***This is a reposting of an article I wrote last year, shortly before my yearly bounty of Great Lakes Christmas Ale appeared in my mailbox. This year, I have been slighted by my Ohio beer shop, who promised to have my package here last week – WHERE IS IT!? Each afternoon, I scurry to the mailbox like it was Xmas morning, hoping to see my Xmas passion. Nothing. This morning, I had to read back at what once was – and what hopes to show up today. Enjoy!***
I will go ahead and clear this up – I have an Ohio bias. I hail from the great Canton, OH region, home of football, wings and crappy beer.
But over time we have seen some good ones pop up. Hoppin Frog, out of Akron, OH, is probably the best critiqued in the beer world. Check out their RateBeer ratings here. We will rate them later, but as a teaser – get the BORIS (oatmeal imperial stout – theres a barrel-aged version too!).
And now to return to my favorite – Great Lakes. When I fall in love with a brewery, its for several reasons:
(1) beer quality
(2) list quality
(3) pub aura
(4) historical connection
(5) the crew of the brewery
Great Lakes Brewing excels here in all respects. Though they do not have the most amazing of beer reviews historically, they are typically respectable around the board. For instance, their stouts are damn good (Blackout is a 100), their porter is above average, their specialties (saison and 2x IPA especially) are appealing, and their normal rotation is very drinkable (my father is a Burning River Pale man).
But……its their Christmas Beer that remains fixated in your mid year round. Shockingly, this beer is not immortal in the beer nerd spectrum. It holds an 87 at RateBeer. But after a cursory review I am chalking that up to the 30-40% of reviewers who just said – “I dont like xmas beer.”
Curse you, and curse your palettes. Actually, I can understand that reaction to this beer. The beer holds an incredible smack you in the face aroma of X-mas packed into the bottle. Nutmeg, cinnamon, spice and ginger make you feel as if you are ten years old again, sipping hot cider with mittens on singing deck the halls in 12 feet of snow, below a 30 foot christmas tree, with 1000 wrapped goodies beneath. I love it.
But what is best about this release, is that Great Lakes Brewing has recognized the cult following and really made a bi-annual ritual out of it. In July, they do a “Christmas in July” promo at the brewery, where they tap a few kegs for a few days and Clevelanders black out in unconscious glee. Again in October, the begin the real seasonal release at the brewery with a one week tap-only period and then they begin distributing.
The brewpub at Great Lakes is amazing. They are located on West side of Cleveland, very close to downtown in the “Westside Market” area. As I remember, the Brewpub was the first non-smoking establishment in Cleveland and has always offered a full locally-produced food regimen. (Note: the sausages are amazing)
On top of the food and grog – the Brewery also offers tours and a hefty gift shop where you can pick up pub exclusives (im looking at you Lake Erie Monster, the 2x IPA) and other garb.
If you are stuck in the NW – or elsewhere outside the nether-regions of the Midwest (i dont blame you), you likely cannot get Great Lakes beer. Thats ok because there is a heck of a shop in Cleveland, that can help you out. Rozi’s Wine House carries an amazing selection of beers. They will ship to wherever. Call them up and make an order.
The luscious x-mas grog can be purchased at your local (Midwest only – damn) beer shop, up until about January 10. Do not wait, because at the rate I am moving now, I will have bought out all beer stores and it will be stored in my Seattle basement.
Enjoyed on 9/15/2010
Brewery: Russian River Brewing Co.
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Beer: Pliny the Elder
Presentation: 16.9 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped
Style: American Style Imperial India Pale Ale
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)
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.
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
We are going to start doing a “Top 5″ list column until we hit all of the cities we have visited since our beer mania spawned. There are quite a bit of cities – we travel often.
This will be a quick rundown of the 5 places that we would tell you to visit, if you happened across one of these fair cities. The reason that we want to do this is that we have been getting a lot of inquiries from readers who are simply traveling and want to know where to find beer mecca. The goal is to put this on the site in an easy to read format, cataloged for viewing at any time.
First, the rules:
- We go places because we want, not because someone asked. I cannot stress this enough. We were never enticed to these places by promises of freebies, attention, pats on the back or back room happy endings – we just went because we heard the word.
- We cannot be everywhere. Typically when we visit a city, its for a few days only. This severely limits what we can visit. If there is a critically-acclaimed otherworldly place that we did not make it to, we will try and asterisk it in the Top 5 list so that you know it exists.
