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Monday, May 12, 2014

Pipeworks Brewing Co's Nagami Equinox

  • Style: Golden Ale brewed with Kumquats & Honey
  • ABV: 9.0%
  • Ease to locate: On most craft shelves in & around Chicago.  My bottle was #360-61 Here's a link to the beer menu page on this ale
  • Color: Golden straw color with a hint of orange.  Slightly hazy.  It's as if you can almost see the honey in it
  • Head: Huge 2 1/2 finger snow white head that falls slowly.  Delicate, uniform lacing.  Very pretty.
  • Aroma: Kumquat tartness hits you immediately.  Some citrus & a bit of fruity yeast. No real sweetness on the nose
  • Mouthfeel: Medium body that's slightly dry.  Easily drinkable
  • Finish: Not as long as I'd like.  Mostly citrus & fruit that falls off rather quickly.  
  • Food friendly? Great with a variety of Spring & Summer dishes.  Try it with grilled chicken or fish paired with some lemony vegetables 
Apple user's link: There is truely a YouTube for every occasion

                                                                                    I take all my food advice from guys wearing a hemp shirt and have access to video equipment, don't you?

Every year for Lent my mom would make my brothers and myself give up something that we loved for the forty days of the season.  And she didn't let us get away with picking things like meat loaf or green beans (which I happen to love, but if green beans were an actual choice as a sacrifice back in the day, I totally would have jumped on it.) Most years, we went with giving up things like pop or ice cream.  One fateful year I gave up popcorn and let me tell you, those were the longest forty days of my twelve year old life.   My father, however, gave up the same thing year in and year out.  Kumquats.  To a ten year old who lived in Chicago during the Eighties, it certainly sounded like an exotic sort of sacrifice to make each year.  The fact we had never actually ever seen my dad eat a kumquat at any other time of the year did leave us a bit suspicious.  Hell, my brothers and I didn't really even know what the frak a kumquat really was in the first place.  As an adult, I've come to appreicate my father's tricky sort of logic now.  As a lover of craft beer, I think that I may appreciate more that Pipeworks might have finally found a way to throw a monkey wrench into his nefarious Lenten plans.         

I know that this has been troubling you all since you saw the title of this post.  And I'm here for you (and by here for you, I mean that I took five seconds to google it.)  Nagamis are a variety of kumquats and not some furry, bucktoothed creature that lives in the forests of Middle Earth.  Now we can all breath a sigh of relief and go on.  My Nagami Equinox poured a golden yellow color with a slight orange tinge to it.   A huge (and sort of surprising to me at least) two and a half finger head of pure white foam rose in the glass.  The head had staying power and left behind some very pretty, delicate and yet uniformly spun lacing.  It was certainly a good looking beer to say the least.  I could immediately smell the tartness of the kumquats without even bringing the snifter very close to my nose.  What I could have been just another sort of Pipework add on,  easily demonstrated that it was going to more than just a one trick pony sort of beer.   A layered citrus (I want to say orange and lemon) bitterness emerged under the tartness as did the fruity yeast aroma.  I loved the brightness of the scent.  The taste was first and foremost kumquaty (yeah, it's a word.  At least it is now) tartness with a balanced citrus element.  I could taste lots of juicy orange, grapefruit and a bit of lemon mixing with the puckering note from the beer's namesake.  A good amount of fruity yeast and a very welcome sweetness from the honey balanced out the flavor profile.  This was exactly the sort of ale that I wanted to drink on a gorgeous Spring day.  The mouthfeel was what one would expect from a Golden Ale; medium body with a bit of dryness.  I wasn't one hundred percent behind the drop off on the ale's finish, however.  With the wonderfully balanced nature of the flavors mixing together on the taste, I think that it should have lasted longer on the swallow than it did.

I love pairing Golden Ales with food.  They are inherently well suited for most meals (this is why Goose Island's Matilda is such a popular restaurant choice for beer drinkers.)  The tart nature of Nagami Equinox does require some thought though to insure that this ale will enhance the meal and not over power it.  I'd serve it with a Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken and a Side of Lemon Green Beans (unless you have a more lenient mom than I do and you decided to give them up for Lent.)  A Citrus Marinated Tuna Steak would also be delicious, especially since the oily nature of the fish would work with the brightness of this beer.   It's really a wonderful Spring or early Summer beer to add to your Golden Ale repertoire.  Plus, kumquat is just an awfully funny word to say out loud.