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Notes of a Beer Nerd: Brasserie De La Senne X-Mas Zinnebir

October 13, 2010 2 comments

 

De La Senne! In Seattle!

 

***Notes of a Beer Nerd is a column written by resident cellar dwelling mammal, Timperial Stout. Feel free to e-mail him at beerblotter@gmail.com with any questions, concerns or comments***

Enjoyed on 10/12/2010

Brewery: Brasserie De La Senne

Location: Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium

Beer: X-Mas Zinnebir

Web: http://www.brasseriedelasenne.be/

Presentation: 750ml – Green Glass Bottle – Capped

Vintage: 2010

Style: Belgian Pale Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 7%

IBU: N/A

Hops: N/A

Malt: N/A

Vessel: Tulip

Recommended Serving Temp: 50 degrees

Commercial Description:

The name Zinnebir refers to a term from Brussels tradition, — ‘zinneke’ — slang for the wild mixed-breed dogs that used to inhabit the poor quarters of the city along the Zinne. It means ‘little bastards,’ and has been applied more recently to those young men living in the poor quarters of Brussels who have flemish-speaking fathers and french-speaking mothers (or vice versa). De La Senne brewer Bernard LeBoucq identifies strongly with the ‘little bastards'; he is a French-speaking Bruxellois, brewing in the heart of the Flemish Payottenland. This holiday brew is rich and malty with a kick of spice and a warming feel in the mouth.

Food Pairings: Thai, white fish, meatloaf

Cheese Pairings: Edam, feta, romano

Beer Advocate: B+ (3.78)

Rate Beer: I can only assume that the bottle I bought this year is a 2010 vintage, which is not rated on this site.

Timperialstout’s Notes:

Background.

I will never forget the first time I ever had a De La Senne brew.  I was in ‘T Brugs Beertje in Brugge, Belgium –  The Brugge Bear.  One of the most famous beer bars in all of Belgium, it was an amazing experience to be there, amongst the locals – the many, many locals.  It felt extremely full when we were in there, but our waiter said that it was nothing, not even close to capacity.  Despite the fact that we were almost uncomfortably packed into a small table in the front room, I took surprisingly detailed notes about the De La Senne Equinox and the Stouterik that we enjoyed there.  I remember thinking about how surprisingly “American” they tasted.  There wasn’t that overly sugary aspect that is so common in most Belgian brewed ales.  As it turns out, De La Senne prides themselves in their “getting back to the roots” attitude, or, returning to the brewing style of old, before everything was overly sweet, overly spiced and overly hopped.  I can respect that.

We came to learn, from our wonderful waiter at the Bear, that (at the time of our visit) De La Senne beers were being brewed at Brouwerij De Ranke (makers of XX Bitter, Kriek De Ranke, etc.) until their new space in the outskirts of Brussels was completed.  We were told that they would be moving into the new digs in the summer months, but the Shelton Brothers site still suggests that they are brewery-less.  That may or may not be up to date.  Unfortunately, the brewery website in not in English, so I’m unsure if they are still borrowing space.

A few hours later that day we stepped into ‘t Poatersgat, which by the way, was amongst my absolute favorite spots in all of Belgium.  There, we found De La Senne’s Taras Boulba (Belgian Pale) on tap!  It was a great beer day in a great city, to say the very least.

You can probably imagine how I felt when I saw this bottle on the shelves at Bottleworks.  “A De La Senne beer, in Seattle?!”  I was shocked, and very excited.  I had never seen the X-Mas beer before.  Needless to say, there was no hesitation in purchasing it. Tonight, I have the distinct pleasure of re-emerging myself in a little piece of my trip to the beer holy land.  My greatest hope is that the memories rush back to me more and more with each sip.

Appearance.

Just about the only thing attractive about the appearance of this beer is the big rocky, off-white, approaching yellowish orange head.  Just a few moments after the cap was cracked, a bit of foam peeked out of the top of the bottle, forcing me to pour before I was ready.  Classic Belgian bottle refermentation at play. This unwanted urgency may have acted as an enabler to the glass monopolizing foam that quickly arose, but in the end it was an attractive sight as the head slowly receded and left large heaps of globular cloud cover over the brew.

The brew, here, is a very murky dark amber, near brown color.  The fluid is doing an excellent job at suspending the rather large chunks of yeast that have completely infiltrated my glass, which may speak positively to the viscosity, but sure is unsightly.  The only positive to the color of the beer itself is the fact that it’s not pale.  I had my reservations about a pale ale acting as a holiday brew, and as it stands, I’m relieved.