- We are not millionaires. Wow, bet you could have guessed that one. We cannot purchase the best of the best all of the time. This limits what we might get out of a particular venue. Just want you to know.
- We like all types of places. These lists are not “beer bar” centric – far from it. In fact, you may find places that make you shake your head. But, if they have the total package of beer, character, service, food and aura – they get the mark.
- We try to poll our choices, but sometimes there is bias. There are 3 primary writers for BeerBlotter.com. We always try to discuss what we like best and poll our choices. Unfortunately, you cannot do it all the time because we are all not at the same places at the same time. As the variables change, so do our opinions. Thus, you might get some choices that are filled with bias. Again, just a warning.
Ok, now that we are through with the rules, lets move on to the Top 5 list for Cleveland, OH.
Visits: January 2010 (many others prior thereto, but most recent)
Area Brewers of Note: Wow too many to list, but lets try – Great Lakes Brewing (OH), Hoppin Frog Brewing (OH), Thirsty Dog Brewing (OH), Bell’s Brewing (MI), New Holland Brewing (MI), Arcadia Brewing (MI), Founders Brewing (MI)
Town Favorite: There is only one actual brewery in Cleveland’s city limits that produces enough beer to hold this title – Great Lakes Brewing (GLBC). GLBC has created a cult following thanks to its incredible lineup of german and american style ales, wonderful brewpub and fantastic Christmas Ale. GLBC even runs a green shuttle down to ballgames downtown for people drinking out at the pub. We love this place, you will too.
The Top 5 Brief
#5 -Rozi’s Wine House – 14904 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood.
This is a beer store, which generally would not make a top 5 list. But based upon my profound love for the people who work there, the selection, and their willingness to ship anything – anywhere. There are in.
Contact Rozi’s about their beer of the month club. Its just 20.00, plus the cost of the beer they select. They will send you about 6 different bottles (12 to 22oz) of amazing Midwest beers. My last shipment included a New Holland Imperial Mad Hatter and an Arcadia Hopmouth Double IPA.
If you are itching for some Midwest beer, but you live outside the distribution channel, give them a call for your fix.
#4 – Tremont Taphouse – 2572 Scranton Road, Tremont.
We wrote an article about this one and we hit them pretty hard. This was one of the worst service experiences we ever had, but it still makes the list based solely on beer.
Our service problem: they publicized that the kitchen was open at 3. We got there at 3, when they told us it was not open until 4, because they open in the morning, close at 3 and reopen at 4. Not a huge deal, I understand that the kitchen needs a rest – but please update your website (especially when the guy told me he knows its wrong and just keeps forgetting to do it).
Then the waitress was cold. She scorned us for being there and wanting food. She blew us off for our orders a few times too. Then I caught her openly talking poorly about our table to the owner, who noticed I was standing there, got embarrassed and then spent the next 20 minutes trying to give us extra attention. We recognize people have bad days – but she was beyond bad. I mean this was in front of my parents – sheesh.
OK – but the positives. Their beer selection is incredible. The tap list especially, which had the following:
Each one of these beers was a thumbs up. The Hopslam had alluded me the whole trip and I was very happy to see it on tap that morning. If you are skipping food and simply trying to find the best taps in town – go here.
#3 – Winking Lizard Tavern – Several Locations; Best one is on Coventry Ave., Cleveland Heights.
It would be easy to call this place a glorified Buffalo Wild Wings, if not for the great local sports connection and impeccable beer selection. The Winking Lizard has long been a place for Cleveland sports fans to drown their sports sorrows in a bucket of hot wings and a pint of Great Lakes Commander Perry IPA. But, we were floored when we saw their beer upgrades.
To go along with the tavern’s “World Tour of Beer”, they promise to have 100 different bottles of beer for your choosing. I am not talking about stashing 10 different Sam Adams’ on there either – I am talking amazing Midwest specialties.
Our trip included the following: Bells Brewing Kalamazoo Stout, Bells Brewing Cherry Stout (TAP), Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Double IPA, Weyerbacher Hops Infusion IPA, and even a Drie Fonteinen Gueze! The taplist was impressive, the bottle list even sexier. Go there, get some wings and join the World Tour of Beer.
