Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Smuttynose Beer Dinner: Milton, Massachusetts
6:30PM-9:00PM @ Abby Park
Smuttynose is one of my favorite breweries- their IPA, Wheat Wine and Barleywine are all amazing and hopefully on the menu tonight! Enjoy a 5 course specialty dinner paired with 5 Smuttynose beers for $55.00. Call 617-696-8700 or email Aja (firstname.lastname@example.org) for reservations.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Grand Teton Thursday Beer Tasting: Greenville, South Carolina
5:00PM-7:00PM @ The Greenville Beer Exchange
Grand Teton Brewing Company hails from Victor, Idaho and brews some extremely delicious beers! This week we will be tasting their Bitch Creek ESB, Sweetgrass American Pale Ale, Pesephone Pils, and Black Cauldron Imperial Stout. Drop in anytime between 5pm and 7pm this Thursday to experience four Idahoan beers (and how many of those can you say you’ve had?) completely FREE!
Friday, March 25, 2011
Stone Brewing Co. Tasting: Boston, Massachusetts
5:30PM-7:30PM @ Wine Emporium
Stop by tonight to sample Stone Brewing Co. beers all the way from Escondido, California (sounds warm and sunny): Featured beers will include:
Stone Smoked Porter
Arrogant Bastard Ale
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
2010 Old Guardian
2011 Old Guardian
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Dogfish Fest: Dallas, Texas
11:00AM-5:00PM @ The Common Table
The Common Table is tapping 12 Dogfish Head beers all on one day, Saturday March 26th- starts @ 11AM.
Here’s the lineup: HOT DAMN!
Palo Santo Morrin
Red & White
90 Minute dry-hopped through a Randall
Namaste (yet to be confirmed but likely will be available)
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Meet the Brewer, Cantillon: Escondido, California
3:00PM-5:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.
Spend two hours in the presence of beer holiness- Jean Van Roy, the head brewer of one of Belgium’s finest, Cantillon. Cantillon is known for brewing traditional lambics for over 100 years. We have been there, its amazing as are the beers.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Brown Bag Night “Stouts”: Los Angeles, California
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Blue Palms BrewHouse
The idea is that this is a way to strip away any pretensions and preconceptions about specific beers you are drinking, and to challenge and educate your palate about the flavors and aromas you experience.Price of admission? Just a bottle or two of beers that you bring in for the occasion. If you’re bringing a 22 oz. or 750 mL bottle, one should be enough. If it’s a 12-ounce bottle or can, please bring two (if possible– if you only have one, just bring the one).
If you want us to post about an event, go to an event or want to just drink good beer- email me at email@example.com or leave a comment!
The article reviews Belgium as an educational trip abut beer. A place where you can sample endless styles, visit age old breweries and settle down at some of the best beer bars in the world. Its true. Its totally true. I have done quite a bit of travelling especially around Europe and even beer aside, Belgium stole my heart.
The article touches on the key places you should go in this tiny country. Of course, there are so many amazing places, the article couldn’t mention all of them.
IF YOU GO
In de Vrede (Donkerstraat 13, Westvleteren; 32-57-40-03-77; indevrede.be)
Moeder Lambic (Place Fontainas 8, Brussels; 32-25-03-60-68)
Cantillon (Rue Gheude Straat 56, Brussels; 32-25-21-49-28; cantillon.be)
’t Brugs Beerje (Kemelstraat 5, Bruges; 32-50-33-96-16; brugsbeertje.be)
De Dolle Brouwers (Roeselarestraat 12B, Esen; 32-51-50-27-81; dedollebrouwers.be)
Brouwershuis (Trappistenweg 23A, Watou; 32-57-38-88-60; brouwershuis.com)
We were fortunate enough to visit the top four places listed. De Dolle is one of my favorite breweries in Belgium and the 1998 Stille Nacht at the Kulminator (another amazing beer bar in Antwerp). Next time, that will be at the top of my list!
Other honorable mentions from our trip include:
Pater’s Vaetje ( Blauwmoezelstraat 1, Antwerp, http://www.patersvaetje.be/)
Kulminator (Vleminckveld 32, Antwerp)
Eetcafé de Gans (Diephuisstraat 6 (zijstraat Korreweg, bij het Noorderbad),Groningen, http://www.degans.nl/index.php?page=contact-locatie)
Brasserie Thiriez (22 rue de Wormhout, Esquelbecq, France) Although not in Belgium, it is a mere 4 miles from the boarder of Belgium and if you are in West Flanders, it is worth the trip!