Odor.

My very first impression, when the beer was at its coldest, was of apple cider.  As it warms a bit, it becomes much more exciting.  Cinnamon coated, candied nuts appear.  There is still an apple presence, but when it plays in tandem with the cinnamon, caramel and nuts, I’m thinking more about candied apples than cider.

I can already see why this is a holiday seasonal. It’s all coming together now.  A bit more warmth brings out some unleavened dough, some vinous notes, more pie filling fruits like peach, pear, apricot… There is a definite baked quality that comes off of the malts, but also a fruity, perfume like waft.  It’s not unlike being in Aunt Sally’s house on Thanksgiving day, and being so happily hugged by the smell of her famous pie baking in the oven, but then periodically being accosted by Mom’s liberal application of perfume.  Yes, it may be a bit pungent, but that’s Mom’s scent, and it’s comforting.  Without a doubt, this beer smells like the comforts of the holiday season.  I sure could use a crackling fire and some turkey right now.

Mouthfeel.

This is just what you would expect from a bottle conditioned beer from Belgium.  Yes, it is a bit odd that a cork wasn’t implemented, but never-the-less, there is above average carbonation.  Though this beer is not nearly as sweet as most Belgian brews of a similar style (the brewer’s stance on the subject is fully realized), it is still a dark winter ale of 7% abv, and from an American ale standpoint, there is an appropriate dose of remaining sugars to provide a smooth and slick feel to the liquid.  Overall, I’m happy with the feel of this one.

Flavor.

The one word that came to mind after my very first sip was, “metallic”.  This isn’t a good adjective for a beer, but I’m kind of glad that I sensed it because it spawned one of those memory flashbacks that I was hoping for.  In Beer Blotter’s time in Belgium, we came across quite a stupefying amount of beers with this flavor attribute.  I have yet to come up with a foolproof explanation for this.  Some of my theories include the water source(s) used, the materials used in constructing the brew-houses, and simply, an undesirable byproduct of the house yeast strains that have been cultivated for centuries in Belgium.  Luckily for X-Mas Zinnebir, a little bit of warmth allows more flavors to blossom, most of which are able to mask the metal.

For the most part, the odor belittles the flavor.  The is so much happening in the nose, and unfortunately, not so much on the tongue.  There is a subtle brown sugar sweetness and some hints of an aromatic malt, but otherwise the flavor is overwhelmed by Belgian yeast fruitiness.  It’s a nondescript mish mash of tree and vine fruits.  Red grapes and Granny Smith apples come to mind most vividly. 

Aftertaste.

Immediately after the swallow, the flavors seem mostly wine like, with a slight dryness, and then move into a more malty, cereal like flavor.  The deeper we go into the aftertaste the more these elements seem to meld together.

Summation.

This beer is actually more inspired by traditional (or what I think of as traditional) Belgian styles than the way I remember the De La Senne brews I had in Brugge.  I think that it’s the yeast that they used for this one.  But still, there is no doubt that they are either taking cues from American ales or they have tapped into some much more “traditional” or “older” Belgian brewing process.  There is something here that will no doubt set De La Senne apart from the pack, and that seems to be in the vein of the American Spirit.  Anytime, anywhere, that the Belgian and American aesthetics collide… I want to be there.

If you like Brasserie De La Senne X-Mas Zinnebir, you should try…

Brasserie d’Orval‘s Trappist Ale; Brewery Ommegang’s BPA; Brouwerij De Musketiers‘ Troubadour Blond Ale

Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard-earned money at a local bottle shop, and aged to perfection by yours truly.

Events for the Week of October 4, 2010

October 5, 2010 1 comment

Photo creds of Blue Palms Brewhouse go to la.eater.com.

Written by Jess R.

Seriously? Its October? Thus truly begins the season of Halloween, corn mazes, Thanksgiving and seasonal beers- specifically harvest, fresh hop and pumpkin beers. This weekend we camped in Port Townsend (RIP Waterstreet Brewing- for now), stopped at Port Townsend Brewing Co. for some amazing Glass Kisser Imperial IPA, Barleywine and Bourbon Barrel Imperial Porter and ended up in Portland for a day trip full of amazing breweries! And now for your week in beer.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oskar Blues Night: Providence, Rhode Island

9:00PM-1:00AM @ Julians

Oskar Blues- quality microbrew in a can and on tap if your lucky. Tonight, you are. Julians will feature: Mama’s Lil Yella Pils, Gordon, a double red ale, Gubna IPA and their Wild Sour Cherry Old Chub.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Dogfish Head Night: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