#2 – Great Lakes Brewery & Pub – 2516 Market Avenue, West Market
There is too much to say about this place, so I will keep it short. Extensive beer selection – all good, incredible sustainable food, wonderful service, intriguing venue and the best beer tours.
Great Lakes has been pumping out quality beers for ages. They are known for their Christmas Ale, Dortmunder Lager (a multiple GABF winner) and Blackout Stout (one of my favorite stouts ever!).
The brewery is a locals spot, filled with fanatic Browns, Indians and Cavs fans trying to get their pre-game jitters covered by a few frosty ales. If you are in Cleveland and want the entire package of great bar, great brewery and great food – do not miss this place.
#1 – La Cave Du Vin – 2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard, Coventry
What can you say about this place? Its a damn cave, hidden beneath the streets of Cleveland’s funky Coventry neighborhood, not less than 1 block from the Winking Lizard. Grab some wings at the Lizard and head over the Cave to immerse yourself in Cleveland’s greatest beer bar.
The bar is small, but it has an incredible bottle selection. Anything you want (including vintages) from Jolly Pumpkin, Bells, Founders, Hoppin Frog, New Holland, Arcadia, Goose Island, etc. – can be found in the glass enclosures. Check out the wall beside the coolers for more vintage beers that will blow your mind.
While we were there we enjoyed a Founders Double Trouble IPA, Founders Red Rye IPA, Jolly Pumpkin Bam Noire, and Weyerbacher Porter. If you look at their taplist today, you can still see why we faint over their selection. Is that Jolly Pumpkin E.S. Bam!?!
They take the cake. No trip to Cleveland can be complete without a trip to Coventry to see this place. Grab a few bottles, take them home and cherish them forever.
Live in Cleveland – Know the area? Hate something we wrote? Let us know below in our comments, or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
So, GQ eh? Well why the hell not? They are a bunch of dudes, dressing well, tossing around money – they have to do a beer thing. Its the new fad in looking cool, right? I mean that’s why you are all here. Of course, GQ is jumping on the bandwagon.
Luckily, for you I don’t believe anything I just wrote. Beer is freaking beer. Anyone can love it – as long as you are 21 (Message/Disclaimer!).
We do not discriminate against anyone throwing out their opinion on beer. We are regular people like you all. In total, we are a lawyer, a development administrator, and a learning assistant brewer at a small brewery. Just regular people. Just regular thoughts about beer.
But, when you put your opinion up on the web, its the rest of our jobs to police it to some extent, by listening, sparking dialogue and trying to build a community opinion. So, lets.
GQ published an article today on their website of the top 50 beers that everyone should try before they die. Important note: its not the Top 50 beers, just 50 beers you need to try. So we keep that in mind in discussion.
The list is teeming with small brewery american ales, epic belgian grog, and even a few mass produced “beers.”
Here is my reaction:
They had to add these 5, and we are damn glad they recognized!
Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA
Orval Trappist Ale
Russian River Pliny the Elder
If you have not had the pleasure of drinking each of these 5 beers, you really need to take action ASAP. These are standards.
Dogfish Head’s 120 Minute IPA rules the category of sweet IPAs and Pliny takes over the bitter category.
Orval is probably the first trappist beer you should try. They make only one beer for a reason – its damn good. Westvleteren 12 is a hard find, but necessary as the world’s most famous beer (thanks Michael Jackson).
Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout should be your first foray into adjunct filled stouts. Its so delicious and almost no one can turn it away. Try your mom, grandma, nephew, or dog – guarantee they like it.
I am so happy to see that they added these beers, and didn’t expect it…..
Alesmith Speedway Stout
Struisse Pannepot Fisherman’s Ale
Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
If you can find Speedway Stout, buy it and drink it. It does not require aging, its perfect off the shelf. Problem : WA does not have Alesmith. Why? no clue, but I’m perplexed. Similarly, Espresso Yeti is incredible off the shelf. This is probably the best coffee stout out there, especially if you like a flavor explosion as opposed to subtlety.
Struisse’s Pannepot is just incredible. We sampled this beer before taking off for Belgium in March (2006 vintage) and then had some at the famous De Zon in Woesten, Belgium, which was the venue of an amazing bar visit. Its probably the best example of a huge mixing pot of Belgian flavors.
