Oh yes, the annual RateBeer.com awards are upon us. Every year in January, beer nerds come out from the woodwork, run a regression analysis, compute multiple methodology, average the cosign – plus tangent – and come up with these pretty rad rankings. Bon appetite.
I believe its a bit more simple than I made it out to be, but the rankings are up and that means the chatter begins. I have always been a staunch supporter of the RateBeer rankings. In fact, they have led the way on a number of significant beer tours around this great globe. Lets see how they did this year.
Here are the top performers in each category and some notes about NW people performing well:
Best Beer: (Click here to see list)
Närke Kaggen Stormaktsporter – If you have had this beer, kudos to you. I have looked, believe me. From Belgium to the Netherlands, you aren’t going to find it. Someday, someday. It is interesting to see Westvleteren 12 unseated. Perhaps the lore of Michael Jackson has finally left the building. For the NW – Deschutes Abyss came in at a very impressive #17. Hair of the Dog’s Matt and Adam both made the Top 100. Surprising that Adam still topples Fred.
Top Beers By Category (Click here for the list)
I am not going to spend a lot of time on these, you can review them here. Suffice it to say that the only showings from the NW were from a sake producer out of Oregon and a surpirsing top spot in dark lager for Rogue’s Chatoe Rogue Dirtoir Black Lager. Yikes. While expected, its so sad to see this repeated each year. Russian River whooped some ass, once again.
Best Beer in USA (Click here for the list)
Russian River Pliny the Younger – By now, we are all familiar with this hop monster. Though we would prefer to see something with a bit more complexity, its a deliciously unmatched hop beast. As for the NW, Deschutes Abyss at #13 and Hair of the Dog Adam #43 are all that made it. Strikeout, Washington.
Best Brewer in World (Click here to see list)
Three Floyds Brewing – I like em; hell i love em. But are they really the best? Their lengthy list of offerings and impressive showings in multiple categories (stout, IPA, pale, etc.) probably gets them the spot. My choice would have been the #2 on the list – Founders Brewing Company. Great to Hoppin Frog, Akron, OH, at #17. Great work Fred! Oregon did incredibly well: Rogue #21, Hair of the Dog #24, Deschutes #49, Cascade Brewing #57, and Upright Brewing #92 (wow). Washington = Elysian #92. I was actually surprised not to see Black Raven Brewing on this list. I think this is a testament to the fact that Black Raven is not yet bottling. Upright is probably smaller in production, but they send bottles into various states. I think thats the ticket here (plus great brewing).
Best Beer Bars in World (Click to see list)
The Kulminator – Its probably the most deserving, considering their iconic collection of cellar aged beers. Kudos to them for keeping this epic collection rolling. Our visit to Kulminator in March could not have been more eye-popping. The most amazing thing on this list – Avenue Pub at #8!!! Congratulations to Polly, the bar’s owner, who has worked her ass off to deserve this recognition. This is the only must see in New Orleans. This is typically a strong category for Washington – perhaps the only one where they typically overtake Oregon. This year they did the same, but only 2-0. Uber Tavern was #14 and Brouwers Cafe was #22. This is a bit of a drop for both of these two. The list also booted Naked City Taphouse, who made a daring showing last year. Nothing in Oregon made the list.
Best Brewpubs in World (Click to see list)
Brouwerij de Molen – The Windmill strikes again! This place has climbed up and up the list and I will agree that it deserves this spot. In a remote area of Holland, Bodegraven’s only beer spot is hidden inside a windmill. Inside you can enjoy excellent food, phenomenal beer and a pretty incredible bottle shop with a collection of US brews that makes me jealous in Seattle. This is a must see for anyone in Northern Europe. Great to see Walking Man make the list at #10. We finally got out there this past summer and thoroughly enjoyed this sunny spot. Deschutes Brewing was #18, Cascade’s Racoon Lodge was #48 (and will be bumped next year for the new Barrel Room) and then there is Pelican Brewing at #26. 26? Cmon man. If you have ever been to this magical surfers cove, you would spit at anyone that left this out of their Top 5. Go visit.
Best Beer Store in World (Click here to see list)
Het Oude Schooltje – Struise Brouwers @ The Old School – Ummm, I’m confused. I was in Oostvleteren and never saw this place! Kill me now. This is my own fault and I’m stuck with the consequences. Next time. Great to see some Washington guys on here as well: Malt & Vine #27 and Bottleworks #29. Oregon got showings from The Bier Stein in Eugene and Belmont Station in Portland, who fell all the way to #44.
