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Monday, April 29, 2013

Tyranea Brewing Co.'s Rocky's Revenge Bourbon Brown Ale

  • Style: Brown Ale
  • ABV: 5.75% (before portions are barrel aged.  Conflicting info on it post barrel aging.)
  • Season: Year Round
  • Ease to locate:  Distributed in most liquor stores in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana & Minnesota.  Here's a link to their beer finder (click on "Distribution" and then the state you're interested in)
  • Color: Medium brown with maple syrup overtones.  There's an orange tint when held to the light
  • Head: Three fingers with large clumps of lacing
  • Aroma: Sweet with caramel and chocolate malts.  Hints of brown sugar and a bit of dirt
  • Mouthfeel: Moderate and smoother than it deserves to be
  • Finish: Short and sweet
  • Food friendly:  Works well with any sort of barbecue.  Also, try it with a semi sweet marinated chicken or a vegetable casserole. Serve it with salty cheeses like Parmesan or Asiago

"Deep in the darkest depths of Rock Lake, prowls a great Saurian known today as Rocky."  This is the beginning of the legend of Rocky as it is retold on the label of Wisconsin's Tyranea Brewing Company's Rocky's Revenge.  If you continue to read the some what good god, will this story ever end so I can drink my beer???  lengthy story, you eventually learn that a Saurian is neither a character out of a Tolkien novel nor an over sized  Russian, by the way of Sweden, muscle head named Dolph.    It's actually just a fish.  Talk about a false build up.  On a more interesting side note, did you know that Dolph Lundgren actually has a masters in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney?  AND received a Fullbright Scholarship to MIT in 1982?   Consider your mind officially blown.
                                                                                    You don't get your own theme music for graduating from MIT

Rocky's Revenge is a semi barrel aged brown ale.  Barrel aging is ever so trendy in the craft beer world now.  I'm pretty sure that  if you offered a barrel aged version of what might just be the absolute most vile beer on the market,  gaggles of twenty-something bearded guys in hoodies would line up for a bottle.  This particular brown ale is only semi aged, meaning that a portion of the ale is aged in oak barrels.  The percentage is not reveled by Tyranea Brewing, but if I had to guess, I'd say less than 20% of each batch is aged in bourbon barrels.   Personally, I didn't find the beer to be significantly elevated because of the bourbon, so why bother if it wasn't just to claim their slot in the whole boozy beer trend?  Give me a well done and tasty brown ale any day over fancy gimmicks and trendy methods any day. 

 The head does remind me of a certain fictional boxer's hair cut.  The 80's were not a kind fashion decade.

 My Rocky's Revenge poured a medium brown color, reminiscent of fresh maple syrup.  It was slightly hazy and glowed softly with amber tints around the edges when held to a light.  A billowy three finger head formed, plump with a light beige cushion of bubbles. Large clusters of thick lacing hug the sides of the pint glass.  The head settled down eventually to a surface of peaks and valleys for most of the drink.  I could smell the malts without even trying.  Whiffs of sweetness, predominately caramel and light chocolate, practically leaped out of the liquid as I took a sniff.  It was defiantly one of those brews that smelled just as it
appeared, syrupy and sweet.  The first few sips backed up the aroma.  Sugary notes of caramel and chocolate malts are mixed with softer sweet flavors of brown sugar and vanilla.  It was certainly one of the sweeter brown ales that I've ever tried.  A slight bitterness of hops crept in on the back, but it was like Stannis during the Battle of Blackwater.  Too much wildfire and too little smoke baby.  A stronger hop presence might have helped to balance out the syrup aspect.  The bourbon note was restrained and offered a bit of buttery booze to the brown ale base.  There was no heat from the spirit and I feel that this was a good choice made by the brewers.  I think the bourbon helped the most in the mouthfeel department.  It lent the ale a fuller mouthfeel with a smooth and comforting, if not way too short,  finish.  Good carbonation over all, but not in the least bit creamy.

Nice lacing.  Or as we say in Mother Russia, kрасивый кружевной

Well, I don't say that exactly.  My mother is Mary and she's not really into lace

I would serve Rock's Revenge brown ale with food that can stand up to the malty sweetness of the beer.  A good bet would be shredded chicken smothered in North Carolina barbecue sauce. The tanginess of the vinegar, the hint of sweetness from the brown sugar and earthiness from the Worcestershire sauce will compliment the malt bomb brown ale perfectly.  Alternatively,  try it with a vegetable lasagna, extra points if you roast the vegetable first to get a bit of chard action going on.  Go a bit heavier on the Parmesan cheese and use the added salt flavor to balance out this brew.  I don't know if I would seek out Tyranea Brewing's Rocky's Revenge again if given the opportunity.  If your palate is dominated by an aggressive sweet tooth, this might just be the right brown ale for you.  If you aren't the type to lick the maple syrup clean from your plate of pancakes, you might want to look elsewhere. Brown ales are a dime a dozen, and I personally prefer a better balanced version of this (and just about any) style of beer.   But does a bourbon aged brown ale have a place in the increasingly inflated world of spirit aged craft beer?  Um, yeah.   If Dolph Lundgren can go from MIT to starring in a less than life-like version of a plastic action figure, I truly believe that there is a place for everyone in this universe.