7:00PM-11:00PM @ Eulogy Belgium Tavern

Having several Dogfish Head beers on tap is my dream come true. Tonight, I must live vicariously through our readers. So please, those of you who live in Philadelphia, go and try ALL THESE BEERS. On tap tonight: Festina Peche, Palo Santo Marron (2008), Midas Touch, Pangaea, Sahtea, Punkin’ and Theobroma.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lagunitas Tasting Event: New York, New York

4:00PM-4:00AM @ The Blind Tiger

First of all, The Blind Tiger is one of my favorite beers bars and my favorite in NYC. Couple that with an epic tasting night, you wouldn’t be able to keep me away. Tonight, California’s Lagunitas brings the heat with several taps including: their Habenero IPA, Lil Sumpin Wild, Hop Stoopid, Wilco Tango Foxtrot and so much more!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Founder’s Tapping Party: Mariemont, Ohio

6:00PM-8:00PM @ Dilly Deli Wines and Gourmet

This event makes me want to  move to Mariemont, Ohio– well almost. Dilly will be tapping Devil Dancer, 2010 Nemesis, and Canadian Breakfast Stout along with some of your Year round favorites from Founders Brewing Company. Damn.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ommegang Cheese Pairing: Chicago, Illinois

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Binny’s Beverage Depot

Tonight among the aisle full of amazing beers, a series of pairings featuring beers from Brewery Ommegang will be matched with cheeses available in the Gourmet Market. Look for Zuur, Three Philosophers and Rare Vos.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Anacortes Oktoberfest: Anacortes, Washington

12:00PM-6:00PM @ Port of Anacortes Warehouse

You can be part of the first annual Oktoberfest in Anacortes, Washington. Expect to 30 Northwest breweries, each serving one or two styles of beer. A $20.00 ticket gets you entrance to the pier and historic warehouse, a tasting cup and six tokens for 4 oz pours. Additional tokens are available for $1.50/each. If you plan on having a little too much fun, then stay the night and enjoy live music in many venues throughout downtown.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ballast Point, Hook, Line and Sinker: Los Angeles, California

5:00PM-11:00PM @ Blue Palms Brewhouse

Tonight, the crew from Ballast Point Brewery will be there to present many many beers to you! I give you:
Sculpin IPA, Sculpin IPA on NITRO, Dorado DIPA, 2009 Sea Monster Imperial Stout, Sour Wench, Oktoberfest, Longfin Lager, Even Keel, Ginger Big Eye, Yellowtail, Calico, Big Eye and a cask of Black Marlin Porter with Organic Cocoa nibs from Madagascar.
Happy Sunday!

If you go to an event, want us to post an event or just want to chat, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com. Cheers!

Events for Week of September 27, 2010

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment

Stop by the Bronx Ale House This week! Photo Creds- amymittelman.com.

 

This weekend we swung by Kitsap Oktoberfest for some Derblokken Porter, Valholl Brewing Co’s Licorice IPA and Smoked Cherry Rye as well as Silver City’s Oktoberfest.

You can blame my late post on the release party of Trip IV, a fresh hop IPA collab between Elysian Brewing Co. and New Belgium–more on that event later.

Now for your week in beer.

 

 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Brewery Ommegang Tasting: Bronx, New York

6:00PM-9:00PM @ The Bronx Ale House

Enjoy a night of Belgium brews with Brewery Ommegang: Belgian Pale Ale, Cup O Kyndnes, Zuur, Witte, Rare Vos, Hennepin and Three Philosophers. Enjoy!

 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Saison Du Buff Trifecta Night: Chicago, Illinois

7:00PM-11:00PM @ Fountainhead

all three versions, a Saison Du Buff Trifecta!!!

Tonight enjoy three flights of each of the three breweries takes on the saison recipe as well as tapping, rare kegs from Stone, Victory, & Dogfish with food pairings to go with them. Victory Braumeister Pils paired with Sambal Spiced Noodles with Lime, Cilantro, & Grilled Chicken, Stone Chipotle Smoked Porter with BBQ Pulled Pork & Chipotle Mashed Potato Stuffed Pablano Pepper and Dogfish Head Sah’Tea with
“Pumpkin Pie” Custard with Crispy Crust & Black Tea Whipped Cream.

 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Goose Island Beer and Cheese Pairing: Louiseville, Kentucky

3:00PM-5:00PM @ Valumarket

Cheeses! Beers from Goose Island! Sounds like a sophisticated wine tasting- But no, come by and taste Sofie, Demolition, Matilda & Pere Jacques perfectly paired with tasty artisan cheeses.

