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Notes of a Beer Nerd: Cigar City Brewing Bolita Brown

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Who's down for a game of Bolita?

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

Enjoyed on 2/22/2011

Brewery: Cigar City Brewing LLC

Location: Tampa, FL

Beer: Bolita Brown Double Nut Brown Ale

Web: http://www.cigarcitybrewing.com/

Presentation: 750 ml – Blown Glass Bottle – Capped

Vintage: 2009

Style: Double Nut Brown Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 9.0%

IBU: N/A

Hops: N/A

Malt: N/A

Vessel: Snifter

Recommended Serving Temp: 45 degrees

Commercial Description:

Bolita was a type of lottery popular with the working class citizens of the Ybor City district of Tampa. Bolita means, ’little ball’ but profits from the illegal (and often rigged) game were anything but little. In the 1920’s Tampa native Charlie Wall was the undisputed kingpin of the Bolita racket.

Our Bolita is a Double Northern English-style brown ale that has a complex malt forward character with notes of chocolate, toffee and hints of roasted nuts in the finish. Bolita pairs well with Baklava, Big Band Music, Cool Evenings and robust cigars.

Food Pairings: Pork, brownies

Cheese Pairings: Camembert, Asiago

Music Pairing: Sun Ra

Beer Advocate: A- (4.09)

Rate Beer: 98 (3.76)

Timperialstout’s Notes:

Background.

I have been saying for a while now that The Bruery and Cigar City are the two most exciting new breweries to open in the past 5 years.  In the case of The Bruery, I have relatively strong access to their beers and can speak with experience.  With CCB, I am forced to go completely by word of mouth, publications and ratebeer/beeradvocate ratings…until now.  Thanks to the overwhelming kindness and social grace of Jess and DSR, the better 2/3 of Beer Blotter, I was gifted with this bottle after they toured NYC in 2009.  I had been waiting for a special occasion to open it.  When I received a god-awful bill from a recent ER visit I made, I decided that I’d substitute “special occasion” with “extreme desire to escape reality”.  Let’s see if they live up to the hype.

Appearance.

Just after opening the bottle, at a very cold temperature mind you, a bit of foam formed and began to slowly creep over the rim of the bottle.  Out of fear of losing some of this rare brew to the table top, I quickly filled my snifter.  A lively head rose up but I was able to get a good pour and not overflow the vessel.  Bottle-conditioning success!

The fluid itself is a gorgeous mahogany color, and when held directly to the light it appears slightly toward a very dark, murky amber.  Light does not pass through and though it is evident that the carbonation is strong, it is nearly impossible to see any rising effervescence.

The head is tan in color and fairly light in density.  It falls somewhat quickly from its initial heights but leaves behind immense globs of lace, eventually settling into a soft, brownish-tan wisp.  As I revel in the appearance, from a top view, I’m reminded of being on a beach, right at the point in which the crashing waves dwindle and recede.  A froth of salty water resting upon dark, drenched sand, awaiting the next gravity fed barrage of the mighty sea.  If I could shrink myself down and anxiously submerge my feet in these cool sands, I would not hesitate.

Odor.

The scent is surprisingly vinous and estery…almost tart.  It takes a deep waft and some searching to find the nuts and malts beneath, but they are there.  The full experience in the nose – that being the combination of the before mentioned attributes – is actually really enjoyable, though my first impression is that this was not intended by the brewers.  Though, upon further reflection, this is a Cigar City beer and there is no doubt that, in its current state, this would pair effortlessly with a cigar.  Even still, as this is my first and only experience with this beer, I ponder the role that travel and age may play here.  It may require a trip to the Southeast to truly know.

Had the label come out and told me that this beer was aged in wood I would feel much better about everything, but really, if it isn’t, and this isn’t the intended scent, maybe it should be because it’s amazing!  It’s full of cherry notes and brown sugar, strawberries and rhubarb, pie crust and sugar cookies filled with jam.

