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Beer Blotter’s Guide To Brouwer’s Big Wood Fest 2010

December 1, 2010 4 comments

Can't miss.

If you live in the Seattle area and you like beer enough to read this blog, chances are pretty good that you will be hitting up Big Wood Fest at Brouwer’s Cafe, if not on opening night (Thursday Dec. 2), at some point this coming weekend. Hopefully you have already gazed upon the outstanding preliminary list which can be found on our site here and on Brouwer’s blog.

Clearly, there’s a lot of options to chose from, and all of us, most unfortunately, only have one measly liver to assist us in tackling them.  This is where we come in.  We drink a lot of beer.  We have been to BWF several times now. If you want to make sure that you order your barrel aged beers wisely, heed our advice.  We don’t think that you will be disappointed.

I’ve decided to choose my top 15.  These are the beers that I plan to sample, based on the current list.  It’s my game plan.  I know what you are thinking, and yes, I actually do think that I can try 15 beers.  When bb.com goes to big beer events at Brouwer’s, where there is never a cover, we make sure to roll deep.  We bring out as many friends as possible, we direct them on what to order, and then we drink their beers (of course we let them drink ours too).  Always be sure to order the smallest size that is offered, every time.  These events are all about getting your hands, and tastes buds, on as many special and rare beers as possible.

This list is, as always with Brouwer’s events, subject to change because it is very likely that the final list will include a few eye-popping secrets.  This year I’m hoping to see a few more special Hair of the Dog beers, more vintage Bottleworks Anniversary beers like barrel aged Ivan the Terrible, and maybe some more killer locals like Petite Mort from Black Raven or some Big Time treats.

 

15. People’s Barrel Reserve – Brouwer’s has started a little trend in the past few years with bringing in some Midwest offerings that are rarely, if ever seen in WA.  Last year we were graced with Stoudt’s (PA represent!) Barrel Aged Fat Dog and some absolutely insane Founder’s beer.  I think it was a maple barrel aged Breakfast Stout or KBS.  Dunno but is was bonkers!  If this is the People’s Brewing Co. from IN, then this is a beer that you will most likely not see in Seattle for a very long time to come.  Why not give it a whack?

 

14. Skagit Oak Aged Gospel – Gospel is an IPA.  I had to have at least one IPA on this list, and I’m proud to support SRB.  You might remember reading us gush about the Bourbon Barrel Reverend at Hop Fest.  If this one is even close to as good we are in for a treat.  Brewer Mike Armstrong is an amazing guy and an amazing brewer.  He almost always attends these event on opening day so seek him out and shake his manly brewer hand.

 

13. Snipes ??? – What will it be?  My guess, Twangzister, their barrel aged sour cherry stout.  If I’m right, this beer deserves to be much higher on the list, but I can’t just go around making bold moves on pure speculation now can I?  I do feel confident putting this on my list either way, because Chris Miller makes amazing beer, some of the best in the state.

 

12. Cascade ??? – Those erotemes could easily read “Barrel Aged Bile” and I would still order it, yes…mostly because I wouldn’t believe that it was actually bile, but also because Cascade shits gold.  Hand me any Cascade beer, any time, any day, and I will love you forever.  Just get this, please.

 

11. Boundary Bay Imperial Oaked Oatmeal Stout – BBB Impy Oatmeal Stout is, like their Imperial IPA, a beer that I can never see and not order.  It’s just so smooth and dark and mysterious.  An oak aged version…shut the f…ront door!  Purchased! Beer Blotter couldn’t heart a brewery more than we heart Boundary Bay.

 

10. Hale’s Rye Whiskey Aged Imperial Stout – Ok, I admit it, I rarely recommend a Hale’s beer in my festival previews.  It’s not at all because I have a problem with the brewery, in fact, I’m a fan.  The things that they do with that hopback of theirs really impress me… but this is not an IPA…  What excites me about this one?  Well, it’s quite simple actually – when I see the words “Rye” and Whiskey” and “Imperial” and “Stout” all lined up in order like that, it’s such a thrilling sight that I absolutely must participate.  Yeah, I’ll be trying this one.

 

9. Stone Lucky 13 – According to Brouwer’s twitter/facebook, this is a blend of Arrogant Bastard, Oaked Bastard, and Double Bastard.  I guess that would make this aka Lukcy Basartd (yeah, that’s how they spell it).  Despite the fact that I don’t particularly like any of those three beers (I know, I’m pure freak), I’m really intrigued.  This is a one time, limited release from Stone, so give it some rare points.

