Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tasting: Storm Brewing in Ubud, Bali

Melting Pot of Storms

Not only is Ubud the high end culture mecca of Bali, with artistic handmade shopping, bustling yoga studios and classic Balinese cheer but it’s home to bar to that will bring a tear to the pride of America.

The Melting Pot is a Texan owned bar in the outskirts of the hippie groove city, coated in flags from every country and all the American states, framed and available for public signing. Oregon is the only dual sided flag out of all the states, the owner went with the side with the writing instead of the side with the beaver which is why it took me over 10 minutes to find the thing. Oh, Oregon.

Behold my road weary eyes as they fall to the beer selection of the late night lounge, Bintang, Heineken and a delicate, discrete tanned little bottle boasting a hail storm of possibilities.  There nested between the normal and commercial peeked a bottle: Storm Bronze Ale. Nitch has discovered Bali Brewing Gold!

The Storm Brewery produces delicious ales to centuries-old recipes and can only be enjoyed at selected bars, cafes and restaurants in Bali, and a few selected places away from the island. 
The brewery has a fantastic history and story which is important but possibly a marketing scheme. If you check out the website it will make your eyes water with dissapointment. I've emailed them numerous times while in Bali and after leaving, looking for the brewery location, general human contact information and further depth on the Storm story only to be ignored completely. If there is a person or people behind this label, it has yet to be proven. 
Storm produces three distinctive types of ale, which hold a number of average beers. The categories and products are listed below:
Traditional Ales Series - (Sand Storm, Red Dawn, Black Moon)
Modern Ales Series - (Storm Tropical Ale, Storm Pale Ale)
Special Ales Series - (Jamaican Banana Beer, Mexican Chilli Beer, Belgium Chocolate Stout, Irish Christmas Pudding Stout)

Red Dawn aka Bronze Ale rated 2.8/5

5.4% Bottle

"Rich and tasty. A complex full-flavoured chestnut-coloured ale. Sweet malt in the mouth balanced by honeyed hop notes. Best enjoyed with anticipation, a large gathering of friends, or alone with a Wilderbeest on the beach at sunset."

A: Copper, orange color with a thick high retention head colored a light tan hue to match the body, lots of haze. 3.5

S: Big wafting yeast with a light caramelized malt, papaya/aprocot sweetness  and a soft pop of citrus. 3.5

T: Starts very sweet tart but not bitter, then moves through to the crystal malt with a grassy, citrus hop finishing dry if not disappointingly flat. 2.5

M: On the cusp of medium to light body with an overly proportionate amount of carbonation and a sticky, "drink again to cleanse your palate" feel. Very dry. 3.0

O: A gem of "craft" beers, standing alone in a field of Bintang rocks. Although it isn't an expample of its style nor an overly drinkable beer, getting hands on something other then a dry lager is a joy! Has the effect of bitting into an overly ripe fruit, all mush and strange texture with a fermented sweetness that turns the nose. 2.5

But let us be honest with ourselves, Nitch doesn't want a "bronze ale", she seeks out the most the tumultuous of storms, hail, sleet and savage cold as her heart like second beer of the night: Iron Stout. My road sore bum and wind chapped lips ignored at 2am, international soccer sport cheered on the big screens and the tinker of a ping-pong match by drunks out ring the sweet fizzing sound as the Storm pours, darkly into its place. 

Black Moon aka Iron Stout rated 2.45/5

5.2% Bottle

"A smooth, dark and creamy full-bodied stout of enormous complexity and character. Roasted grain and gentle hops with chocolate overtones. Best enjoyed before, during or after a meal or at any other time of the day or night."

A: Like a blood soaked mud puddle, this little beer pours out a noire chocolate with deep red tints and beautiful full head 3.0

S: Typical stout roasted malts, flirty sweet notes of toffee and tanging coffee that have an odd underlying metallic scent. Possibly an over handling of the beer. 3.0

T: Unlike the Irish stouts that roll around the island, Iron stout has more carbonation and drinkability with a smooth malt/cocoa ratio and light touch of tart sweetness. 2.0

M: Strangely medium body due to carbonation and sugary coating residue left from tart finishing aspect. 2.0

Photo with love from Ryan McFarland's Blog
O: Finding a unique beer like this in Bali is bliss. Finding a poor example of a stout like this in the USA would be devastating. I relished the beer while people sipped their lagers with shock and wiped sweat from their brows. The high carbonation might make this beer less then competitive but it also gives it a abnormally dry and smooth drinkability in lue of the weather. 3.0

Sand Storm aka Golden Ale rated 2.15/5

5.3% Bottle

Picture curtsey of Reed About Beer
"A delicious medium-strength pale ale. Delicate balance of malt and light hop with a dry fruity finish. Perfect with beef, fish or any other food, or just forget the meal."

A: Hazy and oddly sediment heavy tawny tone with a thick, quick falling head 3.0

S: A lashing waft of floral hops and tropical fruits covering a small stash of grains 3.0

T: Sweet little dollop of caramel malt top off a huge sweet corn/sugared fruit kick that crushes all hope of this being a balanced brew. As with most over handled beers there is a metallic tint to the finish. 1.5

M: Again with the Storm Brewing the mouthfeel is so dry and sugared that it requires another drink to cleanse and quench the palate. 2.0

O: Massive fail on this brew, as much as I'd like to high five the craft aspect, an average commercial beer would have been satisfying. It's super dryness and over ripe fruitiness is very similar to the Bronze Ale only lacking a distinct character. 2.5

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