Getting toward the end of the Beer Camp Across America pack now, after this only three more to go. In this review I have Maillard’s Odyssey the Sierra collab with Bells Brewery from Michigan, an imperial dark ale. Bell’s is a brewery certainly known for their dark beers such as their porter, Kalamazoo stout, Java stout and Expedition stout to name a few. I was excited to try this one since I enjoy all of the beers aforementioned and I had heard mostly good things about this beer as opposed to some of the others in the pack. Maillard’s Odyssey comes in at 8.5% ABV and 40 IBUs.
Appearance: Pitch black beer with no light piercing through. About a 1/2 – 1 finger brown head. Really amazing lacing on this beer as well. Loved everything about the appearance of this one.
Nose: Huge amounts of coffee. Chocolate, toffee, caramel and lots of roasted malt as well. Pretty much nailed the aromas for this one on the label descriptions. Really enjoyable beer to take in, spent a lot of time enjoying the nose of this beer.
Taste/Mouth: Really nice coffee and roasty flavors and some nice chocolate flavors as well. You get a little caramel. Most flavors carrying over from the nose of this beer. Nice thick body lending to a full mouthfeel which finishes with a nice roasty dry burnt molasses flavor. Really interesting and complex beer with lots of layers to it. Warmed up well.
Price/Availability: One time only, unfortunately.
Overall: Bell’s nails their collab with Sierra by producing without a doubt one of the best beers in the pack, probably in my top 3. Very complex and rich beer would love to have it again.
Off Color Brewing based out of Chicago has been slowly gaining a fan base and has begun to expand distribution as we now get it in the tri state area. They brew mostly German style beers, pretty uncommon ones at that, and stray far from the norm of other American craft brewers. Hence the name Off Color I guess? They have done some pretty cool collaborations in the past with some big names like Three Floyds and Mikkeller. Today I have my review of their beer Scurry. Beer Advocate has it classified as an Altbier while Off Color lists it as a Dark Honey Ale on their site. Scurry comes in at 5.3% ABV and 18 IBUs.
Appearance: Very dark brown, good clarity. Pours a 1 finger head which produces some lacing down the side. Some leftover oats perhaps gathered at the bottom of the bottle.
Nose: Roasted malt, some honey and smells of fresh and spent grain. Nothing mind-blowing about the nose, was hoping to get more honey but it’s pretty minimal.
Taste/Mouth: A lot thinner than I expected but pretty smooth nonetheless. Definitely a malt forward beer, you get some oat notes in the flavor as well as a small amount of honey. This is a pretty drinkable beer for sure.
Price/Availability: This is a year round release from the brewery and is now pretty available in NY. Bought a single bottle for around $2.
Overall: Whether you wanna call this an Altbier or a Dark Honey Ale I would say it is a nice interpretation of a style not normally brewed by American craft brewers. It’s drinkable but nothing to write home about, could probably see some improvement if some of the special ingredients were made more noticeable and this didn’t drink like just a malty ale.
From the midwest, Michigan to be specific I have Smells Like a Safety Meeting from Dark Horse Brewing Co. Dark Horse is perhaps most known for their Crooked Tree IPA which has some notoriety as one of the best Midwestern IPAs. This beer was actually originally called Smells Like Weed but the government didn’t like that name so when they decided to bottle it they were forced to change the name to Smells Like a Safety Meeting. My girlfriend actually had this on draft recently, before I did this review so when I saw this at my local shop I decided to grab one for a review. Smells Like a Safety Meeting comes in at 8.5% ABV and does not provide IBU. Note: I drank this fresh and am posting the review a while after I drank it.
Appearance: Surprised by the color of this one, very dark for an American IPA (which is what its listed as but its 8.5% so I would call it a double). Pretty hazy deep copper, light amber color. Really looks more like an American Amber Ale than an IPA/Double. Nice thick 1 finger head and decent lacing.
Nose: Smells really great. Really dank resin, huge pineapple, citrus fruit and pine. Also a good amount of malt in the nose some sweetness and caramel. Definitely could be perceived as smelling like weed!
Taste/Mouth: Pretty damn malty I gotta say. Caramel up front with some decent bitterness. Get citrus and pineapple carrying over from the nose. Has a good mouthfeel very full and thick, along the syrupy side but its not unpleasant. Masks the 8.5% really well and is well balanced but toward the malty side of a Double IPA, which isn’t my favorite rendition of the style.
Availability/Price: It was around the NY/NJ area when it was released on draft at quite a few places. Bottles made their way shortly after and was able to grab it pretty fresh less than a month old. Bottle ran me around 2.50$.
Overall: A decent offering from Dark Horse. The nose is definitely where this beer shines, its very pleasant. The appearance bothers me quite a bit and the fact its listed as an American IPA. Looks too dark and is a bit malty in my opinion. It was enjoyable and I would buy/drink it again but I don’t think I would seek it out.