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Posts Tagged ‘Russian River’

Twitter Roundup Version 1.0

February 1, 2011 1 comment

What excitement awaits on twitter?

Since Editor Jess is off living in the lap of luxury by means of a massive sea-faring vessel and therefore finds herself unable to pen the much heralded Events column, I figured I’d bring you my version of the events.

Many of our local readers may very well be savvy in the 140 character world of Twitter, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they both follow all of the tweeters that I do and actually keep up with what they are saying on a daily basis.  Admittedly, I find it nearly impossible myself, but today I made a point to sift through all the bird calls and pull out a few of the Seattle area events and/or beers on tap that may interest you all.

Let me know if you find this helpful or simply redundant by leaving a comment below.  Have a great week and drink good beer!

Latona Pub (@latonapub) in Greenlake has the following on tap (as of 1/31/11):

Port Townsent Nitro Stout

Roslyn Dark Lager

Laurelwood IPA

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum

Allagash White

Bayern Pilsner

Full Sail LTD 4 Pale

Hale’s Wee Heavy

Firestone Walker Union Jack

New Belgium Vrienden

Silver City Whoop Ass

Super Deli Mart (@superdelimart) in West Seattle (9051 35th Ave SW) has Oskar Blues G’Knight Imperial Red and Flyers Hop Duster IPA on tap as of 1/31/11.

It’s most likely a joke, but Iron Horse Brewing (@ironhorsebeer) of Ellensburg claims to be releasing a beer called Double Rainbow Ale inspired by the impossibly hilarious YouTube video that went viral last year.  Check it out here.

The Toronado (@toronado), an absolutely epic beer bar in San Francisco, is having a special event on 2/18/11 for the release of Pliny the Younger.  Yes, that is during San Fran’s annual Beer Week, but this, most likely means that we should see kegs in the Seattle market either slightly before that or around the same time.  Are you ready?

This Wednesday at the 74th St. Alehouse (via @twobeersbrewing) in Phinny – Two Beers Brewing will be providing a very special cask of Evo IPA.  Here are the details from their Facebook page:

Wednesday Night: 74th St. Alehouse Cask of Double Dry-Hopped (Simcoe, Amarillo, Sorachi Ace, Centenniel) Evo. IPA. We also threw in some D’Anjou Pears and Pink Lady Apples to help with the secondary fermentation. Uhhh, you won’t want to miss this one of a kind beer.

That sounds redonculous!

Elliot Bay Brewing (@elliotbay_beer)will be sending out two barrel-aged beers today, one “Sour” to the West Seattle location and a “Bourbon Stout” to Burien.  I would highly recommend checking these out if you are able.

The Porterhouse Pub (via @diamondknot) in West Seattle is hosting a Super Bowl party/fundraiser in conjunction with Beer Church that will feature brews from Diamond Knot, Port Townsend and Georgetown.  For more details please check out this site.  Go to this!

This Friday, 2/4/11, at 5pm, Cooper’s Alehouse (@coopersalehouse) in Maple Leaf will be hosting a 5 year vertical tasting of Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale.  You can order a tasting tray and try all 5 side by side.  If there are any beer aging naysayers out there, get you ass out to this event and see what age can do for yourself.  They also have Sierra’s Bigfoot Barleywine on tap (as of Sunday).

As of Sunday night, Naked City (@nakedcitybeer) had Fish Brewing’s 10 Squared Barleywine on tap.  If it’s still on, it won’t be for long.  They also have Sierra Nevada’s Hoptimum and Snipes Zombie Killer.

Apparently, Grandfather Raven, Black Raven’s Imperial Stout, is still on tap at the brewery’s taproom (as of Sunday, via @seattlebeerclub) .

Events for Week of December 13, 2010

December 14, 2010 2 comments

 

Head to Santa Monica's Library Alehouse for some amazing brews this week!

Due to my inability to post events on Sunday, I have decided to post on Mondays and give you events from Tuesday through Monday. Hope that is okay. If not, let me know!

 

This weekend, I indulged in a Black Raven Trickster, Cantillon’s Framboise, New Belgium‘ s La Folie, New Belgium’s Bourbon Barrel Aged Sah’ti, Deschutes Hop Henge and 21st Amendment’s Brew Free or Die IPA. A pretty good weekend in beer, if I say so myself.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Beer Dinner: Downingtown, Pennsylvania

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Victory Brewing Co.

Nothing like the holidays to have an excuse to splurge! Check out this menu- its simply irresistible, $50.00 per person and paired with Victory Brewing Co. beers.

Duo of Soups
Red pepper bisque and puree of spinach
Served with Prima Pils

Prosciutto wrapped beer blanched asparagus with gruyere mornay sauce
Served with Rauch Porter

Cranberry and chestnut filled turkey breast cutlets with Pursuit giblet gravy and roasted seasonal squash
Served with Pursuit Pale Ale

Cracked barley encrusted oysters with Anaheim chili risotto and saffron aioli
Served with ESB

Cinnamon nutmeg spice cake with Dark Intrigue frosting
Served with Dark Intrigue

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bourbon County Bottle Signing: Homer Glen, Illinois

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Kenwood Liquors

Bourbon County is one of the best stouts EVER and in my opinion the best beer made by Goose Island. Tonight, stop by one of the two Kenwood Liquor locations and pick up a bottle specially signed by Goose Island Founder John Hall.

