Beer Town: Limited Edition Beers are Fun Stuff

Written by Bob Townsend for the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Seasonal beers have been a part of brewing science and tradition for centuries. Think Christmas ale or May Bock. But to say one-off and specialty series products are the big thing in craft brewing right now would be a crazy understatement, as craft breweries release new and never-to-be-seen-again beers at a dizzying rate.

In Georgia, Athens’ Terrapin was an early instigator of the specialty beer game, starting with the Monster Beer Tour, featuring hefty seasonals such as Big Hoppy Monster. The Side Project series, begun in 2008, recently reached Volume 14 with Tomfoolery Black Saison.

Last year, Terrapin produced four beers in its Georgia Theatre Sessions series, plus the most recent Midnight Project collaboration with Left Hand Brewing and the annual Reunion beer for cancer research.
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Beer Profile: Harviestoun Black Ale

Profiled by Ken Carman

Nose: some caramel. Head fades fast. A black Scotch Heavy, or a black Old Ale. Engine Oil is listed as an Old Ale by BJCP, but does not say “black.” I think it may be one in the same, but not sure. If not it’s a black version of it.

Not a lot of hops, a lot of caramelization, but the body just a tad low for a Heavy, so I gravitate more towards the Old Ale category.

The black, or darker malt, dominates, with the caramelization bringing up the support from the background. Obsidian. The caramelization is stronger in the mouth feel, but less so in the taste.

One site lists it as a Porter. Another as a Stout. In my opinion: neither. Old Ale or Scottish Ale with darker malts. A Stout would have roasted barley, this seems to have little of what would qualify for a Stout profile. Porter would be more complex malt-wise, perhaps a bit more hoppy, and certainly less caramelization than this. So that doesn’t apply either, really.

I recommend it. But be looking for a Scottish Ale or Old Ale with a darker malt sense.