Black & Blue Grass | New Albanian Brewing Company - Pizzeria and Public House

75 Ratings
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Black & Blue GrassBlack & Blue Grass

Brewed by:
New Albanian Brewing Company - Pizzeria and Public House
Indiana, United States

Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Brewed with blue agave nectar, toasted black pepper, and lemongrass.

Added by emerge077 on 06-04-2012

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Reviews: 17 | Ratings: 75
Photo of TheElectricOne
2.85/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Split a 25oz bottle of this with a friend (who paid for it, luckily). Poured into tulips:

Appearance: copper-Amber in color, with a translucent body, and a purely white head comprised of larger bubbles. Quickly dissipated, probably under a minute. Not much lacing, if any.

Aroma: some spice, but very mild. Mostly smells like malt. Don't get any of the additives here-listed as agave, peppercorn, and lemongrass.

Taste: this was very nearly a drain pour. Not sure how this beer is listed as a saison, because it has none of the wheaty, grassy, funky, or sour flavors that normally come with a saison. It has one note, and that is malt, maybe with a tiny bit of spice mixed in. Tastes more than an amber ale.

Feel: lightly sticky, with much less carbonation than I'd expect.

Overall: would not drink again, even for free. The calories and opportunity cost of drinking a better beer instead are not to be wasted on this one.

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Photo of schoolboy
3.43/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

This one was a unique experience, and that isn't always a good thing.

It a cloudy dark yellow with big head and big bubbles. The aroma was skunky-funky.

The taste was malty yet dry with a bitter aftertaste.

It was definitely unique, with an odd grassy feel to it, but not something I would want again.

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Photo of RyanPoff
3.13/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Had on tap here in Indy a few months ago. Rating the bottle I bought at Costco today.

A: Clear, "shiny penny" copper. About a finger of quickly retreating head, little to no retention.

S: Floral and herby, spring field like smell. Smells good, but doesn't jibe with the look, at all.

T: Not a lot of the herbs I smelled, and this is definitely not a saison. It tastes more like an amber. It is not exciting.

M: Medium bodied, but seems flat/old.

Just not a good brew overall and I have no idea what they were shooting for.

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Photo of KevBot89
3.8/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I dont see why this beer is so poorly rated. I enjoyed it a lot.

Lots of nose including lemongrass, spice, belgian yeast, blueberry (pr blue agave based on description)

The flavor follows the nose. Lots of belgian yeast, lemon, peppery notes, blue agave/blueberry, bready malts, sweet butter.

Overall an enjoyable beer. A lot happening and it may conflict and clash a bit, might explain the lower rating. But i enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 650ml bottle into a pint glass
A: Light orange with a 1/2-finger head
S: Sweet, some spice, some light wheat notes
T: Lots of spice initially followed by some florals/potpourri, not a lot in the way of malty/hoppy characteristics
M: Light-bodied, a fair amount of carbonation
O: Meh. Not what I'd call a saison but not sure what style it would be... a unique/interesting beer but not one I'd buy again

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Photo of TastyAdventure
3.74/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Had a 25 oz of this On-Tap in Louisville.

Made great for the large quantity. I drank it rather quickly.

The small head faded quickly.

Some spicyness. Dry, but not as much as the other saison's I've had. Very pleasant.

I would say this does not have all the characteristics of a saison, but then again I haven't had too many. Could have used a touch more carbonation.

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Photo of metter98
3.74/5  rDev +10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is hazy light amber orange in color. It poured with a thin off white head that died down a bit, leaving a thin film covering the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Moderate to strong aromas of lemongrass are present in the nose along with some notes of blue agave nectar.
T: The taste is similar to the smell, but isn't quite as strong. Faint hints of peppery spices are noticeable in the finish.
M: It feels light- to medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The mixture of lemongrass and blue agave nectar provides for a very interesting smell.

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Photo of Chaney
3.87/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Well, the dude from "The Winetree" in Evansville loved this and spoke very highly of it. Let's see.

Served in an Olde Hickory glass.