For the full NY Times article, click here.
Due to my inability to post events on Sunday, I have decided to post on Mondays and give you events from Tuesday through Monday. Hope that is okay. If not, let me know!
This weekend, I indulged in a Black Raven Trickster, Cantillon’s Framboise, New Belgium‘ s La Folie, New Belgium’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Sah’ti, Deschutes Hop Henge and 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die IPA. A pretty good weekend in beer, if I say so myself.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Holiday Beer Dinner: Downingtown, Pennsylvania
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Victory Brewing Co.
Nothing like the holidays to have an excuse to splurge! Check out this menu- its simply irresistible, $50.00 per person and paired with Victory Brewing Co. beers.
Duo of Soups
Red pepper bisque and puree of spinach
Served with Prima Pils
Prosciutto wrapped beer blanched asparagus with gruyere mornay sauce
Served with Rauch Porter
Cranberry and chestnut filled turkey breast cutlets with Pursuit giblet gravy and roasted seasonal squash
Served with Pursuit Pale Ale
Cracked barley encrusted oysters with Anaheim chili risotto and saffron aioli
Served with ESB
Cinnamon nutmeg spice cake with Dark Intrigue frosting
Served with Dark Intrigue
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Bourbon County Bottle Signing: Homer Glen, Illinois
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Kenwood Liquors
Bourbon County is one of the best stouts EVER and in my opinion the best beer made by Goose Island. Tonight, stop by one of the two Kenwood Liquor locations and pick up a bottle specially signed by Goose Island Founder John Hall.
12037 W. 159th Street
Homer Glen, IL 60491
10750 South Cicero Avenue
Oak Lawn, IL 60453-5402
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Dogfish Head Bash: Montpelier, Vermont
7:00PM-2:00AM @ Three Penny Taproom
This epic tap list includes Dogfish Head‘s best beers:
- Chateau Jiahu
- Bitch’s Brew
- My Antonia
- Red & White
- Black & Blue
- Olde School
- 90 Minute
- 60 Minute
- Indian Brown
Friday, December 17, 2010
Week of Wild Friday Tastival: Eugene, Oregon
5:00PM-10:00PM @ Sixteen Tons Beer & Wine
Hot Damn- Featured breweries will include Block 15, Upright, Hair of the Dog, De Dolle, Cantillon, Rodenbach, Russian River, The Bruery, Orval, Cascade, Deschutes, Victory, Lindemans, Oud Beersel, 3 Fonteinen, De Ranke, Haandbryggeriet, New Belgium, Avery, Mikkeller, Ommegang, and more.
Tasting tickets are $1. Beers are 1-4 tickets for 3oz tasters. No entry fee. GO TO THIS!!!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Maui Brewing Launch Party: Denver, Colorado
1:00PM-5:00PM @ Freshcraft
Finally, Maui Brewing has reached Colorado. A state full of beer lovers, it’s about time! The long-awaited time when CoCoNuT Porter, Big Swell IPA & Bikini Blonde Lager hit Colorado are now over.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Twelve Days of Barleywine: Anchorage, Alaska
11:00AM-11:00PM @ Glacier Brewhouse
Stop by Glacier Brewhouse for some barleywines. It’s impressive that a brewery makes an array of this specific style. Today is the 10th day, so time is of the essence.
THE 10th DAY OF BARLEYWINE – DEC. 19, 2010
1. 2011 Big Woody Barleywine aged in Ukrainian Oak barrel for 10 months. (9.00% abv)
2. 2010 Eisbock aged 8 months in Makers Mark barrels. (9.00%abv)
3. Cask conditioned selection. 2008 Russian Imperial Stout aged 2.67 years in virgin Czech oak barrels. (9.00% abv)
Pay as you go
Monday, December 20, 2010
Library Alehouse Holiday Beer Fest Kickoff: Santa Monica, California
6:00PM-11:00PM @ Library Ale House
$10.00, just $10.00 gets you:
Library Logo Tasting Glass and Your First Beer
…$2.50 – $5 Refills on ALL Holiday Ale Fest Beers throughout the Fest
10% off food during the festival
Tonight is the kick-off event and this will continue for two weeks. But tonight’s tap list includes:
- Nøgne Ø / Jolly Pumpkin / Stone Special Holiday Ale
- Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza
- N’ice Chouffe
- Dogfish Head Pangea
- Dogfish Head Chicory Stout
- Sierra Nevada Celebration
- Anchor Brewing’s Merry Christmas Happy New Year Ale
- Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice
- Delirium Noel
- Gouden Carolus Noel
What is your favorite beer holiday event? Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
On Friday, Beer Blotter offered its 300th post! Over less than a year has elapsed since we first went public on BeerBlotter.com. We have a had a blast so far, and we look forward to much more ahead.
