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The Hop Brief: Russian River Brewing Co.’s Pliny the Elder

September 17, 2010 1 comment

Mmmm, river of Pliny

Enjoyed on 9/15/2010

Brewery: Russian River Brewing Co.

Location: Santa Rosa, CA

Beer: Pliny the Elder

Web: www.russianriverbrewing.com

Presentation: 16.9 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped

Vintage: 2010

Style: American Style Imperial India Pale Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 8.0%

IBU: 100

Hops: N/A

Malt: N/A

Commercial Description:

Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Although not considered his most important work, Pliny and his contemporaries created the botanical name for hops, “lupus Salictarius”, meaning wolf among scrubs.” Hops at that time grew wild among willows, much like a wolf in the forest. Later the current botanical name, Humulus Lupulus, was adopted. Pliny died in 79 AD while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who continued his uncle’s legacy by documenting much of what he observed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Pliny the Elder, the beer, is brewed with 40% more malt and over twice the amount of hops as compared to our already hoppy IPA.

Beer Advocate: A+ (4.55)

Rate Beer: 100 (4.24)

Timperial’s Notes:

beeradvocate.com recently posted their 2010 “Top Beers on Planet Earth”.  At the time of that list’s release Beer Blotter felt obliged to lend their opinion on the extremely interesting phenomena surrounding it, but alas, time did not allow.  Seeing that the beer to be reviewed here is the controversial number 1 on said list, we will take this opportunity to toss out a few thoughts.

First, the background.  I believe that this list comes out every year and is essentially beeradvocate.com‘s version on ratebeer.com‘s The Best Beers in the World (overall), or possibly The Top Widely Distributed Beers.  These lists are always created exclusively with the use of the reviews of the website’s users.  That being said, no matter what you may think of the results, they are the will of the people.

I personally prefer ratebeer’s Best in the World list over BA’s Top Beers list because I feel it gives credit to beers that, yes, may be very rare, but most likely taste the best, or are the most complex.  BA’s list seems to have been compiled only with beers that have been reviewed by roughly 1,000 users, or have roughly 1,000 total reviews.  This, however, makes the list much more accessible to the masses.  A decent majority of the beers on the list have a sizable distribution.

For us Seattleites, the only breweries represented in the list that don’t distribute to our state are Founder’s, Bell’s, Three Floyds, Troegs, Great Lakes, Brooklyn, and Smuttynose.   That’s really not that bad.  7 out of 44 breweries.  Of course, none of those 44 breweries are from WA, but we kinda already knew that would happen.  Tell me what WA beer deserves to be on the list, but before you answer, ask yourself what that beer’s distribution looks like.  When you weigh quality with the number of mouths that get to taste it, you will begin to realize why our state is never represented.

I had planned on doing some serious analysis of the list, but it seems that Jay Brooks over at Brookston Beer Bulletin did most of the heavy lifting for me.  Check out the stats here.

Now, to number 1 on the list.  Pliny.  This is insane!  Don’t get me wrong, Pliny is an amazing double IPA.  I’d drink it everyday for the rest of my life if I had to and I’d be quite happy.  Vinnie Cilurzo is truly a hero of mine, but…there should never, ever be an IPA in the number one spot on a list like this.  IPAs lack depth and complexity.  The number 1 spot should be reserved for a beer that has so many layers and nuances that you struggle to describe it.  Even my beloved imperial stout, though unarguably complex, doesn’t have the depth of some of the greatest Belgian ales.  This is why I will never argue with the ratebeer perennial champion Westy 12.  Now that is a worthy beer for number 1 on planet Earth.  But, Westy 12 is very rare and therefore has no place on this list.  Rochefort 10 on the other hand, found in the number 3 position on the list, should be on top in my opinion.  Anyone who has ever had this beer knows a little something about speechless.

But, I deeply digress.  This article is about hops and Pliny has plenty of it.  Wherever Pliny should end up on this list, or any other list for that matter, is up for debate; but what surely is not up for debate is if it should be on the list, or any other list for that matter.  There is absolutely no doubt that this is one of the world’s best hoppy beers and I’m ecstatic to be drinking it tonight.

The filling of my pint glass is no easy task.  A huge, rocky head arises of a just off-white, nearly yellow hue.  It takes a while to fizzle down into beer, so you can imagine the pains it took to hold patiently.  In fact, I failed.  Refusing to wait, I slurped up a big, prickly mouthful of foam that seemed a microcosm of the taste experience soon to come.  Immediately evaporating like a pinch of cotton candy between my lips, waves of citrus and pine span past me in fractions of a second before a stern slap of bitterness stung my senses.