Nuts and chocolate, again, can be found, but much deeper than the rest.  The moment that they are found, it all comes together in a holiday-like harmony that really sends me to another place and time.  It’s a magical experience.  Very, very much unlike most brown ales, there is no subtlety to the nose.  It bursts out of the glass like an overly perfumed grandmother.  In this case, I want to rest my shoulder on granny all evening long.

Mouthfeel.

The MF is on the high side with respect to carbonation, which slightly inhibits my ability to gauge anything in this category.  Through many sips I determine that it’s above average in body but not overly cloying or oily.  It’s spot on for a double brown ale.

Flavor.

It’s in the flavor that the nuts and chocolatey, roasted malt characteristics truly shine, but that only really holds true when the beer is colder.  In that stage the flavor is much reminiscent of Nutella.  When you couple that with the fruity nose, well, quite literally… it’s like enjoying a Nutella dipped strawberry, which, let me tell you, is simply stupendous!

The grains do not present any acridity or chalkiness and it all goes down smooth and sweet.  As the beer warms the experience has much less of a yin and yang effect and the flavors seems to devolve more into what was experienced with the surface scents.  The maltiness is pressed to the aftertaste and it all transitions into something very Belgian in nature.  If there was ever a time that I’d bet wood was involved in the production of this beer it would be now.  Strawberry bubblegum screams the loudest, but a woody, earthy flavor rests below.  That may be my palate misinterpreting the nuts since they are rare in this context.  The booze really brightens up here and plays yet another role in my (spiked?) barrel theory.

Amidst all this seeming mayhem, there is not an ounce of me that is disenchanted by any of it.  In fact, I can’t get enough.  It’s a chameleon of a beer.  What strange shade will I see the next time I blink?

Aftertaste.

The aftertaste is an afterthought for most of my time with this beer.  It’s all sweet and just slightly acidic, but with warmth there is a lasting, cocoa powder graininess that gives the impression of a chalky dryness that isn’t actually there.  This is probably the worst part of the entire experience of Bolita Brown but that is a bit of a misnomer because the whole experience is grande.  There is no doubt that I want to continue to the next sip.

Summation.

It’s been a long time coming, this foray into the realm of Cigar City, and whether I “compromised” the product or not, I really enjoyed my time with it.  I have great hopes that the time will soon come that I have full access to CCB’s product line.

If you like Cigar City Bolita Brown, you should try…

Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale; Smuttynose Brewing’s Old Brown Dog Ale; Lazy Magnolia Brewing’s Southern Pecan

Disclaimer: This beer was purchased by Beer Blotter with our own hard-earned money, and aged to perfection by yours truly.

Top 25 Breweries to Check Out at GABF, Part 1

September 3, 2010 6 comments

"Great" is in the name for a reason.

The 29th edition of the Great American Beer Festival is just 2 weeks away.  Sadly, I’m not going to make it this year.  Even sadder, I’ve never made it.  It’s on my bucket list, I assure you, but I can only really afford one big trip a year and the last few years…well, it didn’t make the cut for one reason or another.  I already took my trip this year.  I went to Belgium.  I think that that’s a pretty good excuse.

But, just because I’m not going doesn’t mean that I can’t pretend.  I’ve decided to make a list of the 25 breweries that I would visit at the fest if I where going.  Hopefully, this will be of assistance to some of our readers out there that are going.  Of course, this list is strongly influenced by my beer experiences, which are most likely very different from yours.  Maybe you grew up in WI and have had all the New Glarus you can handle.  That’s OK, but I have had a very minimal experience with NGB and given that it is a very well-respected brewery with minimal distribution, I’d visit their booth.  Just a small example of the way this will go down.

Considering that there are roughly 460 breweries pouring at the fest, one needs to develop a game plan.  Otherwise, ones head would likely explode.  My general rule would be to make sure that all of the brewery’s booths that I visit fit into 1 of 3 main categories.

These categories are as follows:

1) Breweries whose product I have never tasted, due to never living or visiting within the distribution area, and whose product is met with great respect in the beer community.  Breweries who I may have never heard a “buzz” about before but have been big winners in past GABFs would also fit into this category.