A: I thought this was going to be one of those black saisons, but from the look of it, it looks like a DIPA. Cloudy, chilled hazed gold, with a 1/4 finger head that melted into a mere ring in 5 seconds flat.

S: More of an "Herb/Spiced Beer" just based on the nose. Coriander, flower petals, thyme, and white pepper. Interesting...

T: Okay, this DEFINITELY doesn't read saison to me.... more like either the aforementioned style from the nose, or one of Dogfish's foo-foo historic brews. Definitely wheat-based, floral, and sweet, but not too. I got crushed "Sweet Tarts."

M: The flatest farmhouse brew I've ever tasted, but as an "Herb/Spiced Beer" this was fine. The lacing was mildly splotchy and the sweetness wasn't in-line with the farmhouse style at all.

O: Not to sound like a broken record, but this is NOT as saison. It's more of a blend of several styles and I found it very creative. I know BA calls it a saison, but New Albanian makes no such claim. Very good beer.

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Photo of weonfire
4.17/5  rDev +22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Golden brown- almost a deep red. pencil thin head. dissipates almost immediately. thin layer of head clings to the rim of glass.

S - very nice. Lemon. belgian yeast. pepper, a sweet citrus/nectar. great floral scents.

T - Lemon, orange? more of that nectar taste. medium carbonation. hint of grass as the brew goes down the throat.

M - full flavor, frothy, viscosity is high.

O - I really like this. belgian lemon and carbonation combine really nicely. Floral notes are excellent. I will certainly buy this again.

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Photo of bulldog91
2.38/5  rDev -30%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours a clear gold with a slight head
Smells sweet - nothing overwhelming, just a subtle sweet touch
Has a little bite, but very bland. More lemon than pepper
Mouthfeel is - eh, OK. No pop from any pepper or much else. Just kind of there
Overall, I think I might have expected too much? Just thought it would be complex, with pepper and lemon, but the lemon overruled the pepper to make what was basically a simple, basic summer beer

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
2.88/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Shared with a testing group, the beer was poured into a small goblet. The appearance was a pale yellow color with a slight white head. The aroma was pretty typicaly for a saison, demonstrating a funky flower scent with a measure of spice. The bubbly nature of the mouthfeel immediately stood out, before yielding to a soapy taste. We joked about calling this one Ajax Light. It made me wonder if something went wrong with this bottle. There was a certain lavendery soapy taste with a hint of spice. I was unable to detect much of the advertised Belgian yeast or blue agave. In the aftertaste, the taste grew more tart but still had a general soapiness to it. I would pass on this one in the future.

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Photo of RickS95
3.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A bit darker than other saisons I've had, almost a light orange/amber combo. Relatively clear. Gave it a good pour, but there's little head and what's there isn't there long. No lacing.

Has an interesting smell. Very floral and moderately fruity. You can almost make out the lemon grass. As another reviewer notes, it has an artificial sweetener-like smell to it, likely the agave.

There's something good happening on the tongue. The strange smell works well on the taste buds. Slightly unique taste, probably the house yeast blend, lemon grass and agave. The pepper is almost imperceptible and is only a secondary player.

All feelings are a bit duller than I care for, almost watered-down, kind or lager-ish. There's certainly some sweetness and a bit of spice, but the spice is muted and everything has a 'loose' feel to it. No carbonation and anything but a dry finish, I'm left licking my lips because it's got a wet finish.

An unusual beer, but not too bad. Very easy to drink, just not world class.

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Photo of Cresant
2.77/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I served this 22 oz. bottle in a large tulip glass. No date on the bottle. The pour was vigorous but the head was modest and faded quickly. The body was deep gold with ruby highlights.

The smell was interesting. Very herbal and fresh. I see from the label that there is lemongrass, so I smell that I guess. Also, maybe cilantro and other grassy aromas. An artificial sweetener like smell is detectable. This must be the blue agave (not artificial).