In almost 11 months, we have managed to put up more than 300 stories (this article is #302). From our editor’s first beer review of Lazy Magnolia’s Jefferson Stout to Mark Leavens’ review of sandwich board art over at Atlantic Crossing – we have come a long way.
While we look forward to big changes over here, we wanted to take a look into the past and discuss the three biggest, and most memorable, moments in our short history. We have visited Belgium, Holland, France, Canada, San Diego, San Francisco, New Orleans, Cleveland, New York, Washington DC, Portland, Chicago and more – all in that 11 month period.
These three moments stick out the most:
#3 — Beer Blotter Spawns From the New Orleans Beer Arrival & A Chicago Surprise
If you have ever visited New Orleans, you are probably aware that its almost impossible to find a good beer. You are almost assured of being stuck drinking some fruity concoction of a massive amount of liquor. Not anymore.
We visited New Orleans in the beginning of last November with little knowledge of any beer scene. But, we stumbled our way through bar after bar and discovered that craft beer does exist. In fact, we were floored with what we found; hope for a good future was established.
While we were in New Orleans, our editor was surprised with a no notice flight up to Chicago. It was her first visit – and a great opportunity to see an amazing world of craft beer. We visited the Publican, drank Three Floyds at the Map Room, bought a bounty of beer at Binnys and took in a Browns v. Bears game, before returning to New Orleans.
Upon returning, we decided to launch this site. Beer Blotter was born over a pint of Lazy Magnolia Jefferson Stout and NOLA Hopitoulas at the Avenue Pub. From that moment – 300 articles followed.
#2 — The Crew Visits West Flanders
The entire crew decided to throw down and take an excursion to Belgium, back in March. We planned the trip for a period of 12 months, holding epic Belgian beer tastings once a week until we left. As part of the trip, we decided to visit Germany, France and Holland as well.
Every day was filled with splendor. From the iconic bottle shops, to the revolutionary brewers, Belgium brought us to our knees. We saw Cantillon in Brussels, visited Moeder Lambis during its opening week, drank gallons at De Molen, sorted through bottles at Paters Vaetje, and gifted a Pliny the Elder to Hane at De Gans.
But, nothing was more epic than a one day visit to West Flanders. I had caught a pretty vicious cold that had put me out of commission for a few days, but I refused to allow it to defeat my trip to Westvleteren to catch Westy 12. I sucked it up, chugged some orange juice, bought some nose spray (so i could taste again) and we took off for West Flanders.
When we arrived at the Saint Sixtus Abbey in Westvleteren – my cold cleared up. Whether this was an amazing intervention of the almighty himself or simply an incredulous recovery – we will never know. But, it all came together as my first Westy 12 was placed in front of me.
From there, we trucked on to St. Bernardus, visited a brewer’s cottage in Woesten, drove to France to sample Escambeq’s best (with a brewer who could not speak English), drank De Struisse’s finest in a living room at De Zon and enjoyed splendid wonders from the private collection of Alvinne’s owner. I’m unsure that this day could ever be eclipsed.
#1 — The Closing of Water Street Brewing & Alehouse
The number one moment is not a happy one. But, it certainly had a profound effect on me.
For days I labored over visiting my favorite beer spot before it would shut its doors, for the final time. In the end, I didn’t go. The horror was too much for me to handle.
If you never got a chance to read the hardest post I ever typed, take a gander now. For purposes of brevity, I will not relive the words that came to mind when I head that Water Street Brewing would close down. But if you were around me for those few days – you know it was always in my mind.
Bars come and go – that is for sure. Some bars leave way too early; that was the case with Water Street. Because of a legal spat that keeps the former Water Street brewing space vacant to this day (we just saw the space this past weekend and its still not even close to re-lease), Water Street was forced into early retirement.
But, like all great combatants, Water Street may rise again. Their Facebook page has provided snippets of hope to those of us who yearn to have Queen Nina pour us another IPA. Recently, Nina announced that Strange Brewfest would return this year! This was an amazingly welcoming sign that Water Street is still alive and kicking – somewhere.
300 posts of Beer Blotter has brought us this far and we vow to keep it going. In the next month, we hope to have our new site running, filled with gobs of media and more user friendly resources.
