Skip Duvall emceed the Sept. 15 tapping at Alcatraz. "Back in April, Omar Castrellon, brewed an India Brown Lager. It's a 6% ABV beer made with Galena and Cascade hops. The base malt is Idapils and it includes Simpson's chocolate malt along with an aromatic malt. Very tasty and unusual."
One expects 'pale ale' to follow India, as in I.P.A. Castrellon's brew is a rich, mahogany with complex roasted flavors. The pour immediately amazes - a 2-3 finger head lifts from dark to light brown sugar in color and leaves a lovely lacing on the glass as you sip. Its enticing nose starts with hops giving way to roastiness mingling with coffee and chocolate.
It takes only a few mouths full to bring to mind the awesome Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. At 7.2% ABV, the hops are a bit more playful in the Dogfish Head - one might say 'teasing,' and I recalled a maltiness bordering on oakiness giving the warming beer a stronger hint of whiskey notes.
Castrellon says he wanted to try his hand at something different. We're glad he did. His IBL holds up as well to St. Louis—based Schlafly India Brown Ale, described?as a "unique brew the color of a brown ale, but with the aroma of an American-style IPA. This beer will prove just how complex a brown ale can be."
About two months ago homebrewer Duvall traded in his corporate suit to join the centuries-old guild system to apprentice with Castrellon along with taking a course of study with Siebel Institute. "Omar is teaching me about brewing. Siebel is teaching me about beer."
Other downtown news
Spencer's Stadium Tavern has Sun King Pale and Oktoberfest on tap. NUVO stopped at Sun King's welcoming tasting room for the dual tapping of their tasty Oktoberfest and commendable Saison de Taffy.
News from the north
Sept. 26 Mad Anthony is pairing beer with a dinner prepared by "locavore" chef Jennifer Disler who is using sustain ably raised meats and vegetables.from area farms. Tickets: $75.00/plate for this "Between Heaven & Earth Beer dinner." Reserve at www.HOPECSA.org or call 260.982.4961