Best Restaurant in World (Click here to see list)
Ebenezer Kezars Restaurant and Pub – This is on my list and will be visited in June when we do a brief NE trip. Tucked away in the Maine mountains in the little town of Lowell – this gem awaits. Is it shocking to anyone else that despite the NW’s extremely well-received culinary presence and beer presence, we cannot produce one beer restaurant in the Top 50? What about Brouwers Cafe? Ebenezars is just a pub, too.
Best Breweries to Visit in World (Click here to see list)
Picobrouwerij Alvinne Den Bier- en Proefzolder – Yes, yes and yes x 1000. This is the single greatest beer visit of my entire life. If its a little strange that we have yet to speak about this visit here on BB.com, its because I am intimidated. Timperial and I have feared drafting this inconic article for just about a year. Alvinne is located in a large barn-like space off a highway in Belgium. We arrived after closing on St. Patricks day and were awarded with private drinking stock from the owner. An unprecedented adventure. I was so glad to see Hair of the Dog Brewing on here as well at #2. Alan Sprints has done an incredible job putting together their new taproom, which is a must for any visitor to the NW. Great to also see Upright Brewing (Portland), who has a very cool tasting room where you can grab some schooners and some tunes for a few hours. Rogue, Bridgeport and Hopworks also made the list. A complete zero for Washington.
Ugh. Washington has to take a failing grade this year. I am really disappointed to see so many of the stalwarts take drops. It was very encouraging to see the locations do alright, but what about our beer?!
In short, most of our beer stays here. I think you can somewhat blame that on our alcohol regulation rules, because they facilitate a healthy market at home. But, you can see that the Oregon brewers making a name for themselves are selling bottles.
Forget Rogue and Deschutes – they are pretty big. But, think about Hair of the Dog, Hopworks and especially Upright. These guys all have bottle sales that go across state borders. That stuff helps.
In the near future, we hope to see bottles from great upstarts like Black Raven Brewing, Schooner Exact, Fremont Brewing and more. Hopefully, we can start to show the world why Washington beer is so damn good.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Brouwer’s is the best beer bar that I have ever been to in America, and believe me, I’ve been to quite a few good ones. There is a lot of reasons for my confidence in that stance, but one of the larger ones is the fests that they host. Yes, there is a decent number of bars in the country that host barleywine fests, and probably even more that organize IPA fests. It seems pretty doubtful that there would be many that put on sour beer festivals or stout festivals, but I’m sure there are a hand full out there. But, the question is, how many bars in America do all of those, and do them so well that beer nerds like myself take off of work to attend them? I’d say that the answer is probably very, very few. I love pretty much everything about Brouwer’s and HopFest is surely no exception.
So you know that I love Brouwer’s, you know that I love HopFest, you know that I will be there at the moment the doors open, and you know that I will imbibe many an IBU packed brew, but one more question need be answered: what will I be drinking? That’s where the guide comes in.
First, check out the full list that we posted on the 1st. After much consideration, I have developed a game plan. Granted, there is going to be a few additions and most likely, a few exciting surprises come Friday. If these surprises include Russian River Pliny the Younger or Firestone Walker Double Jack, you are going to want to forget the entire remainder of this article and just drink those until the kegs kick.
Top 10 beers to try:
10.) Russian River Blind Pig – I hear more and more people say “Pliny isn’t even their best IPA” in reference to Blind Pig. I personally don’t agree, but everything that Russian River makes is good…damn good. Blind Pig shows up in Seattle from time to time but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a decent contingent of folks out there that haven’t gotten a hold of it yet. Here is your chance.
9.) Black Raven Dry Hopped Trickster – My boss at Lazy Boy always gives me shit for my blog claiming that Black Raven is the best brewery in WA. I’m sure he will also give me shit for not putting our Imperial IPA on this list (sorry boss, I feel a little weird self promoting. It is a damn good beer though.) Well, we stand by our claim about BRB. The people spoke over at The Bev when they voted it in as the house IPA. This brew is super solid in it’s regular form, I can only guess that the dry hopped version will be even better. If you have cheated and looked down at number 1 already, you have seen another reason why we are confident in our claim.
