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The Beer Circle » Beer, Cantillon, Gin, Herbed/Spice Beer, Lambic, Rogue Ales, Tastings » The Beer Circle Tasting Part 1

The Beer Circle Tasting Part 1

Last weekend Garrett and I descended upon State College for Penn State’s annual Blue White Weekend. Figuring there was no better thing to do than guzzle down some big beers with each other and some good friends, we convened with Paige in Bellefonte for an evening of hockey, reminiscing, and drunken banter.

Because of varying timeframes, the evening started off with Garrett’s offerings of Rogue John John Ale brewed with Juniper Berries and aged in Spruce Gin Barrels and John John Dead Guy aged in Dead Guy Whiskey Barrels. I’m only going to review the highlights of the evening, as some of my notes got lost in our conversations (or, quite frankly, weren’t very good). If you want more, just ask in the comments and I will oblige!

Rouge John John Juniper
Hazy yellow pour, basically like a pale ale that isn't see-through. A huge head builds up and sticks around for a really long time with spotty lacing.
Big fruit aroma, I'm assuming this is what juniper berries smell like. The Gin barrel aging is pretty apparent, which is impressive because this is the first Gin barrel aged beer I've come across.
The taste is really just a Pale Ale with hints of Gin, and those are very faint at that. Getting some amount of fruitiness, but not on the level of the aroma. Very weird aftertaste. Just overall, a strange taste that is certainly in the realm of unpleasant.
Light and really carbonated well. The weirdness of the taste and booze on the backend make the drinkability low. Glad I shared this.
This was around $8 for a 22oz bottle. If you're interested to see what a pale ale aged in Gin barrels tastes like, give it a shot, but I'd say you aren't missing anything.
Weird. Not a huge fan. Won't be giving this a second chance. As I said before, you should probably share this one with some friends.

Beer Stats
Style: Herbed/Spice Beer
Serving: Bottle
Size: 22oz
ABV: 5.20%
BA Score: 82
RB Score: 86

Moving forward, Paige brought out her New Holland Hatter Royale Hopquila. This liquor/beer hybrid is a fermented wash of 100% barley twice distilled, then steeped with Centennial hops. What you get is an un-aged Whiskey with hoppy notes that magically tastes like Tequila. I’m guessing the Tequila-like tastes come from the hops, but to be honest I don’t really have any idea. I thought it was a bit harsh up front (I’m not a big Tequila guy), but the finish was mind boggling with sweet delicious-ness. I kept taking sips just to get to the finish…perhaps I like hops too much.


Once Garrett had to bid everyone adieu, we moved to the sour portion of the evening. This included the beer I was most excited about opening up, another Cantillon. (If you never have, make sure to check out their website. It’s quirky and unendingly informative.)

Cantillon Fou’ Foune
The cork didn't seal the entire bottle, and disintegrated a bit into the beer. After pushing the cork down instead of pulling it out and pouring delicately, we were left with a clear yellow colored beer with a finger of head. Minimal lacing is noticed, but the retention is decent.
The aroma is beautiful. Tart and sour with a wonderful addition of apricots. The fruit really mixes with the tartness well. The two play off of each other perfectly.
This taste is why Cantillon is known as the best Lambic blender in the world. The apricots lend themselves to the tart, sour body as well as any fruit could. The above average sweetness and the lip-puckering sour contrast and blend in a way that makes it unfair to compare to other Lambics.
The aftertaste is fresh and clean. The drinkability is crazy high as the balance keeps you coming back for more. Light in body and carbonated well.
$30 for the bottle, which was worth it if you can swing the price. I'm so glad I finally got to try this. If you see it splurge, you'll thank me later.
It seems unfair to group all of these Lambics into the same style category because they're each so unique and different. Each time I open a bottle of Cantillon I find myself thinking that it can't get any better than this!

Beer Stats
Style: Lambic
Serving: Bottle
Size: 750ml
ABV: 5.00%
BA Score: 98
RB Score: 99

After the final beer had been poured, we found it a bit difficult to get to our tailgates and start drinking again, but we managed. Stay tuned for the next installment of The Beer Circle Tasting, and if you see any of us are drinking in the same area as you, give us a shout! We’d love to meet up.

The Damage

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Written by Russ Beck, Paige Deckert and Garrett Miller

Russ can trace his beginnings in craft beer to sitting in Zeno’s Pub in State College drinking various craft beer options from across Pennsylvania. Since then, he has never faltered in finding new brews, whether they’re rare, delicious, or hopefully both. Russ will be writing on a large variety of subjects, including but not limited to: reviews, homebrewing, and how to take labels off of beer bottles. He’ll drink just about anything, but prefers a nice Stout, IPA, or Weizenbock. Find Russ Beck on Google Plus

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