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Seattle Beer Week Shows First Signs of Life

SBW 2011!

 

Signs of life has emerged from the Seattle Beer Week website. You may all commence celebration because, its officially on its way!

Seattle Beer Week is in its 3rd year, and will span from May 19 – 28, 2011. SBW 2011 will return some of the old favorites. This year’s kickoff will be held at Maritime Pacific, where they will unveil the special strong ale that the brewery whipped up for SBW’s 3rd Annual brew. The closing event is still up in the air, but we suppose that it will be announced shortly.

While the past two years have yielded SBW double IPAs from Hales Ales and Pike Brewing, this year promises a Strong Ale brewed with rare Falconer hops. According to the site, “Falconer’s Flight™ Hops are an exclusive proprietary hop blend created to honor and support the legacy of Northwest brewing legend, Glen Hay Falcone.” Cannot wait for that grog.

Wondering whether Sour Beer Fest is back? Seriously?! Did you honestly think it could die? Sour Beer Fest at Brouwers Cafe will return on May 26, 2011. Again, its a Thursday. Also, expect to see old favorites 5 Guys, Burgers & Fries (Brouwers – renamed to Burgers & Beers no doubt because of that burger chain), Back in Black Stout Fest (Brouwers), and Firkin Firkin (Elysian Capitol Hill).

Check out the Seattle Beer Week website for the initial listing of events. Be sure to check it frequently, as the 20 events up now will quickly swell to 300.

See you on the beer trail. Keep up with Seattle Beer Week, and its information guru and co-founder, Ian Roberts, via their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Beer Blotter’s Guide to Hard Liver 2011

March 3, 2011 1 comment

I make a “guide to” for nearly every big event at Brouwer’s.  I do this for a few reasons.  Most importantly, to put my greater than average knowledge of beer to good use in assisting you in your journey through the vast taps at Seattle’s premier beer bar.  Hard Liver, in this case, is an event that boasts a god awful amount of huge, better-judgment-dampening barley and hop concoctions, and if you’re misguided you may end up with a blown out palate, or worse, wake up in a gutter somewhere with no recollection of all the rare brews you swilled the night before.

Yeah, sure, there is, without a doubt, several people in Seattle that have been to far more Hard Liver Fests than me, and there is definitely a handful of beers on the list that I have no experience with, but I haven’t missed a HLF since I moved here and I love barleywines.  Just trust me.

The following is the (incomplete) list of barleywines that will be pouring at HLF, which starts on Saturday, March 12th.  I’ve highlighted the ones that I think deserve extra attention due to either increased levels or rarity or increased levels of deliciousness/intrigue.

