Beer Review: Stillwater Artisanal Ales Cellar Door
Beer: Cellar Door
Brewery: Stillwater Artisanal Ales (Baltimore/gypsy)
Context: We had cod for dinner. Wits and Saisons are good to pair with most any fish. Why not pair a Wit brewed with Saison yeast? There was nothing special about the evening. We have a mouse infestation and I had spent the day cleaning out cupboards and finding places to put all the things we kept in said cupboards until our mouse problem was gone. The three-year-old has been a bit more challenging as of late. So, I needed a drink. Cellar Door, though really difficult to get in these parts, hit the spot.
Appearance: Cloudy orange with a lot of carbonation featuring foamy bubbles and loose lacing. Specks of yeast stuck to the bottom of the glass, a reminder of all the good things happening in the bottle.
Aroma: There’s a peppery spiciness to this beer which the carbonation helps to deliver. Also present is citrus and a hint of sage.
Palate: This is where the carbonation goes to work, attacking all corners of your mouth with aggression. I don’t think it’s over-carbonated, but this aspect of the beer delivers a full mouthfeel without the prerequisite thickness. Instead, that fullness is created with bubbles, delivering the best aspects of the pepper and citrus notes found in the aroma. Once it settles, the experience is quite enjoyable, soft even.
Flavor: The same things were sensed in my mouth as was in my nose. Pepper, citrus (lemon, orange), and a hint of sage.
Suggested Soundtrack: Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground by Bright Eyes in all its triumphant, angsty glory would be the proper celebratory soundtrack for this beer. The dynamics of this album are all over the place, allowing the listener to enjoy all the aspects of Cellar Door from the light citrus aromas and flavors to that aggressive, palate-cleansing carbonation. Bright Eyes’ recognizes the strength he gains from friendship and lessons of loss to create what I think is one of his most overlooked gems. The story of this beer is in the soil…beneath the soil, in a cellar even. So, keep your ear to the ground and maybe some Cellar Door will make it to your market. (Or something like that.)
Thoughts: There’s word that Stillwater is doubling production. So, maybe we’ll see more Cellar Door and other brews from Stillwater. That’s really my only complaint about Brian’s beers. Of course, if that’s my only problem, I can deal with it just as long as some Cellar Door finds its way into my glass now and again.