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The Visual Art of Craft Beer Part 1 – My Top 5

March 25, 2011 2 comments

New and...improved?

There has been quite a few stories in the beer press lately that have really got me thinking about beer artwork.  There’s the new look of Red Hook (check out this post on Washington Beer blog), a new label design for one of my favorite beers of all time – Stone Imperial Russian Stout (see this post at beernews.org), the North Coast Brewing logo upgrade (the old logo has always been a favorite of mine) and most notably the new Upright Brewing Four Play label that has been subject to much controversy (please check out this article on Beervana).

When I first started thinking about it I was leaning toward the fact that there really aren’t that many labels/logos out there that are especially noteworthy.  There’s a few that really jumped out at me right way, but for the most part…far too many exist that fail to catch my attention.  But, the more I thought about it, the more I discussed it with friends, the more epiphanies I had and the more I realized just how wrong I was.

The Classic. Is is better?

There’s actually a lot of breweries out there that are putting serious attention toward their image.  Clearly, this isn’t surprising.  Anyone possessing even the slightest bit of entrepreneurial savvy knows how important branding can be to creating a successful business.  Here, in my Visual Art of Craft Beer Series, I plan to discuss some of my favorites.  Hopefully, in doing so, I will open up the floor for debate.  I’m sure there are a bunch out there that I either don’t know about or have simply overlooked.  Unfortunately, I won’t be able to present them all in this initial article, so the debate just may have to wait.  Start thinking about your choices now and see if I end up agreeing with you.

The following is my top 5.  This is not limited to logo alone.  I feel that if it were, the scope of this exercise would be drastically diminished.  This includes not only the straight forward logo of a brewery but the labels of all, most, or some of their bottles/cans/mini-kegs/what-have-you.

5) Three Floyds Brewing – FFF does not mess around.  They make some of the most unique beers in the country and their labels follow suit.  In may ways, they remind me of Garbage Pail Kids.  All have a comic book/cartoon like quality.  Some are lighthearted and humorous, others are dark and disturbing, all are well designed and fun to look at.  I’m not sure whether I like the Clockwork Orange themed Moloko Stout, Zombie Dust, or the Dark Lord (above) the best.  No matter how you look at it, they are all undeniably bad ass.

 

4) Southern Tier Brewing – The logo above isn’t very glamorous, and it by no means is the sole reason why I have put STB in the number 4 position, but I must say that I’m a very big fan of it.  I find it to be very slick, clean and simple, yet highly effective.  The tools of the trade encircled by the ingredients of the trade.  Classic.  I’ve often thought of having a variation of that logo tattooed on myself.  Good logo aside, the continuity and simplicity of all of STB’s label designs is so well done that I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised to find them being celebrated in HOW Magazine (or something similar).

 

 

3) New Belgium Brewing Lips of Faith Series – Take a minute to gaze upon the above image.  Tell me you wouldn’t want a full size print of that framed and mounted in your living room.  It’s beautiful…and it’s just a beer label.  I could have posted a picture of almost any LoF label and it would be equally stunning.  Whomever is behind this is really doing fabulous work.  Give them a raise.

 

 

2) Stone Brewing Co. – This logo is absolutely unmistakable.  It may not be number one on my list but it’s very possibly the number one most recognizable beer logo in craft brewing.  It’s bold, like Stone beers and the attitude of the owners/brewers.  If you’ve ever taken the time to read the lengthy, screen printed text on any of Stone’s 22oz bottles, you know just what I mean.  Stone is hard fucking core and their dark, devious mascot exemplifies that to the t.

 

1)  Flying Dog Brewery – Can someone please explain to me how FDB got Ralph Steadman to illustrate all of their imagery?!?!  Whether you like his style or not, this has to be the most lauded, continual collaborative effort between a brewery and a world-famous artist of all time.

Yeah, I guess I do sort of get how FDB pulled this off.  Supposedly the owners of the brewery were friends with Hunter S. Thompson.  It’s quite clear that his influence is felt throughout much of FDB’s advertising and marketing campaign.  Since Ralph Steadman is most famous for his work with Hunter S. Thompson, in lies the connection.  God knows how much money they must dish out for his work, but I for one thing it’s worth every penny.