Cantillon’s Iris was one of 8 bottles we purchased at the Cantillon brewery in Brussels. I think its the best choice for this list because it personifies the lambic styling of Belgium.
If you like sausage or anything smoked for that matter – Aecht Schlenkerla is for you. This is the ultimate example of rauchbier. Lucky for us, we can get it almost everywhere in the US.
It kills me to know that GQ had these beers – because I have not and so badly want to…..
Leelanau White Ale
Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Route des epices
Sam Adams Utopias
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Russian River Beatification
Where to start? This list of rouge ales is so impressive. Alvinne is just an all-around great brewery. Alvinne is at the cusp of progression in Belgian beer, taking a more globally influenced attitude about making beer. We visited the brewery in March and fell in love with everything they make – for some reason I still have not had a Melchio, but I do have 3 rare Oak Aged Podge’s in the cellar.
Dieu Du Ciel is the best of Canada (sorry Unibroue). All their beers are mind boggling, incorporating interesting adjuncts into the wort. This one has escaped me, and its made with peppercorns. Need to try.
Leelanau is a brewing label brewed by Ron Jefferies of Jolly Pumpkin. If you read Notes of a Beer Nerd ever, you know that we love all that he does, and this spiced white ale needs to be obtained.
Utopias is a huge 30%+ monster of “beer” that we would like to try, so that it can be compared to BrewDog’s Sink the Bismark and Nuclear Penguin, which we tried courtesy of Davey at Alvinne.
These last two are the highest on my list. Kentucky Breakfast Stout is supposedly bacon and eggs coated in bourbon – why not? Their selection of Beatification was puzzling and angering at the same time. This means they skipped over more obtainable sour ales from Russian River, such as Consecration, Temptation and Supplication – and went for the only one I cannot obtain in WA. Damn you – but thank you for reminding me to find this beer.
Two quick “wish they would have went another direction” but the brewery should be on the list…..
Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold
So, I love Great Lakes. Its a familial love too, and i am certainly an apologist. But Dortmunder is just not a great choice. Again, I understand that they are trying to pick “best of” styles, and so Dortmunder is a great lager. But, still….. I would have added Christmas Ale, another incredibly unique beer made by Great Lakes that has a cult following.
Smuttynose got selected as the barleywine on the list. Bad choice. Dogfish Head, Firestone Walker, Mikkeller – all better barleywines. They could keep Smuttynose on here though for their Wheatwine, which is by far and away the best wheatwine I have ever tried.
Any other thoughts on the beers listed on the 50 to try? Leave them below.
The moment you have all been waiting for……
Monday, March 8, 2010
Beer U: Homebrewing Event: Escondido, California
7:00PM-9:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.
Home brewing, any beer enthusiast can do it. Its fun and rewarding all at the same time. Join Ken Wright and Jacob McKean for a live brewing demonstration and some tasty homebrew samples! Tickets are $20 and are available at the Stone Company Store or online here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/99122
Great Lakes Brewing Enters A New Market: Greensboro, North Carolina
8:00PM-10:00PM @ The Pour House
We wish there was an event like this in Seattle which would indicate that Great Lakes Brewing is being distributed to Seattle. BUT its not, so lets get back to reality. However the lucky cities of Charlotte/Greenboro NC will experience all that Great Lakes Brewing Company has to offer. Visit The Pour House to meet GLBC reps and sample GLBC’s five year round beers: Burning River Pale Ale, Commodore Perry India Pale Ale, Dortmunder Gold Lager, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Eliot Ness Amber Lager!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Allagash Night: Brunswick, Maine
7:00PM- 12:00 AM @ The Lion’s Pride
Allagash is known for its perfection of the Belgium styled beers, so here is your chance to try lots of limited Allagash beers on tap. This is part of the Lion’s Pride Belgian Festival week along and Allagash will be featured with other great Belgian beers.
Oatmeal Stout Night: Brooklyn, New York
6:00PM-10:00PM @ Bar Great Harry
Come taste stouts that have been aged in-house at Bar Great Harry. Before the weather turns warmer, indulge in these tasty brews: Sixpoint Otis, CASK Blue Point Oatmeal Stout, Mcneil’s Oatmeal Stout, Anderson Valley Barney Flats, Young’s Oatmeal Stout, Wolaver’s Organic Oatmeal Stout, Goose Island Oatmeal Stout.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 (the day Beer Blotter leaves for Belgium)
Victory Beer Sampling: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
6:00 PM-8:00PM @ Hawthornes
A FREE sampling of Victory Brewing company. As always these fine beers will be paired with a specific cheese.