 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Great Divide Kickoff: San Diego, California

7:00PM-11:00PM@ Urge Gastropub

Mark your calendars- Great Divide is coming to San Diego! 7 brews including the Yeti will be tapped tonight at Urge Gastropub.

 

Friday, October 1, 2010

An Evening of Chocolate and Beer: Ann Arbor, Michigan

5:30PM-9:30PM @ Jolly Pumpkin Brewery

We’ll have Patric Chocolate’s Alan McClure and Jolly Pumpkin‘s Ron Jeffries here for an informal presentation and Q&A with chocolate and beer samples. And then if your heart desires, there is a strolling beer, chocolate and food tasting featuring pairings. Ron’s brewed some very special chocolate beers for this event, and we are very excited to taste them. Chocolate and Beer Tasting – $15 – 5:30 to 6:30 PM
Price includes samples of beer and chocolate. Beer, Chocolate & Food Tasting – $35 – 6:30 to 9:30 PM OR you can buy tickets for both events for $45 and save!

 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dogfish Head Tasting: Bellport, New York

1:00PM-5:00PM @ Bellport Cold Beer and Soda

Vintage, rare to find Dogfish head beers will be at this event!

 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Whole Foods Market Homebrew Event: New York, New York

10:00AM-10:00PM @ Whole Foods

Whole Foods Market’s Local Homebrew Hero Contest is under way and the entries have been rolling in. They will be accepting entries until Sunday October 3rd. Stop by anytime and get a copy of the Rules, Entry, and Bottle Label Forms. Entry is free and welcome to anyone interested. Check out our website for more information.
http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores … beer-room/

If you go to an event, want to go to an event or had a beer at an event leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com. Cheers!

 

Notes of a Beer Nerd: Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.’s Saison Athene

August 16, 2010 1 comment

Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.'s Saison Athene

***This was originally published on 1/1/2010. But with it being summer, and with St. Somewhere finally distributing to Seattle – its time to whet your appetite for a damn tasty saison.***

Enjoyed on 12/23/2009

Brewery: Saint Somewhere Brewing Co.

Location: Tarpon Springs, FL

Beer: Saison Athene

Web: http://www.saintsomewherebrewing.com/

Presentation: 750 ML – Brown Glass Bottle, corked and caged

Vintage: 2009

Style: Belgian Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 7.5%

IBU: N/A

Hops: N/A

Malt: N/A

Vessel: Tulip

Recommended Serving Temp: 50 degrees

Notes from the bottle: Saison Athene is brewed in the spirit of the great farmhouse ales of the Wellonia, a region of Belgium near the French border.  Saison translates to “season” and was traditionally brewed in the winter, to be enjoyed in the summer.  Saison Athene is brewed in Florida, the land of the endless summer, and can be enjoyed year-round.  Spicy, rustic, refreshingly hoppy, a little wild and funky with a dry finish, Athene is hand crafted with attention to the Art of Brewing using only the finest ingredients. Unfiltered and bottle conditioned, Athene can be cellared like a fine wine.  The flavor and aroma will continue to develop and change for several years, but why wait?  Take one to enjoy now and another to save for a special occasion.

Food Pairings: Thai, sausage, hot summer picnic food

Cheese Pairings: Camembert, asiago, gorgonzola

Beer Advocate: B+

Rate Beer: 90 (3.56)

Timperialstout’s Notes:

Saint Somewhere Brewing Co. is the latest addition to the long list of breweries that have added Washington State to their distributorship this year.  I hadn’t ever heard of this one before I saw it at 99 Bottles in Federal Way and co-owner Tiffany expressed her excitement about its arrival.  She had apparently been asking her distributor to carry it for some time, and alas, it arrived.  I’d like to thoroughly thank her for her efforts.  This is an amazing saison.

Saint Somewhere is a small batch craft brewery that produces bottle-conditioned, un-filtered Belgian-style ales.  They only brew with Belgian malts and whole leaf, noble hops.  Along with the use of their own Belgian yeast strain, they use their own dark candi sugar and inject a dose of Brettanomyces yeast at bottling.

As of now it appears as though they only bottle 3 different brews: Saison Athene (Belgian Saison/Farmhouse Ale, found here), Lectio Divina (Belgian Strong Pale Ale, review coming soon), and their newest, Pays du Soleil (Belgian Dubbel, not available in WA, that I know of).  The brewery website says they only distribute to FL, NY, PA, and MA.