1 Flying Dog Horn Dog 09
2 Fishtail 10 squared – If you’re a hop-head, this is a local gem that is more of an imperial IPA than a barleywine, which could also be said for several others on this list.  Most notably, Avery Hog Heaven, Ninkasi Critical Hit and a young Hair of the Dog Doggie Claws.
3 Red Hook Trouble Hook 10 – This is very possibly the best beer that Red Hook has ever made.  It will shock you.  Trust me.
4 Alaskan Golden Nugget 10
5 Victory Old Horizontal 10 – Victory is most impressive when it comes to high gravity beers.  Their big Belgians, Storm King Imperial Stout, and this amazingly smooth barleywine are all top-notch.
6 Sierra Nevada Big Foot 08
7 Sierra Nevada Black Barleywine 10 – This is part of SN’s 30th Anniversary series.  It’s delicious, has a great story, and probably won’t be around for much longer.  Scoop it up while you can.
8 Avery Hog Heaven 10
9 Boulder Killer Penguin 10
10 Great Divide Old Ruffian 10
11 Southern Tier Back Burner 09 – I just really love this beer and it has some age on it… so I have to recommend it.
12 Anchor Old Foghorn 10
13 Dogfish Olde School 10
14 Lost Coast Fog Cutter 10
15 Pike Old Bawdy 07
16 Anderson Valley Horn of the Bear 09
17 Ninkasi Critical Hit 10
18 Speakeasy Old Godfather 09 – I just recently gushed my love for Speakeasy in a Hop Brief about Double Daddy Imperial IPA.  Sadly, they are no longer distributing to Seattle, which is probably why there is no ’10 on the menu.  This beer is amazing and now, rare in these parts.
19 Stone Old Guardian 09
20 Stone Belgo Barleywine 10
21 Lagunitas Gnarleywine 10 – Though this beer is pretty easy to come by this time of year, it’s obnoxiously delicious.  In my top 5 b-wines of all time.
22 North Coast Old Stock ale 10
23 Anacortes Old Sea Bastes 10
24 Dick’s 05 – A) Dick’s is super underrated in WA.  They make excellent beer. B) Did you see the vintage on this one? C) See A & B
25 Hales Rudyard’s Rare 07
26 Hood Canal Breidablik 10
27 Deschutes Mirror Mirror 08
28 Mad River John Barley Corn 09
29 Hair of Dog Doggie Claws 10 – It’s HoD people! HoD! Allen can do no wrong!
30 Boundary Bay Old Bounder 10
31 Glacier Brew House Old Woody 10 – It kind of sucks that we don’t see more Glacier beers in Seattle.  They always impress.  Their barleywine is possibly their best beer.
32 Lost Abbey Angel Share 10 Brandy
33 Lost Abbey Angel Share 10 bourbon – This is the 3rd highest ranked barleywine on ratebeer.com and the first two are retired.  ‘Nuff said.
34 Black Raven Old Birdbrain 10
35 Elysian Cyclops 10
36 Ram Mall Walker 10
37 Fullsail Old Board Head ??
38 Hub Noggin Floggin 10
39 Bigsky Old Blue Hair 10
40 Bigsky Old Blue Hair 10 Cask – It’s not everyday that you see a barleywine on cask, especially not a rare one.  Barleywines are traditionally British, so why not drink them in traditional British fashion.
41 Firestone Abacus 11 – This is one of the rarest and most delicious barleywines in the world.  I’d be willing to put it on the top of my all time list of b-wines.  A must purchase!
42 Smaltz jubilation Blend 14
43 7 Seas Wheel Chair 10

44 Moylan’s Old Blarney 10
45 Marin Old Dipsey 10 – You’re probably not going to see this anywhere else in Seattle.  Marin does not distribute to the area, and they make really good stuff.  Get it while you can.
46 Scuttlebutt Old No. 1 09
47 Naked City Cluster Cuss 10
48 Eel River Triple Exultation 10

My top five of the beers listed so far:

5. Big Sky Old Blue Hair Cask

4. Marin Old Dipsey

3. Sierra Nevada Black Barleywine

2. Speakeasy Old Godfather

1. Firestone Walker Abacus

And remember, don’t be a dick.  These fests are a nightmare to work for the Brouwer’s staff.  SIZE & NUMBER.

The List of Excellence For Hard Liver Barleywine Festival

February 25, 2011 1 comment

its coming.....2 weeks

Its out! Finally, I know what grogs will lead to the demise of my liver next month.

While I plan on a 10 hour epic adventure through Brouwer’s Cafe’s 9th Annual Hard Liver Barleywine Festival, you can start to ponder which of these beers you will focus your attention upon. Oh but wait! There is no reason to worry about selecting 2 or 3 of these 10-18% beauties, Brouwers will be serving 3oz, 6oz and 12oz pours! Hooray for big beer.

So, take a gander and start planning. The festival begins on March 12th and runs through March 16th. Timperial will be here on the blog to give you the full preview early next week. If you have read his previews before, you know that its the best way to prepare for a beer festival.

Below is the numbered 48 beer list, but the website says over 60 will be poured. You can expect a few changes down the road, including some special hidden treasures.

In a cursory peak, I am most excited about the new Firestone Abacus, Marin Old Dipsea (always delicious), Victory Old Horizontal and of course some youthful experiments from local guys 7 Seas, Naked City, and Black Raven. Where the hell did they find that 2005 Dicks Barleywine!!!!! Delicious.