Stick with us, please. We’ve enjoyed your company.
Week 29 of 52 ( I think we are almost caught up)
Type of Establishment: Beer bar, local hangout, the kind of place that might get rowdy on the weekends
Visit: A stay at grandma’s during the hot, humid Ohio summer, I stop in the Buckeye Beer Engine, with mom in tow for a cold one.
BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit):
Boulder Looking Glass Mojo(NITRO)
BUCKEYE 76 IPA
BUCKEYE BEAUCOUP D’HOUBLON
BUCKEYE WHEAT CLOUD
BUCKEYE ZATEK 2010
Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA
Dieu du Ciel Aphrodite
Great Divide 16th Anniversary
North Coast Red Seal Ale
Ommegang Tripel Perfection
Original Sin Cider
Sierra Nevada Tumbler
St. Feuillien/Green Flash Biere De L’Amite
St. Louis Framboise
Thirsty Dog Irish Setter Red
So many wonderful options- a booklet of densely written type. I was too focused on the tap beers and was in a time crunch after spending an hour picking out beers to bring back from Rozi’s Wine House. For the full bottle list, click here.
FOOD OPTIONS: Its your average bar menu with some surprising twists. Wings graced the menu which is not surprising considering we are in the Midwest, a.k.a. wing mecca. With several flavors including your normal hot, atomic and honey BBQ, the Bourbon BBQ caught my eye. My companion and I settled on the onion rings, soft, flavorful onions engulfed by a crisp beer battered shell with chipotle mayo for dipping. Other note worthy menu items, Adobo Beef Egg Rolls, fried pickle spears and the burger of the day was Chicken Chorizo. If we were there during meal time, I would have done some serious damage.
In a far off land in the “heart of it all” I find sweet corn, several family members and friends, amazing wings and a local beer culture that deserves some praise. Ohio. A place many never visit and many never leave.
From the outside, the Buckeye Beer Engine is bleak and reminiscent of a fast food joint. There is an outdoor seating area and if this place were in Seattle on a hot August day, it would be packed full. Instead, not a person in sight due to the humidity. I step inside and let out a sigh of relief. The inside does NOT match the outside. In fact, the inside is quite pleasant with plenty of seating, wooden tables and a wooden bar. The wooden bar is in the shape of an octagon and hugs the center which is where the magic happens. The wall directly behind the bar is home to the neon glowing tap list. Old tap handles hang from the walls- a tribute to all of the great beers that once graced the list at the Buckeye Beer Engine.
Once home to the operations and production of Buckeye Brewing Co., the BBE represents with 4 of their beers on tap. I order a flight which includes Buckeye Brewing Co.’s ’76 IPA and Zatek 2010. Zatek on both beeradvocate.com and ratebeer.com is listed as a strong ale. At BBE, it is listed as an imperial stout and I must say, I agree with them. It is dark in color with a tan, chocolate colored head. There is a slight bitterness, like the bitterness from coffee followed by a sweeter finish. A great beer. I am kicking myself for not grabbing at bottle to take home with me. I snagged a bottle of ’76 (I purchased bottles from Rozi’s, not from the bar) but was able to taste it today- it doesn’t pack the hop punch I was hoping for and was slightly thin. I ordered a Great Divide 16th Anniversary which in my opinion was way more flavorful and left a lasting impression. Granted we are dealing with an IPA v. an Oak Aged Double IPA, so as far as a single IPA, the ’76 is worth your time!
I also ordered a Founders Cerise for my mom who drinks wine on most occasions. However, today, she happily sipped on this beer and I was a proud daughter. A quote from Founder’s website:
You’ll have a soft spot for this one. Using only fresh Michigan tart cherries, this beauty tantalizes with intense flavors combined with a no hesitation malt bill. Adding fresh cherries at five separate stages of fermentation achieves the ultimate balance between tartness and sweetness.
It reminded me of Cantillon out of Brussels- lambics that are not overly tart or sour, lack carbonation and have a subtle, yet flavorful fruit component without a sugary aftertaste. I really enjoyed this one as it brought me back to a place I adore. All in all a great place with friendly staff, loving patrons, a great bar menu and a showcase of amazing local beers as well as the great beers from around the world.
**Notes of a Beer Nerd is written by Timperial Stout, our resident cellar dwelling mammal. Reach out to him at email@example.com or write a comment below.***
Tuesday I celebrated my 30th birthday. Well, actually, I use the word “celebrate” loosely. The real celebration was about 2 weeks ago when the greatest friends and family a man could ever ask for threw me a “Dirty 30″ surprise party (thank you all so very much!).
