Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Alpha Klaus

Three Floyds Brewing Co.
Munster, IN

Style: Porter

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

Yes, I know it’s after Christmas. And, yes, I know that the troll or whatever weird-ass creature that is on the label of the Alpha Klaus is wearing a Santa hat. But would you believe I just completely forgot about Christmas this year and this is like one of those belated birthday cards that you send to your great aunt Bertha even though you’re really not sure she’s even still alive? It’s that, or I just have so much goddamn beer lying around the folks’ basement here that it’s taken me almost till the middle of January to get around to drinking my Christmas brews. Take your pick, you gullible bastards.

So I’ve got this Alpha Klaus from the boys at Three Floyds. Most people think of the Munster, Indiana brewery as all about the hops, and although I can understand where they get this assumption it’s basically a stereotype. And, as we know, all stereotypes are unfair, except that one about Beer Dorks having big … beer fridges. It’s especially unfair in the case of Three Floyds, because it can turn some hop haters away from some of the brewery’s stellar offerings that don’t have a trace of hoppiness to them.

All that being said, the Alpha Klaus isn’t one of those non-hoppy brews. At least, I didn’t remember it being one of those. So I was a little surprised when I cracked my bomber and laid into it for this review.

Before the sipping starts, this is a typical porter: a two-fingered, fluffy tan head floating over a dark brown, just-this-side-of-pitch-black pour. Aroma-wise it’s a huge shot of chocolate up front with strong notes of roasted malt. There is some slight but definite hop aroma on the fringes but that’s about all. Either way, it smells absolutely delicious, one of the more aromatic and enticing porters I’ve had the honor to whiff on.

Now I must admit I had this same beer on tap a few weeks prior to this review, and I recalled it having a shot of hop bitterness along the back end of the sipping—not a big hop profile in absolute terms, but for the porter style it was nothing less than huge. My bomber, however, didn’t display this hop jolt. The palette started off thick and rich as a gourmet candy bar: strong roasted malt flavors interwined with gobs of chocolate notes. There was an unmistakable hop bite on the backwash, but nothing like the tap version, and in no way is it big enough to turn off those who fear the hop. In fact, that bittering presence, although restrained, clipped the end off the thick maltiness, making sure the beer didn’t stray too far into cloying sweetness.

Despite this bottle of Klaus making me question my memory (I am going to be 49 this year, after all), it is one great beer; in fact, I’d rate it as one of the best porters I’ve ever had. If you’re as disorganized or procrastination prone as I am and still have a bomber of Alpha Klaus lying around, don’t be afraid to drink it up. Better late than never.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on January 11, 2008.
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