8.5% ABV on tap
Oh if Kuhnhenn hasn’t quickly become my latest brewery crush. Yeah, they play a little hard to get here in New York City, only popping up on tap for a day or two at our finer beer bars, but damn if they’ve never done me wrong. Their Raspberry Eisbock, Fourth Dementia old ale, and even their Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine were pretty much masterpieces, and the only other Kuhnhenn I’d ever had–the All Hallows pumpkin ale–was quite swell for the genre. If we were scoring at home, the Warren, Michigan brewers would be batting 1.000 with, say, two homers, a triple, and a ground-rule double in my scorebook. So of course when I saw yet another Kuhnhenn offering on tap at Rattle ‘n’ Hum last Friday–one oddly enough without even a single review yet on BA–there was not a chance I would pass. And, delightfully, we had another triple, that probably could been stretched into an inside-the-parker.
The second I saw this one poured it was love at first sight. A frothy, hazy ruby red pour that looked more like some freshly squeezed juice (with pulp!) than a beer. It’s an awesome experience when you can tell just by sight and smell that you are about to have your ass rocked. Even my friend stared with awe at my beer, immediately upset that he had ordered something else. I haven’t had many lambics in my life–most of the tasty but kinda phony Lindemans variety–but if this is what a great one tastes like, I am a new fan of the style. Hairy Cherry was absolutely bursting with flavor. Straight up cherry explosion with a tad of a tart finish. Not really complex, but who gives a damn, that’s fine when you’ve got such an overflow of one particularly delicious flavor. Not exactly drinkable, I will admit, though I don’t consider that a debit in this case. This beer isn’t less-than-drinkable because of a hot booziness–it’s actually shockingly pleasant and kid-friendly–but rather due to a dessert-like richness that leaves you more than sated after one tulip full.
True I’ve now had Kuhnhenn’s probably three most “famous” and well-regarded beers, but extrapolate out and these guys are on a Rogers Hornsby 1924 pace with me. If the rest of their beers are anywhere close to as good as the five I’ve already had, then Kuhnhenn is unquestionably one of my top 10 favorite breweries, probably top 5 even. I am in lurve.
*Note: While Downtown Bar & Grill is perhaps the easiest place in town for a beer geek to photograph his beer, Rattle ‘n’ Hum is maybe the hardest. Their taps are against the wall as opposed to on the actual bar, meaning if one wants to photograph an actual tap, he has to humiliate himself by asking the pretty bartenders if he may hand her his camera/phone and have her take a picture of the tap. And then when anti-Ansel Adams fucks up the framing, you’ll quickly become person non grata by asking for a quick reshoot. It’s also quite dark in the bar. Good for drinking, good for flirting, bad for photographing lipstick red lambics to a satisfying degree.