Archives of a Beer Nerd – Sixth Installment

December 9, 2010 3 comments

Just keep cruisin'

Yup, we plod on. The journey continues, down the beautiful path of beerdom, through the expansive pages of Timperial’s beer journal.

Introduction: Just in case you are new to the blotter, here is the link to follow if you need an explanation of what in the hell this column is all about. In a nutshell, the archive is a time machine that takes us back a few years to the initial days of my beer journaling. I’ve drank a lot of good beers through the years, and I’d like to share my thoughts on how they tasted. Hopefully I’ll whet your appetite and you will give these beers a try for yourself. If I’m lucky enough to make that happen for you, please tell us about your experience and how it tasted in your words.

The last installment left us near the end of January, 2008.  I had just tried my first ever Abyss.  Let’s see what new and exciting things I tasted next.

Photo credit: Hallam

Do you still exist?

1/23/08

North Coast Brewing (Fort Bragg, CA) – Cru d’Or

8%.  Belgian style through and through.  There is not much head present (bottle cap fitted).  When cold, it is very bland, but as it warms…flavors burst forth!  It has a light brown color and great clarity.  The odor is of yeast, plums, an almost medicinal alcohol, but very pleasant.  Nice sweetness…the maltiness comes through, drying the palate.  I find this to be a nice Belgian, though it could use more carbonation.

Timperial Commentary: Does this beer still exist?  I completely forgot about it until I read this in my journal.  I do remember really liking this beer and getting it again in 2009.  It’s a seasonal, I remember that, but what season?  You got me.  I also remember someone telling me that this beer did very well cellared for a few years.  I clearly don’t have any down there.

I was able to find the beer on NCB’s website, but only by searching specifically for the beer by name.  If you scroll through all of their beers listed on the main “beers” page, it is not listed.  Maybe it has been retired.  That would be sad.

Photo credit: shyzaboy

1/26/08

Victory Brewing Co. (Downingtown, PA) – Golden Monkey

9.5%.  This beer pours with a clear, golden color and a minimal head.  It’s a tripel Belgian style ale brewed with spices, and that is exactly what it tastes like.  It smells like a white ale with nutmeg added.  It has a strong alcohol effervencence…very sweet and spicy, though a bit drying a few moments after the sip.  The flavors really linger.  This beer provides major memories of home.  What a great winter beer…warming and tasting of Christmas.

Timperial Commentary: Oh man…Golden Monkey really does remind me of home in PA.  It especially reminds me of For Whom The Beer Toales (our Chicago correspondent), who absolutely loves getting the “monkey on her back”.  I am reminded of having beers at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown, which was just a few blocks from where I lived once upon a time.  That’s a must visit in Philly if you ask me.  Great beer, food and live music.

I totally neglect this beer!  I think I’m going to have to race out to the bottle shop right now and get some, crack it open, inhale, and enjoy the roller coaster of emotion.

Check out beeraday.net for some amazing beer photos.

2/1/08

Kiuchi Brewery/Hitachino Nest (Ibaraki, Japan) – XH

7% Strong ale matured in oak casks used for Shocyu (distilled sake).  It pours a very cloudy, effervescent amber, brownish color.  There is a lot of sediment on the bottom of the glass.  The head is thin and wispy, with slight retention.  The nose is full of sour yeast, probably a result of the oak.  There is an odd, soapy aroma present as well.  Earth and sour in the flavor.  Maybe it’s power of suggestion, but I get a cherry cough drop after taste.  Kiuchi’s ingenuity and uniqueness continues to amaze me.

Timperial Commentary: Kiuchi is one of those breweries that can do no wrong in my mind.  The only beer that I have ever tried by them that I wasn’t highly impressed with was the Nipponia, but I can surely respect it for its historical nod.  Sorachi Ace hops are the big fad right now, and Nipponia surely plays a role in that.  In reading my review, XH sort of comes off as being spoiled or infected or just plain gross.  I mean, a sour, earthy, soapy, cough medicine beer…that sounds terrible.  Oddly though, I’ve had this beer several times since my initial review and I really like it.  It’s powerfully unique.  I’d love to see more breweries attempting to use sake barrels to age beer.