8.) Elysian Idiot Sauvin – I honestly don’t know what this beer is. That is precisely why I want to try it. Elysian and experimentation go hand in hand, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this one had some peculiar adjuncts added. No matter what, Elysian makes great beer and this will likely be worth your money.
7.) Midnight Sun XXX Black Double – When Cascadian Dark Ales, or CDAs took over the craft beer world a little while back, we all knew that it was just a matter of time before the Imperial black IPAs would show up. Well here it is, and I must say, I’m intrigued. I’m even more intrigued knowing that Midnight Sun is behind it.
6.) Boundary Bay Imperial – There are two Imperial IPAs produced in WA that are head and shoulders above all the rest. This is one of them. This is a beer that, if it were distributed with greater reach, would bring some much needed respect to Washington state in the beer war for state supremacy. This is one of the very few beers that, if I hear that it is on tap somewhere close by, I will do all in my power to make it there immediately to get a pint.
5.)Hub Ace of Spades – I have only had this beer once before and it was at last year’s HopFest. I can’t believe that that was a year ago, I remember it so well. It was probably my favorite “new” beer (new to me) of the event. As it turns out, it was voted the second best beer of the fest behind Pliny the Younger. Now that Hub is distributing bottles in WA it may be easier to acquire this one, but I will still be ordering one and bathing in it’s brilliance.
4.) Mikkeller Single Hop – This is actually three beers in one (Cascade, Centennial, and Chinook), sorry to cheat. You probably don’t have to try all three, but it sure would make a fun experiment. I absolutely love the concept of single hop beers and I love Mikkeller for making this series happen. As a fledgling brewer I feel that spending time with these brews will help me gain a better understanding and appreciation for various hop varietals and their impact on scent and flavor. You can sometimes find these brews in 12oz bottles around town , but they are often over $6 a piece. I don’t think I have ever seen them on draft – this is pretty special and definitely a good opportunity to taste them for, potential, a little bit less dough.
3.) Moylans Wet Hopsickle – Hopsickle is a triple IPA and it’s huge. When you add the word “wet” before it, it means that fresh hops were used. I’m getting emotional just thinking about the potential that this beer has to be mind-blowing. God damn, I can’t believe it’s fresh hop season already! Yet another reason why living in the Northwest is spectacular.
2.) Green Flash Palate Wrecker – Green Flash is masterful when it comes to hops. Their West Coast IPA and Imperial IPA are both among the best made in America. Like the Elysian above, I don’t really know what this beer is, but I know I need to have it.
1.) Black Raven Wisdom Seeker – This beer walks around town with a hype attached to it that is so massive and heavy that I’m amazed it can even stand on it’s own two feet, but boy does it ever. When this beer hits a handle in the Seattle area, there is an instant buzz, and 20 minutes later (or less) she is out the door…gone…kicked. Black Raven has clearly taken cues from other perennial buzz junkies (like Pliny the Younger) in seemingly stunting production and causing such a skewed supply and demand curve that on the rare occasion that is it available, people freak out to get a taste. It would be silly of me to suggest that anything different will happen at HopFest. This should go very fast so get there early and order 2 at once.
Russian River Brewing has been the topic of discussion on this blog on several occasions. But none was more read and reviewed than our post on the 2010 release of Pliny the Younger, Beer Advocates, previous #1 beer in the world. (now #2)
Last spring, Vinnie sent some specialties to Philadelphia, including some of that delicious Pliny the Younger. Because the beer had not been registered with the state, officials raided bars that had it on tap and confiscated the goodness.
This is not going to happen again.
With Philly Beer Week in full bloom, Russian River made sure that their beers were registered this year. In fact, Vinnie is even poking a bit of fun at the ridiculous raid that probably resulted in a bunch of state troopers getting drunk on amazing beer that they didn’t even enjoy.
BeerNews.Org published a story that Russian River has registered “Registration Ale” and will be pouring it this week. From their site:
Earlier this spring, Russian River Brewing and a host of other breweries were caught in the middle of some controversy in Philadelphia. Officials raided some beer bars for unregistered beers and some brews were confiscated as a result. For Russian River Registration Ale, Vinnie Cilurzo made sure to properly register this one with the local liquor governing body. He asked me to keep this a secret back in April and I obliged. Not sure if it is new or a re-label of an existing beer in the catalog as he was pretty tight-lipped about it. People can enjoy it on tap around the city this week.