Before even one liquid sip made it to my mouth, I felt as though I had climbed just slightly too far up a pine tree, became fearfully stuck, then became the target of a potato gun loaded with citrus.  I’m taking it square in the jaw with propelled fruit and hanging on to the sharp, sappy branches of my captor with all that I have.  It sounds like a nightmare, and to the bitter bewildered, it just may be, but to The Hop Brief, it’s an extreme sport.  We do it for the love of the thrill.

The head eventually settles to a white wisp and ring.  Surprisingly, the lacing is a bit subdued.  After such a thick head on the pour and the sweetness expected from such a big brew, I presumed there would be much more stickage.  The color is also a bit unexpected, a pale, cloudy amber.  Pale enough that I would have projected a lighter brew before me.  The most striking attribute of all, gathered with the eye, is the level of cloudiness.  Actually, I hesitate to even use the word cloudy, though it seems an appropriate adjective for beers with suspended yeast.  Here we have some serious floaters!  My mind tells me that it’s hop shrapnel, and I like the thought of that.  Maybe I can chew some hop as I drink some hop.

The nose is very pleasant to this IPA lover.  There is a slight sting in the nostrils from the multi-tiered potency.  Many facets of potent lupulin resins (pine and citrus, as mentioned earlier), backed with a potent booze factor.  The biscuity malts that break through add a complexity and balance that is an invaluable sidekick.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a dash of wheat in the grain bill.  That may also be a factor in the color and cloudiness.  Fruitcake… and no, I’m not talking about you… in the nose.  There is a slight but noticeable sweetness in the scent that brings me relief.

The mouthfeel is spot on for the style.  Fairly low but present carbonation, smooth and slick with sweetness… I’m not rushing to swallow.

The flavor is pretty fantastic.  No shit, right?  The taste experience begins with an onslaught of bitterness, which I generally am opposed to, but after the bitter sensing portions of the tongue relax (or are desensitized, I’m not sure which), it’s all so right.  An exhale through the nose stirs up all of the crucial hop flavors that were prefaced in the nose.  BIG earthy pine (trapped in a tree), grapefruit, pumello, bitter orange (potato gun shooting citrus); it’s all there and wiping about the mouth like a swirl-and-spin of hop-flavored paint, coating every corner of the mouth with aromatic arts.

The malts are like the cool, smooth looking guy that just strolls through the bonkers house party with no worry in the world.  He puts it all into perspective, making all the hopped-up party animals look like riotous ne’er-do-wells who will never grow up to do anything with their lives.  In this particular case, we all know that those hopped-up animals turn out to forever change American brewing, but don’t tell that to the malty fellow, he is still cool as ice.  You may have picked up on my IPA desires by now, but if not, I NEED BALANCE!  Get a little heavy on the malt bill, leave behind some unfermentable sugars, arrest fermentation, do whatever you have to do to massage my sweet tooth.  This brew gives it a little stroke, and I’m near bliss.

For me, the aftertaste is the peak of excellence as far as PTE is concerned.  All the flavors coalesce into a sweet song in the key of sturm und drang.  Extremes in emotion mingle.  Stabbing, pungent bitterness leads into soothing, relaxing sacchariferousness.  There is very little dryness at all and, though I so badly want another sip, I really don’t need it.  The flavors just keep going and going.  All is right in the world.

With PTE, the sweetness is desperately close to perfect for me, but falls just short.  I can actually feel the tension within me.  I want so badly for it to be perfect, but no.  Lest we not forget though, it’s a rare occasion when I even discuss the possibility of perfection in a beer, of any style, and that is why Pliny the Elder is a legend in both history and beer.

Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.79

Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.86

Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.99

Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.94

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

Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.99

Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 9.45

Events for Week of August 30, 2010

Stop by New Belgium Brewing Co for Tour De Fat this week!

Saturday was a good beer day- Big Al Brewing Co. for a sampler: Tripple, Alt Bier, Abbey Wheat, Smoked Porter and the IPA were all very tasty. The Alt Bier and Abbey Wheat stood out among the crowd. We stopped at Cask in West Seattle, a new wine/beer bar that opened just 5 weeks ago. The owner offers a “to-go” section that focuses on imports. We stayed for just one, Fremont Brewing Co.’s Interurban IPA dry hopped with Cascade hops, Lime, Orange and Grapefruit zest. Damn good. Porter House- just across the street has about 12-15 beers on tap- Pliny the Elder was up for grabs but I went with this new brewery- North Sound Brewing. Both their Stout (classic dry Irish stout served on Nitro) and their IPA were stellar. A night in was filled with IPAs- 7 Seas Ballz Deep Double IPA (in a tall boy can) and an IPA from Yakima Craft Brewing Co. But now for your week in beer:

Monday, August 30, 2010
Southern Tier Tasting: Jacksonville, Florida

4:00PM-7:00PM @ Grassroots Natural Market

Although I do not know what beers will be poured- Southern Tier will not disappoint!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Founders Nemesis Tapping: South Bend, Indiana

8:00PM-10:00PM @ Fiddler’s Hearth Public House

Nemsis, Founders’ Barley Wine is out and available tonight! Stop by and if you get your hands on this, please report back to bb.com. Look for this beer at your local beer bar – you lucky people that live in the mid-west or north east!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to (Beer) School, Mikkeller: New York, New York

11:30AM-11:30PM @ The Ginger Man

Get schooled on hops and yeast! The Ginger Man will be featuring Mikkeller’s Single Hop Series and their Yeast Series. The beers in the Single Hop Series use a control recipe with a different hop in each brew, showcasing the flavors and aromas of one variety of hop. Same rules for the Yeast Series, this time with varying yeast strands. The Single Hop Series will be on draught and the Yeast Series will be in bottle format.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Best of the Belgians: Beverly, Massachusetts

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Bogie’s Beer and Wine

Tonight- 15 beers…15 different styles….including Rochfort 8 & 10, Orval, Duvel, and many more. There will also be a special something from De Struise. This event is free, but Bogie’s is asking for a $5.00 donation. All proceeds will be donated to MCPCA Walk for the Animals.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Little Woody Barrel- Aged Brew Festival 2010: Bend, Oregon

5:00PM-10:00PM @ Des Chutes Historical Museum

The Little Woody celebrates this ancient brewing technique as adapted by American craft brewers, featuring beers aged in wine barrels, whisky barrels and oak barrels, which uniquely flavors and intensifies the beer. The Little Woody 2010 will encompass two days-September 3 from 5 -10pm and September 4 from 12pm -10pm on the lawn of the Des Chutes Historical Museum in Downtown Bend. Admission to the event includes a commemorative glass. A tasting package is available and includes a commemorative glass and tasting tickets. For more information click here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tour de Fat: Fort Collins, Colorado

10:00AM-4:00PM @ New Belgium Brewing Co.

Annual national moving bike festival put on by hometown heroes New Belgium. Featuring bands, good people, good brews and a damn good reason to get silly! Bring a bike and a funky costume for maximum enjoyment. For more info, click here.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

6th Annual Festival of Iowa Beers: Amana, Iowa

1:00PM-5:00PM @ Millstream Brewing Co.

Iowa microbrews are getting some love today- Come down to the brewery and taste the best beers that Iowa has to offer and meet the brewers who make these great brews as they serve you. Live music, local food will also be part of the event! Proceeds go the the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation and Iowa Brewers Guild.

So thats your week in beer. If you go to an event, want us to post about an event, 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!

Events for the Week of June 28, 2010

Green Frog Cafe features Silver City Brewing Co. this week!

This weekend consisted of discovering a new place, Noble Fir, laying low and partaking in a BBQ sauce cook off. Good times! Summer is finally here!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Beer U: Sensory Evaluation: Escondido, California

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.

From ratebeer.com’s website:

If you’ve ever been at a loss to describe the elusive flavors in your favorite beers, this class is for you! Learn how to taste the differences between styles, understand off flavors, and put words to those tasty brews you love so well. Tickets are $20 and are available at the Stone Company Store or online here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/114753

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Harpoon Tasting: Peekskill, New York

6:00PM-12:00AM @ Birdsall

Come check out the following beers from Harpoon Brewing Co.-Leviathan Imperial Pilsner
Leviathan Imperial IPA, Leviathan Baltic Porter 2009, Single Hop ESB, Land Bier, Munich Dunkel, Belgian Pale Ale and their IPA.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Brewers Night with Silver City: Bellingham, Washington

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

Silver City bring a few of their favorites to the Fourth Corner to share with thirsty ‘Hamsters. Will be the Hefe, Fat Bastard which is a Scotch Ale, the tasty, tasty malt liquor and others. FREE STUFF!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Founders Tasting: Allentown, Pennsylvania

7:00PM-11:00PM @ The Tavern on Liberty

Tonight, The Tavern on Liberty will be offering Flights of some of Founders finest beers. Sampler will include KBS (Kentcky Burbon Stout)-NEMESIS-CERISE and CENTENIAL IPA.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Seattle International BEERFEST: Seattle, Washington

12:00PM-10:00PM @ Seattle Center

This amazing festival starts today and lasts through Sunday. Check out our preview here!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Virginia Beer Festival: Midlothian, Virginia

12:00PM-11:00PM @ Capital Ale House

Entrance to the event is free and features beers from VA’s top breweries. For guests over 21, beer tasting tickets are $10 and include a commemorative pint glass and 5 tasting tickets.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

Fourth of July Party: Grand Rapids, Michigan

10:30AM- 11:30PM @ HopCat

Join us as we celebrate the 4th of July Hop Cat style with our very own in-house picnic. All day long we will be having a beer/food special. Choose one appetizer and one entrée with paired beers each, for only $20.