2) Breweries whose product I have tasted before, but whose product is met with such a profound respect in the beer community that I would desire to drink said product at anytime, anywhere.

3) Breweries whose product I have tasted before in my time living and drinking in the Northeast, but are either missed greatly by me or have released new products since my departure that I have not yet tasted.

With as many breweries as are attending this year’s fest, these rules alone would by no means whittle the list down to 25.  I’ll tell you right now that I will be forced, quite painfully I may add, to leave some true gems off the list, but no one ever said it was easy to make lists like this.  Here’s my first 10 choices, in no particular order.

New Glarus Brewing Co. – I mentioned these guys above so I might as well put them on here first.  NGB only distributes to WI.  That makes it a bit of a challenge for a lot of us to get.  Thanks to a good friend’s willingness to share, I was able to taste a few of the standard releases about a month ago.  They were quality brews with great ratings from the community, but it’s their rarities that really put NGB up on a pedestal.  If they were pouring Raspberry Tart I just might get in line twice.

Dry Dock Brewing Co. – This is a very small brewpub out of Aurora, CO but it was awarded the Small Brewery of the Year at last year’s GABF.  That’s enough to pique my interest.

Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. – I hope to visit this Michigan brewery in December when I visit my girlfriend’s family.  Their Raspberry Eisbock and 4th Dementia Old Ale are both subject to a cult following in the beer community.  These are two of my favorite styles and I would have a hard time coming up with many beers in the world that I want to get my hands on more.

Foothills Brewing – This North Carolina brewery is mostly famous for their imperial stout called Sexual Chocolate.  Not only is it massively hyped on the internets, but it won the bronze metal last year in the Impy Stout category.  That gives it some pretty respectable cred if you ask me.  Timperial wants.

Pizza Port/Port Brewing/Lost Abbey – This is Tomme Arthur’s world.  Tomme is a living beer legend for a reason.  I’d steer more toward the Pizza Port offerings simply because I have not tasted their particular brand of grog.  There are four different Pizza Port locations that enter beer, and they all seem to do very well in the competition.  I’d lean more toward the San Clemente and Calsbad locales.

McKenzie Brew House – Even the biggest beer junkies in the West may have never heard of this one.  It’s actually in Glen Mills, PA which is the town that I grew up in.  The “town” (no actual downtown) is so small that I very rarely tell people that I grew up there in order to combat the blank stare that I would no doubt receive.  I just tell people that I grew up in West Chester, PA because there is at least a remote chance that they would have heard of that one.  Anyway, this is not only on the list because it fits into category 3 above but because they have been winning a bunch of awards lately.  Check them out, you won’t be disappointed.

Iron Hill Brewery – Another small brew pub that is near and dear to my heart from back east.  I’d venture to say that these guys make some of the best beer I’ve ever had.  Not a single trip back home will pass without a stop here.  Seattleites just may have sampled some of their product at Elysian’s Pumpkin Fest.

The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery – I couldn’t really name one particular reason to check these guys out, I just know that I have read about them for various reasons for quite some time now.  Another very high quality brewer from North Carolina.

Cigar City Brewing – If you have never heard of Cigar City, you need to read more.  These guys are absolutely blowing up the world of craft brewing right now, and they are still super new.  If I could get a little bit personal with you for just one moment.  I have a goal that I’m working toward.  That goal is to open my own brewery in the next few years (I know, aren’t I just so unique).   With this in mind, I am constantly analyzing breweries – learning from their positive and negative attributes.  There are two American craft breweries that have opened in the past few years that exploded in popularity right from the onset.  Obviously, I want my brewery to open in such a way as well.  Tampa, FL’s Cigar City and the next brewery on my list are two businesses that should be analyzed by all future entrepreneurs.

The Bruery – I feel like we talk these guys up on the blog all the time.  These guys are amongst the top ten breweries in America, hands down.  I really shouldn’t have to go into it any deeper.