Who knows what’s in that keg – who cares. That beer is golden. I hope that everyone in Philly enjoys – it cost them $75.00 to get that puppy registered.
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!
A week in the life of a beer drinker:
Monday, March 1, 2010
7th Annual Barleywine Bacchanal: Seattle, Washington
3:00PM- 2:00AM @ Beveridge Place Pub
The madness continues all week with events almost every day. Many of these barleywines were aged by Beveridge Place. Check out Beer Blotter’s guide to the Bacchanal by clicking HERE!
Monk’s Mad Monday: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
11:30AM-11:30PM @ Monk’s Cafe
A special Russian River event featuring six of their beers on tap. There will be three IPAs and three ‘Tions on tap. Check it– Pliny The Younger, Pliny The Elder, Blind Pig, Damnation, Consecration and (sweet, sweet) Supplication.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Unibroue Tasting: Hooksett, New Hampshire
5:00PM-7:30PM @ Bert’s Better Beers
Join Richard Delmonico as he pours Canadian brewery, Unibroue beers-Quelque Chose (enjoy warm and/or on ice), Maudite, Terrible, Don de Dieu, La Fin du Monde, Blanche de Chambly, Chambly Noire, Trois Pistoles and Ephemere. Cheese and chocolate will be paired.
Sour Beer Night: New York, New York
7:30PM-9:30PM @ Jimmy’s No. 43
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Meet the Brewers: Escondido, California
6:00PM-8:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.
Brewers from the East head West- Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and Victory Brewing Co.’s Bill Covaleski. Join them at the Bistro’s outside bar with Stone’s own Greg Koch to celebrate their collective achievement. Have a pint with Sam, Bill, and Greg and congratulate them on a job well done! Special taps of Dogfish Head and Victory rarities, including World Wide Stout, will be poured outside.
Ninkasi Beer Dinner: San Francisco, California
5:45 PM- 9:45 PM @The Monk’s Kettle
Ninkasi brews such as Total Domination IPA, Tricerahops Double IPA, Believer Double Red Ale and OATIS Oatmeal Stout will be paired with a delicious 5 course meal. Menu items include a Portobello mushroom soup, a coconut curry shrimp dish, pork tenderloin, a special pallet cleanser and a dessert that will make you feel right at home.
New Belgium Tasting: Portland, Oregon
4:00PM-6:00PM @ The Beermongers
New Belgium Brewery will in the store providing samples of several of their more unique beers including two from their Lips of Faith series Biere de Mars and Transatlantique Kriek, Ranger IPA, certified organic Mothership Wit and Trip IV on draft a collaboration between Elysian Brewing Co. (Seattle) and New Belgium. This event is free.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Great Lakes Happy Hour: Akron, Ohio
7:00PM-9:00PM @ Johnny Malloys
Come and sample 6 differtent Great Lakes Brewing Co. beers on tap/bottles available to everyone. For those interested, there will also be a limited beer and cheese tasting featuring a couple brewery exclusives that are only available for the tasting. The tasting fee is $10 and includes 5 samples of beer and 5 cheese samples. A few people from the brewery will be there giving out glassware and other Great Lakes memorabilia.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Beer without Hops: The Illegal Brews: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
7:30PM- 9:30PM @ The Beer School of Philadelphia
This is an appropriate venue for this event. Not only do you get to sample fine beers, you get to learn a bit about beer history. These beers do not contain hops, therefore at one point in beer past, they were not considered beer. Due to this concept, they have become rather rare. Well, these “illegal” beers (gruits) are making a comeback, so stop by, taste and learn all about these amazing brews.
Jolly Pumpkin Beer Tasting: Ann Arbor, Michigan
5:00PM-7:00PM @ Whole Foods Market
Join Vice President of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Michael Turriff at the Fine Wine and Craft Beer Bar. Michael is there to enjoy the JP brews, discuss beer and answer all of your questions.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Let’s try some Belgiums!: Naperville, Illinois
3:00PM-5:00PM @ Malloy’s Fine Wines and Spirits
This tasting is FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. So you have no excuse to head out on the town in Naperville and try some amazing Belgium brews. What will you be sampling? Triple Karmeliet, Maredsous 10 Triple, Gouden Carolus, and Pauwel Kwak- among others. Get out, get cultured.
