Founders Brewing Curmudgeon Old Ale
Surly, that’s how I feel right now. Damn this Polar Vortex, and screw this rain. I’m not a huge fan of cold weather, especially when my house is all electric. When it storms, there’s a high probability of my power going out. Combine that with the cold, and my life sucks. Ok, it’s really not that bad. If I have a good beer, it’s actually not bad at all. It may be in the single digits outside, which by the way is crazy for Alabama, but a nice high gravity brew will keep me warm inside. Hell, if I drink enough of them, I’ll probably feel warm outside too. Crank up some good music and open up an awesome beer, that always makes me happy. Maybe I am not quite the Curmudgeon I first thought I was.
Forget all the scientific nonsense, the only real way to battle this “Polar Vortex” is to consume lots of beer. Trust me, it works. However, when things aren’t going too well, you don’t want to drink with someone who is moody or unfriendly. That is unless the unpleasant one is from Founders Brewing. Their beer, Curmudgeon, is a very nice companion during these hard times. At 9.8% ABV, it will definitely help you stay warm. The beer is a pretty, rusty orange color with a slightly off-white head. The only complaint I have about the appearance, is the clarity of the liquid. I like my beer to not be so cloudy, but hell, I drink with my mouth not my eyes right? The label says that the beer is brewed with molasses and aged with oak, sounds like a great start for an Old Ale to me. I get those characteristics in the scent too. The first thing that hits my nose is the sweetness of caramel and molasses, followed quickly by the sharp aroma of oak, and a little alcohol. Now, time to put this old bastard in my mouth… Uh, wait. I mean the beer! I drink beer with my mouth, whatever, you know what I mean. The taste of this grumpy brew is something pretty spectacular. Right off I get sweetness again, toffee, brown sugar and caramel. The flavor of oak, vanilla, tobacco and cinnamon are apparent as well. A lot of malts going on in this brew, not a whole lot of hops dancing around on my tongue, which is protocol for the style. The body is much creamier than the smell. It has a smooth, almost buttery mouthfeel that works well with the carbonation. The sweetness and the mouthfeel hide the almost 10% ABV very well. The only time I really notice the alcohol is when my glass warmed up and the beer started to leave a dry finish followed by a light burn. This magical concoction is perfect for the cold winter nights. On my industry standard 1 to 10 scale, this moody ass hole gets a 9.25, easily. Something that is sure to make all you sulky and bad-tempered vegans happy, is the fact that this guy is indeed, vegan friendly. Which might be his only “friendly” characteristic.
Old ales are one of my favorite styles of beer. Closely related to barleywines these brews are generally higher in ABV, and make great winter warmers. This may be the best Old ale I’ve had. North Coast’s Old Stock may give it a run for its money though. Should I do a side-by-side comparison of my top three, I think so. Maybe next week we’ll see how Curmudgeon, Old Stock, and Hibernation Ale from Great Divide fair when put up next to one another. Until then guys, don’t be afraid to try something different. Indulge in something new, and tell me how you like it.