Enjoy…..

1 Flying Dog Horn Dog 09
2 Fishtail 10 squared
3 Red Hook Trouble Hook 10
4 Alaskan Golden Nugget 10
5 Victory Old Horizontal 10
6 Sierra Nevada Big Foot 08
7 Sierra Nevada Black Barleywine 10
8 Avery Hog Heaven 10
9 Boulder Killer Penguin 10
10 Great Divide Old Ruffian 10
11 Southern Tier Back Burner 09
12 Anchor Old Foghorn 10
13 Dogfish Olde School 10
14 Lost Coast Fog Cutter 10
15 Pike Old Bawdy 07
16 Anderson Valley Horn of the Bear 09
17 Ninkasi Critical Hit 10
18 Speakeasy Old Godfather 09
19 Stone Old Guardian 09
20 Stone Belgo Barleywine 10
21 Lagunitas Gnarleywine 10
22 North Coast Old Stock ale 10
23 Anacortes Old Sea Bastes 10
24 Dick’s 05
25 Hales Rudyard’s Rare 07
26 Hood Canal Breidablik 10
27 Deschutes Mirror Mirror 08
28 Mad River John Barley Corn 09
29 Hair of Dog Doggie Claws 10
30 Boundary Bay Old Bounder 10
31 Glacier Brew House Old Woody 10
32 Lost Abbey Angel Share 10 Brandy
33 Lost Abbey Angel Share 10 bourbon
34 Black Raven Old Birdbrain 10
35 Elysian Cyclops 10
36 Ram Mall Walker 10
37 Fullsail Old Board Head ??
38 Hub Noggin Floggin 10
39 Bigsky Old Blue Hair 10
40 Bigsky Old Blue Hair 10 Cask
41 Firestone Abacus 11
42 Smaltz  jubilation Blend 14
43 7 Seas Wheel Chair 10
44 Moylan’s Old Blarney 10
45 Marin Old Dipsey 10
46 Scuttlebutt Old No. 1 09
47 Naked City Cluster Cuss 10
48 Eel River Triple Exultation 10

Asheville Continues To Be Awesome

January 21, 2011 2 comments

Thirsty for Belgians?

If you are following me on Twitter (@timperialstout), I’m sure that you have noticed that I have been blowing up your timeline with beer check-ins via Untappd.  Sorry about that.  Hopefully, you’re just a little jealous that I get to have an entire week of unencumbered liver destruction at the hands of many Eastern and Southern beers that I either very rarely get to drink or have never had before.  Needless to say, I’m having a blast!

I’m pretty sure that I could be happy living in Asheville solely thanks to two establishments.  First, Thirsty Monk.  Thirsty Monk is one of the best beer bars I have ever been to.  The owner actually lived in Seattle for a while and is a huge fan of The Stumbling Monk in Cap Hill, as well as Brouwer’s and Hale’s Ales.  The Thirsty fella is much larger than the Stumbling one, and I’d venture to say that it’s more true to form in its Belgian authenticity.  The layout and minimal food offerings (cheese, soft pretzels, humus plate) bring much reminiscing to my time in the true home of the Belgian Beer Bar Experience.  Though, the top floor is home to all American beer taps, many of which are local.  It’s the bottom floor that is the real lair of the monk.  All taps in the depths are of Belgian style, though not all are imports.  During my visit there were several Belgian styles on tap from American brewers such as The Bruery, North Coast and Allagash.

The best part about Thirsty Monk, other than the decor and great taplist, is that they offer taster trays (four samples) and half pints.  No beer is excluded.  This is very similar awesomeness to Uber Tavern’s relatively new service upgrade in allowing tasters of any beer on tap.  When you order a taster tray at TM you are also given a tasting notes card and a pencil so that you can, of course, write tasting notes and have something to take home with you so that you can remember what you had and if you enjoyed it.  This is especially helpful for me in my current situation…drinking beers that I very rarely if ever have, that is.