Lucky Lab’s Barleywine & Big Beer Fest: Portland, Oregon
12:00PM- 10:00PM @ Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. (NW Quimby Beer Hall)
More than 35 barleywines and big beers (stouts, warmers, old ales and more) on tap! Some are recent releases but many are aged vintages. Just to name a few, as the list is very very long (check it here): ’07 Great Divide’s Old Ruffian; ’08 Speakeasy’s Old Godfather; ’09 Fish Tail’s Leviathan and ’09 Lucky Lab’s BBL-Aged Son of Old Yeller.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
11th Split the Brooklyn Skull Festival: Brooklyn, New York
11:00 AM-11:00PM @ Mugs Ale House
Interesting name, but what does it entail? Tis the time for barleywines and strong ales, so you guessed it! Come to Mugs and enjoy beers, most of which are over 8%. For the full list click here, but for a sample, you came to the right place: Speakeasy Old Godfather Reserve 10%; Left hand Widdershins 10%; Nogne O #100 Barleywine 10.0%; Goose Island Brown Goose 9% and Weyerbacher Old Heathen Imperial Stout 2008 8.0%.
Nikki’s Second Annual Beer Dinner: Providence, Rhode Island
6:00 PM-10:00 PM @ Julians
We will leave the food a mystery, but check out the featured beers, mainly all Trappist. We like their style! La Trappe Isid’or; Achel Blond; Westmalle Trappist Dubbel; Orval Trappist Ale; Chimay Grande Reserve (blue); Westmalle Trappist Tripel and with the dessert course, you get all three Rochefort beer (6, 8, 10)!!
Oh man…that is it. But of course, there is so much more. So if you have an event you want us to add, have a comment about an event you went to, or just want to tell us how much you love beer, leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading! Cheers to another week!
On Saturday beeradvocate.com announced, via their twitter feed, that the very long standing #1 on their list of the Best Beer on Planet Earth, Westvleteren 12, had been overtaken by Russian River Brewing Co.’s Pliny the Younger. This news comes in the wake of San Francisco Beer Week, which was kicked off with the annual release of said beer at the Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa, CA. The beer was completely drained from the coffers of the brewery in less than a day.
For all the rating nerds out there, BA has it at an A+ / 4.63, where Westvleteren 12 is at A+ / 4.62. Yes, an extremely thin margin. Just for a little perspective, the other beer rating giant, ratebeer.com, pegs the beer at #12 in its top beers in the world. Its elder uncle, Pliny the Elder, makes the list in the 18 position.
For those that don’t know, Russian River’s Pliny the Younger is a draft only triple IPA that weighs in at 11% abv and is a liquid hop candy delight poured from the chalice of God himself. It is pretty darn rare, but if you live on the West Coast, keep your eyes and ears peeled at all times, have a really fast car and no job, and know someone important in the bar industry, chances are at least plausible that you could get a taste. This is unlike the overtaken Westvleteren 12, which has been unanimously the best beer in the world for as long as I have been aware of these lists, and is even more difficult to acquire.
Westvleteren 12 is a bottle conditioned Belgian Trappist Ale brewed by Saint Sixtus Abbey in Northwest Belgium. Only 160,000 cases of 12 are produced each year and, with the exception of a very few number of crafty European beer bars, can only be purchased from the Abbey that brews it. To top it all off, due to the limited nature of the brew, the Abbey limits the amount of cases one can purchase at any one time.
Point is, as rare as Younger is, not many beers in the world are rarer than 12. One can assume, of course, that flavor plays a large role in the grand status of these beers as well. I have, luckily, had the fortune to taste the great Younger and can honestly say that I believe it is worth the hype. It is, well… a liquid hop candy delight poured from the chalice of God himself. I cannot, yet, tell you of the flavor majesty of 12, but Belgium is only a month away and you can be assured that Saint Sixtus Abbey is on the agenda.
Now, how can us Seattleites find Younger?
Sadly, the first Seattle keg has already been slain.
Collins Pub in Pioneer Square was the first Seattle bar to tap Younger, putting it on at 4:00 pm on Friday and announcing it, again via Twitter, at 12:41pm. The keg was kicked in 20 minutes. We do however believe that this was a 1/6 barrel keg (per rumor). We hold out some hope for 1/2 barrels elsewhere.