Saison is the French word for “season” and is a beer style, sometimes called a Farmhouse Ale, that was developed in the French speaking region of Belgium.  Traditionally, they were brewed in the winter months for the farm workers to enjoy in late summer, read: harvest season.  It’s clearly winter in North America, and us here at Beer Blotter have been doing our best to bring the winter/Christmas beers to the forefront, but sometimes…It’s really fun to get into a beer from/for the opposite season and fantasize about the exciting elements that define the season furthest from us.  Before moving on I’d like to briefly return to the idea of brewing a special beer for the farm workers.  Now I realize that the advent of water treatment has rendered this concept defunct, but man do I wish my boss would feed me this brew (or any beer at all for that matter) on the busiest days of the year.  I’d work like a damn dog!

She pours a cloudy gold that’s just so inviting and bright.  Strong carbonation for sure.  A beast of a voluminous, rocky head rises on the pour and leaves thick blobs on the glass.  It’s slow to subside and never really completely dissipates.  Bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass for quite a bit, fooling the eye into seeing chunky, bottle-conditioning yeast.  Though this is indeed bottle-conditioned and a layer of white sludge can easily be seen on the bottom of the bottle, there doesn’t seem to be any loose yeast settling in my glass.  Never-the-less, the fluid has poor clarity…chalked full of flavor.

According to the ratebeer.com page, this one was brewed with chamomile, fresh rosemary and black pepper.  How on Earth does the website not say that?!  The pepper was evident before I read that, and now that chamomile flowers are on the mind I can pick them up, but rosemary, not catching it.  I am getting a lot of clove, cinnamon, green apple, earthy hay, and a little funk from the Brett.  Actually, that cinnamon aroma is quite relevant, and perplexing.  Slightly medicinal.  Really, really inviting scent.

The flavors, for the most part, match the scent, which is epic (not sure if I mentioned that).  The carbonation makes the flavors pop and the funky Brett adds to the complexity without being overbearing. The aftertaste is dry, but fills me with ideas of what I’m tasting and urges me to take another swig.  Hops present a lot of citrus, mostly lemon, a drizzle of pineapple juice, but all-in-all, an acidity that dances with the funk and makes me giddy for more.  I would venture to say this is the best saison I have ever had, and I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I bought it.  Needless to say, I will be buying more of this one, not only to enjoy it again in all its glory, but to support the brewery’s decision to ship to WA (or the distributor’s decision to acquire it).
I now must plead to you.  Try this beer, soon.  And if you like it, keep buying it so that we show FL that WA knows and loves great craft brewing, and hopefully we will then be able to get any and every beer that Saint Somewhere ever makes, and our lives will be better for it.

If you like Saison Athene, you should try…

Dupont ‘s Avec les Bons Voeux; Southhampton’s Saison; and Ommegang’s Hennepin

Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard earned money at a local bottle shop.

Events for Week of April 5, 2010

Stop by Coasters Pub in Melbourne, FL for some Cigar City Beers!

Its officially spring in Seattle….there are blossoms, tulips and its cold and crappy. The weather can’t get us down as we head for Florida this weekend (Cigar City…what!) and DC next month. Beer adventures to come!  But on with your weekly events.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Avery Beer Dinner and Tasting: Colorado Springs, Colorado

6:30PM-9:30PM @ A Second Cup

The tasting will be four unique beers that are not normally available and these rarities will be on tap plus one of our current tap Avery Beers.  4 of the 5 will be tap beers….that in itself is a rarity for many. We will start at 6:30 with a social time until dinner service at 7:00pm. You will be served a five course dinner specifically paired with each beer.  Hurry and sign up fast there are only 32 seats available! YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Boston v. New York: Auburn, New York

6:00PM-10:00PM @ Bistro One

Let the rivalry continue into the realm of beer. Although the Yanks lost the opening game, I have complete faith that the NY Breweries are up for the challenge. Come support the city of your choice and enjoy beers from Ommegang (NY), Brooklyn Brewery (NY), Sam Adams (Boston) and Harpoon (Boston).