That brings us to the second establishment that would make it easy for me to permanently reside in Asheville, Bruisin’ Ales.  Before I made it here I had stopped into a few local markets, wine shops and the other bottle shop in town, Hops & Vines.  No one seems to compare to Bruisin’ Ales in selection, and really, that’s what you want in a bottle shop.  BA has an exceptional selection of locals, regionals and Belgians (lots and lots of Belgians).  They also have a great collection of glassware available and sell t-shirts with their logo on them.

The location is prime, right in the mix of it all downtown.  It’s actually on the same road as Barley’s Taproom and Mellow Mushroom, two great beer bars.  I found the staff to be very kind and knowledgeable.  As is always the case when I’m in a new place with a huge collection of beers that are unavailable in Seattle, I was wildly overwhelmed.  I decided that I should hold off on purchasing the final bounty of bottles that I will smuggle back to Seattle until later in the trip when I have a better idea of what’s good, rare, etc.  I grabbed a few bottles to take back to the dwelling for late night options.  These included Terrapin So Fresh & So Green fresh hop IPA, Terrapin Gamma Ray wheatwine, New Holland Blue Sunday Sour, Weyerbacher Riverva 2010 and Ska Nefarious Ten Pin imperial porter.  Good times.

100 Best Beer Bars: How About These Five Noted Absences

January 18, 2011 7 comments

No Brouwers? Something went wrong there.

Washington Beer Blog reminded me that Draft Magazine put out their annual 100 Best Beer Bars this week. Thanks for the reminder, Kendall. Now let me go spend two unproductive hours ogling it!

Draft Magazine is a nationally published magazine focused beer culture. They have been around since 2006, sometimes featuring celebrities on their covers. All in all, its not the nerds guide to beer. Its more of a sassy celebration of all things barley pop.

Don’t let my description drive you away. Draft Magazine is good. In fact, all 3 of the Beer Blotter writers are subscribers. We enjoy the fact that Draft presents a global expose on happenings in the beer world. Its really a good way to locate beer venues from around the world.

Just this week, Draft released its annual Top 100 beer bars list. This list is sorted geographically into 4 regions. I was afraid that they were attempting to force options for each of these regions, but it appears that the selections are not equally divided (for example, the Northeast has many more than the South).  So, it appears that the choices are without prejudice.

In scouring the list, I was very pleased to see places like Avenue Pub (New Orleans), Apex (Portland), Blind Lady Alehouse (San Diego) and our very own Monk’s hole – The Stumbling Monk (Seattle).

But, one cannot peruse the list without finding their own list of absentees. While less deserving pubs made it (i.e. Cooter Browns (New Orleans), Green Dragon (Portland), McNulty’s Bier Markt (Cleveland)), some of the nation’s most celebrated beer venues are missing.

While that absentee list will differ for each of us, here are my Top 5 Absentees:

 

  1. Brouwers Cafe (Seattle) –  They must have pissed off a Draft Magazine writer. Many of us know that Brouwers can sometimes rub the wrong way (and its been stated by commenters here on the site), but there is no better selection of ale in the NW. Brouwers routinely procures 60 taps of rare beer, one of the best bottle lists in the country and an unprecedented number of unmatched in-house beer festivals (See Sour Fest, Hopfest, Big Wood, and Hard Liver). Again, they must have pissed someone off.
  2.  

  3. Bangers & Lace (Chicago) – This might simply be too early for Draft to call this place a winner. But, Bangers & Lace has quickly ascended to the top of the Chicago beer world. Presenting an unmatched selection of rare beer, along with phenomenal food, B&L deserves a spot. Guest writer For Whom the Bell Toales agrees that this is the #1 beer venue in Chi-town.
  4.  

  5. Small Bar (San Diego) – Ok Ok, they got it mostly right. Hamilton’s Tavern, Blind Lady Alehouse, and O’Brien’s Pub should all be on the list. But, Small Bar gives that Top 3 a run for their money. Mixing a spectacular beer selection with epic food and spunky surroundings, I think it deserved a spot above many of the LA selections.
  6.  

