This is actually the first bottle I have had all to myself. Now I could write tasting notes with appearance, aroma, flavor, mouthfeel, overall impression and such - but I really think that's for you to decide. What I will do is tell you how I would recommend serving it. The way that will best express the characters of orange, resin, honey, mineral dryness, and the yeast ester peppery astringency earthy organic qualities (like Fantôme) that I wanted from this beer.
First, take it out of the fridge and let it sit about 20 minutes before pouring, leave the cap on. It should be about 55F (13C) when you pour it. Open and pour it - between bashful and aggressive - into a glass with plenty of room to hold a medium head and the aromas the beer will release. Pour it all, and yes there will be a bit of sediment. You don't have to swirl it up because the yeast used is not a good flocculator - there should be enough just by finishing the pour for a cloudy beer.
Then swirl it, sniff it, swill a bit, and enjoy it. I'm very pleased that it is so close to the target I had in mind. I hope you are also pleased.
It took a while and I nearly expired from anticipation. But Valencia Saison - brewed in collaboration with Premium Beers from Spain - is finally on shelves of bottle shops in Southern California. Only 8 (24 bottle) cases and 8 kegs made it to Lime Ventures, the California distributor. That means, if you see it, buy it. The first case in a shop in Tustin was gone within hours.
We should see at least two more Beancurdturtle collaboration beers in California before the end of 2014:
A Robust Porter made with Panela (a Columbian unrefined whole cane sugar) and aged in red wine barrels from the Rioja region of Spain. Brewed with Mateo & Bernabé and Friends.
I know, I know. I have forever said I would never use kegs. I just love the character and benefits gained from bottle conditioning beer. And hoses and industrial gas and such feel a little impersonal. And beer is very personal as far as I'm concerned. However, I was asked if I could donate beer for a non-profit activity - a festival. And it's just not possible to do it in bottles.
So, I usually pick up some stuff when MoreBeer has their 15% off sale. This time it was kegging equipment. Yup, feels a little weird - but I can deal with change.
I just got word from the California distributor for Valencia Saison. I'm pretty sure it's available for next day delivery to bottle shops in Northern California already. The allocation for Southern California is on the way to the distribution point. As soon as it's available there - and I will let everyone know when it's available - bottle shops with accounts with Lime Ventures can order cases for next day delivery. I'm inquiring about the kegs.
Regarding the Porter Alcoiana Project for Cerveza Spigha. We brewed with Cerveza Spigha in June of this year. Everyone who tries this beer loves it. Looks like it will be named "Cafe Olé".
Pau, the brewer at Spigha, had this to say about the beer. "The Robust Coffee Porter we brewed is incredible. I am drinking it right now. The beer has a rich body, but it is still easy drinking, very balanced, with a very nice aroma of coffee. For me it has a remarkable character, the residual sweetness reminds me of milk. So the combination with the coffee aroma and flavor is more than perfect. Sublime Imports came last week and tried it. They agree, the Coffee Porter is fantastic. It’s likely we will be importing it to the USA."
And here's some tasting notes from a beer geek with a fondness for the beer. "Cafe Olé is a brilliant beer brewed with Torrefacto coffee beans. Smells and tastes of café con leche, dark chocolate, caramelization reminiscent of flan, with a wonderful medium body and light carbonation."
I've been doing this so backwards. I've already brewed five collaboration/gypsy brews at commercial craft breweries - three or more of which are, or will be, imported to the US. And I crafted a specialty Saison for a brewery on the Canary Islands. Today I finally ordered business cards