We will be off the map on Monday- camping hard-core style on the Olympic Peninsula. So your events will come on Tuesday of next week. Have a great holiday! Be safe, drink beers! If you have an event you want us to mention, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com.

52 Weeks: Pizzeria & Birreria Paradiso, Washington DC

June 11, 2010 1 comment

  

Dupont Circle Location

 

Week 18 of 52
 

Pizzeria Paradiso
Dupont Circle
2003 P Street NW
Washington, DC 

Birreria Paradiso 

Georgetown
3232 M Street NW
Washington, DC

 

Rank: 3/5 

Type of Establishment: Pizzeria with a focus on beer. 

BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit) —> 

@ Birreria 

Flying Dog Raging Bitch 

Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown 

among about 30 others…. 

@ Pizzeria 

Mikkeller 10 Hop IPA (this is all of the single hop beers rolled into one) 

Founders Porter 

among about 20 others…. 

BOTTLE OPTIONS: So many I can’t even begin to divulge. We had Stoudt’s Double IPA and Bell’s Expedition Stout. 

FOOD OPTIONS:  Appetizers consisting of cured meats, breads, cheeses, pickled veggies and PIZZA. Beer and PIZZA. PIZZZZA. The pizza was great, soft, fluffy crust. Perfecto! 

BAR OPINION:  

During our whirlwind trip of DC, we managed to stop at both of the Pizzeria Paradiso locations. First up, after walking what felt like 5 miles pulling luggage along with us, we sat down on the outside patio at Pizzeria Paradiso in Dupont Circle. It was a beautiful day and I basked in the sun while enjoying a Mikkeller 10 Hop IPA and Founder’s Stout, both on tap. Nothing in the bottle amazed us/we have had most things on the list, so we opted for these two amazing drafts. I sat in our Nation’s capital with a hoppy, smooth IPA and a well-baked, perfectly proportionate pizza. 

After a trip to Middleburg, Virginia to see two good friends tie the knot, we travelled back to DC and visited Birreria Paradiso. The top floor mimics the sister restaurant, a family style pizzeria. We headed directly to the basement, “the beer basement.”  With brick walls, this cool, dark “cellar” sent us into a time warp as we ended up spending 4 hours there. A Lagunitas Undercover Shutdown, a Flying Dog Raging Bitch (Belgium IPA)- both on tap and Stoud’s Double IPA (sweet and amazing) and Bell’s Expedition Stout (black in color, coffee favors, down right delicious) from the bottle topped off our Sunday afternoon. 

Rarely do you get the chance to indulge in pizza with the likes of an amazing bottle and tap list. At both locations, my desires were fulfilled. As I mentioned, they are very family friendly but the pizza is damn good.  I havent mentioned staff, because in all honesty, they were not overly attentive to our beer needs. These places were packed and the focus is not on beer, it’s on pizza and families. These places are worth a trip when travelling to DC. Also around the corner from Pizzeria Paradiso is Brickskeller talk about a bottle list!!!

Notes of a Beer Nerd: Victory Brewing Co. Storm King Imperial Stout

Storm King: Bringing the best out of PA beer.

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

Enjoyed on 5/22/2010

Brewery: Victory Brewing Co.

Location: Downingtown, PA

Beer: Storm King

Web: http://www.victorybeer.com/

Presentation: 12 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped

Vintage: 2007

Style: Imperial Stout

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 9.1%

IBU: N/A

Hops: American whole flowers

Malt: Imported 2 row

Vessel: Snifter

Recommended Serving Temp: 55 degrees

Notes From the Bottle: Emerging from the deepest shades of darkness, a rolling crescendo of flavors burst forth from this robust stout.  The thundering, hoppy appeal of Storm King subsides into the mellow subtleties of roasted malt, exhibiting an espresso-like depth of character in its finish.  An exquisite blend of imported malts and whole flower American hops merge harmoniously in this complex ale.  Discover the dark intrigue of Storm King, as it reveals the rich, substantial flavors that it holds within.  Cheers!  Signed - Bill and Ron, the brewmasters of Victory.  Best enjoyed by 7/2012.