 

8. Port Townsend Maple’s Best BBN Imperial Stout – PTB has always been a great brewery, but lately it seems that they have really been stepping up their game.  I have a personal rule, if I see a PTB beer on tap that isn’t one of their standard offerings, I will never let it pass me by.  I think you should have the same rule.  In this particular case, you had me with impy stout, and then you really rubbed in it with the maple.  Gimme.

 

7. Midnight Sun Beserker – MSB makes a lot of really sick beers that rarely make it out of AK.  Berserker is one that was bottled and came to Seattle in a very, very limited supply.  I only have a bottle in the cellar because DSR and Jess were in the right place at the right time and they hooked it up.  I think all that I really need to do to sell you on this one is to tell you the description… it’s a 12.7% imperial stout brewed with molasses and maple syrup and aged in oak.  Game over.

 

6. The Bruery Three French Hens – I was fairly recently informed that bottles of Partridge in a Pear Tree (the first in their 12 Days/Years of Christmas Series) were going for nearly $300 on ebay.  Ever since, I’ve gone to great lengths to find and procure each new release in the series.  The cellar is caught up, but you better believe that I’m not going to crack one for another 9 years, that is if I don’t just sell the set and retire young.  This will be my chance to actually try one, and you better believe I’m going to take it.

 

5. Hotd Matt – Just in case you had a brain aneurysm in the past few seconds, HotD stands for Hair of the Dog, and it’s in all three members of Beer Blotter’s top 10 breweries in the world list.  Alan Sprints is beer royalty.  We love Matt, which was specially brewed for the owner’s of Brouwer’s/Bottleworks for Bottlework’s tenth anniversary.  It’s sour, and like every beer from this Portland brewery, it’s fantastic.  We are very hopeful that this is not the only HotD on the taplist come Thursday, but if it is, we will never complain, because we just savored Matt (the beer, not the person, but hey Matt(s)…call me).

 

4. The Bruery Coton – I know, I’m sort of obsessed with The Bruery, but god damn it they deserve my obsession!  Coton is The Bruery’s second anniversary beer and it’s basically a blend of oak barrel aged Papier (their first anniversary beer) and a new, un-aged brew of Papier, which is an old ale.  When I bought a bottle of Papier in ’09 I thought it was a little overpriced, but Coton is probably the most expensive “new” beer I have ever bought.  Get it on tap, if for no other reason than the fact that it will be slightly more affordable.  Oh yeah, also because old ales are amazing and their version is beyond amazing, and very rare.

 

3. New Belgium Sour Blackberry Whiskey – So I’m not 100% sure of this, but some mild research has lent me to believe that this is NBB’s Love (true lambic, foeder #3, blended into La Folie & Le Terroir, insanely, amazingly good, amazed that it’s made in America and not Belgium…), transferred into whiskey barrels and aged with blackberries.  If I’m right, this might be the greatest beer on Earth.  Again, speculation, blah, blah…

 

2. Firestone Walker 14 – Like far too many beers, I went to great lengths to get this beer in the bottle and could only afford one, so I have it but have never had it, if you know what I mean.  DSR and Jess had it during SD Beer Week and said it blew their collective mind.  If I went into what this beer consisted of here…well…this article would take a lot longer to read than it has already taken you.  Just check out this post by the good people over at beernews.org and salivate yourself into a puddle.

 

1. Russian River Deviation – HAHA!  Wow…where to start.  Ok Tim, try to keep it together… Every time that I see this beer on tap at Brouwer’s I treat it like it’s the last time I’ll ever have it.  Deep inside I know that that isn’t really true, because I have a bottle in my cellar that I bought on the day that it came out in ’08, but who knows, my house could burn down some day or global warming could scorch the Earth’s crust and it could boil itself undrinkable.  I consider that bottle to be the most valuable bottle of beer that I currently own.  Yeah that whole Partridge in a Pear Tree thing, if it’s true, might prove me wrong, but there’s more to it than monetary value alone. 

Deviation is the best Russian River beer that I have ever had (and that puts it very high on my all time list, if not at the top).  Also, Bottleworks periodically pulls some out of their cellar and sells it for nearly $100 a bottle.  I think I bought it for $15.  This beer is the epitome of rare and the epitome of mind-blowingly delicious.  Please, don’t order this so that I can drink it all, that is, if it really does still exist…

 

Terrible

 

Brouwer’s Cafe Posts Preliminary List for Bigwood Fest

November 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Get pumped, it's time for wood!