I also just completed a long weekend away at Treehouse Point, yet another surprise provided by my wonderful girlfriend. Point is, I’ve already done a lot of celebrating, so Tuesday, the actual anniversary of my birth, was more or less comprised of a bit of self-pampering.
After a long day at the brewery helping out Rhett Burris of Burris Brewing cook up another batch of his delightful Jackrabbit Pale Ale, I stopped at Ballard Market on my way home and grabbed some ingredients for an epic Skooby-Doo style sandwich (you know, the kind that is so tall that you need to crush it down with both hands in order for it to fit in your mouth) and, of course, some tasty adult beverages.
A Dogfish Head 90 Minute Imperial IPA paired very nicely with my turkey (and a ridiculously lengthy list of accompanying ingredients) sandwich. The scent of palisade hops that filled the air of the brewery earlier in the day made me crave this member of the Seven Wonders of the Hoppy World (doesn’t exist, but it should).
Honestly, the herbal and malty sweet balance of 90 Minute is so perfect that I believe it would pair nicely with just about anything. I mean, if you told me I had to eat a shoe but I could wash it down with a 90m, I’d eat the hell out of that shoe.
The most exciting and noteworthy element of this pampering came at the very end of the night. A simple pleasure, but a pleasure without a doubt – an ice cream float! I took the simplicity to the extreme, using Rogue‘s Chocolate Stout and vanilla bean ice cream, both of which are very easily obtained at almost anywhere selling foodstuffs. I decided to give it a little pizzazz and added a few fresh raspberries.
This made me think…surely, in the vast reaches of culinary creation, there must be countless ways to pair beer with ice cream and make it delicious. With all the styles of both out there, what possibilities await us? I did a bit of brainstorming and some research, and I thought I’d share a few thoughts. Maybe the next time your sweet tooth comes a knockin’ you’ll whip up a beer float and tell us your thoughts.
Sticking with the stout motif, The imperial stouts of Southern Tier would be killer combos with vanilla, chocolate, or even fruit flavored ice creams. Try Choklat, Jah*va, Mokah, Creme Brulee, or Oat.
How about fruit lambics and ice cream? Just about any offering from Lindeman’s would be killer with vanilla. A Cantillon Kriek or any of the New Belgium Lips of Faith beers would work wonderfully as well.
Playing mad scientist with beer and ice cream seems like a darn productive use of time to me. Beer Blotter suggests that you give it a whack and let us know what pairings work best.
We thought we would start out our bevy of reporting on our trip to Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands with a short set of our “Top 3″ in Belgium and beyond.
There were three members of BeerBlotter.com on this trip, so its impossible to come to a verdict about the ranking of the Top 3 at this point. Perhaps by the close of our two weeks of stories on the journey, we will have formed a consensus. For now we are simply providing what we believe to be the best 3 places to visit in a particular category.
Please note: we did not visit everything, we couldn’t. Though Belgium is only about 90 miles across, there are so many places to visit. Those venues are not bunched in any easily manageable way, especially the breweries of West Flanders. Thus, we will expose our limitations – we can only rank those places that we visited. Later in the week, we will be providing reviews on each establishment visited, so you will be able to get a better idea of what was visited.
Also, we are stating the names of these places in Flemish or French so that you can find them on a map/online easier.
So, here we go:
Top 3 Breweries to Visit:
1) Picobrouwerij Alvinne, Heule, Belgium
2) Brasserie Cantillon, Brussels, Belgium
3) Brouwerij De Molen, Bodegraven, Holland (Ok Ok its not in Belgium – its in the Netherlands. But its so amazing!)