I have 15 more to choose, so check back frequently in the waning days of the pre-GABF calendar.

Events for the Week of August 23, 2010

Stop by Stoudts Brewing Co.for their Annual Microbrew Fest this week!

A weekend of home brewing and beers at Fremont Brewing Co., it was quiet and delightful.  Fremont Brewing Co.’s Interurban IPA dry hopped with Centennial and Thai Basil as well as their Summer Solstice with lime are both amazing brews. But now for your beer week ahead.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Saison Du Buff Party: Dayton, Ohio

7:00PM-9:00PM @ South Park Tavern

Stone/Dogfish/Victory Party where all 3 versions of Saison Du Buff on Tap as well as other great beers from these great breweries. Not to be missed!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bell’s Two-hearted Firkin Event: Greensboro, North Carolina

4:00PM-6:00PM @ Brixx Wood Fire Pizza

The first in the series of three Brixx Cask Events. This month will feature Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and tickets are $20 per person. Tasters receive a hearty Pairings Pizza, a pint of Bell’s Two Hearted Cask AND a regular pint of Two Hearted for a true comparison. A real treat as there are only a few of these firkins in North Carolina.

Wednesday, August 25, 2o1o

Smuttynose Beer Dinner: Brookline, Massachusettes

6:30PM-9:30PM @ American Craft

6 Beers-
5 Courses

Pouring the following Smuttynose beers: 2010 Rouge d’Shire; 2007 Gnome; 2009 J. Lohr Chardonnay Barrel Aged Triple; 2010 Big A I.P.A.; 2008 Imperial Stout; 2006 Wheat Wine (amazing and paired with dessert). Some food highlights include, Chili glazed steak skewers served over a roasted corn and wild rice ragu and Duo of seafood cakes, 1. Crab cake with a sweet chili aioli 2. Lobster cake with Dijon aioli served over a celery root slaw. Tickets are $85.00.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Upright Brewing BBQ Beer Dinner: Portland, Oregon

7:00PM-10:00PM @ Urban Farmer
Chef Matt Christianson of Urban Farmer Restaurant has partnered with Upright Brewing owner and head brewer, Alex Ganum, to celebrate summer’s quintessential ingredients: Beer and Barbecue. Chef Matt and Alex have collaborated on a five-course dinner that pairs Oregon Dungeness crab, Wagyu beef and Afton Field Farm chicken with farmhouse inspired beers that are brewed just a few miles from the restaurant in the Rose Quarter’s Left Bank Project. Price is $65 Per Person plus gratuity. For reservations, contact Urban Farmer at 503-802-4630.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lost Abbey Night: San Diego, California

5:00PM-7:00PM @ Downtown Johnny Browns

TEN TAPS??? COMPLIMENTARY TRI TIP?? Lost Abbey/Port Brewing is one of my favorite breweries- cant’ go wrong here!

Taps to enjoy: 10 Commandments, Gift Magi, Judgment day, Carnival, Road to Helles, Avant Garde, Red Barn, Angel Share, Devotion

Bottles: Framboise de Amarosa, Red Poppy Bottles (rare, get this!), 09′ Older Viscosity

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Annual Microfest: Adamstown, Pennsylvania

12:00PM-11:00PM @ Stoudts Brewing Co.

From Beer Advocate’s website:

Sample some of the best beers the industry has to offer in your very own festival tasting glass. Soak up those delicious beers with Ed’s “Best of the Wurst” German-style buffet, which includes German sausages, red kraut, potato and pasta salad, and a nice assortment of Eddie’s Breads from the Wonderful Good Market.

The $30 ticket also gets you some great entertainment, and a free shuttle to and from all of the local hotels.