P.S. XH stands for Extra High.  Impress your friends.

Notes of a Beer Nerd: Brooklyn Brewery’s Black Ops

October 27, 2010 1 comment

It's a secret...

***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 10/20/2010

Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery

Location: Brooklyn, New York

Beer: Black Ops

Web: http://www.brooklynbrewery.com/

Presentation: 750ml – Blown Glass Bottle – Corked and Caged

Vintage: 2009

Style: Imperial Stout

Barrel: Bourbon

ABV: 11.6%

IBU: N/A

Hops: N/A

Malt: N/A

Vessel: Tulip…ish

Recommended Serving Temp: 55 degrees

Commercial Description:

Brooklyn Black Ops does not exist. However, if it did exist, it would be a robust stout concocted by the Brooklyn brewing team under cover of secrecy and hidden from everyone else at the brewery. Supposedly “Black ops” was aged for four months in bourbon barrels, bottled flat, and re-fermented with Champagne yeast, creating big chocolate and coffee flavors with a rich underpinning of vanilla-like oat notes. They say there are only 1,000 cases. We have no idea what they’re talking about.

Food Pairings: Grilled meat, ice cream, brownies

Cheese Pairings: Aged Gouda, Cheddar, Parmesan

Music Pairing: Small Black from Brooklyn

Beer Advocate: A- (4.25)

Rate Beer: 100 (4.00)

Timperialstout’s Notes:

Background.

Being from Philadelphia, I have had pretty much every beer that Brooklyn makes.  Well, at least the ones that were available before I moved to Seattle three and a half years ago.  In PA, there are some very odd laws based around beer.  As a consumer, you have to buy any beer that you want to take home with you from either a bar (six-packs only) or a distributor (full cases only).  You cannot buy beer at a grocery store, convenience store, etc.  There are a few bottle shops around that sell individual bottles, but they are few and far between.  With this in mind, many larger breweries end up producing “variety” cases, almost exclusively for PA consumers.  Most of the time, these include 4 different six-packs, but sometimes there’s even more variety.

Brooklyn was one of the breweries that offered the variety case and I purchased it quite often.  For me, this was one of the few variety options where I liked every beer, even the lager, and that fact stuck with me.  I have always respected Garret Oliver and Brooklyn since those burgeoning days of beer nerdiness.  As that nerdiness reached full bloom, I abandoned the variety case all together and exclusively shopped at the bottle shops, despite the inconvenience.  Those days allowed me to find Brooklyn’s Black Chocolate Stout.  To this day, that beer is one of the beers I most miss from the East coast.  It’s just like what you think it would be like, chocolatey, sweet, smooth and warming.

Once I heard that the brewery that made one of my favorite East coast stouts was doing a limited run of bourbon barrel aged imperial stout, I flipped out.  But, alas, I quickly excepted the fact that I would probably never get a chance to try it, being so far away from the distribution area.  But then, the other 2/3 of beerblotter took a trip to NYC.  I said to them before they departed, “If there is one bottle that you return with, for the love of god make it be Black Ops!”  Yadda, yadda, yadda, here we are today.

Appearance.

This monster pours with a huge head of brown and a slight hint of clay color.  It should go without saying that the liquid itself is oil black.  As the head dwindles, which takes quite a while I may add, there is some serious lacing left on the glass that seems to be caramelized or heated to crystallization on the inside of the glass.  It’s a sight to see!  The head never does fully dissipate, leaving an impressive 1/8 of an inch to the very end.

Odor.

The scent is outrageously smooth and complex.  Notes of bourbon, pretzels, vanilla, white cookie or white cake batter, wood, tobacco and a medicinal booziness exist.  As it warms, there is a sense of saltiness that is produced in the nose, possibly a suggestion from the pretzel connotation, or possibly the other way around.  Maybe the scent really is of salt and the baked, malty notes bring pretzels to mind.  The world may never know.  Also uncovered: Burnt sugar, creme brulee, brown sugar, rum, almond biscotti…did I mention that this is complex?

Mouthfeel.