Brewers Night with Black Raven Brewing Co.: Bellingham, Washington
6:00PM-9:00PM @ The Green Frog Cafe
Black Raven Brewing Co., known for their amazing IPAs (Single IPA-Trickster and Double IPA- Wisdomseeker) is heading North from Redmond to Bellingham to sample their beers and give away schwag.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Cigar City Pre-release Party: Bradenton, Florida
7:00PM-9:30PM @ Lost Kangaroo Pub
Tonight marks the eve of the official release of the Hunapu bottle release and there are some very special Cigar City beers on tap and in bottles. Hunapu, Jai Alai IPA, Bolita Double Nut Brown Ale and Olde Ale will all be on tap and paired with cheese.
Brewery Ommegang Tasting: New York, New York
7:00PM-10:00PM @ Shorty’s
Ken Erdogan from Brewery Ommegang will be at Shorty’s tonight, as will as at least six of his fantastic Ommegang brews. In the line up will be Abbey Ale, Hennpin, Witte, Rare Vos and a couple surprises. Come by for $10 flights (4-6oz glasses) of your favorite beers.
Friday, March 12, 2010
Downtown St. Paddy’s Day Dash: Youngstown, Ohio
5:00PM-2:30AM @ Rust Belt Brewing Co.
Kick off is at 5pm at the B&O Station 530 Mahoning Ave. Then, two 55 passenger luxury buses will arrive at 7pm to take you and around Downtown Youngstown in search of 6 mystery leprechauns who will be giving out gold coins (plastic coins provided by Amscan on New York) those who collect 5 coins will receive a free Downtown Dash 2010 St. Paddy’s t-shirt. NOTE: Registration begins at 5pm, the cost is $2 with a non perishable donation to Gleaners Food Bank of Youngstown and $5 with out donation. All proceeds will go to Gleaners Youngstown Food Bank.
Berkshire Brewing Co.: South Deerfield, Massachusetts
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Chandler’s Tavern
Featuring the Berkshire Brewing Company’s handcrafted ales. The evening starts at Berkshire Brewing Company at 6:00 with an hour tour of the brewery followed by a four course dinner at Chandler’s Restaurant.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Kona Brewer’s Festival: Kona, Hawaii
2:30PM-6:30PM @ Kona Brewing Co.
Enjoy amazing beers and a stellar view at the 15th Annual Kona Brewer’s Festival. Headliners include, Jolly Pumpkin, Great Divide, Ballast Point Brewing Co., and so many more. From Oregon to Hawaii come celebrate craft brewing in the USA!
Russian River Tapping: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (this is the hot city of the week)
12:00PM- 12:00 AM @ Tria
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Fire and Ice Brunch with Glacier Brewing Co.: Anchorage, Alaska
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Firetap Alehouse
This beer and food pairing with Glacier Brewing Co. is $50.00/person. To make reservations call (the area code in Ancorage, AK plus) 561-2337. Food items include: succulent prawns in a spring roll wrapper, crisped with herbs and spices. Served with Tabboulah salad blended with Red Hot Mama and chile infused olive oil; tender short ribs slow cooked with star anise, brushed with a Jim Bean/hoisin glaze- paired with IPAs, Red Hot Mama and more!
Los Angeles St. Patrick’s Day Festival: Los Angeles, California
2:00PM- 7:00PM @ Taglyan Complex
Ballast Point Brewing Company-Firestone DBA (Double Barrel)- New Belgium Brewing Company-and a bunch of liquors for you non-beer drinkers. We wanted to mention this event, because this is a rare occurrence, a beer event in LA.
So that is it- start priming your liver for St. Paddy’s Day, as we prime our livers for Belgium. We hope to report while abroad but will be subject to internet access, so no promises. There will be plenty of materials upon our return! But check back this week, as we are working hard to get as many posts up as possible. Thanks for the support and if you go to an event, see a sign for an event, know someone who was thinking about going to an event, let us know by leaving a comment or emailing us at email@example.com. Cheers!