  7. Brew Kettle (Strongsville, OH)  - Draft picked one of the many Cleveland suburb favorites – Buckeye Beer Engine. But, I think they got the wrong one. The Brew Kettle blends an incredible draft lineup (thank god for the connection with Founders), house made ales, and some spectactular bar grub. Get drunk enough? Go brew a batch in the back. Beyond that – its just a cool dark place to grab a beer.
  8.  

  9. New York’s Forgotten Trio – Ginger Man, Mug’s Alehouse and d.b.a. (NY, NY) – They picked a lot of NY spots. I can understand that its pretty tough to run into your editor’s office and say we picked the Top 100 – 20 of them are in NY. Its a tough job to pick between the excellent spots in NYC. In my mind, they got the top 3 on the list – Rattle N Hum, Blind Tiger and Spuyten Duyvil. Those three are iconic, and the three places that I spend the most time while in NY. But, the above three all deserve a shot at the list. The Ginger Man is just a few blocks from Rattle N Hum – many would say its the cooler bar. Mug’s is tucked away in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. But unlike the uber-hipster crowd at Spuyten Duyvil, you will find comfort at this grog spot. d.b.a. is the lone East Village fave. d.b.a. has been pouring beer for a long time and has an excellent wide spread selection.

 

I will say, writing the Top 5 absentees was pretty tough. All in all they did a great job finding the appropriate bars. The Top 100 is a worthy list and you should take a glance.

What else is missing!?

 

 

The Hop Brief: Hopworks Urban Brewery Ace of Spades Imperial IPA

December 10, 2010 4 comments

This may be in the royal flush of IIPAs

Enjoyed on 12/09/2010

Brewery: Hopworks Urban Brewery aka HUB

Location: Portland, OR

Beer: Ace of Spades Imperial IPA

Web: http://www.hopworksbeer.com/

Presentation: 22 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped

Vintage: 2010

Style: American Style Imperial India Pale Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 9.5%

IBU: 100+

Hops: Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial

Malt: N/A

Commercial Description:

This hopped out beast had Amarillo, Cascade and Centennial hops, added at every point; mash tun, first wort, kettle, and dry hop. All the green goodness results in a beer with a huge citrus hop aroma, flavor and deep clean bitterness.

Beer Advocate: A- (4.06)

Rate Beer: 98 (3.94)

Timperial’s Notes:

Background.

For me, HUB Ace of Spades was first experienced on tap at Brouwer’s.  It blew my mind.  When I heard that it would be available in a limited runn bottling, I had to get on board.  I found one, and the cellar dweller in me begged it to be layed away, but my better judgment spoke forth, and may the hops still dominate…

Appearance.

Fresh out the box, or bottle, this gem pours a very cloudy yellowish-orange tinted amber.  It’s not only a thick translucent syrupy joy in the glass, but it harbors many suspended bits of hop injection.  The head rose just as it should on a medium pour, and it displayed a very voluptuous crown of varying sized bubbles.  That head diminished at the center and outer reaches first, leaving a rocky lather that begged to be scooped and smeared on Chris Ellis’ (my roommate, closest human to me currently, recent author of a marvelous 52 Weeks article) face, in a gesture of prank, humor, and mostly love.  But I can already tell that this will be too darn tasty to violate with these unholy digits.  I display self control…for once.

The head is just off white and built with (clearly visible amidst the mirk) quickly rising bubbles.  Every so often they strike a bit of dry-hopped excrement and change coarse.  I feel like I’m gazing into an aquarium or something.  Far too entertaining to just look at.  I need to snap out of it and move on, there’s drinking to do!

Odor.

A deep inhale of this one tells a lengthy tale.  The malts come through with grace, and for that, you know, I’m very thankful.  There is a sweet, caramel coated, deserty goodness in there.  Based on color and depth of flavor, I’m thinking crystal 120 may play a role.  Maybe 90.   There is also a biscuit flavor that I adore.  I’m thinking flat out biscuit malt or victory, maybe a sprinkle of cara-pils.  I’m trying to reverse engineer beers, tune my palate…hey HUB, what grains do you use?

