Like a “Jeff Schultz can’t hit” joke or a “TRADE MIKE GREEN” rant, losing early in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has gotten old for fans of the Washington Capitals. “Hope springs eternal” is replaced by “F the Penguins!” far too early each and every year. I could tell you that this year is different; that this Caps team is hungrier, older, wiser. Or I could be a pessimist and go on about the deficiencies in Dale Hunter’s system and coaching style, the team’s lack of a killer instinct, and inability to put together a fully-focused effort for an entire 60+ minute hockey game. Luckily for you, readers of the Beverage Baron, I chose to do neither. Instead, here a few delicious “Red is Caps Hockey”-inspired brews that are equally proficient at calming overtime nerves, celebrating a victory, or numbing another disappointing loss.
You aren’t going to find any of these beers at Verizon Center, but they are all currently available at retailers throughout the DC Metro area, while supplies last of course. (Post title inspired by RMNB’s Barack the Red campaign)
21st Amendment – Monk’s Blood
This Belgian-style strong ale pours a dark crimson, similar to that of venous blood. Aroma of sweet malt, Belgian yeast, oak, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, and dark fruits. Monk’s Blood has a heavy and satisfying sweet taste, with caramel, brown sugar, and dark fruits dominating the palette. The vanilla and oak notes play along in the background like a stay-at-home defenseman, invisible to the casual fan. It has a pleasingly palette-coating viscous body that makes it feel like you’re drinking a meal. It’s no wonder how
Caps fans survive completely on alcohol during the playoffs some monks survived on a diet of beer during Lent if they had brews like this available. Be sure to try Monk’s Blood this year, because 21st Amendment has already announced they will not be able to produce any in 2013.
Baron Rating: 90/100
Dogfish Head – Red & White
Red & White is a brew that blurs the line between beer and wine, and in a completely non-snooty, always-rhyming kind of way. It’s also one of the Baron’s all-time favorites. Just read the description: Red & White is an ale brewed with coriander and orange peel with pinot noir juice added. 11% is aged in pinot noir barrels and 89% is aged on oak barrel staves. Luckily for me it has been released just in time for the playoffs, a time which historically has seen increases in sorrow drowning. Red & White pours a hazy golden amber with a thick, frothy white head. It has the aroma of Belgian yeast, pinot noir grapes, coriander, candied sugar, and orange peel. It has a sweet, juicy taste that really tastes like a blend of a fine wine and a Belgian witbier. It has a balanced fruity and dry taste, with notes of coriander, oak, Belgian yeast and caramel malt. A very smooth body hides the 10% ABV. Red-iculously amazing.
Baron Rating: 93/100
Lagunitas – Imperial Red
This imperial amber ale pours a clear, dark red color with a medium-sized white head that leaves rings of lacing along the glass. Lagunitas Imperial Red has a hoppy citrus aroma, with a bit of earthy malt presence. It has a moderately sweet malt flavor with a good wallop of bitter hoppiness. Like losing in the Cup Finals, the finish is long and dry. Luckily for you, that’s a good thing in a hoppy beer. Its medium body is well-carbonated and rather sessionable for 7.8% ABV brew. If you like a lot of sweet maltiness in you hop-forward beers, this one’s for you.
Baron Rating: 87/100
Salud! And go CAPS!