This is smooth without being too cloying or syrupy.  The champagne yeast is not as active as I suspected it would feel in the mouth, but it must play a massive role in the body, which is super unique.  The use of champagne yeast in beer is rare, but it has produced fantastic results here.

Flavor.

Many of the bourbon flavors are realized on the tongue, which I feel is unique – I generally just get the odors.  The dark, roasted malts seem to be most prevalent near the end of the flavor profile.  They impart a chocolate nib bitterness, but there is no dryness to be found.  Vinous and a bit juicy (read: not drying) with an intense mouth watering nature, but not overly sweet.  It’s perplexing how the flavor lingers forever and is not dry but it’s simultaneously not very sweet.  Many of the flavors associated with the scents listed above come and go as the liquid washes over the taste buds.  The experience is like eating a slurry of every desert ever made, and it’s awesome!

Aftertaste.

There is a whole butt load of booze in the aftertaste, which makes it a bit challenging to pinpoint the subtle nuances.  There is definitely some licorice in there, I did get that.

Summation.

This beer was shared amongst the three beerblotter members, and each one of us was completely smitten by it.  It is, without a doubt, one of the best bourbon barrel aged imperial stouts we have ever had.  This beer is not easy to find, especially on the West Coast, but hear me now: do WHATEVER you must to get this!

If you like Brooklyn Black Ops, you should try…

Deschutes Brewery‘s The Abyss; Big Sky Brewing‘s Ivan the Terrible; North Coast Brewing‘s Old Rasputin Anniversary Bourbon Barrel Aged 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.

52 Places: The Pub at Third Place, Seattle, WA

The entrance.

Week 25 of 52

The Pub at Third Place

6504 20th Ave NE

Seattle, WA 98115

Rank: 4.5/5

Type of Establishment: Pub

Visit: A lazy, summertime, Sunday evening called for a cold beer at a new bar.  We found the perfect one for ultimate relaxation.

 

BEERS ON TAP —>

North Coast Old Rasputin
Hale’s Cream Ale
Guiness
Mac & Jack’s Amber
Rogue Dead Guy
Three Skulls Blood Orange Wit
Odin Ruby
Maritime Pacific Hefe
Stella Artois
Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar
Georgetown Manny’s Pale Ale
Diamond Knot IPA
Boundary Bay IPA
Hacker Pschorr Munich
Diamond Knot Possession Porter
Chuckanut Pilsner
Ninkasi Tricerahops

The choices.

 

BOTTLED/CANNED BEER:

None

 

FOOD OPTIONS:

It’s all explained, in detail, below.  Read on.

 

BAR OPINION:

Just over five and a half miles north of the Beer Blotter home base, in the beautiful neighborhood of Ravenna, lies a wood-clad fantasy land that we have never before visited. On this day, we changed that.

So here’s the deal – the building is owned by a guy.  The guy owns Third Place Books.  The bar beneath Third Place Books is called The Pub at Third Place.  The Pub at Third Place is owned by a different guy.  The restaurant attached to Third Place Books is called Vios Cafe.  Vios Cafe is owned by the same guy as The Pub at Third Place.  Vios is a Greek restaurant.  You can order food from Vios while at Vios.  You can order food from Vios while at The Pub at Third Place.  There is a small “library” in The Pub at Third Place that has books.  Third Place Books has books.  Third Place Books has really nice wood shelves.  Vios has really nice wood furniture.  The Pub at Third Place has really nice wood EVERYTHING!  Do you follow?

This place is amazing!  This place is beautiful and majestic!  This place defines comfort!  This place epitomizes the Northwest!  This place may have once existed in The Shire!

Can you tell I liked it?  With this inaugural visit, I immediately placed it in my top 10 bars in Seattle.  I can’t believe I didn’t visit this place ages ago!

The moment I approached the door (the freaking door!) I knew I loved it.  Look at the picture above and tell me that’s not inviting.  It looks like it should be the entrance to a grand tree house mansion of some kind.  Once I opened the door and stepped in…it was all over.  My mouth dropped and all of my senses tingled.  I felt like a visitor in a Hobbit Hole.  So much elegant wood, from floor to ceiling, back to front, top to bottom.