The first adjective that I think of when assessing the hop profile is spicy, but it’s full of pine and citrus as well.  The combination that they used is well rounded.  It’s very northwest of them.  Allow me to tip my proverbial cap.

Mouthfeel.

The MF is perfectly pleasant.  Possibly just a hair thin for an imperial, but by no means under-viscous.  The carbonation is most receptive with a swishing in the mouth, but on a simple suckle, it’s deathly accurate.  In my experience carbonating beers at Lazy Boy, I found it to be a bit persnickety.  There would always be a moment where I thought, “just a few more minutes with the carb stone and it will be perfect”, and then it was too much.  It’s surely an art, and HUB got it right with this batch.

Flavor.

The colder the beer, the less attractive I found the flavor.  There may or may not be a similar progression in my intoxication levels, but shut up right now!  Actually, I’ll say that the flavor of this beer, when it’s cooler, is probably 100% perfect to the tastes of a vast majority of IIPA drinkers.  It’s mostly balanced, but it’s bitterness stands tall and proud.  Mash and first wort hop addition, as noted on the bottle, will absolutely bring respect and profundity to this attribute.  I can’t help but offer props.

As it warms, the malts play more of a role.  Piping-hot-out-of-the-oven, hop spiced rolls have been served tonight, and I feel they may sustain me for life.  The ethanol is finally distinguishable, and I’ll tell you, it’s more than welcome in my home right now.  The entire experience of this beer has vastly improved in the last 15 minutes.

Aftertaste.

At the moment, I can’t think of a better example of a perfect finish in an IPA.  I seriously don’t think I’ve used the word balanced as a descriptor of an aftertaste before.  It’s 50% bittering dry and 50% sweet, mouthwatering candy.  The interplay is a joy to perceive.

Summary.

I probably should have ate dinner tonight, but sometimes the starving artist picks alcohol over food.  You know…liquid sustenance.  Be like monk, tilt glass, be nourished…repeat.  This beer tastes fucking awesome right now.  The balance is notable.  The blend of hops was mighty successful, enough so that I’ll utilize this knowledge in future homebrews.  Yet another note to self, biscuit and dark crystal live in syncopation.  Clone brew to follow.

Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.87

Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.9

Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.97

Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.79

Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.88

Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 1.00

Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 9.41

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

 

Events for Week of November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Mug's Alehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Oh Thanksgiving – I miss you already. Alas, there is one heck of a week ahead.

A first pouring of our 1st Anniversary beer met a quite amazing meal on Thursday. We followed that up with a journey out to Kitsap, stopping by Silver City Brewing, Der Blokken Brewery and 7 Seas Brewing, along the way. I have got to say that Kitsap is one heck of a trip. The beer gets better each time I visit.

After a day at Mt. Baker on Saturday, we got our first ever taste of the Beer Shrine – North Fork Brewery. Later this week, expect some write ups on some of these wonderful excursions.

Lets embark on a new week in beer:

 

Monday, November 29, 2010

 

21st Amendment Beer Dinner: New York, New York

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Spring Lounge

 

The first of these events features 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat (in a can!), the newest winter seasonal by 21st Amendment Brewery of San Francisco, and is catered by Jeff Maslanka, head chef of Black Shack Burger in midtown and 67 Burger in Brooklyn. He’ll be serving up short ribs braised in Fireside Chat, along with some seasonal sides that will both highlight and be highlighted by the taste of the beer.

 

The food is complimentary, the beer is not. So bring your wallet and your appetite.

We’ll also be featuring these great brews by 21st Amendment on draught – Brew Free or Die IPA, Back in Black, and Hop Crisis

 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

 

Yeast Strains with Mikkeller: New York, New York

7:30PM-9:30PM @ Jimmy’s N0. 43

 

Join in the sampling of 6 different beers from Mikkeller‘s Yeast Series. This will only cost you $10 and these beers are not only delicious, but will provide insight into this innovative, international brewery.