The taste had a mild Belgian yeast earthiness but also cucumbers and sweet tea. Hints of black pepper but not much spiciness or bite. Green and mild. The texture is rather smooth and slick and mildly carbonated.

This beer reminds me more of an Asian tea than a Farmhouse Ale. While not rigid about brewing to style I think this beer could benefit from more Saison like spiciness and fluffy carbonation. Interesting but this is not one I would return to again and again.

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.79/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle. Served in a tulip, the beer pours a slightly hazy orange/amber color with a half inch off-white head that didn't stay around for too long. There's a small amount of lacing. Aroma is nice, it smells like honey/blue agave, lemongrass, citrus, apples and some peppery spice. The brew tastes like honey/blue agave, peppercorns, lemongrass and some citrus. I liked the taste of this brew more and more the longer I drank it. Mouthfeel/body is light/medium, it's a bit slick and smooth with low carbonation. I think this is a good overall brew, I liked it.

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Photo of TwelveOunces
3.42/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served on tap

This beer has a hazy brown/amber appearance and some white head. It nose is dominantly wheat as well as some sugars and a metallic character. The taste of the beer is is wheaty, sugary, grassy and herbal, dry and rather uneventful. The feel of this beer is light and has some sort of unpleasant pungency to it. It doesn't really drink that easily considering its size. A disappointment from New Albanian and really does not due the Blue Grass state justice.

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.12/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Experimental to its core, it's unlikely that the fusion of agave, peppercorn, and lemongrass have ever come together with such as savory sweet overtone.

Amber through and through, the beer has a slightly hazed appearance as if looking at straight honey. A struggling foam stance is followed by the same effort from retention and lace. The oils, sugars, and carbonated void doesn't allow for any meaningful head character.

Honey, fruit, vegetable, and spice deliver a broadly sweet scent that's of light caramel and corn syrup followed by apple, dried peach, citrus, aloe, pepper, and an earthy flower scent. No real hop impact to mention, the beer relies on heavy malt aromatics that's decorated with spice and fruit.

Floral honey manifests in taste with a sweet caramel and agave topping. Earthy and lightly of aloe juices, the vegetal taste causes my taste buds to want to register hops, but instead a quickly rebuttal of fresh cracked peppercorn, herbal grasses, and citrus intervene and ride the beer's sweetness directly through to finish. Estery with peaches, apples, cherries, and a hint of cinamon and nutmeg seem modestly of English strong ales.

The sweet taste resonates in texture as well, leaving a lot of unresolved sweetness from malt and agave to clinch heavily to the mouth and prevents the malty-dry mouth feel that would have otherwise held higher drinkability. Instead the persistent sugary weight causes the beer to be a sipping beer with little malt development from initial taste to it's lumbering finish. Spicy, peppery, and light alcohol dryness assists the malt but never accomplishes it's drying goals.

The flavors of lemongrass, peppercorn, and agave create a very interesting dialogue, but it's simplified underlying palate limits the beer on all fronts: aroma, taste, and especially its mouthfeel

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Photo of emerge077
3.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Brewed with blue agave nectar, toasted black pepper, and lemongrass"

Big ups to the one and only Howard for laying this one on me.
Saison Sunday in effect...

Pours a dark rosy orange color, fully saturated, approaching a burnished copper. Frothy creamy white foam on top, a nest of larger bubbles clings to one side. Retention is ok, eventually the surface skim breaks after a few minutes. Not much lace to speak of.

Aroma is lightly sweet and herbal from the agave, with a hint of spice from the pepper.

Clean and smooth feel, flavor is a little muted but pleasant. Medium body, lower carbonation. Lightly sweet, some Belgian yeast traces and light pepper at first, clearing up fast on the palate, leaving behind a dry finish. Earthiness from the lemongrass, though it is muddled in the mix. Could be a little more crisp and zesty. Overall it was fun to try, definitely enjoyed the bomber. Thanks again Howard!

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Black & Blue Grass from New Albanian Brewing Company - Pizzeria and Public House
3.4 out of 5 based on 75 ratings.
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