The festival sessions are from NOON- 4PM and 7-11PM. $30 per session. 21+ ONLY!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Aromas Brewhaha: Athens, Georgia

4:00PM-12:00AM @ Aromas

Today experience an eclectic and rare tap list comprised of the following beers:

Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout (Athens Debut)
Founders Black Biscuit (Athens Debut)
Founders Devil Dancer
Southern Tier Creme Brulee
Terrapin Hopzilla Imperial IPA
The Bruery Tradewinds Triple
Ballast Point Sculpin
Coast Boy King
Cigar City Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Cigar City Humidor 110K + OT Batch #3
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale Cask

This is one of the best tap lists I have seen in awhile- the Founders and Cigar City beers alone will make this event top notch.

If you want to inform us about an event you plan on going to or want to review an event you went to, please leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com. Cheers!

Events for week of July 26, 2010

Iron Abbey Gastropub located in Horsham PA.

Aside from a trip to Collins on Friday for a Cascade Gose and a Pliny the Elder, our weekend was full of sun and cheap beers.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Christmas in July: Horsham, Pennsylvania

11:00AM-1:00PM @ Iron Abbey Gastro Pub

I love this concept. Why do we have to wait a full year to indulge in the delicious holiday treats? The Iron Abbey will be tapping Christmas beers such as…Affligem Noel, Unibroue Terrible, St. Bernardus Noel, Brooklyn Chocolate Stout and Tourney Noel. The bottle list will include: Scaldis Noel, Corsendonk Christmas, Ommegang Chocolate Indulgence (get this- taste like chocolate syrup), Sierra Celebration, Rogue’s Santa’s Private Reserve and Samichlaus. Special Christmas pairing menu available to compliment these special brews!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ommegang Beer and Food Pairing: Albany, New York

6:30PM-8:30PM @ The Standard Restaurant and Lounge

5 courses of delicious food, such as Beef Tenderloin Topped with Crispy Shitake Mushrooms and Pomme Frites paired with amazing beers from Ommegang brewery. Experience this unforgettable dining experience for $65.00 per person. Please call  (518) 452-7007 to make reservations.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

CBC Night with Stone and Dogfish head: Charolette, North Carolina

6:30PM- 10:00PM @ The Common Market

The Charlotte Beer Club presents a month long celebration of beer appreciation for our friends at The Common Market. During the entire month of July, we will host tastings and events, each Wednesday throughout the month. Tonight is Stone Brewing Co. and Dogfish head with a few complimentary “featured” beers and beers available for purchase.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Founders Tasting Event: Scranton, Pennslyvania

7:00PM-10:00PM @ Backyard Ale House

As of right now there will beat least 3 different (Devil Dancer, Curmudgeon, and a surprise!) Founders beers on tap and possibly more. On top of the great beer,  there will have some cool swag to give away and live music will be provided on the patio!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Kegged, Casked, Bottled, or Canned: 10,000 years of Beer exhibit opening: Fullerton, California

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Fullerton Museum Center

Opening night for this interesting exhibit, is Friday, July 30 from 6:00-9:00pm. The opening will include dinner, drinks, a curator’s talk, and a special beer. This Exhibit goes through the history of beer using advertising material, tap handles, metal signs, prints, beer steins, and fixtures from the home brewing industry. It is $10 for general admission and Fullerton Museum Center members get in for free.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Craft Beer Expo: Saint Petersburg, Florida

3:00PM-7:00PM @ St. Petersburg Coliseum

25 Breweries on hand to sample such as Terrapin, Rogue, Dogfish Head, Sierra Nevada, Chimay, Brooklyn, Bells, Brewdog, Shipyard, Hoppin Frog, Swamphead, Fort Collins Brewery, Highlands, Cigar City, Bold City Brewing, Tampa Bay Brewing, Dunedin Brewing, Unibroue, Lagunitas and more. Not to mention a Free Cheese Tasting this year with 15 or more artisan cheese’s paired up with your favorite craft beer. Ticket price $30. Seriously- what a line up- worth $30.00!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

16th Annual Bones and Brew: Portland, Oregon

11:00AM-5:00PM @ Rogue Distillery and Ale House

This year’s family and dog-friendly event will be a celebration of the American Backyard BBQ and include: BBQ vendors, a BBQ contest, Kobe Bleu Ball eating contest, Dog Vendors, Charity Dog Wash, 20+ Microbreweries and Live Music. All of this fun and beer will directly benefit the Oregon Zoo.