I headed straight for the bar and pulled up a very comfortable, leather-clad stool with a back.  I was immediately greeted by the bartender and I ordered myself a Boundary Bay IPA.  Honestly, I was surprised that the beer wasn’t delivered in a wooden mug.  I soon came to realize that the bartender was the only one working the entire establishment, which wasn’t dead by any means.  He was on top of his game, yet incredibly relaxed…tis the way of The P@TP.

Just behind me, a large bookshelf full of classics, reference books, atlases, board games; all sorts of goodies to keep the lonely drinkers occupied.  Obviously, this element plays allusion to the bookstore just above.  On the top of the bookshelf sits the one and only item in the bar that doesn’t belong: a big screen T.V. showing a baseball game.  Luckily the sound was off, and since my back was facing it, I was able to keep its intrusion in the very back of my mind.  In place of the play-by-play – the soothing tunes of Blonde Redhead – pretty much perfect for the mood of the place.

Yeah, it's real.

Most of the gorgeous wooden tables that fill the “dining” area between the bar and the front door are designed for anywhere between 2 to 6 people, with the exception of 2 epic banquet tables.  One in the very front as you enter (slightly fenced off from the rest of the room) and one in the back, behind the bar toward the bathrooms (also a bit removed from the main area).  These tables are long and thin and seem to be a single piece of wood cut from one massive, gnarled tree.  The one in the front seems to seat 8 and the one in the back, 12.  My goal is to one day visit P@TP with a large group and eat at one of these tables.  Quite possibly I’d nibble on some Lembas bread.

Speaking of food, I didn’t partake in the Mediterranean delights offered via Vios, but the menu looked good enough to lure me back in the near future.  Babaganoush anyone?

Ultimately, words can’t describe the serenity of this place.  To be wrapped up in wood like that, well, it’s something you have to experience for yourself.  Head to Ravenna, buy a book upstairs, take it down to the bar, grab a local cold one and sip while you read in a wood cabin forged from the mighty forests of the Pacific Northwest.

 

The Beer Blotter Guide to Beveridge Place Pub’s Bacchanal 2010

February 24, 2010 1 comment

The facade of Beveridge Place Pub in West Seattle - the site of the Annual Bacchanal of Barleywines

Beveridge Place Pub’s 7th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal kicks off this Friday, February 26th, with over 40 barleywines pouring for a week straight from 24 taps.  That’s a lot of big bold brews to choose from.  Since there is clearly more beers than taps, there will be a constant rotation of kegs a flowin’.  As one blows, another will replace it, and so on.

The folks over at the Washington Beer Blog were kind enough to post the complete list for all to slobber over. Below you will find the entire list.  Clearly, all are barleywines, and thus, all are going to be packed with copious quantities of both malt and hops.  All will be fairly high in alcohol, and chances are good that all will taste pretty darn good.  Your main fear should be a harsh, young vintage.  Sometimes these fellas just need some time to mature and mellow out.  Too much bitterness and not enough sweetness can make your barleywine experience akin to being strangled by a hop vine.  There is no question, if you read this site with any regularity, that Beer Blotter holds great respect for Father Time and his agile hand at improving beers of many kinds, especially barleywines.

For Beer Blotter, the older the vintage, the more excited we are to try it.  Both rare and refined, these pours should improve your evening no matter who brewed them.

So our first overarching tip to you, “age is all the rage”.

But we need more detail than that.  Let’s dig deeper.

The biggest challenge of the Bacchanal is the barrels-to-taps ratio.  The rotation system will make it difficult to have a clear game plan for your visit, whatever day you choose to attend.  You will never really know exactly what to expect, which, granted, offers its own brand of excitement.  Your best bet is to pre-create a list of b-dubs that you’re most excited to taste, and chances are that no matter what day you decide to venture out to West Seattle there will be at least a few of them available.

Perhaps a look at the Beer Blotter list could assist you in creating your own list.  Below, as promised, is the unadulterated list.  Below that, the Beer Blotter list.