Brouwer’s Blogs, Minds Are Blown All Around the Sound!

December 2nd, 2010 will be a big day for Seattle beer nerds.  Fremont’s Brouwer’s Cafe will be hosting Bigwood Fest, which has to be one of the biggest 100% wood barrel aged beer festivals in America, if not the world.  Distilled spirits and wine are no longer the only boozes that can be aged in wood barrels. It’s beer’s turn to be marinated and steeped and even infected by the essence of oak.  We have been on the edge of our seats since Hopfest to gaze upon the options that Ian Roberts and company have gathered up over the years and will offer for this spectacular festival.

Here is the original list that was posted on Brouwer’s blog today:

Alaskan Oak Aged Smoked Porter ’08
Allagash Curieux
Allagash Oddeysey
Boulder BBN American Red
Boulder BBN Hazed and Confused
Boulder BBN Killer Penguin
Boulder BBN Mojo Risin
Boulder BBN Never Summer Ale
Boulder BBN Singletrack Copper Ale
Boulder BBN Spiced Never Summer Ale
Boundary Bay Imperial Oaked Oatmeal Stout
Cantillon Framboise ’06
CantillonSt. Lamvinus
CantillonVignerone
Cascade ???
Cascade ???
Deschutes Dissident
Elliot Bay BBN Imperial Pumpkin Porter
Elysian Oak Frost
Firestone Walker 14
Fremont Bourbo A-Bomb
Full Sail Wassail Blended w/ Bourbon Porter
Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti
Great Divide Rumble Oak Aged IPA
Hales Rye Whisky Aged Imperial Stout
Harviestoun Ola Dubh 18
Hitachino Classic
Hotd Matt
HUB Pile Driver in Wood Firkin Tapped at 6pm
JW Lees Harvest Ale Cask
Left Hand Oak Aged Imperial Stout
Lost Abbey Angels Share Bourbon Barrel
Midnight Sun Beserker
Naked City ???
New Belgium Bourbon Barrel Sahti
New Belgium Eric’s Ale
New Belgium La Folie
New Belgium Sour Blackberry Whiskey
Ninkasi BBN Sleigher
Old Lompoc ???
Peoples Barrel Reserve
Port Brewing Older Viscosity
Port Townsend Maple’s Best BBN Imperial Stout
Russian River Consecration
Russian River Deviation
Russian River Supplication
Russian River Temptation
Schooner Exact Hoppy the Woodsman
Sierra Nevada Brew Masters Reserve
Sierra Nevada Oak Aged Porter
Sierra/DFH Life and Limb
Siver City Fat Woody
Skagit Oak Aged Gospel
Snipes ???
Southern Tier Cuvee 2
Southern Tier Oak Aged Unearthly
Stone Lucky 13
The Bruery Cotton
The Bruery Three Freench Hens
Widmer BBN Brrrrr
Some initial shockers that really pop out include Firestone Walker 14, New Belgian everything, Port Townsend Maple’s Best BBN Imperial Stout, Russian River Deviation, Stone Lucky 13, and the 2 offering from The Bruery.  Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at this mind-blowing list.  The fact that this is “initial” is kind of obnoxious.  Update on previous post…I’m thankful for Brouwer’s Cafe.

Grab a Beer and a Glass: But Not Just Any Glass

October 29, 2010 3 comments

A glass for every beer and every occasion!

Jess R.

 

People know that when you drink champagne, flutes are in order and red and white wines each have their own style of glassware. What is the point? The shape of the glass is custom made to enhance the flavors and texture of these beverages. Beer, despite the contrary, generally should not be drank directly out of the bottle or can because flavors will be stifled, textures will be dulled and just like wine, beer needs to breathe.

Each type of beer should be served in a particular glassware such as a tulip glass or a pint. Yes, there is a method to this madness, as well as a sophistication generally not associated with beer. Although this tradition of glassware is not as prevalent in the US of A, head to Belgium and you will visit bars that are stocked with every style of glassware to accompany the many genres of beers.

And without further ado, I present you with the various styles of glassware:

 

Pilsner Glass

 

Pilsner, a light bodied, light colored, easy to drink and highly carbonated beer is served in a glass smaller than a pint glass, usually in 250 ml or 330 ml sizes. They are tall, slender and tapered. The slender glass will reveal the color, and carbonation of the beer, and the broad top will help maintain a beer head.