Your next chance: Naked City Taphouse in Greenwood. Today at 5:00 pm the next keg will be tapped alongside a keg of Elder. Naked City, yet again proving why it was rated the 42nd best beer bar in the world on ratebeer.com.
Beer Blotter has also caught wind of a tapping at Brouwer’s Café tonight (we don’t need to talk up Brouwer’s). Indications were that Brouwer’s would be tapping around 6:00 PM.
If you work today, or otherwise have a life not entirely dictated by beer, there may be more opportunities to savor Younger in the near future. Considering Brouwer’s relationship with Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they have more than one keg, and that they save it for Brett Pack night of Seattle Beer Week or for their annual IPA fest.
Beer Blotter, on the other hand, has a life entirely dictated by beer, and therefore will be found, most likely, at both Naked City and Brouwer’s tonight. Find us, say hi, and salute great beer!
Pliny the Younger, Best Beer in the World?
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 email@example.com. Cheers!
Its the first of the month, its still winter, its still cold. Let beer warm your soul. Here are your events for the first week of February.
Monday, February 1, 2010
IPAlooza 2010: Willoughby, Ohio
4:30PM- 4:30 AM @ Ballantine
Today marks the first day of 28 days of rare IPAs. 28 IPA will be on tap for the entire month of February. Those who manage to try all 28 by the end of the month will be invited to the “wrap-up party” in March. Rare IPA’s include: Stone Sublimely Self Righteous, Urthel Hop-it, Founder’s Double Trouble, Stone/Brewdog Bashah, Brooklyn Blast and more.
Lagunitas Beer Dinner: Jacksonville, Florida
6:30PM – 10:30 PM @ Kickbacks Gastropub
8 courses of food and 21, yes 21, beer pairings from Lagunitas Brewery. $49.00 per person plus 20% gratuity and tax will leave you satisfied and a little tipsy (or even drunk). Some of the tap beers featured include: Cappuccino Stout, 2007, 2008, 2010 Old Gnarleywine and Dogtown Pale Ale. Vintage bottles will also be served during the dinner. Call 904-388-9551 and pay with credit card over the phone or pay with cash upon arrival.
Tuesday, February 2 2010
Beer Appreciation Night-Belgium Winter Warmers: Brea, Caifornia
7:00PM-9:00PM@ BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery
This is going to kick off one of many Beer Appreciation Nights for 2010. Tonight, the Belgium Winters will include: Fantome de Noel, St. Bernardus Christmas Ale, ‘t Smisje Kerst, Corsendonk Christmas Ale, and any more. Plus, some of the last of BJ’s Annual Grand Cru will be poured for this tasting!
Founder’s Brewing Co. Tasting: Dayton, Ohio
4:00PM-10:00PM @ South Park Tavern
Come and enjoy all this amazing brewery has to offer. You can’t go wrong with, Double Trouble IPA, Red’s Rye, Dirty Bastard, and more!
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Meet the Brewer- Weyerbacher Brewing Co.: Quakertown, Pennsylvania
7:00PM-9:ooPM @ Spinnerstown Hotel
Enjoy four beers from Weyerbacher Brewing Co. paired with opulent culinary creations prepared by Chef Karl. $40.00 per person. For more details on what beers will be poured, call (215) 536-7242.
Brewdog Tasting: New Haven, Connecticut
7:00PM-8:00PM @ Prime 16
Brewdog is an innovative brewery out Scotland. Brewdog beer will be available both on draft and cask. Expect to see Dogma, Punk, and Hardcore to try and buy. Many more will be rotating throughout the rest of the month.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Meet the Brewer of New Old Lompoc Portland, Oregon
6:00PM-8:00PM @ Belmont Station
Meet New Old Lompoc Brewers Dave “Chowdah” Fleming and Zach Beckwith and get a sneak taste of the Bourbon Barrel aged LSD (LSD was brewed in May of last year then aged in Bourbon barrels for five months and cellared for an additional three. It has a malty body with slight raisin and vanilla flavors), as well as Barrel aged Doppelbock, LSD, Proletariat Red, and C-note IPA. Imperial Coffee Stout will be on draft.