After a long day at the mountain, we are just going to jump right into it.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Hebrew/Coney Island Beer Tasting: Jacksonville, Florida
7:00PM-9:00PM @ European Street Cafe
Get a taste of New York tonight with a tasting of 8 beers from Hebrew/Coney Island Brewing Co. On tap tonight: Albino Pytho; Jewbelation; Coney Island Lager; Sword Swallower Lager; Human Blockhead; Lenny’s RIPA; Genesis and Massiah.
Ommegang Beer Dinner: Rhinebeck, New York
5:00PM-9:00PM @ Terrapin
Upstate New York is home to Brewery Ommegang. Tonight entails a three course meal paired with 9 different Ommegang beers such as Chocolate Indulgence, Beirre de Mars and Three Philosophers. There are menu items for both meat lovers and vegatarians.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Pliny the YOUNGER Keg Tapping: Seattle, Washington
5:00PM or 6:00PM- until its GONE @ Brouwer’s Cafe
PTY, Russian River Brewing Co.’s triple IPA has made it up North to Seattle. We missed the keg at Collin’s Pub on Friday, but we are NOT missing out this time around. This keg is bound to be kicked in an hour, maybe even less, so get there early.
Mardi Gras Celebration: Grand Rapids, Michigan
4:00PM-12:00AM @ HopCat
Okay, so Michigan is a lot colder than New Orleans, but you can still partake in the Mardi Gras festivities. Beads, a faux parade and Abita beer for all!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Cigar City Unleased: New York, New York
7:00PM-3:00AM @ Rattle -n- Hum
Upright Brewers Dinner: Portland, Oregon
6:00PM – 8:00PM @ Aquariva
A four course meal paired with Upright Brewing’s seasonal beers. This dinner is limited to 25 people at $40.00 per person. Call the restaurant for reservations at 503-802-5850. Beers to be had include: Gose (rare german wheat beer brewed tart with coriander and salt); Flora Rustica (old world saison brewed with yarrow and calendula flowers); Oyster Stout (stout brewed with oysters); Billy the Mountain (pinot barrel aged old ale). Billy the Mountain is especially unique.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Cask Night: Sturbridge, Massachusetts
5:00PM-7:00PM @ Pioneer Brewing Co.
Pioneer Brewing Co. has Cask Conditioned their Stout and added a handful of fresh Cascade Hops. This will be their first time with a Cask Condition brew. Chris Courtney, the assistant brewer will be in attendance to answer any questions you may have. Look for more Cask Conditioned beers in 2010 from Pioneer Brewing Co.
Midwest Night: Brooklyn, New York
6:00PM- 10:00PM @ Baracade
Since 1/3 of Beer Blotter reigns from the great state of Ohio, we wanted to feature this event. Stop by to sample around 20 different beers from the middle of the USA. The draft list isnt posted, but one can only hope breweries like Great Lakes, Founders and Three Floyds will be available for your enjoyment.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Release Party for Great Divide Brews: Denver, Colorado
6:00PM- 10:00PM @ Great Divide Brewing Co.
$20 admission covers snacks and all the Great Divide beer you want, within reason of course. Hoss, Claymore, Colette Saison and Espresso Oak Aged Yeti will be released tonight. Good stuff! Go there.
Bourbon County Stout Vertical Tasting: Chicago, Illinois
8:00PM-10:00PM @ The Long Room
Sample 2007, 2008, and 2009 Bourbon County Stout with the folks from Goose Island Beer Co. Those that show up early enough will also have a chance to sample our very special treat, 2005 Bourbon County Stout. Limited amounts of each, so the beer is first come, first served. This beer ages very well, so it will be interesting to compare the taste through the years.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Dogfish Head Tasting: Bellport, New York
1:00PM-5:00PM @ Bellport Cold Beer and Soda
Dogfish Head beers are available for sale as well as to taste—>6 -8 beers will be for samples! The following beers (only a few are named here) are available in bottles – Singles – 4pks – 6pks – 750’s: Chicory Stout; Midas Touch; Palo Santo Marron and Burton Baton.
HOP FEST: Owosso, Michigan
11:00AM-11:00PM @ Wrought Iron Grill
8 IPA’s on tap, 2 firkins and select bottles will be featured all day starting at 11am. Heated outdoor seating will be available as well as entertainment, food pairings and door prizes. Breweries included will be Short’s Brewing Co., Bell’s, Founders, Avery, Victory, Stone Brewing Co., plus many more.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Hell with the Lid Off Barleywine Fest: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
1:00PM-5:00PM @ Kelly’s Bar and Lounge
Tis’ the season for Barleywines, so stop by the 6th Annual Barleywine Fest. A massive collection, draft list available upon arrival for those of you lucky enough to participate.
