During most summers, our little corner of the blogosphere is dedicated to finding those warm weather friendly beers that we usually crave when the mercury starts to rise, but this summer hasn’t been like most summers. Weather-wise, we couldn’t ask for much better. With very few days over 90, and very little rain and humidity, this has been one of the most pleasant summers that I can remember (I know, I know. It’s not over yet!).
Given the unusually cool temperatures, I thought tonight would be the perfect time to try Sierra Nevada’s Rain Check, a beer that they brewed to celebrate the opening of their new Mills River, NC brewery, and one that is only available in western North Carolina and a couple of other nearby states. In case you’re wondering how I managed to get my hands on a bottle, full credit goes to our good friend The Alemonger. He picked up a couple of these along with a plethora of other North Carolina craft beers during his most recent family vacation to Asheville, NC this past July.
Mills River, NC—June 9, 2014—Sierra Nevada is celebrating the official start of brewing at its new Mills River, North Carolina, facility with the release of Rain Check Spiced Stout, a specialty beer brewed for western North Carolina and several surrounding states. Rain Check was inspired by the tropical flavors often found in other favorite foul-weather drinks—fresh ginger, brown sugar, molasses, and tangy lime.
As is usually the case, a high quality beer is at its best when you let it sit for a bit after taking it out of the fridge. I drank this beer, which has a hefty ABV of 8.9%, over the course of 90 minutes, and it definitely improved as it warmed up. When I took that first still chilly sip, it was difficult to pick up the more subtle flavors that went into the brewing of this beer. While I could definitely taste the dark roasted malt, there was no sign of that “fresh ginger” or “tangy lime”. Time was definitely on this beer’s side! While I never really got those “tangy lime” notes, the ginger was definitely there during those last few, almost room temperature sips, and it left me with a soothing and lightly spiced tingle that helped to counterbalance the dark, roasted malt flavors. Overall, I really enjoyed this beer and would definitely recommend that you give it a try. Think of it as a Sierra Nevada Narwahl, but with a little something extra added to the mix.