And just a side note, Beermongers in Portland has some tasty new arrivals
Ambacht Golden Rose Ale
Boon Gueze
Bruery Mischief
MacTarnahans Lip Stinger
Mikkeller Big Worse Barleywine

Mikkeller Not Just Another Wit
Monk’s Cafe Flemish Sour
New Belgium Belgo IPA
Ommegang Zuur
Pinkus Ur Pilsner
Rodenbach 2007 Vintage (Vat 230!)
Rodenbach Flanders Red (11.2oz bottles)
Silver Moon High Plains Hefe
Uncommon Brewers Siamese Twin Ale
Unibroue Ephemere

So have a great week in beer. If you go to an event, want us to post an event or have any opinion whatsoever, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com. Cheers!

The Cellar: Beer Lineup Includes Cigar City, Great Lakes, Three Floyds & More

April 22, 2010 2 comments

Wowsers. This Great Lakes Imperial Stout takes the cake.

Here are some sexy shots of recent interesting pulls from the cellar. We are going to be brief, but wanted to let you all know what we liked, and what some bottles are tasting like right now.

Great Lakes Blackout Stout (Imperial Stout): Cleveland, OH

ABV – 9%

Vintage – 2010

RateBeer – 100

Commercial Description -

A Russian Imperial Stout with a hearty malt body and bold hop flavor. Named after the infamous “Blackout of 2003″ that left the northeastern United States in complete darkness, but resulted in old-fashioned neighborhood porch parties and fun.
Available in February & March.

One Sentence Note -

This high octane moster has a lot of mocha, coffee, and cinnamon flavor at a smoothness that you expect in your 5% stout, but at 9% you get so much more bang for your buck.

Jai Alai - A welcome gift during our trip to Florida

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA: Tampa, FL

ABV – 7.5%

Vintage – 2010

RateBeer – 99

Commercial Description:

Jai Alai India Pale Ale pays tribute to the original extreme sport. Jai Alai, a game native to the Basque region of Spain, is played on a court called a fronton. Jai Alai players attempt to catch a ball using a curved mitt, whilst the ball travels at speeds of up to 188 miles per hour! Proving they have a sense of humor the Spanish dub this game, with its ball traveling at race car speeds, “the merry game.” Tampa was once home to a busy Jai Alai fronton but sadly all that remains of Jai Alai in the Tampa Bay area is this India Pale Ale that we brew in tribute to the merry game. The India Pale Ale style of beer has its roots in the strong ales sent from England to thirsty British troops in India during the 18th century. To survive the journey the beers needed more alcohol and more hops (which act as a natural preservative). This “big” brewing practice made India Pale Ale one of the first “extreme beers” and a favorite among the Queens military men in India. Eventually it became a favorite style of the new crop of American brewers seeking more flavor and complexity than mass-market brewers were willing to offer.

One Sentence Note:

Sweet sugary hop monsoon batman – this malt goddess has a syrupy complexity with intense hop aromas, while remaining incredibly smooth drinking.

Three Floyd's 2009 Dreadnaught is hitting its bitterness decline - Drink Up!

Three Floyd’s Dreadnaught Imperial IPA: Chicago, IL

ABV – 9.5%

Vintage – 2009

RateBeer – 100

Commercial Description:

A hophead’s dream beer. This Imperial India Pale Ale has an opening salvo of mango, peach and citrus hop aromas that sit atop a pronounced caramel malt backbone. Although Dreadnaught is a strong and intensely hoppy ale, its complex flavors is both smooth and memorable. 9.5% ABV, 100 IBUs.

One Sentence Notes:

In October we bought two, consumed one immediately much to our hop-fiendish delight, and saved the other for 6 months to let the malts develop – a decent idea but its beginning to reach its bitterness decline, so drink up on this incredible beer! (we pushed that sentence a bit)

We previously discussed this one, but drank another. Lucky us.