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Brewers Night with Port Townsend: Bellingham, Washington

6:00PM-9:00PM @ The Green Frog Cafe

Stop by and taste one of Washington’s premier breweries. Located on an island across the Puget Sound from Seattle, Port Townsend Brewing Company brews amazing IPAs and killer Porters.  Enjoy the beers and the free give-a-ways.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Cigar City Night: Melbourne, Florida

5:00PM-10:00PM @ Coasters Pub

Coasters will host a night spotlighting Cigar City Brewery’s fantastic beers. Expect to see Hunupus #1, Cuban Espresso Brown, Double Cream Ale, Jai Alai IPA and Maduro Brown ale, along with whatever else we can get our hands on! Fingers crossed for Huna Phu Stout!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Victory Brewing Tasting: Boston, Massachusetts

5:30PM-7:30PM @ Wine Emporium

For your pleasure and enjoyment from Victory Brewing Co. -Prima Pils; Hop Devil IPA; WildDevil IPA with Brett (seriously, try this!); Golden Monkey Triple and Storm King Imperial Stout.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Brewer Meet and Greet: Chicago, Illinois

6:00PM-8:00PM @ Binny’s Beverage Depot

Stop by and drink with the owners of Belgium brewery, Brouwerij De Musketiers. We had the pleasure of trying Troubador Obscura in Belgium and tonight it will be on draft. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Left Hand Vintage Bottle Dinner: Grand Rapids, Michigan

6:00PM-8:00PM @ HopCat

The menu is to die for and the beers from Left Hand Brewery will only enhance the flavors. Eat, drink and be merry. Celebrate your Sunday with the following pairings:
1.Smoked Meat and Cheese Plate-2007 Goosinator
2.Plantain Crusted Catfish Bites-2007 Chainsaw
3.Roast Pork and Root Vegetables-2006 St. Vrain
4.Barleywine & Walnut Ice Cream-2003 Oak Aged Widdershins

Beer Blotter is off to Florida, Tampa and Sarasota this week. So if you have any suggestions on breweries, beer bars, beers in general and/or bottle shops, please pass it along via comment or email- beerblotter@gmail.com.

Cheers!

Events for Week of January 25, 2010

BEEF & BEER @ The South Philadelphia Tap Room

Another Monday, another week, another set of weekly events. Read on, pencil these dates in and have fun!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Monday Night FREE Tasting: Portland, Oregon

5:00PM-7:00PM@ The Beermongers

Blue Mountain Cider Company from Milton-Freewater Oregon will be providing the samples.  They make great cider from whole apples grown here is the Pacific Northwest.  Beermongers will have their unfiltered cider on draft, free samples and we will be making cider “cocktails” (such as Red Skies at Night: 8oz of Cherry Cider & 8oz stout beer!).  Join the Beermongers and Andy from Blue Mountain for an evening of cider tasting and education about the proper way to make cider.

Ommegang Beer Dinner: Washington D.C.

6:30PM-10:30PM @ Birreria Paradiso/Pizzeria Paradiso Georgetown

Four delectable courses complemented by 6 beer pairings, come indulge on a Monday evening with the head brewer of Brewery Ommegang at Birreria Paradiso. 6:30 & 9:00 PM seatings. Call for reservations:202-337-4936!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hitachino Brewery Night: Brooklyn, New York

6:00 PM until close @ Bar Great Harry

Visit one of the best beer bars in all of Brooklyn and sample beers from Japanese brewery, Hitachino Nest. This is a unique brewery with top notch beers, such as their Espresso Stout (personal favorite), Real Ginger Brew, White Ale, the XH (matured in sake casks) and the Red Rice Ale.  Try them all!!! Oh and FREE meats and cheeses!

Highland Brewery Night: Sarasota, Florida

4:00PM-12:00AM @ World of Beer

Highland Brewing Co. out of Asheville, NC will feature their 15th Anniv.auld Ahshevile Ale, Black Mocha Stout, Gaelic Ale, Kashmir IPA, Oatmeal Porter, St.Terese’s Pale Ale and their Tasgall Ale.  World of Beer is a family friendly establishment until 7:00PM and there will be specials on draft sampler platters and givaways.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Weyerbacher Tasting Night: New Haven, Connecticut

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Prime 16

Get here early if you want a seat and want to beat the crowd, as there will only be two hours to drink as many Weyerbacher beers as humanly possible.  Every Wednesday, Prime 16 hosts FREE beer tastings.  What a great idea!!!

Brewer’s Night with Elysian Brewing Co.: Bellingham, Washington

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Green Frog Cafe

Elysian Brewing Company out of Seattle, Washington is taking the trip North to Green Frog Cafe to taste a bunch of tasty beer with some surprises. Elysian Brewing Company is known for innovation, collaborations and some damn good IPA.  For those that are attending this event, look for Trip IV, an interesting brew from Elysian and New Belgium!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lagunitas Hopstoopid & Cask Hairy Eyeball Tapping: Chicago, Illinois

7:00PM- 11:00PM @ Sheffield’s Wine and Beer Garden

Lagunitas Brewing Co. is the feature brewery for the month of January at Sheffield’s Wine and Beer Garden, so tonight all 6 taps will be Lagunitas beers: Pilsner, Pale Ale, IPA, Hopstoopid IPA, Cappuccino Stout & a very special keg of Cask Hairy Eyeball!! All pints will be $4.00 each.

