.  Additionally there are three rotating Aloha Series beers offered throughout the year, as well as an Island Only line available only at the brewpub in Hawaii.  Beer School sampled the Longboard Island Lager, Big Wave Golden Ale, Fire Rock Pale Ale, and Koko Brown.

(read more about beer school after the break)

Long Board Island Lager:

Appearance: Soft yellow and very bright, almost lemonade clear.  Head evaporated quickly and was not very active

Aroma: A hint of hops, some floral.  This was poured into a plastic cup so a plastic odor overpowered some of the more subtle aromas. (I will be investing in a glass sampling glass shortly)

Flavor: Lager-y, very crisp and drinkable, a very mild hop character, with some sweetness. 

Mouthfeel: Light Body, had a crisp finish but I was surprised that there was a bit of boozyness too the finish as well, not in any way overpowering, but surprising from such a light beer.

Overall: Something I can easily imagine drinking all the time, a very serviceable beer.  Has some flavor, which separates it from the Big Three's lagers. Enjoyable but not memorable.A good way too introduce someone who may be skeptical towards craft beers.

Big Wave Golden Ale:

Appearance: Golden and Bright, Head was more active than the Long Board Lager

Aroma: Hoppy odor, present but not overpowering; a mild citrus note

Flavor: Mild hops, Some bitterness, Some sweetness.  Well Balanced

Mouthfeel: Light Body, smooth and crisp throughout the drink.

Overall: Very drinkable Golden Ale.  I enjoyed this most of the four we sampled.  Easy to drink, but had discernible flavor profiles.

Fire Rock Pale Ale:

Appearance: Amber / Copper color but still very bright, all the Kona beers are very bright.

Aroma:  Hops, we also start getting into some maltyness here, light caramel

Flavor:  Surprisingly malty, faint note of Caramel. Citrus was the most prevalent flavor, also very sweet

Mouthfeel: Bitter, medium body, was the highest alcohol content of the four sampled at 6% and you could taste the alcohol in such a light beer.

Overall: Not my favorite pale ale, Flavor seemed off.  I can't put my finger on exactly why, but I did not really like this beer.

Koko Brown:

Appearance: Light Brown and bright.  Had the most active head of the four beers.

Aroma: Strong Roasted odor, I am not very familiar with the odor of roasted coconut, but from the people around me the roast had some a strong coconut flavor.

Flavor: Nutty, roasted flavor.  I am guessing the flavor i coud not recognize was coconut, which was delicious.  Some mild chocolate and caramel.  Not very bitter which surprised me.

Mouthfeel: Still very light bodied for a beer with so much flavor.  Finished a bit towards the medium body, tasted the alcohol in the finish.

Overall: Easily the most flavorful of the four tried.  I would give this beer an A-,  the only reason it was not my favorite was the finish, I felt the alcohol burned out the flavor in the finish, but still a great beer.

Cicero's Beer School is a great experience.  I would highly recommend anyone in Saint Louis to make the trip on Wednesday nights, it is time well spent if you enjoy beer.

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