Monday, February 11, 2013

Beer Here - Kremlin Crude

While I'd like to think that I've become fairly educated when it comes to buying beer, I'm as much a sucker as the most novice craft drinker around when it comes to a snazzy label. For example, recently I started a new job out in Escondido, California. I'm not going to lie- I'm not the biggest fan of Escondido. However, it does hold one of the best beer stores in San Diego: Holiday Wine Cellars. My work is a mere five minutes away from Holiday Wine Cellars, so it seems silly NOT to stop there on the way home. Or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

On a recent trip, I was perusing their walk-in refrigerated beer cellar (yes, they have one of those) when I noticed a bottle I had never seen before. It had an oil tower spouting oil behind a serious looking guy in overalls who was raising a glass of liquid to the sky. The name on the bottle read "Kremlin Crude."

Sold! I didn't have to see which brewery made it (turns out it's made by a Danish gypsy brewery called Beer Here), I didn't have to read any specs about it (it's a 10% Russian Imperial Stout, I suppose somewhat predictably), I just needed to buy it. When a label is as good as this one, it just has to be picked up.

Kremlin Crude pours a dark brown color with an absolute toad of a khaki colored head. The head took a full ten minutes to go down to the point that I could take a sip. The smell was nice and dark, with notes of peat, dark roasted coffee, root beer, burnt wood, anise and unsweetened baking chocolate. I thought I smelled a bit of oil as well, but that may have been my imagination running with the name.

The taste opened on a note of wet earth and peat, with a good amount of smoke showing. Soon after, those tastes were replaced by notes of tootsie roll and chocolate cake. The finish brought some chocolate covered espresso bean, roasted malt, and a soft but bitter charred note. The mouthfeel was medium and slightly slick, but didn't give away any of the 10% ABV. My instinct for bottle design sometimes lead me in weird directions. In this case, I'm glad it led me to this beer.

Final Grade: B+

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 109

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