Meet and Greet with The Bruery: Atlanta, Georgia
6:30PM-8:30PM @ The Porter Beer Bar
As mentioned above, we are moving into the barleywine season, so keep an eye out for featured barleywines at your favorite beer bars! Beer Blotter is looking forward to the barleywine festival at Beveridge Place Pub beginning on the 26th with 24 Dedicated Barleywine Taps and 50 different barleywines rotating throughout the Fest! Attending an event, want to attend an event, want to want to attend an event? Leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers!
After a trip from Seattle to Ohio and a 40 degree drop in temperature, we are warming up by the fire with some IPA’s brewed East of the Mississippi. Unavailable to us back West, we are taking our time with these brews and soaking it in!
Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA: Brewed in downtown Cleveland, OH, Great Lakes is a Beer Blotter favorite (Christmas Ale anyone??). This IPA has a kick to it. The hops are not overpowering, but are present in each sip.
Goose Island IPA: Straight from Chicago, Illinois, this IPA is well balanced- not too bitter, not too hoppy, not too fruity, not too sweet….just right. Very drinkable with no one element overpowering the flavor. On the safe side, but you know what your getting with this one!
Smuttynose IPA:Mouth puckering bitterness with an intense hop flavor, no sweetness, zip zlich.
Atwater Salvation IPA: Detroit Rock City can claim this IPA with pride. Although this brew does not get much love from ratebeer.com, we were pleasantly surprised. We drank Salvation immediately after the Smuttynose IPA and it was on the other side of the IPA spectrum with strong flavors that consisted of citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruits. This floral, fruity, sweet IPA was a great end to the night.
Off to Hoppin’ Frog Brewery today. More on B.O.R.I.S the Crusher Oatmeal Imperial Stout later. SO GOOD!
With 5 days left until Christmas, Beer Blotter wants to dedicate the majority of the posts this week to Christmas and Winter beers. Since these styles are limited to production and distribution only during the winter season, take notes this week and stock up on your “Winter Warmers” and Christmas Ales!
Generally winter beers consist of old ales, strong ales, barleywines, stouts and strong lagers. Roubust in flavor and thick in body, these beers are guaranteed to ease the sting of the winter nights.
Review from 4/12/08 of the ’06 release:
An ale brewed with spices (coriander, orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon) and vanilla beans. Brownish, orange color with lots of sediment. Bright around the edges. A thin wisp of foam on top and pleasant, above average carbonation. A sour orange scent lies in the forefront, but the spices are evident. The nose is just sublime. A dryness is found on the palate after the swallow, but the fluid itself has a silky mouthfeel. A citrus smack will squeeze the corners of your mouth. Drying and sour seems like a strange combination, but it works here. Moments after the swallow a taste of unleavened bread comes to mind…yeasty. Extremely unique and delicious brew from a far off land.
Alaskan Brewing Co.
Review from 1/19/08 of the ’07 release:
An English style old ale brewed with Sitka spruce tips. Pours a bright amber hue with minimal head but serious stickage. If any scent of malts or spruce exists, it’s very faint, or masked by the cool temperature, but once the liquid interacts with the tongue it’s a completely different tale. Candy sugar infused with evergreen trees. The uniqueness of this beer makes it one that I couldn’t drink in quantity…maybe that’s why it’s a seasonal. Alaskan Brewing is one of those breweries that isn’t very glamorous. They have fairly bland label designs and rarely have special releases, but any time you grab one of their brews you know it will be solid, if not outstanding. Without a doubt, a stalwart member of the Northwest brewing community.
Goose Island Beer Co.
Review from 11/24/09:
Light brown in the glass with great clarity and a frothy white head that lingers. Though the brewery calls this a brown ale I immediately smell what I would determine to be Belgian yeast. A nice dose of malts; bready with a little dab of fruitiness. No hop profile to be found. A bit boozy when it warms despite the low ABV. The brewery recommends aging this one, again, despite the low abv. A curious holiday brew indeed…I’ll have another.