 

The Beer Stein

 

I am very fond of this style of glass- its large and it has a top that you get to flip open when you want to take a sip. I searched the streets of Dusseldorf, Germany to find one to no avail. This style was invented during the Black Plague so beer drinkers could keep insects and disease out of their glass. Therefore, it is not built to enhance your beer, but protect it instead.

 

Pint Glass

 

The most popular glassware among beer drinkers in the USA- it is cheap to make, easy to store and easy to drink out of. We have a cabinet full of them, from different breweries and bars we have visited within our country’s boarders. I associate pint glasses with hoppy beers such as IPAs or thick beers such as dry stouts. There are two standard sizes, the 16-ounce (US Tumbler – the pour man’s pint glass and most common) or the 20-ounce Imperial (Nonic), which has a slight ridge towards the top, a grip of sorts and helps in stacking them. The 20-ounce version is preferred to accommodate more beer or beers with large crowning heads.

 

Goblet or Chalice

 

These noble glasses are generally paired with Belgian ales- big sipping beers such as Triples, Quads, Weissbier, Dubbels as well as German bocks. A description from Beeradvocate.com tells us the slight difference between a goblet and a chalice:

 

Majestic pieces of work, ranging from delicate and long stemmed (Goblet) to heavy and thick walled (Chalice). The more delicate ones may also have their rims laced with silver or gold, while the heavy boast sculpture-like stems. Some are designed to maintain a 2-centimeter head. This is achieved by scoring the inside bottom of the glass, which creates a CO2 nucleation point, and a stream of eternal bubbles and perfect head retention as a result.

 

I associate these glasses with royalty and the wide mouth lends itself to deep sips.

 

Snifter

 

Used for stiff drinks like cognac and brandy, the snifter is the baller of glassware. These glasses are perfect for evoking flavor and scent. Therefore, this particular style of glassware should be paired with strong beers like barley wines, imperial stouts and barrel aged beers, as well as lambics (due to their fruity scent and sugary bodies). My only advice to you is…don’t forget to swirl your glass!

 

Tulip

 

A dainty, pretty shaped glass named after the flower it mimics, the tulip glass is stemmed with an hourglass figure. Bulbous at the bottom, the flavors, aromas and head are all captured at the angled top. This style of glassware is perfect for Imperial IPAs (talk about lacing and a foamy head), Saisons/Farmhouse ales (it will bring the funk to the forefront) and Scotch Ales (the maltiness will knock your socks off).

The size and shape of glassware matters when aiming to get the most of your beer, but decoration is key when showing it off. Decorative glassware has become an art in the beer industry across the globe.

One of three glasses from the Duvel Collection.

Breweries have showcased glassware with artistic designs to complement your beer drinking experience. Duvel, a Belgium brewery makes their own glassware and has for some time. It is a stumpy tulip glass with their logo on it, simple, nothing out of the ordinary.

Recently, they released a collectible item: the Duvel Collection. Three glasses, four international artists (there is one team of two artists) and three creations make up the Duvel Collection. Each glass has a different creative approach, but all are vibrant and eye catching. Christmas is coming up, if anyone is so inclined.

Another brewery, Delirium Tremens from Brussels, Belgium (been to the brew pub!) is known for their quirky pink elephants which grace their bottles, glassware and other promotional apparel. Although Delirium Tremens refers to a severe form of alcohol withdrawal, the vibrant, fun loving glassware will make your shakes disappear. Generally, the glassware I have seen by this brewery are in the form of larger snifters.

Most pint glasses you see in the USA will have the logo more or less printed onto the glass (which is why you should hand wash your pints or else the design might start to fade away). Firestone Walker came up with a more creative way to decorate their glasses. The Firestone Walker pint glass I own has their logo of a bear fighting a lion (how cool) etched into the glass. This gives the glass a sleekness and the scene some depth.

Beer glassware is the only thing I collect (oh and beer) as each one is unique–some more than others. Owning at least one of each style will enhance your experience and make the beer you are drinking feel that much more special. Buying glassware has become a way to hold onto the memories we have from a brewery visit, a night at a beer bar or a beer tasting. Glassware, the gift that keeps on giving.

Have a favorite to share with us? Let us know in the comments.

 

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