Complete List:

Alaskan, Barleywine ‘06, ‘07,’08

Anacortes, Old Sebastes ‘07

Anchor, Old Foghorn ‘06, ‘07, ‘08

Anderson Valley, Horn of the Beer ‘09

Avery, Hog Heaven ‘09

Big Sky, Old Blue Hair ‘06

Boulder, Killer Penguin ‘09

Boundary Bay, Old Bounder ‘09

Deschutes, Mirror Mirror ‘09

Diamond Knot, Icebreaker ‘09

Dick’s, Barleywine ‘05, ‘09

Dogfish Head, Olde School ‘09

Elliott Bay, Old Portside ‘09

Elysian, Cyclops ‘09

Fish, 10 Squared ‘08, ‘09

Fish, Leviathan ‘06

Flying Dog, Horndog ‘09

Full Sail, Old Boardhead ‘06

Full Sail, Old Boilermaker 98 (yes, 1998)

Hale’s, Rudyard’s Rare ‘06, ‘09

Hopworks Urban Brewery, Noggin Floggin ‘09

Hood Canal, Breidablik ‘06, ‘07, ‘09

Lagunitas, Old Gnarleywine ‘04, ‘06, ‘07

Laurelwood, Old Reliable ‘09

Left Hand, Oak Aged Widdershins ‘07

Lucky Lab, Old Yeller ‘09

Mad River, Old Barleycorn ‘07

New Old Lompoc, Old Tavern Rat ‘08

North Coast, Old Stock ‘07, ‘09

Pike, Old Bawdy ‘07, ‘08

Port, Angel’s Share ‘09

Port Townsend, ‘09

Rogue, Old Crustacean ‘08

Schooner Exact, Old Sinking Ship ‘09

Scuttlebutt, Old #1 ‘06, ‘08

Sierra Nevada, Bigfoot ‘08

Skagit River, Shiver Me Liver ‘09

Speakeasy, Old Godfather ‘09

Stone, Old Guardian ‘07, ‘08, ‘09

Three Skulls, Wreckage ‘09

Victory, Old Horizontal ‘09

Walking Man, Old Stumblefoot ‘08

Beer Blotter List:

Alaskan, Barleywine ‘06, ‘07,’08

-This is a “must” if offered at the time of your visit.  A Northwest Masterpiece.  Alaskans know how to warm up with Barleywine.  This guy ranks very well in any festival that it is involved in.  In the last 5 years this brew has placed in the top 3 at Brouwer’s Hard Liver Barleywine Fest 3 times, and the ’07 vintage was number 1 last year.  A warning though…chances are high that these will only be available on Monday, March 1st or Tuesday, March 2nd when verticals are offered.  To try all three vintages side by side would truly be a treat.

Lagunitas, Old Gnarleywine ‘04, ‘06, ‘07

-In Beer Blotter’s humble opinion, there is not many Barleywines being made in the world better than Gnarleywine.  The ’08 vintage was awarded 3rd place in this years Toronado Barley Wine Festival, and chances are, the older the better.  Do not skip this one, any vintage.  Another warning: 3 years offered…look to vertical night for these.

Speakeasy, Old Godfather ‘09

-Though this is young, the ’06 got second place last year at Brouwer’s.  Expect this one to be high in alpha…it’s the Speakeasy way.

Stone, Old Guardian ‘07, ‘08, ‘09

-If you read Timperial’s review of the ’07 vintage you would know, this beer is sickly good.  Astounding balance, even through time.

Victory, Old Horizontal ’09 & Dogfish Head, Olde School ‘09

-With the exception of a few CO representatives, these are the only 2 offerings that aren’t from the West.  Reason?  They are astounding beers made by two of America’s best breweries.

Fish, 10 Squared ‘08, ’09 & Leviathan ‘06

-Both of these beers are incredible and hard to come by, even in their home state.  10 Squared was probably my personal favorite from last years Hard Liver Fest and old vintages of Leviathan, like this ’06, are pretty much legendary.  The barrel-aged version of Leviathan is in the top 10 on ratebeer.com’s list of barleywines.

Port, Angel’s Share ‘09

-It would be silly of me to leave this one out since it is literally one of my favorite beers of all time.  Number 9 on ratebeer.com’s barley wine list.