***Brasserie Thiriez in Escambeq, France – very cool too, if you speak French***
Top 3 Beer Bars to Visit in Belgium:
1) Paters Vaetje, Antwerp, Belgium (Amazing atmosphere and great bartender)
2) Poatersgat, Bruges, Belgium
3) Moeder Lambic, Brussels, Belgium (new, incredible)
Top 3 Beer Bars to Visit in Holland:
1) Cafe Gollem, Amsterdam, Holland
2) ‘t Arendsnest, Amsterdam, Holland
3) Beer Temple, Amsterdam, Holland (for the variety – and if you miss the USA)
Top 3 Places to Enjoy a Beer in Belgium:
1) ‘t Waterhuis Aan De Bierkant, Ghent, Belgium
2) Picobrouwerij Alvinne’s Loft, Heune, Belgium
3) ‘t Poatersgat, Bruges, Belgium (cmon, its in a medieval cellar)
Top 3 Beer Lists in Belgium:
1) Kulminator, Antwerp, Belgium (vintages really help)
2) Cafe Cambrinus, Bruges, Belgium
3) Bier Circus, Brussels, Belgium
Top 3 Bottleshops
1) Willems, Grobbendonk, Belgium (ridiculous, go here)
2) Picobrouwerij Alvinne, Heune, Belgium (worldwide selection)
3) De Bier Temple, Bruges, Belgium
Top 3 Beer Experiences in Belgium:
1) Drinking Nuclear Penguin & Sink the Bismark with owner Davy Spiessens at Picobrouwerij Alvinne
2) Enjoying Westvleteren 12 at In De Vrede Cafe on the St. Sixtus Abbij
3) Tasting young gueuzes and special lambics at Brasserie Cantillon
***Checking out the cooling cellar at Moeder Lambic was cool too***
Top 3 Places for a Meal in Belgium (Beer Involved Venues)
1) De Gans, Huise, Belgium
2) Bier Circus, Brussels, Belgium
3)Brouwerij De Molen (Holland) & Brauerei zum Fuchschen (Germany) (again neither in Belgium, but damn good)
***We didn’t make it to Den Djiver in Bruges – we dont have 100.00 for a meal***
Top 3 Belgian Food to Eat
1) Toast Cannibale (raw beef across bread)
2) Witloof Casserole (Belgian Endive with Ham and Cheese)
3) Stoemf (potatoes, sausage, herbs and vegetables all mashed together)
Top 3 Issues with the Current State of Belgium
1) Construction in Ghent! (the entire city is under construction – kind of killing the ambience)
2) non-uniformity of business days
3) unknown/spontaneously selected opening and closing hours (its always a guessing game)
***Note: We were there during off-season, and we knew that, so the hours/days issue is partly our fault***
There is more to come. I’m sure I forgot to rank many things. We will try and wrap it together soon.
We are still alive and kicking. We have been pre-occupied with endless beer consumption for the past 10 days. But with it all coming to a close, its time to re-inject ourselves into your daily news garb.
The trip has been magnanimous. We have met beers, geese, brewers, and nipping winds. Belgium treated us well.
Visits to Cantillon, Alvinne, Westvleteren, Moeder Lambic Pater’s Vaetje, Poatersgat, and de Gans – were top flight. But we have some negative marks for some Belgian staples as well.
We return on Sunday and promise to have full remarks by that time. Enjoy your weekend!
Collaborative brewing is a trend that has been impossible to ignore lately. It’s rampant in the craft brewing community. Beer Blotter couldn’t be more excited about this. It’s a concept that we wholly embrace. Communicating, sharing, supporting, uplifting. We do our very best every day to create a dialogue. To talk to brewers, bar owners, bartenders, bar patrons…beer lovers of every kind, to teach and to learn. To build upon this incredible community, to be a constructive member, to both give and receive. It’s a small faction of a larger concept…life.
It’s a really good feeling to be a part of a sub-culture of like-minded souls. We love and respect beer, you love and respect beer, let’s hug. When breweries that exist in the same sub-genre of commerce and compete for the same consumer’s (our) money decide to hug instead of scratch and claw, we get a little emotional. It reinforces how special it is…this community of ours. Breweries supporting each other, coming together as colleagues, teaching and learning from each other, and creating something special for us all instead of stepping on each other to reach the top alone.
A warming, parallel example of this hand-in-hand approach to capitalism can be found in the independent music community. Though it is not as common as it once was, the split 7” epitomizes this concept. Two or more like-minded bands join together to release an EP length record or CD, most traditionally with one new song from each band and one cover of one the opposite band’s songs. This can be very valuable to the musicians because it allows for a co-mingling of fans. Where one listener may have supported one band on a split and previously been unaware of the other band(s) work, there now becomes an instant increase in listenership. A simple concept, the more folks that hear your work the more potential for success. It’s pretty obvious when you think about it, but it takes a special kind of someone to put it into play and not feel threatened. Most “corporations” wouldn’t dare.
One of the first collaboration beers that I remember being privy to was/is Collaboration Not Litigation, an incredibly cleverly named beer by Russian River Brewing and Avery Brewing. This cross-pollination spawned from the quandary that both breweries had a beer named Salvation, Avery’s a Belgian strong golden ale and Russian River’s a Belgian strong dark ale. Instead of taking it to litigation in the court room, they hashed it out in Avery’s Boulder, CO brewing space and blended the two. The resulting concoction was truly a masterpiece (not surprising at all when you observe the work of these two master-brewers) and it continues to be blended and bottles to date.
