Tuesday, May 2nd 2012
(Sun King Brewing and Oskar Blues)
Chaka is the brainchild of brewers Dave Colt and Clay Robinson of Sun King and Dave Chichura at Oskar Blues, old friends who met in Indianapolis years ago. Leave it to these three guys to not only brew a beer together that is altogether unique in its indigenous ingredients (shagbark hickory syrup from Indiana and a Belgian pale malt from Colorado Malting), but then to also choose to be the first to launch a craft beer in Ball Corporation's 16 oz. resealable Alumi-Tek® pint "bottles". The beer itself just made its debut at the Craft Brewers Conference out in San Diego today and will hit shelves in both Oskar Blues' and Sun King's local markets next week.
From the Sun King site:
"The end result is a delicious Belgian-style ale crafted with a blend of ingredients from each brewery’s home state: Shagbark Hickory syrup from Hickoryworks in Trafalgar, Ind.; grain from Colorado Malting Company; and a special yeast blend from Brewing Science Institute, also in Colorado. Brewers from both breweries worked together to formulate the recipe and traveled between Colorado and Indiana to brew at both locations."
Here we go...
Pour - dark reddish amber in appearance with a half inch of off white foam on top that is quick to sink. Pretty cool to pour this beer out of this container!
Aroma - as this filled the glass there was a very apparent Belgian-yeast arom and some sweetness like caramel and cotton candy. Sticking a nose in the glass you can pick out some spiciness and sweet, bready aroma. There is also the essence of apples and pears present. Very aromatic and quite obviously Belgian-esque.
Taste - from the first sip the spiciness from the Belgian yeast strain presents itself and stays in the background. There is a tangy sweetness to this beer as well as a hard to define sour or tart flavor that comes at the end of every sip. Perhaps that's the hickory syrup? Not sure. Regardless, it is a positive. As this warms and settles the flavors tucked away in this beer come out. The sweet, soft fruit flavors, the spiciness (ripe bananas and cloves) and the maltiness all meld together very nicely.
Overall - calling a beer simply a "Belgian-style Ale" certainly leaves a lot to be discovered by the consumer. There are so many options that fit the category. This is a great example of two well-established brewery sharing a passion for trying new things and bringing in some special ingredients to make a special beer. Packaging certainly plays a part in today's craft beer world but irregardless of how this is presented to you, what is inside is truly exciting and altogether fantastic. We're already excited for the next "CANlaboration", whenever, and whatever, that may be!
Note - The story behind "shagbark hickory syrup" is a modern Americana legend that has roots in a 200+ year old mysterious recipe. You have to read THIS to really appreciate how unique this product is to the state of Indiana and to two people in particular. You can check also check out the Hickoryworks website if you want to know even more about shagbark hickory syrup. We had no idea just how special of an ingredient this was in this beer.
Posted by Russ
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