Stout Tasting: Mt. Pleasent, South Carolina

5:30PM-7:30PM @ Wine a While

Sample several different styles of stouts from the classic to newer interpretations. All tasted beers will be on special with a $5 fee! Call 843 881-3155 to find out what beers will be featured!

Friday, January, 29, 2010

Founders Brewing Co. Tasting Event: Ann Arbor, Michigan

5:00PM-7:00PM @ Whole Foods Market

Come meet the folks from Founders and enjoy $3 pints of three different Founders brews served at the Wine and Craft Beer Bar. This event is free to attend! Want to know what will be on tap? Call (734) 997-7500.

Winter Ale Night: San Diego, California

5:00PM- 12:00AM @ Downtown Johnny Brown’s

Only….51 days of winter left, keep on enjoying those winter brews!  There will be a complimentary pot of Carbonnade a la flamande and a selection of cheese from Taste in Hillcrest. Our usual Friday happy hour fare will also be available. And the beers (this is not a complete list): Mikkeller’s Santa’s Little Helper, Deschutes Abyss, Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper, Lost Abbey Angel’s Share and Ale Smith’s Yulesmith.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Strange brewFest: Port Townsend, Washington

1:00PM-9:00PM @ Waterstreet Brewing and Ale House

One of Beer Blotter’s favorite spots in the state of Washington, Waterstreet Brewing and Ale House is hosting the 6th Annual Strange brewFest.  What to expect? ● Over 30 Northwest Breweries ● Live Music ALL Week-end ● Chainsaw Carving ALL Week-end ● Costume Contest- theme is Wild Things ● Zany Games & Entertainment ●(Saturday afternoon) Fusion Belly Dance Show,fire dancers, jugglers, and much much more.  $25.00 Entry Fee (at the door).  Be prepared to wait on a long line!  It will be well worth it!  Strange brew Fest continues on Sunday, January 31st from 1:00PM-6:00PM.

New Belgium Ranger IPA Release Party: Chicago, Illinois

8:00PM-3:00AM @ Will’s Northwoods Inn

Tonight is the pre-release party for New Belgium’s Ranger IPA. With the nation-wide release date is February 1st, those in attendance will be envied by all!  There is no cover charge and no need to RSVP to this event.  The commercial description of this IPA reads as: This clear amber beauty bursts at the starting gate with an abundance of hops: Cascade (citrus), Chinook (floral/citrus), and Simcoe (fruity) lead off the beer, with Cascade added again for an intense dry hop flavor. Brewed with pale and dark caramel malts that harmonize the hop flavor from start to finish…

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Beef & Beer: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

5:00PM-9:00PM @ South Philadelphia Tap Room

Tickets are $50 per person for this all you can eat & drink event.

BEEF AND BEER—> what a way to end the week right!  All you can eat hormone-free prime rib, marinated mushrooms, house-smoked brisket tacos and beef tartar, all made from local, grass-fed cows, plus  all you can drink firkins from your favorite local breweries. Featured beer will include firkins of Tröegs Nugget Nectar, Weyerbacher Hops Infusion, Sly Fox Chester County Bitter and Philadelphia Brewing Company’s newest seasonal, a Scotch Ale – in addition to a few surprises. Tickets are available for purchase on location,  over the phone at 215.271.7787, or on the venue’s website.

Stout Fest: Chicago, Illinois

11:00 AM until close @ Quenchers Saloon

LAST DAY FOR STOUT FEST. Spend the last day of January among many amazing stouts. Here are a few examples of the amazing beers on tap: Founder’s Breakfast Stout, Avery’s Out of Bounds Stout, Hitachino Espresso Stout and Left Hand Oak Aged Imp Stout. Stouts are great on Sundays…and any day for that matter.

See everyone next week for events in February! If anyone attends an event, wants us to add an event or tried a beer at an event, please leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com!  Cheers!

Notes of a Beer Nerd: Jolly Pumpkin’s Fuego del Otono

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales' Fuego del Otono

Enjoyed on 1/15/2010

Brewery: Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales LLC.