One of the very first series of collaboration beers came at the hands of the ever –industrious De Proef Brouwerij. The Signature Series began in 2007 with a collaboration with Tomme Arthur of Port Brewing. This Belgian strong pale ale could easily sustain my beer needs for the rest of eternity. So good! The second, Les Deux Brasseurs, saw Allagash assist in brewing a golden ale fermented with multiple strains of Brett.
At this point it was quite obvious that De Proef had a firm finger on the pulse of American Brewing. Any doubts that their choice in counterparts came with a roll of the dice were quickly squandered. And, above all, the prophesy embedded in the split 7” theory was brought to fruition. To Belgians: a starter course on the strength and boldness of American brewers, while simultaneously proving a knowledge and respect of tradition; to Americans: introduction to a great, and inspirational, international member of the “in it for the community” brewer. Just mild research on De Proef brings to light their revolutionary “brewery for hire” stance that simply epitomizes the collaborative spirit.
The third, and most recent, was with Bells Brewery. This was a smokey Belgian dark ale of much intrigue. The 2010 edition of the Signature Series will be an Imperial Flanders Red Ale brewed in collaboration with Terrapin Beer Co. of Athens, GA. Beer Blotter has one of each edition saved up in the cellar, and the addition of the 2010 release just may spawn a Signature Series Vertical Night. The recent announced that the first two editions will be re-released in mid-April of this year gives hope to the not-so-obsessive beer drinker/collector to reproduce just such a vertical.
Quite possibly the most notable collaboration in brewing history is the creation of Isabelle Proximus, or, the beer brewed by the Brett Pack. When a brew of any kind is made by the likes of Tomme Arthur (Port Brewing/Lost Abbey), Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River), Rob Tod (Allagash), Adam Avery (Avery) and Sam Calagione (Dogfish Head), beer nerds are going to freak. When that beer is a barrel aged sour ale inspired by Belgian lambics, game over!
The story starts in November of 2005 when Sam Calagione was working on his second book, Extreme Brewing. In preparation for his drafting of said book he asked each member, of what would then become the Brett Pack, to take a trip to Belgium with him and tour numerous Gueze and Lambic producing breweries. Cantillon, Drie Fonteinen and Boon, amongst others were visited and studied. Amidst their travels and through various sour beer inspired (drunken) conversation, it became relevant that a collaborative Lambic inspired beer should be made back in the States.
In November of ’06 the travelers reconvened at Port Brewing in San Marcos, CA, each with 4 oak barrels and house cultures from their own sour brewing program in tow. One base beer was brewed under the direction of all 5 brewers and then aged in 18 of the barrels. After the aging, each was tasted and then a blending of 17 of the samples produced the final product. Beer Blotter had the distinct privilege of tasting this extremely rare beer both on tap and in the bottle thanks to the crafty folks over at Brouwer’s. It was, as I’m sure you can imagine, an orgasmic experience for the ages.
There have been so, so many more collaboration brews of note in the past few years that we will just have to wait until part two for more on them.
To be continued…
A week in the life of a beer drinker:
Monday, March 1, 2010
7th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal: Seattle, Washington
3:00PM- 2:00AM @ Beveridge Place Pub
The madness continues all week with events almost every day. Many of these barleywines were aged by Beveridge Place. Check out Beer Blotter’s guide to the Bacchanal by clicking HERE!
Monk’s Mad Monday: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
11:30AM-11:30PM @ Monk’s Cafe
A special Russian River event featuring six of their beers on tap. There will be three IPAs and three ‘Tions on tap. Check it– Pliny The Younger, Pliny The Elder, Blind Pig, Damnation, Consecration and (sweet, sweet) Supplication.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Unibroue Tasting: Hooksett, New Hampshire
5:00PM-7:30PM @ Bert’s Better Beers
Join Richard Delmonico as he pours Canadian brewery, Unibroue beers-Quelque Chose (enjoy warm and/or on ice), Maudite, Terrible, Don de Dieu, La Fin du Monde, Blanche de Chambly, Chambly Noire, Trois Pistoles and Ephemere. Cheese and chocolate will be paired.
Sour Beer Night: New York, New York
7:30PM-9:30PM @ Jimmy’s No. 43
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Meet the Brewers: Escondido, California
6:00PM-8:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.