Food Pairings: Smoked meats, chocolate, deserts

Cheese Pairings: Gouda, brie, swiss

Beer Advocate: A-

Rate Beer: 100 (4.06)

Timperialstout’s Notes:

Seattle Beer Week has gotten the best of me.  My event schedule, whether it be for my own pleasure or at the will of my employer (which is still pretty damn pleasurable I must admit), has ensnared all of my availability over the last 10 days.  Near the beginning of the week, when my energy level was high, I was able to pump out my guide to Stout Fest.  I had great hopes of drafting a similar guide to Sour Fest, but time did not allow.  Now that SBW is over, though I’m a bit sad to see her go, I can finally breath.  I can get some sleep.  I can remember what it’s like to wake up without a hangover.

I had a lot of really, really good beers from all over the country over the past week.  I met a lot of really great people in the industry.  I met a lot of beer lovers.  I think I’ll look back on SBW 2010 with very fond memories.

The night of this tasting was one of great reminiscence.  A night to mull over the greatness, to enshrine the memories created over the previous days.  Not only that, but to reminisce on the beginnings of Timperial Stout.  To take a time machine journey to a young man’s first sips of imperial stout, that precious beverage that would inevitably endow him with a nick-name.

Incase you haven’t put the pieces together, Storm King was the first imperial stout I ever tasted.  Downingtown, PA is just a small hop, skip, and jump from where I grew up.  To put it lightly, Storm King is my monarch.  He has had a large hand in molding me.

This one has been aging in the cellar for 3 years now, and a classic imperial stout just seemed right for such an evening of recollection.  It was not a hard decision.

The King pours opaque as one would imagine, with a head of mocha that rises much more than expected on a vigorous pour, but still very little than an inch off the inky fluid.  The bubbles subside in a few minutes to a mere ring and wisp, leaving a small bit of residue on the glass walls.  The slightest bit of light makes it through the edges, but in the depths… there is no escape for the brightest illumination.  Consider the “dark intrigue” discovered, without a single sip.

The odor is overwhelming me with its complexity.  There is so much going on I don’t know where to start.  Adjectives like deep and distinguished come to mind.  Ironically, this brew seems to be built for the mature palate.  It posses a combination of tobacco, smoked peat, and baker’s chocolate, with a bit of a medicinal quality as well.  The alcohol is quite present.  I’m reminded of smelling vanilla extract with its warming sensation deep in the nose.  Age seems to be flying its flag quite predominantly here.  Hops may be the producer of a bit of earth and medicine, but no traditional alpha characteristics can be found.

I just may bundle this brew in with the Arcadia Impy Stout for its ability to drop you in the red-hot coals of a BBQ.  Smoke rises from the feet of a magician named Bill Covaleski.

Once the holy liquid hits the tongue, all preconceptions previously communicated from the nose are solidified into truth.  A common slick and soft mouthfeel puts me at ease right from the get go…ahhh, that’s my impy stout, thank you friend, you’ve been missed.

Though this monster has clearly been bequeathed with malty mischief, there isn’t a lot of sweetness.  Like I said, this is for the veteran palate.

Though no bit of the fluid should suggests a chalkiness, the flavors speak of ingesting the work of mortar and pestle.  If a mocha could be solidified, then ground down to dust and fermented, this would be the result.  Barrel aged, peated scotch may be akin to the Storm King as well, I can’t help but mention that infiltrating thought.

Post-swallow I’m a bit cotton-mouthed under the tongue, but the back corners of my mouth are moist with confusion.  What aftertaste lingers?  I think of devil’s food cake, but the sweetness is extracted.  A very high cocoa content perhaps.   A bit of clinging, oily black coffee or espresso.  Have I smoked a cigar recently?  Have I breathed deeply beside the bonfire for a bit too long.  My mouth could be burnt without the pain.

Smoke signals sent high above the treeline convey my peace with the world at this moment.  I’ve been rejoined by an old friend, and in good company I transcend.

If you like Storm King, you should try…

Arcadia Ales‘ Imperial Stout; Stone Brewing Co.’s Russian Imperial Stout; Founders Brewing Co.’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout

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

Events for the week of May 10, 2010

Brouwer's Cafe in Seattle: Where the magic happens.

This Thursday marks the opening day of Seattle Beer Week, so events might be a bit Seattlecentric for the next week or two.   For those of you who live in Seattle- awesome for you and for those of you who do not, its time to visit!