Location: Dexter, MI

Beer: Fuego del Otono (Autumn Fire)

Web: http://www.jollypumpkin.com

Presentation: 750 ML – Brown Glass Bottle

Vintage: 2007

Style: Belgian Wild Ale

Barrel: Oak

ABV: 6.1%

IBU: N/A

Hops: N/A

Malt: N/A

Vessel: Tulip

Recommended Serving Temp: 50 degrees

Notes from the bottle: “To catch a bit of soft radiance in each bottle, we wait for fall colors to begin their bright and fleeting glow before brewing this wonderful ale under their autumn fire. Gentle amber malt blend smooth caramel notes, gently lapping against a shore of distant forgotten spice. A beer to sip, contemplate and enjoy.”

Bottled on: “Bottling 3” (?)

Flavor will continue to develop for some time to come.

Food Pairings: Indian, Shellfish

Cheese Pairings: Nutty ones such as Asiago, Colby, Parmesan

Beer Advocate: A-

Rate Beer: 96 (3.75)

Timperialstout’s Notes:


Ron Jeffries should be more of a household name in the brewing industry.  He has created, in my humble opinion, one of the elite breweries in America today.  The so-called “Brett Pack” (Tomme Arthur  of Lost Abbey & Port Brewing, Adam Avery of Avery Brewery, Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head, Vinnie Cilurzo  of Russian River & Rob Tod of Allagash
) has a glaring omission.

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales has all of the qualities that I would want in a brewery of my own.  They create unique and innovative ales (with a profound respect for history) on a small scale, with an ample dose of tender loving care, and most of all, passion.  They have been making delicious beers for the local community, and not forgetting about all of the beer nerds (like myself) in somewhat far off places, for a mere 7 years.

I think the word “artisan” is such an apropos word.  I strive to be an artisan in my own life.  Jolly Pumpkin seemingly achieves that descriptor, almost annoyingly, without effort.

A few facts about Jolly Pumpkin:  Jolly Pumpkin’s ales are created by using open fermentation.  Jolly Pumpkin’s ales are aged in oak barrels.  Jolly Pumpkin’s ales are bottle conditioned.

This is how they do business.  This is simply – what they do.  The trends in American brewing have had to catch up to them.

What does all of this mean?  Well, we will be witness to the earthy, funky, sour, acidic, and most importantly complex flavors of the Flanders region on Belgium, but made right here in the great U.S. of A.  The Great Lakes region will be our Senne Valley.

[Briefly, while we are on the subject - Michigan…what a magical beer land it has become.  Headline: Quite possibly stricken the hardest of all 50 states by our current economic woes, residents drown sorrows in really freakin’ good beer.  Enter: Arcadia Brewing Co., Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Dark Horse Brewing Co., Founders Brewing Co., Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., New Holland Brewing Co., and the list goes on.]

Fuego del Otono is a seasonal for Jolly Pumpkin with an October release, and is brewed with chestnuts and spices.  I don’t believe that this one is currently being shipped to Washington.  When I picked this up from a bottle shop in Portland, it was the first time I’d seen it.  Do you think I hesitated to get it?

Let’s see what she’s like.

A cautious pour reveals a beautiful, slightly orange tinted amber glow.   A nice off white head built on condensed tiny bubbles rises high, and though it eventually settles, it settles slowly and never fully disappears.  In fact, a solid centimeter or so of creamy head lasts nearly my entire experience with the brew, seemingly protecting it from the air above and offering a second taste on my upper lip after each and every marvelous sip.

The scent is all that I expect from an ale created and stored in the method that Jolly Pumpkin embraces.  It is simultaneously sweet and sour, like a mandarin orange.  Spices and fruit are in full effect, reminding me of that most gluttonous Autumnal celebration of ours we call Thanksgiving.  A Belgian yeasty essence brings a tint of dough and bread deep beneath.  Vinous and acrid.  The nuttiness seems to be hidden until it harms a bit, and is easiest to spot if you open your jaw and let the fluid move around beneath your tongue and hit the back corners of your mouth.   There is also a bit of chestnut buttery accent throughout, but most relevant well after the swallow.

The flavors linger and my mouth waters for some time after the swallow.  My tongue longs for another sip and aches at the thought that, eventually, the glass will empty.

Thank you Jolly Pumpkin, and keep up the good work!

If you like Fuego del Otono, you should try: Russian River Brewing’s Consecration; Lost Abbey’s Cable Car; and Brewery Ommegang’s Rouge Grand Cru

Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard earned money at a local bottle shop and aged to perfection on my own.

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