Tag Archive: Prairie Artisan Ales

Evil Twin: Prairie: Bible Belt Even More (USA: Imperial Stout: 13% ABV)

Visual: Black. Still. Large, small bubbled packed dark coffee froth brown head.

Nose: Cashews. Subtle bitter cocoa. Smooth coffee. Treacle toffee. Figs. Prunes juice. Barbecue ribs.

Body: Complex bitter coffee. Light chalk touch. Frothy chocolate. Walnuts and pecans. Touch of barbecue glaze. Slight treacle and liquorice. Chilli tingle.

Finish: Bitter cocoa dust. Pecan pie. Milky coffee and bitter coffee. Coffee cake. Barbecue glaze. Black liquorice bits. Spicy rum.

Conclusion: This is well textured beer – chewy and frothy with substance that doesn’t become syrupy or clinging – heavy but clean is the best way I could describe it. Despite that the beer is a slightly slow developer flavour wise. Early on it plays the standard Imperial Stout notes – big coffee, albeit rounded complex coffee that gives a lot to the beer – bitter coffee notes against smoother coffee cake richness. Similarly in the expected notes there is a big chunk of cocoa -just bitter enough to add some weight, but still nothing we haven’t seen a million times in the crowded quality Imperial Stout range that comes from living in these halcyon beer drinking days.

Now I will admit that at this point I looked at the can and thought “Chilli was used in making this? I don’t taste any chilli notes” So what I say next may have been influenced by that realisation. Disclaimer over.

I spent some time enjoying the generally nutty, with specific pecan notes, style character that adds some savoury depth to this beer when … oh, look what came out but some kind of meaty, barbecue glaze kind of note waiting at the underside of the beer to warm it up. Am I being very easy to influence or is this the chilli elements kicking in?

It rocks a balance between meaty, chives and barbecue sweetness as an undertone to the cocoa and coffee. It isn’t a must have, even with the extra notes, but it has become a lot more interesting and is undeniably high quality. It uses the elements of the base beer, and the mass of added ingredients to make for a beer with a wide range of notes while still rocking the base imperial stout very clearly.

Now imperial stout is a category that has been spoiled with so many super high quality beers, and this can’t fight the best of those beers, but it is a fine beer it itself with subtle chilli usage and meaty notes that sets this apart from the rest as something different and very good.

Background; Ok, is this “Even More Bible Belt”, just “Bible Belt”, “Bible Belt Even More”? I give up. Googling does not help. Even more Bible Belt makes most sense, but the bottle seems to lay it out as Bible Belt Even More, so despite that sounding silly that is what I am going with. This is a big imperial stout made with coffee, vanilla, chillies and cacao nibs. From the name I guess it is a spin off from Even More Jesus, but that could just be the name fucking with me. Again. This was grabbed from Independent Spirit, and drunk while listening to Eels – useless trinkets and B-side. Despite being an Eels fan I never really listened to that one that much, so decided to give it another spin.


Prairie Artisan Ales - Prairie Ale

Prairie Artisan Ales: Prairie Ale (USA: Saison: 8.2% ABV)

Visual: Hazy lemon juice. Small white head. Medium carbonation.

Nose: Yeastie. Dry lemon juice and lychee. Some crisp hops and light bitterness.

Body: Big dried apricot. Lychee. Tart grapes. Big mouthfeel. Honey touch. Sweet lemon juice. Sherbet feel.

Finish: Sour grapes. Sweet white wine. Light white pepper. Honey. Peaches in syrup. Lightly rustic.

Conclusion: While this is definitely saison influenced in style it feels very different to your standard saison. It has hints of the saison rustic feel, and a light pepper character along with the yeast notes and aroma. So far, so standard, but what happens is that extra abv gives it a real big sweetness, and also pushes up what would normally be understated fruit notes to give a massive fruitiness. That real pushed fruitiness I would not expect even from the craft interpretations of saisons so comes as an, admittedly welcome, surprise here.

You wouldn’t guess that this awaited you from the first impressions the aroma gives though. It comes in quite crisp, yet still noticeably yeastie, and not out of expectations – however as soon as you take the first sip the illusion is dispelled. There is an instant fruit sugars and syrup sweetness, which then fades out into more mellow grapes and white wine on the way out.

Unfortunately, what I think is the most defining element of the beer is also the one I can trust least in my notes. You see, it is the one element I definitely saw on the bar’s tasting notes, so I am mildly worried it is psychosomatic. Anyway, it is (to my limited experience) a spot on punch in the middle of refreshing tart lychee. That one element just booms out of the beer.

It makes for a hard to define beer, it has huge and unusual fruit flavours, but without the hop character that would often come with that. It has that sasion rustic base, but far sweeter than most of the style. Despite the sweetness it leads out to a wine like dryness. Very hard to pigeonhole here.

I’m going to have to look at it without style expectations then, and just view it as a beer. As such it is lovely, mixing sweet, fruit and rustic as described above – it is far too quaffable for the abv, but thankfully does warn you of the strength with that thick feel and slight wine like notes.

Frankly an excellent merging of styles, white wine meets fruity hops in a crisp sweet and delicious saison. Well worth it.

Background: Since they listed this as “Farmhouse Ale” I double checked with Colonna and Hunter, where I tried this, and this is Prairie Ale. C&H tend to prefer concentrating on the beer’s brewery, flavour and style, so do not always list the actual beer’s name unless you ask them. Anyway, Colonna and Smalls is one of the few coffee houses in Bath which I frequent, and in fact are one of the few places I will actually drink coffee. I am not a coffee fan, but they bring through some outrageously good stuff. So when I heard they were opening Colonna and Hunter to serve coffee and craft beer, I was intrigued. This was the first time I got around to doing a review while visiting. While I like the fact they put tasting notes up I try to avoid looking at them until I have done a review, to avoid being influenced, which is quite hard when they are right in front of you.

Colonna and Hunter

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