Monday, May 10, 2010

FredFest 2010: Portland, Oregon

6:00PM-10:00PM @ Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.

The date of this event recently changed from May 8th to May 10th. Check out our post for more information on the event.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Belgium Beer Fest: Santa Monica, California

4:00PM- 12:00AM @ the Library Ale House

This is just the beginning of a two-week festival featuring, you guessed it, Belgium style beers.  Guests can purchase a logo Chimay glass for $15 and refill it with one of the 8 rotating Belgian handles for only $5 during the entire two weeks of the festival. Each beer will be on for one keg only, so once its gone.. its gone.  This event stars: Goose Island‘s Matilda, Urthel Hop-it, Russian River‘s Consecration and many more.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great Beers of the Great Lakes: Bronx, New York

7:00PM-9:00PM @ the Bronx Ale House

You know we have an affinity for beers from the Mid-West and now you lucky New Yorkers can drink up and report back. Beers from Founders Brewing Co. and Erie Brewing Co. will be available for your enjoyment. Cheers!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

OPENING DAY FOR SEATTLE BEER WEEK!!: Seattle, Washington

5:00PM @ Hales Ales Pub

Kick it off with visits to Hale’s Brewery for the featured SBW beer on cask, Shultzy’s Sausage for a special imported cask and end the night at Naked City Taphouse for some special Washington beers on tap!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Back in Black Stout Night: Seattle, Washington

3:00PM-3:00AM @ Brouwer’s Cafe

All I can say, is “Thank God this is on a Friday night.” With a line up of rare and wonderful stouts on tap, surely a beer lover will need a day to recover. Brouwer’s Cafe always gets the finest selections for these events, so if you’re a stout fan, this is not to be missed!

Lazy Boy Brewing Night: Seattle, Washington

5:00PM- close @ Naked City Taphouse

Come join Shawn Loring, owner and brewer for a night of special Lazy Boy Brewing beers! Prizes and giveaways will also be in the mix.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tour de Pints: Seattle, Washington

11:00AM @ Pike Brewing Co.

Grab your helmet, check your brakes and jump on your bike.  Today is full of physical activity rewarded with plenty o’ beer. The Seattle Beer Week website states:

The 2010 Seattle Beer Week Tour de Pints, a bike ride with stops at some great beer bars, is now upon us. If you were there last year, we will be following a very similar route. Only one Feat of Strength this year as we hope to keep the group more together. We plan to spend about 30-45 mins at each location.

Route is as follows:

11am – Pike Brewing; Brouwers Cafe; The Dray; Naked City Taphouse; Fiddlers Inn (FOS) or Latona Pub (FOW); Shultzys Sausage; Whiskey Bar and Elysian Fields.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brett Brunch: Seattle, Washington

11:00AM- 2:00PM @ Hudson Public House

This is my dream brunch:

Brett Brunch!  Four beer, three course brunch featuring the sour beers of Russian River, Cascade, New Belgium, and Jolly Pumpkin paired with Chef Nicole’s special brunch menu.  $30/pp plus tax and tip.

Seattle Beer Week- if only I could take a vacation from work to enjoy all of the amazing events lined up EVERY DAY. Those of you who get to go to an event, please email me at jess@beerblotter.com or leave a comment. I want to live vicariously through you!

Events for Week of April 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to Washington's Black Raven!

I always begin with a blurb about the weather. NOT this time. Although now I am at a loss. Had Bell’s Rye Stout this weekend. It was creamy, robust and a really great beer. Events…here they are.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Women’s Only Sour Beer Tasting: Escondido, California

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.

Sour beers are up there with my favorite styles of beers. Unique flavors, unique history and a style originated in Belgium. Done, done and done.

If you’ve never tried a sour brew before, now’s your chance to explore this tart and delicious beer style. You’ll learn about what makes a sour beer sour while you try outstanding examples from several different breweries.  Tickets are $20 and are available in the Stone Company Store or online here:
http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/105419

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Founder’s Brewing Kentucky Breakfast Stout Tasting: Mount Holly, New Jersey

7:00PM-10:00PM @ High Street Grill

Founders Brewing Co. makes damn good beer. (hello Double Trouble, Centennial IPA and their other Breakfast Stout).  From their website

“…brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year, to make sure wonderful bourbon undertones come through in the finish. Make your taste buds squeal with delight.”