Brewers from the East head West- Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Victory Brewing Co.’s Bill Covaleski. Join them at the Bistro’s outside bar with Stone’s own Greg Koch to celebrate their collective achievement. Have a pint with Sam, Bill, and Greg and congratulate them on a job well done! Special taps of Dogfish Head and Victory rarities, including World Wide Stout, will be poured outside.
Ninkasi Beer Dinner: San Francisco, California
5:45 PM- 9:45 PM @The Monk’s Kettle
Ninkasi brews such as Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Believer Double Red Ale and OATIS Oatmeal Stout will be paired with a delicious 5 course meal. Menu items include a Portobello mushroom soup, a coconut curry shrimp dish, pork tenderloin, a special pallet cleanser and a dessert that will make you feel right at home.
New Belgium Tasting: Portland, Oregon
4:00PM-6:00PM @ The Beermongers
New Belgium Brewery will in the store providing samples of several of their more unique beers including two from their Lips of Faith series Biere de Mars and Transatlantique Kriek, Ranger IPA, certified organic Mothership Wit and Trip IV on draft a collaboration between Elysian Brewing Co. (Seattle) and New Belgium. This event is free.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Great Lakes Happy Hour: Akron, Ohio
7:00PM-9:00PM @ Johnny Malloys
Come and sample 6 differtent Great Lakes Brewing Co. beers on tap/bottles available to everyone. For those interested, there will also be a limited beer and cheese tasting featuring a couple brewery exclusives that are only available for the tasting. The tasting fee is $10 and includes 5 samples of beer and 5 cheese samples. A few people from the brewery will be there giving out glassware and other Great Lakes memorabilia.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Beer without Hops: The Illegal Brews: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
7:30PM- 9:30PM @ The Beer School of Philadelphia
This is an appropriate venue for this event. Not only do you get to sample fine beers, you get to learn a bit about beer history. These beers do not contain hops, therefore at one point in beer past, they were not considered beer. Due to this concept, they have become rather rare. Well, these “illegal” beers (gruits) are making a comeback, so stop by, taste and learn all about these amazing brews.
Jolly Pumpkin Beer Tasting: Ann Arbor, Michigan
5:00PM-7:00PM @ Whole Foods Market
Join Vice President of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Michael Turriff at the Fine Wine and Craft Beer Bar. Michael is there to enjoy the JP brews, discuss beer and answer all of your questions.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Let’s try some Belgiums!: Naperville, Illinois
3:00PM-5:00PM @ Malloy’s Fine Wines and Spirits
This tasting is FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. So you have no excuse to head out on the town in Naperville and try some amazing Belgium brews. What will you be sampling? Triple Karmeliet, Maredsous 10 Triple, Gouden Carolus, and Pauwel Kwak- among others. Get out, get cultured.
Lucky Lab’s Barleywine & Big Beer Fest: Portland, Oregon
12:00PM- 10:00PM @ Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. (NW Quimby Beer Hall)
More than 35 barleywines and big beers (stouts, warmers, old ales and more) on tap! Some are recent releases but many are aged vintages. Just to name a few, as the list is very very long (check it here): ’07 Great Divide’s Old Ruffian; ’08 Speakeasy’s Old Godfather; ’09 Fish Tail’s Leviathan and ’09 Lucky Lab’s BBL-Aged Son of Old Yeller.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
11th Split the Brooklyn Skull Festival: Brooklyn, New York
11:00 AM-11:00PM @ Mugs Ale House
Interesting name, but what does it entail? Tis the time for barleywines and strong ales, so you guessed it! Come to Mugs and enjoy beers, most of which are over 8%. For the full list click here, but for a sample, you came to the right place: Speakeasy Old Godfather Reserve 10%; Left hand Widdershins 10%; Nogne O #100 Barleywine 10.0%; Goose Island Brown Goose 9% and Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout 2008 8.0%.
Nikki’s Second Annual Beer Dinner: Providence, Rhode Island
6:00 PM-10:00 PM @ Julians
We will leave the food a mystery, but check out the featured beers, mainly all Trappist. We like their style! La Trappe Isid’or; Achel Blond; Westmalle Trappist Dubbel; Orval Trappist Ale; Chimay Grande Reserve (blue); Westmalle Trappist Tripel and with the dessert course, you get all three Rochefort beer (6, 8, 10)!!
Oh man…that is it. But of course, there is so much more. So if you have an event you want us to add, have a comment about an event you went to, or just want to tell us how much you love beer, leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading! Cheers to another week!