New Old Lompoc, Old Tavern Rat ‘08

-Beer Blotter recently had this from the always-impressive taps of Uber Tavern and really enjoyed it.  Very nutty if you’re into that.

Boundary Bay, Old Bounder ‘09

-Seattle does not see enough Boundary Bay.  Maybe if we drain this keg quickly the “will of the people” will change that depressing fact.

That’s a pretty healthy list for you, and honestly, I could go on an on.  There is A LOT of really good stuff on this list, and even a few that Beer Blotter has never had and looks forward to trying (like Lucky Lab, can we please have more of their beers in Seattle?).

Anyone and everyone within striking distance of Seattle should never, EVER miss events like this.  We are so lucky to have beer bars that put so much time, effort and money into aging beers for years and organizing such exciting festivals.  Beer Blotter sends a massive hug to Gary and The Bev for making this happen year after year.

Find us in West Seattle, raise a glass, it’s barleywine season!

Notes of a Beer Nerd: 2007 Stone Brewing Old Guardian

2007 Stone's Old Guardian Barley Wine

Enjoyed on 12/7/2009
Brewery: Stone Brewing Co.

Location: Escondido, CA

Beer: Old Guardian (the OG)

Web: http://www.stonebrew.com

Presentation: 22 Fl. Oz. (650.6 ML) – Brown Glass Bottle

Vintage: 2007

Style: Barley Wine Style Ale

Barrel: N/A

ABV: 11.26%

IBU: 95

Hops: N/A

Malt: N/A

Vessel: Tulip

Recommended Serving Temp: 55 degrees

Notes from the bottle: “Ingredients: A whole buncha Barley, tons o’ Hops, Water & Yeast.” Also, an enormous amount of text from brewer Greg Koch that I’d rather not type. Interestingly, the content is mainly about the current (at the time it was written) building of the Stone Bistro. There is also mention of the “just over a hundred” Stone employees. The current homepage of the brewery states: “Happy Holidays from all 278 of us at Stone!” Yes, Stone is a force.

Bottled on: “Limited Early 2007 Release”

Flavor will continue to develop for some time to come.

Food Pairings: Dessert of any kind

Cheese Pairings: Pungent ones such as Blue, Gorgonzola, Limburger

Beer Advocate: A-

Rate Beer: 99 (3.97)

Timperialstout’s Notes:
I believe this is the last of the very few beers that I brought with me from Philadelphia when I moved here. It’s a bit sad that it will be gone after tonight, but it’s been refrigerated for far too long and I was really beginning to worry about its seal’s integrity. From what I’ve gathered, extended stays in the refrigerator can dry out the rubber on the inside of the bottle cap and cause the seal to be compromised. I’m not exactly sure how long that takes, but I’d rather not toy with the great OG. No worries after tonight, I now have a real cellar for cellaring. Let’s get into it. She pours a glowing amber, near tangerine hue. A stunning clarity and a surprisingly plump head for the age. A not entirely strong pour brings about a nice tan cap of varying sized bubbles that leaves a dense lacing on the glass. That’s from all the unfermented sugars. This one is really sticky, and that is just what I love. The scent is of salt water taffy I think. Maybe a bit of cotton candy, slightly metallic in there too… with hops just squeaking through in the end. Nearly three years of aging and the hops have more presence than natural preservation, yeah… “tons o’ Hops” indeed. The mouthfeel is so smooth and delightful, honey coated. A slight prickle from the carbonation is more present just after the pour and while slightly colder. Hop bitterness is definitely there still. When you age a beer for several years you sort of expect that bitterness to fade, and though I surely love malty sweetness, beer perfection to me is malt and hop extremes coming together on the battlefield and bringing balance where it shouldn’t exist. This OG’s malt vs. hop square-off is no doubt being won by team barley, but the hops are fighting for their lives. To me, that shows serious class, and brewing skill. It’s Stone, I’m not surprised. Alcohol burn is minimal. No off celery like flavors that I so often get from barley wines, especially the younger ones. It’s a great Monday night!

If you like Old Guardian, you should try…

Hair of the Dog – Doggie Claws
Victory – Old Horizontal
North Coast – Old Stock Ale

Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard earned money at a local bottle shop and aged to perfection all on my own.

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