Live Irish Tunes from 7 pm and all you can eat mussels in beer for just $10 pp! Also on tap, 15 other great craft beers and Founders Reds Rye too!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Weyerbacher Beer Dinner: Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

6:00PM-8:00PM @ Sands Casino Resort

On deck are Weyerbacher’s Blitering Idiot, Fireside Ale, Merry Monk, and the Blanche paired with amazing dishes such as Pepper Crusted Roasted Strip Loin served on oyster mushrooms, roasted garlic spaetzle, caramelized onion puree, Cippolini onion and herb jus.

This 4 course dinner is $50.00/person. To make reservations call 877-SANDS77. Please note: Beer Dinners include tax and gratuity.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Southern Tier Take Over: Cumberland, Rhode Island

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Pitcher’s Pub

The good stuff from Southern Tier Brewing is on tap tonight this is an amaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing event. Mokah, Choklat, Oak Aged Unearthly IPA, Iniquity (Black Ale) and many more. This brewery can’t go wrong, so go here tonight.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Lagunitas Tasting: Amesbury, Massachusetts

5:00PM-8:00PM @ Carriagetown Wine and Spirits

There will be a Lagunitas tasting from 5pm-8pm on Friday April 30th. The full line up of year round offerings and current seasonals will be sampled.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Black Raven Anniversary Party: Redmond, Washington

12:00PM-10:00PM @ Black Raven Brewing Co.

21 and Over only Event- so if you are of age, come enjoy, live music all day, food kiosks (grilled food and pizza, Rare BRBC beers, 2 beer gardens and………………….Live goats! AND live music stage with headliners and Seattle Reggae band, Dub Lounge International.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Bruery Seasonal Tasting: Portand, Oregon

3:00PM-5:00PM @ Saraveza Bottle Shop

Try all four seasons of The Bruery at this free sampling. And lucky for you, they will be pouring both Partridge in a Pear Tree (’08) AND Two Turtle Doves (’09). If you are super lucky, you’ll get a sample of Black Tuesday (first come, first served!).

Nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

If you have any events that you would like us to post – please email us at beerblotter@gmail.com or leave a comment on this page.

Events Week of March 22, 2010

The taps at Birtch and Barley in Washington, DC

Ok, we are back, wishing we weren’t and jet lagged. But we are ignoring our heavy eyelids in order to bring you events for this week. Enjoy!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mikkeller Single Hop Draft Bonanza: Washington, District Columbia

4:00PM-12:o0AM @ Birch and Barley

Come and enjoy 10, yes 10 different single hops by Danish brewery, Mikkeller on tap- MIKKELLER SINGLE HOP CENTENNIAL IPA; CASCADE IPA; AMARILLO IPA; NELSON SAUVIN IPA; EAST KENT GOLDING IPA; TOMAHAWK IPA; NUGGET IPA; WARRIOR IPA; CHINOOK IPA; SIMCOE IPA. This is a great event to truly learn about the various hops and their individual flavors.

Terrapin Kick Off Night: Mount Holly, New Jersey

7:00PM-10:00PM @ High Street Grill

Be one of the first in our area to get a try at the Terrapin Beer Co brews during this beer tasting at High Street Grill. Several beers from the featured brewery will be on tap for your pleasure and enjoyment. Report back!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Big Sky Brewing Co. Party: Grand Rapids, Michigan

6:00PM-12:00AM @ HopCat

Tonight Hop Cat will feature several Big Sky Brewing beers on tap, so come down and have a few with the men behind the brews.

Dogfish Head Triple Threat Tapping: Las Vegas, Nevada

5:00PM- 10:00PM @ Aces and Ales

Stop by and you shall receive Dogfish Head’s ‘Monster Limited Edition’ beers in 12 Ounce Goblets of ‘Burton Baton 10%; the Red & White 10% ABV’ and the ‘Black & Blue 11% ABV!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Avery Experience: Shawnee, Kansas

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Barley’s Brewhouse

Adam Avery with Avery Brewing is hosting the Avery Experience which will consist of 5 flights (15 beers) with food. Call Barley’s at 913.268.5160 to reserve tickets! Tickets $35/person.

Stone Brewing Co. Growler Madness: Charlotte, North Carolina

7:00PM- 10:00PM @ Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, The

Available this evening will be 2 Litre commemorative Stone Brewing Co growlers full of their delicious and award winning IPA. Buy it, share it among friends, and then take your empty growler home for future fills of….BEER! Growlers are on a first come, first serve basis and are limited.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Big, Bad Beer Sampling: Indianapolis, Indiana

7:00PM- 9:00PM @ United Package Liquors

We always like to include free events, so here it is- enjoy a free tasting of Founders KBS,Nemesis and Double Trouble. Lots o’ beers from Stone Brewing Co., Great Divide and more.