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Review from 12/04/09:
A holiday ale brewed with honey and spiced with fresh ginger and cinnamon, this beer’s flavors surface at first taste. There is no disguising the festive spices associated with the holiday season. The cinnamon is prevalent in the scent of this Christmas Ale. It is light in body and crisp in flavor. Surprisingly refreshing and balanced with no “alcohol” residue from taste to swallow. For some, this is the quintessential Christmas beer due to the spices used and the “drinability” aspect. We recommend drinking this beer at room tempurature. In other words, take it out of the fridge, let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes in a glass and drink away. Perfection!
Stay tuned this week as Beer Blotter reviews and recommends beers for the holiday season. What a wonderful time of the year! For all those who are traveling to see loved ones this week, have a safe trip. Flying Virgin Airlines? 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die IPA is available in cabin!
The week of Thanksgiving leaves Pacific North Westerners with little to do in the realm of beer events. As previously posted, Beer Blotter has a big week ahead with Big Wood Fest at Brouwer’s Cafe and Winter Ale Fest at Hale’s Brewery. But in the name of introducing your weekly event blog, the show must go on.
Around the country, the week of November 23, 2009 holds exciting places to go and beers to drink. The following events are not chosen at random, they are selected as events that if we had a transporter, a magic carpet or could travel with Doc Brown we would go.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
- Bell’s Stout Party: Minneapolis, Minnesota
7:00PM- 10:00 PM @ Bryant Lake Bowl
Enjoy Cream Stouts, Rye Stouts, Double Stouts, Java Stouts and more from Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery!
- Great Lakes Night, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
7:00PM- 10:00 PM @ The Devil’s Den
Although the beloved Christmas Ale of Great Lakes Brewing Co. will not be in attendance, the event’s draft list features Commadore Perry IPA, Burning River Pale Ale, Dortmunder Gold & Elliot Ness Lager.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
- Southern Tier Pumpking Tapping, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
7:00 PM – 10:00 PM @ Old Eagle Tavern
A tasting quite fitting for the day/night before Thanksgiving. Southern Tier’s Pumpking will be tapped at 7:00PM and will be served all night.
Thursday, November 26, 2009 Turkey Day!
———> Keep in mind, the Pilgrims drank beer and so should you.<————
- Boundary Bay Beer-to-Go, Bellingham, WA
10:00 AM- 2:00PM @ Boundary Bay Brewery
Head over to Boundary Bay Brewery to start your Thanksgiving day right! Grab some beer to go and head home to the feast that awaits you.
Friday, November 27, 2009
- Belgian Christmas, Dayton, Ohio
7:00 PM- 9:00 PM @ Southpark Tavern
The day after Thanksgiving marks the official start of the Christmas season and time to fully enjoy Christmas beers. Some of the featured Belgium Christmas ales are: St. Bernardus Christmas; Avec Les Bon Veoux; Scaldis Noel and Troegs Mad Elf. These beers will be tapped at opening until they run out. Should be a good drunken time. Enjoy!
Saturday, November 28, 2009
- 3rd Annual Holiday Beerfest, Omaha, Nebraska
3:00 PM- 7:00 PM @ Beertopia
For $25.00 (in advance, $30.00 day of), you receive access to more than 75 winter beers at this annual event. 4 hours of 2oz pours will put you in the holiday spirit.
- NOLA Cask Conditioned Ale, New Orleans, Louisiana
4:00 PM- 6:00 PM @ Avenue Pub
A city close to our hearts and a bar that is a must for beer lovers visiting the “Big Easy,” this event features local brewery, NOLA Brewing Company and their Brown ale, spun with oak chips and rock candy. Food recommendations: Budda’s Temptation (dried apricots stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in bacon and deep fried- yea…that’s right)
Monday, November 30, 2009
- Movember Mustache Party, Denver, Colorado
6:00 PM- 9:00 PM @ Great Divide Brewing Company
Any event held at Great Divide Brewing Company would be worth attending. With beers such as the Chocolate and Espresso Yetis, Hercules Double IPA and the Fresh Hop Pale Ale (amongst many more), come drink up and support prostate cancer research.
To all our readers, if you attend one of these events or have an event you would like to share, please leave a comment. Beer Blotter would love feed back about beer events around the country!
Until next Monday, let us give thanks for beer and the people in our lives that we can share it with! Cheers!