Mountain Goat Cross Breed Back To The Brewer Double Steam Ale

Total Score: 7.45/10 Bread1Biscuit1Orange1Nonicpint1

Another Mountain Goat Cross Breed and another mouthful of a name (and perhaps a beer too) in this Back To The Brewer Double Steam Ale. FYI I love the Back to the Future nostalgia in the bottle label, remember it was only just 2 years ago in 2015 that we invented flying cars, predictable weather, hover boards and power up laces thanks to the vision of Robert Zemeckis. What a genius that guy. This Cross Breed is a celebration of Mountain Goats 20th birthday (had no idea they began in the late 90’s, damn I feel old now). The idea for this brew involved a collaboration of all four past head brewers, it’s a riff on their biggest selling beer – their Steam Ale, also it uses HPA Experimental Variety 035, Galaxy and Cascade hops, hmmm, intriguing.

Poured from a 640ml (US Bomber sized) bottle into a nonic pint.

A: Looks like a classic Californian Steam Beer in colour – pale straw yellow, bit cloudy in the body though, with a decadent wispy white head starting at 1 inch and dropping back leaving lace patterns inside the glass. 7/10.

S: Floral and savory (???) hop notes. That savory note is odd, a bit like bacon, never noticed that in a Steam Ale, or even a Pale Ale for that matter. Could be yeast related – there’s a doughy yeast character in there as well. Light citrus and hints of passionfruit in the background (that’s Galaxy for sure!). That soupy savory bacon character is quite unsettling though, hoping the flavour is alright. 5/10.

T: It is a bit gamey, though not as bad as the aroma would suggest. First and foremost is the malt character, which as this beer has aged several months, has taken over the palate somewhat – with notes of: biscuits (white sugar cookies and creamy Scotch fingers), big doughy/bready almost pastry-like yeast, a firm but yielding orange citric bite, hint of pepper, and a finish that is smooth and dry with a slight bitter orange tweak at the end. Flavour is fulsome and oddly compelling. It’s got that Steam Ale angle of being refreshing and meaty at the same time. Actually was expecting something fruitier and lighter from the hop bill, but it just goes to show what a difference California Common yeast makes.8/10.

M: Mid to heavy bodied with a creamy and luxuriant mouthfeel – this is where IT is AT, bring on more Double Steam Ales I say! 9/10.

D: What a curious beer from the get go! It’s not a Steam Beer as we know it – it’s definitely got more face-punch in it, but at the same time it goes down too easy, + it’s weird. Hopefully they bring this one back again. 8/10.

Food match: Bratwurst and other fancy sausages, with a giant pretzel, and mustard!

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Mountain Goat Steam Ale

Total Score: 6.85/10 CutGrass1 Nut1 HopFlower1 Nonicpint1

Three years ago me: “I got this at the same time as the hightail Ale as recommended by the bottleshop person, and I must say I was surprised that I hadn’t heard of these Mountain Goat guys before.” Now me: “Mountain Goat rocks!” Note this is my first ‘Steam Beer’ which is trademarked by Anchor brewing, a style of Ale made to mimic a Lager which was developed to quench prospector thirsts in 19th century California.

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a Guinness pint glass.

A: Light amber/golden body, a good colour for a Lager, which is how we rate a Steam Beer. There is pretty much no head to speak of… interesting as the Ale appears quite active with carbonation but no head, strange no? 7/10.

S: Nice! I’m getting a strong hop smell that can only be described as cannabis-like… err, nice as in the strong hop smell, not the cannabis-like part. It’s difficult to register a malt odour over the hops but I’m sure it’s there somewhere. 5/10.

T: As with the aroma the malt completely takes a backseat to the overpowering grassy cannabis-like hops. The flavour of the hops leave a slight expected bitterness and the aftertaste is a hint of Brazil nut, which could only be as a result of the malts, very interesting. 8/10.

M: This Ale explodes in your mouth like a fruit tingle! It’s quite odd and I’m not sure if I like it or not. 3/10.

D: If it wasn’t so crazy in the mouthfeel I could probably drink these all night, however this Ale presents an eclectic mix of hops, nuts, and pop-rocks which holds it back from a perfect score… I’ll still gladly get it again though. Three years later note: As a Steam Beer this holds up comparably well to Anchor’s Steam Beer (the one that owns the trademark) the only place it really loses out to Anchor is in the mouthfeel and aroma. 8/10.

Food match: Thai, grilled chicken with salad or light barbeque fare.

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