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We've been meaning to do a write up on the Rare Beer Club for a while. In fact some of you have even emailed us lately asking if we've tried it. We've been reviewing regular beer clubs for a couple of years now and the folks from the Rare Beer Club were kind enough to send us a shipment so we could check it out. Read on for details, but let's just say we were not disappointed.

You can order this club here: Join the Rare Beer Club

Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Goord

This is a beer for the Pints for Prostates charity and a donation of $3 will be made for every bottle of this beer sold. That said, other than visiting the brewery, this club is the only way to get it... which is why it’s totally worth it to join the Rare Beer Club.

Brewed as a saison with kale, pumpkin, pumpkin seed, peppercorn and green tea then aged in oak barrels and fermented with Ron Jeffries’ proprietary house strains of crazy funk, we expect this beer to be nothing short of epic. With funky pumpkin beer on our minds, let’s sit back and try it...

Appearance: This beer pours super hazy, although it’s light in color. It looks great, like a wit with a lot more color intensity. But there is so much more to this beer. A pale white head is smaller than expected and receeds fairly quickly. Oh well, who cares since we can already smell this beer and it smells amazing! While taking the picture you see, Jeff kept messing it up by sticking his nose in to smell it!

Smell: The first thing you smell is tartness! This beer smells tart and delicious! After the sour notes back off, this beer explodes in aroma. The big one is super-ripe cantaloupe! Wow. You know when your cantaloupe smells like it might have fermented a little, and it smells amazing but you know it’s the last day you could eat it? That smell is here. There’s also a good bit of pineapple and sharp citrus. This beer smells funky, sour and bright! Now let’s drink it!

Taste: At first sip, the tartness is right up front. As you continue on, though, the depth of flavor really comes through. This is one of the best beers we’ve EVER had. We’ve been doing this site for almost five years now, and this is easily one of the best brews we’ve ever had. Right up front the bitterness from the green tea and kale plays into the sourness and there’s a crazy upfront attack! As the beer finishes while you swallow, you get the peppercorns coming right on through, and they linger on the back of your throat in a mild black pepper burn. This pepper and the minerality of the kale really contribute to a dry finish that rounds out the sour and mildly sweet start quite well. In the middle you get that pumpkin gourdy earthiness.

Part way through, Devon said, “I never want to stop drinking this!” For real. We’re looking to see if we can order more of this through Rare Beer Club like you often can. If all the beer is as good as this one, we might subscribe to this on our own dime. Also, Ron Jeffries, we are officially petitioning you to make this beer annually! Contribute money to Pints for Prostates every year for it if you must (and that would even be quite cool)... but find a way to make it happen... please? Pleeeeaaaaassssseeeee?????

Panil Barriquée Batch #11 2009 Bottle #2716

OK, first, anything with a batch number is usually a good indicator of both rarity (hence the club name) and, we hope, quality. Throw in a bottle number and we’re excited. Tell us that it’s a sour, oak aged, Flemish-style red and we’re ecstatic! Now that we’re all blissed out, let’s drink the beer.

Appearance: When you really look at this beer, it’s reddish brown. When pouring or, if you look quickly, it looks like it might almost be pink-ish. It’s a weird effect. There’s not much head on this one, but a dense light brown one does form before it runs for cover shortly after popping it’s head out.

Smell: Whoa! Mild wine vinegar and oak are the predominant aromas we get. Some kind of vegetal matter as well.

Taste: Way smoother than expected. You get a bit of that mild wine vinegar from the smell as you sip. It’s fairly dry (especially accentuated as it smells a bit sweet), which makes it pretty good that there’s not much carbonation. There’s quite a bit of fruit in this beer, cherries and raspberries predominantly. Because we have some chocolate and cheese lying around (we were also working on Chocolate & Beer and Cheese & Beer pairings for our seminars at New Hampshire Brewers Fest tonight), we tried this beer with Taza Chocolate’s Salted Almond Mexicano Chocolate. Let us tell you, this combination tastes JUST like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It’s amazing and we recommend you try it!

Hopefully some of you have found this review useful, we just put this club on our Christmas lists!

Once again, you can order this club here: Join the Rare Beer Club