 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

 

Holiday Ale Festival: Portland, Oregon

2:00PM-10:00PM @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

Its that time of the year, so gear up for some Christmas beer drinking fun!

 

The 15th annual Holiday Ale Festival will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 1, and continue through Sunday, Dec. 5 at Pioneer Courthouse Square, located at 701 SW Sixth Ave at the intersection of SW Broadway and Yamhill Streets, immediately on the MAX Light Rail line.

Hours:
Wednesday 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Admission & Costs:
*FREE* re-admission into the Festival all 5 days with wristband and current year’s mug!

To enter and taste beers, the purchase of an initial tasting package is required. Advance tickets cost $20, or $25 at the door. This package includes a souvenir mug and 10 beer tickets.

 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

 

Big Wood Barrel-Aged Beer Festival: Seattle, Washington

11:00 AM-Close @ Brouwers Cafe

 

You’ve read about it here on BeerBlotter.com. This is one of those “can’t miss” beer events that happen in Seattle. The initial tap list has already been handed down by the good folks at Brouwers Cafe. We are astonished at some of the iconic names, including a rare appearance by the elusive Russian River Deviation (a Bottleworks Anniversary beer from several years back).

The event begins at 11:00 AM and will continue through the weekend. If you are trying to sample the big guys (HOTD, Russian River, The Bruery, Lost Abbey), I would suggest getting there early on Thursday. See you there!

 


Friday, December 3, 2010

 

Founders Brewing Co. Sampler: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

4:00PM-6:00PM @ Bell’s Beverage

 

As you might already know, Founders is a Beer Blotter favorite. Although I do not know what beers are pouring- Founders will not disappoint!

 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

 

Strong Ale Festival: San Diego, California

11:00AM-11:00PM @ Pizza Port Carlsbad

 

The 14th San Diego Strong Ale Festival at Pizza Port Carlsbad will be held Friday and Saturday, December 3rd and 4th. The festival will feature more than 75 beers all over 8% alcohol from all over the United States. Admission is $30 and includes 8 taster tickets each good for a 4 ounce pour. If you can’t make it today, Pizza Port always has stellar beers on tap!

 

Sunday, December 5, 2010

 

Belgium to Brooklyn: Brooklyn, New York

11:00AM- 11:00PM @ Mugs Ale House

 

Oh my- this is epic and actually begins on Saturday, December 4th. 5th Annual Belgium 2 Brooklyn Mug’s Ale House Belgian Style Beer Festival: Saturday 12/4/10 & Sunday 12/5/10 from 11 AM onwards. No entrance fee, pay as you go. Over 40 Belgian Style Ales on draft + Mug’s Ale House usual enormous bottle selection.

Check out beeradvocate.com for a full tap list!  Highlights include, ‘t Smisje Speciaal 2009 10.5% ; Struise Tsjeeses 10% ; Mikkeller Santas Little Helper 10.9% and Dogfish Head Au Courant 2003 7% among so many more!

 

If you have an event you are going to or have an event you want us to post about, please email me at jess@beerblotter.com. Cheers!

Liquid Excursion, Brasserie des Rocs, Part 1

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Love the crest.

Brasserie des Rocs is a Belgian brewery from Montignies-sur-Roc (about 1.5 hours southwest of Brussels, near the French border).  They make beer that absolutely explodes with flavor.  I’ll never forget the first time I ever tried a BdR beer.  I was at Brouwer’s with For Whom The Beer Toales (our Chicago correspondent) and her family.  A Grand Cru was ordered.  The moment the succulent serum hit my lips I was 100% stupefied.  I don’t know if, at that point in my life, I had ever tasted a beer so outrageous in flavor.  I was actually very unsure of how I felt about it at first, and all of FWTBT’s family thought it was gross (not really beer drinkers).  But, I was intrigued beyond belief by that first sip, and I kept sipping and sipping, until I was certain that it was one of the greatest beers on Earth.  That was quite a few years ago, and I’ve had it many times since.  I still think it’s one of the greatest beers on Earth.  That could surely be argued, but there is no arguing the fact that it’s a Mike Tyson punch in the eye of flavor.

