A Night with Simply Beer

I recently had the undoubtedly fortunate pleasure of receiving a Simply Beer Homebrew care package from fellow BrewYorker Peter Kennedy.  Peter is an avid beer junkie who has been trying his hand at homebrewing for about a decade- and his seasoned knowledge definitely shows.  His brews are not only delicious and different, but his painstaking attention to detail and love for beer shows in every last drop.  The kit included four of Simply Beer’s offerings: Bourbon Stout, Funky Saison, Pumpkin Porter and Peanut Butter Porter (I KNOW!)

Mmm... Bourbon-y...

The first brew I tried was the Bourbon Stout.  As you probably know, I’m a stout girl at heart, so I couldn’t wait to pop this one open.  The back story I received on this beer is that Peter (a stout lover himself,) decided that he wanted to try his hand at a low ABV stout that tasted like a big barrel aged imperial.  Hence, this session-style stout was born.  While an interesting concept (and something that could save me from an embarrassing night,) this turned out to be my least favorite brew of the bunch.  The aroma cries out of cheesy chive and sour cream- a twice baked potato.  The taste is fizzy and watery for a bourbon stout.  Dark and malty with a vegetative herbaceous base, the sip is sweet but the aftertaste leaves me a bit unhappy.  Overall, however, this bourbon stout is very complex and commendable for a homebrew.   With time and a little finagling, this concept could go places.

It's time to get Funky...

Next on the list is the muddy pouring Funky Saison.  This beer poured with a HUGE ecru foamy head which took almost all of the glass height.  The scent tickled my nose like natural soap made with lavender, sage and peach.  There was also something of strawberry or cherry starbursts on the nose.  This brew sips nice and light- bubbly and sweet and sour, although not super extreme on the sour end.  There is a refreshing quality to this drink that does not take away from its clear and present taste point.  Apples and pears mingle with clove and nutmeg to give it a spiced cider feel (sans cinnamon).  Although pulpy, the Funky Saison is a fine refreshing drink that packs a tasty punch.

A little sip of Autumn...

Upon taking a sniff of Peter’s Pumpkin Porter, I was immediately transported to October.  Literally, the beer smells like a night of New England trick or treating; crisp and chilly, musty and leave-y, and roast-y and toasty.  The taste is a mixture of pumpkin bread and baked apples with cinnamon.  Honestly, I don’t even need to say anything more about the Pumpkin Porter- what is better than a beer that smells like Halloween and tastes like Fall?

Giving Reese's a run for their money...

Last, but most certainly not least, came the Peanut Butter Porter.  At 11% ABV, this brew could quite possibly be the best beer I have yet come across.  Opaque midnight black with a tiny, milky chocolate head, the porter boasts some beautiful lacing which makes me excited for a fine nitrous-like reminding me of my grandma.  Sweet chocolate undertones compliment the strong peanut butter taste.  When I was growing up, my parents would marinate chicken in a sesame teriyaki sauce and grill it on the barbeque.  This brew has a hint of that smoky, savory goodness.  The sweet and salty mixture of salted caramel shines through at certain points of the sip.  There is a good amount of alcohol in the taste; like a fancy peanut butter cup filled with bourbon.  Overall, the brew is thick, roasty and creamy, like eating buckeyes (a decadent peanut butter ball dipped in chocolate) near the fireplace.  This is undoubtedly Peter’s best creation to date- the complexity AND familiarity of the Peanut Butter Porter make it a deliciously great beer for newbie tasters and seasoned beer vets alike.

Peter Kennedy is not only just an amazing homebrewer, but a genuinely great guy as well.  He is an advocate of craft beer and always willing to offer a bit of tasting advice or to share his knowledge and help educate on the world of craft beer.  He is quick to support his fellow BrewYork-er’s in their “beerdeavors” and always willing to lend a helping hand.  Check out his article about the hashtag phrase “beerpeopleRgoodpeople” and you will understand what I mean.

With that in mind, keep your eyes peeled and ears perked for the day when Simply Beer brews will be released for public consumption.  These beers are simply too good to pass up.

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