Clipper City Holy Sheet Cask: Leesburg, Virginia
5:00PM- 9:00 PM @ Fireworks Pizza
Come grab some tasty pizza and drink Clipper City’s Abbey Ale on cask. Holy Sheet is only available during February and March, so it is VERY limited!
Friday, February 5, 2010
Pliny the Younger Release Day: Santa Rosa, California
11:00 AM – 11:45 PM @ Russian River Brewing Co.
Collaboration Not Litigation Ale- Tapping Party & Vertical Tasting Party: Boulder, Colorado
5:00PM-8:00 PM @ Avery Brewing Co.
Today will mark the release of Batch #4 of Collaboration Not Litigation. Come celebrate the fruitful relationship between Avery Brewing and Russian River Brewing. Rob Rosser will be on hand serving his famous fish tacos at $4.00 a piece. Be the first to experience this batch and if you do, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Chocolate and Beer Festival: Richmond, California
2:00PM-6:00PM @ The Craneway Pavillion
6 chocolatiers and 6 local breweries will present multiple product samplings with live entertainment and raffle prizes. Advance tickets are $18.00 and $25.00 at the door with $5.00 parking. Click here to purchase tickets.
A Celebration of All Things Coffee, Chocolate and Things Aged in Barrels: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2:00PM-2:00AM @ The Institute
What an amazing combination of items! The Institute’s chef will cook up some spectacular specials including sweet and savory items along with some vegetarian items. Aged beers will include, Wyerbacher Barrel Aged Heresy, Founders Backwoods Bastard, Allagash Curieux and Bells Java Stout (among others).
Sunday, February 6, 2010
Beer Appreciation 101: San Jose, California
5:00PM-7:00PM @ Wine Affairs
Learning about beer and the different styles will increase your appreciation of the many micro brews around the world. Expect a general overview of the brewing process and how the basic ingredients used in brewing affect a beer’s flavor. Develop your beer vocabulary while tasting beers that exemplify certain characteristics of each basic ingredient. Contact Wine Affairs at 408-977-0111 to make your reservation today!
Lost Abbey and Port Brewing Night: San Fransisco, California
6:00PM-2:00AM @ Toronado
So that’s that. Whats done is done. Oh and GO SAINTS!!!!
As always, if you go to an event, want to go to an event, want to promote an event or discuss a beer you had at an event, leave a comment or email us at email@example.com. Cheers!
Granted we are 6 weeks away, but Russian River Brewing Co. just announced their 2010 release date for Pliny the Younger. 11:00 AM on Friday, February 5, 2010–> mark it on your calenders, buy your plane tickets, rent a car and drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sonoma County and get there at 10:45AM.
It gets better! Previous releases of this triple IPA were confined to draft to pint action. This year, growlers will be filled and sold for patrons to enjoy “the Younger” for at least a day or two after the release. Remember: Due to CA state law, only Russian River growlers can be filled. No outside containers can or will be filled.
Estimated time of departure of this beer from the brewery’s tap list: 7 days from intial pour.
The following cities should keep an eye out for a keg of Pliny the Younger at ONE of their favorite beer bars: Portland, Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia and somewhere in Southern California.
Along with the release of Pliny the Younger, Russian River will release the following Belgium delights (a Russian River specialty) in bottles for the first time: Sanctification (100% Brettanomyces fermented beer) and a brand spanking new batch of 004 Supplication, a brown ale. Oh the possibilities!
History Lesson: Pliny the Younger is/was not a fictitious character as he was born in Italy during the year, 61 AD. He went on to become a lawyer, author and magistrate. Pliny the Younger’s father figure was his uncle, Pliny the Elder who was an author, naturalist, and natural philosopher as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian. The Elder died while watching Mount Vesuvius erupt. What a way to go!
Beer Lesson: Pliny the Younger is hopped three times more than Russian River’s standard IPA, and is dry hopped four different times. Its a hop EXPLOSION! Pliny the Elder is an imperial/ double IPA and is brewed with 40% more malt and over twice the amount of hops as compared to their already hoppy IPA (information in part due to the courtesy of Russian River’s website)
Beer Blotter is seriously contemplating a trip to Russian River for the release. 55.2 miles outside of the great city of San Francisco, this brewery is Mecca. Go there, get some amazing beer and please, report back to Beer Blotter.