Russian River Temptation Oak-Aged Sour Blonde: Santa Rosa, CA

ABV – 7.25%

Vintage2009 (1st batch of year)

RateBeer – 100

Commercial Description:

Is it beer, or is it wine? “Aged in French oak wine barrels for twelve months with distinct characteristics of fruit and subtle oak” sounds more like a description of wine than beer. But, of course, Temptation is indeed beer. Actually, Temptation is a Blonde Ale Fermented with a special strain of yeast, then aged in French oak chardonnay barrels. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout twelve months of aging. During this aging process, a secondary fermentation occurs using a yeast strain disliked by most brewers and winemakers called Brettanomyces. The “Bret” gives Temptation intriguing characteristics and a pleasant sourness. Temptation is re-fermented in the bottle to create its carbonation–a process commonly used to make fine champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment to remain in the bottle.

One Sentence Notes:

We touched on it before, then re-sampled this champagne of beers (seriously, not High Life) whose sourness is not overpowered with intense malt flavors, making it perfect for the purist.

A pleasant surprise from your green brewers of oregon, Hopworks.

Hopworks Urban Brewery Organic Survival 7-Grain Stout: Portland, OR

ABV – 5.3%

Vintage2009

RateBeer – 98

Commercial Description:

Beer of the Ancients! Barley (Egyptian), Wheat (Mesopotamian), Oats (Egyptian), Amaranth (Aztec), Quinoa (Incan), Spelt (Mesopotamian), and Kamut (Egyptian) sustain the soul with a nutrients cultivated through the millennia. Finished with 15 pounds of cold-pressed Stumptown Hairbender espresso. Unlock the mystery entombed in darkness.

One Sentence Notes:

Holy smokes (literally) we were surprised by how incredibly well-crafted this NW stout could be with SEVEN ancient grains in the mash and a dump load of special Stumptown espresso – top NW single stout in my book, gets you your breakfast HOTD and pick me up.

Any new beers you have been drinking? Pulled something from the cellar that has been there a while and want to share how its doing these days? Please add a comment below.

Help Beer Blotter: Where Would You Have a Beer in Tampa/Sarasota FL?

Cigar City Brewing: A Florida Gem

Tomorrow we leave for Florida. Prior to having an active interest in beer, Florida would have been the last place I would have looked for good beer and beer bars. However, I have come to the realization that Florida is ranked higher than ever expected, with top beer bars, top breweries and let’s face it, warm weather.

Cigar City Brewing Co. out of Tampa boast 13 of the top 50 best beers on the East Coast with Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout, the Bourbon Barrel Aged version of Hunahpu and Zhukov’s Final Push (stout) reining in 1, 2 and 3. As far as beer bars go, you have Redlight Redlight (100 on ratebeer.com) in Orlando, the Cock and Bull Pub (a 97 on ratebeer.com) in Sarasota and Peg’s Cantina (94 on ratebeer.com) in Gulf Port.

Saint Somewhere is another brewery that produces fine crafted brews out of FL, Tarpoon Springs to be exact. Saint Somewhere prides themselves on Belgium style beers, including a Farmhouse Ale previously reviewed by Timperial Stout. Click here to read more.

We will be visiting Tampa and Sarasota. On our list of hopeful spots to visit: Cigar City Brewing Co., The Cock and Bull Pub and Stairway to Belgium for some mussels and frites and a bottle list full of Wheat beers, Blonde ales, Tripels, Trappist brews, Strong ales, Saisons and Bruins. Also on their list are some treats from East of the Mississippi: Smuttynose, Weyerbacher, Lazy Magnolia and Bell’s Brewery.

Leave us a comment or send us an email at beerblotter@gmail.com and fill us in on all the places in the Tampa/Sarasota area that can’t be missed. Hell throw in places in other cities in Florida, you never know where we will end up!

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