Allow me to highly recommend checking out the brewery website.  There is a pretty hilarious video on the front page that is narrated by a BdR beer, you know…from the beer’s perspective.  Whaa?!? If you want some relevant info about their beers you should check out the D&V International site.  I’m also going to recommend a soundtrack to your enjoyment of a BdR beer, because I know that immediately after you read this you will rush out to your local bottle shop and procure away.  Cocteau Twins collaborative album with Harold Budd from 1986, “The Moon & The Melodies”, is an absolute classic in my mind.  It has a distinctly European feel to it, combining both ambient and shoegaze, to mark a nuance laden foray into a depressant imbibing, lazy Sunday.  Every time Elizabeth Fraser’s stunning voice emerges from the densely distorted fog, you will be reminded to search for the hidden refinements in your fermented beverage.  Consider it legal mind expansion.

I was laying in bed on Sunday morning, contemplating the day before me, and like most days, beer inevitably infiltrated my thoughts.  I decided that I had a pretty serious craving for deep, sweet, complex Belgians.  I decided that a trip to Big Star Beer Market was is order, since they have a pretty bad-ass selection of Belgians, and they are mostly unrefrigerated (the cellar dweller in me appreciates that).  $40 later I had three 750ml bottles and a glass, all fashioning the BdR crest.  Needless to say, it was a good Sunday.

speechless

In this, Part 1, I will explore the 9% Brune, a Belgian brown ale.  It’s a 100 on ratebeer.com. Part 2 will see Triple Imperiale and Part 3 will see the beer that started it all for me, Grand Cru.

DES ROCS BRUNE
from Brasserie Des Rocs is a pure malt beer with no sugar added, 7 types of malt are used and 3 different kind of hops. It has a rich, complex fruit aroma full of subtleness. The taste has an impressive depth with oily development throughout the mouth. It is a deep, mystic and extremely mature beer.

Brune pours a very clear brownish-amber color and displays very lively, rapidly rising bubbles from the bottom of the chalice.  A tan head consisting of very fine bubbles rests on top and remains.  If you look at the beer from a top view you can actually see the head sizzling where the rising carbonation bubbles hit the surface.  That effervescence is definitely present in the mouthfeel, but the solution is so viscous with sugary sweetness that most of the prickling effects are greatly softened.

The scent is something to behold.  It’s so deep and complex.  How they use the word “subtleness” in the commercial description, I have no idea.  Most prominent is the dark fruit – cherry skins, over-ripe plums, prunes, all of which seem to lend a juicy, vinous, almost acidic tartness.  It is so intensely rich at the same time.  There’s caramelized sugars and toffee, like creme brulee.  Maybe I’m just baking a cake in my mind at this point, but I think there is some sweet bready maltiness as well, like pie crust.

The fact that the BdR brewers made this beer without any of the traditionally used sugar, and seemingly without any fruit what-so-ever, blows my mind.  A 7 grain malt bill is pretty complex, but there is no doubt that the yeast that was used to ferment this beer is more diligent than most humans.  I’m most curious as to the temperature that this fermented at.  There are so many esters, it was surely on the very high-end of the scale.

I would not call this beer a sour, but it seems to be teetering on the very border.  I struggle to fully explain that.  It’s clear to me that this sample is not tainted in any way.  It’s not infected.  It just tastes so much like fermented cherries, which to me are pretty tart.  The fruity esters are crazy potent, but there is a malt core beneath it all.  There’s brown sugar and a spiciness, like nutmeg or something similar.  It almost seems mulled as it warms.  I thought of spicy mango.  There is also bubblegum in the finish and a healthy (or not) dose of alcohol.  I just laughed out loud.  This beer is just silly.  You absolutely must taste it before you die.  Please help me explain it.  I’m clearly failing.

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.
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