Founders Tasting and Meal Pairing: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

7:00PM- 9:00PM @ Harris Grill

In keeping with our love of Mid-western beers and more importantly Founders’ beers, we encourage you to stop by this event. This is a FREE beer tasting and food pairing where a special tasting menu will incorporate and highlight 4 Founders products, including an excellent rarity. Attendees will receive a ticket good for $1 off any forunders product on draft. RSVP is requested but not necessary.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Night Flights: Florence, Kentucky

6:00PM-7:00PM @ Party Town

This event is only one hour, so plan to get there first! A weekly event were at least eight brews, a special barrel or two are poured to coincide with the event. This Friday from 6-7pm Party Town will be opening a selection of beers from the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

Troegs Firkin Tapping: Spring House, Pennsylvania

5:00PM – 12:00AM @ Drafting Room

Pouring tonight from the draft tower are special beers from Troegs (sounds cool)- Troegs Nugget Nectar; Troegs Pale Ale and Troegs Dreamweaver Wheat.

Saturday, March 28, 2010

Brooklyn Home Brew Tour: Brooklyn, New York

1:00PM – 5:00PM @ Brooklyn Brewery

A hands on experience to say the least. You will venture inside the homes of the city’s finest amateur brewers to see their set-ups, discuss their craft and, most importantly, sample from their stashes of superlative beer–Rye IPAs, barleywines, saisons, Belgian pale ales and coffee stouts are all on tap. There will be three stops; bring a Metrocard. $25 pp includes samples.

Second Annual Cask Conditioned Festival: Bedford Heights, Ohio

1:00PM-4:00PM @ The Winking Lizard

The Cask Conditioned Ale Festival for 2010 will feature a staunch line-up of some hard to find or specially brewed ales such as Avery Dry Hopped IPA; Thirsty Dog Orthus with Cherries and many more! $30 per person ($25 for 2010 World Tourists) and will include a buffet!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Help for Haiti: Hudson, Massachusettes

3:00PM – 6:00PM @ Bacon’s Wine and Spirits

We have 4 tables of beer vendors and 6 tables of wine vendors, each paired with a restaurant matching food to beer/wine. Both sides (beer & wine) are joining forces for a good cause as all proceeds from the event will go via the American Red Cross to benefit Haiti. Beer vendors in attendance are Berkshire Brewing, Smuttynose Brewing, Mayflower Brewing, and Atlantic Importing. Tickets are $25 and are very limited.

So, its 6AM in Belgium and we are still awake/its time to attempt to get back on Seattle time. Much more to come on our Belgium trip this week on beerblotter.com. As always if you have been to an event, want us to post an event, have a comment about going to an event or just want to profess your love of beer, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com. Cheers!

Tremont Taphouse: 7 of 52

February 27, 2010 3 comments

Tremont Tap House: Cleveland, Ohio

7 of 52

Tremont Tap House & Grill

2572 Scranton Road

Cleveland, OH 44113

Rank: #7 of 7

Type of Establishment: Restaurant, Beer Bar

BEERS ON TAP (at time of visit) —> There were at least 26, so not all will be named. But here are some highlights.

Founders Centenial IPA

Bell’s Brewery Sparking Triple

Bells’ Brewery HopSlam

Smuttynose Wheatwine

FOOD OPTIONS: They have a great menu. Very extensive. Food items include: A hot pretzel with stout infused cheddar cheese dip (SO GOOD); mussels and frites, a variety of salads and sandwiches as well as house plates such as the Seared Ahi Tuna.  If you have time on a Sunday, stop in anytime between 10:00 AM and 3:00PM for a great brew and brunch options. Blackened scallops, breakfast pizza and chorizo burritos are just a few of the flavorful options!

STAFF OPINION: Everyone has bad days, our waitress must have been experiencing just that. She was impatient, short and outwardly complaining about our indecisiveness when ordering.  Due to the incorrect information on the website (it has since been fixed) we arrived 10 minutes late for brunch with no food to be served for another hour or so.  Since we so happen to over hear the waitress bitch about our table, the manager/owner came over and chatted us up, apologizing for the mistake on the website and was very pleasant.

As mentioned above, we walked in with completely empty stomachs (except for one of Grandma’s left over Christmas cookies -thanks Grandma!) and got off to a bad start. The beer list soon lifted our spirits, then the waitress crushed them. However, thanks to Bells HopSlam and Smuttynose’s Wheatwine, Tremont Tap House and Grill will remain a self respected beer bar and place for beer lovers to get a taste of what the Mid-west has to offer.  The inside is very cool, comfortable, yet industrial. There is an outside patio, but being that we were in Ohio in the winter, it was not accessible.

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