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ales and mahjong

Last Monday (after posting my Mixology Monday entry) I shared two very nice bottles of beer over mahjong at a friend’s house. I failed to meet my expected performance of winning three-four hands over the course of the night and got taken to the cleaners.

The first ale was Stumptown Tart, from Bridgeport. This is a strong golden ale that was brewed last autumn. Two-thirds of the batch was blended with marionberries (estimates say one pound per gallon). The other third was aged in pinot noir barrels (used French oak). The resulting golden ale has a pink tint. It has a very light body, with some aroma of berries and a hint of wood tannins, but crisp. This covers a rather high alcohol percentage (8.3% ABV). It is beautiful summertime drinking. I recommend it if you can find it.

The second was a bottle of the Stone Brewing Company XITH Anniversary Ale. This is a dark-colored, medium-bodied ale with a huge hop aroma, full of grapefruit. An odd combination of characteristics which do not fall into any style category, but the brewery describes it as a “Black IPA”. This has been a favorite of mine since its release last year (Sept 2007). The dark malts are noticeable in the taste, as is a piney almost resinous bitter. The alcohol content is a little high (8.7% ABV). It is starting to change in the bottle, and I should pull it out of the cellar more often.