A weekly review of Vas Foremost’s craft beer offerings.
It sure has been a while since our last review hasn’t it? Sub-zero temperatures brought with them a wicked cold that sidelined this blogger for the week. With the ability to breath through my nose once again, I bring you this week’s Vas Review. Highlighted this week is the Church Street Brewing Company. Coming to you from the Chicago suburb of Itasca, the founder of this breweries true love is German lagers (and it shows in their profile). I’ve been to this brewery once before, met the owner, had a tour and enjoyed every minute of it. I’m excited this week to share with you two beers that I hope will encourage you to try new and different things!
Tale of the Shony
Style: Scottish Ale
The first beer out of the gate is a Scottish ale named “Tale of the Shony.” I must confess that I’ve never heard of such a tale. Google, any help here? Nope? Moving on.
Shony pours out a deep ruby color with brown tones. Gripping onto the walls of your glass a thick, cream-colored head lifts the aroma right to your nose. A candy-like sweetness balanced off by a crispy biscuit and a loaf of sliced bread. “Steve, how on earth can you tell that the bread is sliced?” No more questions!
The taste maintains the sweetness that tickles the nose. Faint red licorice and a pinch of caramel. Hop flavor is low yet perfumy, while a light bitterness is there to try and balance this malt-favored beer. The carbonation is surprisingly higher than expected, giving this beer a lift. Subtle hints of peat smoke and a heavy, dry red wine.
A good Scottish ale is somewhat hard to find in the states. It isn’t a popular style among today’s craft brewers and by the time a European example of the beer is shipped over, it is sometimes already showing age. Church Street dares to take on the style that 3Floyds dominates with Robert the Bruce. It takes on a more traditional approach, but has my taste buds celebrating. Mmmmmm….Scottish ales….
Style: Munich Helles
The second beer I sampled today is Church Street’s attempt at a classic German style, the Munich Helles. Appropriately named? Let’s find out!
Heavenly is a nearly brilliantly clear golden color. A small amount of yeast sediment hangs around in the glass but that doesn’t bother. A sweet grainy aroma takes hold of the nose, along with a light corn-like aroma and a pinch of maltiness. Right on par with what I hope for in a munich helles.
The first sip begins with a kick of sweetness, slightly corn-like but never straying far from a clean grainy flavor. The hops are very subdued and have a taste that can only be described as earthy. The flavors are simple and very straight forward. The beer itself has moderate body with a kick of dryness. Heavenly finishes clean, meaning there isn’t a whole lot left lingering on your tongue. For the style, this is a good thing.
If you are a macro beer drinker (PBR, Coors, Bud, Miller, etc.) and want to take your first step into craft beer, this is a perfect first step for you. Even if you are a seasoned beer veteran, this beer is a great reminder that a beer doesn’t have to be barrel-aged, highly-hopped or include crazy ingredients to be considered a good beer. Sometimes something simple can really hit the spot (and broaden those horizons)!
Other offerings from Church Street available at Vas Foremost include: Continental Lager and Brimstone IPA .
Next week in the Vas Review: A pair of classics that everybody NEEDS to try!