Time: 6pm-7pm

Kenwood Liquors
12037 W. 159th Street
Homer Glen, IL 60491
(708) 590-8210

Time: 8pm-9pm

Kenwood Liquors
10750 South Cicero Avenue
Oak Lawn, IL 60453-5402
(708) 424-3580

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dogfish Head Bash: Montpelier, Vermont

7:00PM-2:00AM @ Three Penny Taproom

This epic tap list includes Dogfish Head‘s best beers:

- Chateau Jiahu
– Theobroma
– Pangaea
– Bitch’s Brew
– My Antonia
– Red & White
– Black & Blue
– Olde School
– 90 Minute
– 60 Minute
– Indian Brown

Friday, December 17, 2010

Week of Wild Friday Tastival: Eugene, Oregon

5:00PM-10:00PM @ Sixteen Tons Beer & Wine

Hot Damn- Featured breweries will include Block 15, Upright, Hair of the Dog, De Dolle, Cantillon, Rodenbach, Russian River, The Bruery, Orval, Cascade, Deschutes, Victory, Lindemans, Oud Beersel, 3 Fonteinen, De Ranke, Haandbryggeriet, New Belgium, Avery, Mikkeller, Ommegang, and more.

Tasting tickets are $1. Beers are 1-4 tickets for 3oz tasters. No entry fee. GO TO THIS!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Maui Brewing Launch Party: Denver, Colorado

1:00PM-5:00PM @ Freshcraft

Finally, Maui Brewing has reached Colorado. A state full of beer lovers, it’s about time! The long-awaited time when CoCoNuT Porter, Big Swell IPA & Bikini Blonde Lager hit Colorado are now over.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Twelve Days of Barleywine: Anchorage, Alaska

11:00AM-11:00PM @ Glacier Brewhouse

Stop by Glacier Brewhouse for some barleywines. It’s impressive that a brewery makes an array of this specific style. Today is the 10th day, so time is of the essence.

THE 10th DAY OF BARLEYWINE – DEC. 19, 2010
1. 2011 Big Woody Barleywine aged in Ukrainian Oak barrel for 10 months. (9.00% abv)
2. 2010 Eisbock aged 8 months in Makers Mark barrels. (9.00%abv)
3. Cask conditioned selection. 2008 Russian Imperial Stout aged 2.67 years in virgin Czech oak barrels. (9.00% abv)
Pay as you go

Monday, December 20, 2010

Library Alehouse Holiday Beer Fest Kickoff: Santa Monica, California

6:00PM-11:00PM @ Library Ale House

$10.00, just $10.00 gets you:

Library Logo Tasting Glass and Your First Beer
…$2.50 – $5 Refills on ALL Holiday Ale Fest Beers throughout the Fest
10% off food during the festival

Tonight is the kick-off event and this will continue for two weeks. But tonight’s tap list includes:

- Nøgne Ø / Jolly Pumpkin / Stone Special Holiday Ale
– Jolly Pumpkin Noel de Calabaza
– N’ice Chouffe
– Dogfish Head Pangea
– Dogfish Head Chicory Stout
– Sierra Nevada Celebration
– Anchor Brewing’s Merry Christmas Happy New Year Ale
– Anderson Valley’s Winter Solstice
– Delirium Noel
– Gouden Carolus Noel

What is your favorite beer holiday event? Leave a comment or email me at jess@beerblotter.com!

Events for Week of December 6, 2010

Picture courtesy of directorofpeoria.com.

After Big Wood Fest this past Thursday, we dedicated this weekend to laying low (aside from the Friday night trip to a casino). We did however indulge in Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co. (Akron, OH) B.O.R.I.S. Imperial Stout, Great Divide Chocolate Yeti and Russian River Pliny the Elder.

I sit here writing events and sipping on this delicious Cranberry Saison homebrew. Thanks guys! But now for your week in beer.

 

Monday, December 6, 2010

 

Smuttynose Short Release Party: Peoria, Illinois

5:00PM-10:00PM @ Kelleher’s Irish Pub

Several beers from their everyday lineup, plus a few from Smuttynose‘s “Short Batch Series” will be available. What is this “Short Batch Series”? See below for a description from their website:

The Smuttynose Short Batch Series- brewed in volumes anywhere between 20 and 30 barrels, these limited-release, experimental beers are available on draft only and found at select beer bars up and down the East Coast. We normally release a few batches in a year, so they go quickly.

 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

 

Jolly Pumpkin Rare Beer Auction: Ann Arbor, Michigan

7:00PM-9:00PM @ Jolly Pumpkin Brewing

This is epic, for a good cause and a great way to spice up your beer collection with rare and aged Jolly Pumpkin beers. Here are some of the beers that will be auctioned:
Biere de Mars Grand Reserve (16 months on Oak)
Perseguidor 1
Oro de Calabaza (from 2004, 2006, 2006)
La Roja (2005 and 2006)
Fuego del Otono (2005)
Lambicus Dexterius

 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

 

Christmas Beer Dinner: Lake Zurich, Illinois

6:30PM-8:30PM @ Binny’s Beverage Depot

Binny’s has something to say:

Join us for our biggest tasting of the year! Sample over 30 different brews from 7 different countries. This is rare opportunity to try some of the most sought after and highly rated beers from around the world.

Cost is $10 W/Binny’s Card / $15 non-members. Call (847)438-1437 for more information.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Harpoon Tap Takeover: New Haven, Connecticut

8:00PM-10:00PM @ Prime 16

Join Prime 16 tonight with Harpoon Co-founder Rich Doyle and experience Nine different drafts including rare and vintage releases from the Leviathan and 100 bbl Series, 2 casks, and a few year round favorites.

 

Friday, December 10, 2010

 

Christmas in Belgium: Cleveland, Ohio

11:00AM-11:00PM @ Buckeye Brewing Co.

This beer list is amazing and will provide you with a broad range of Belgium  style beers (most are from Belgium).

Join us for Christmas in Belgium 2010, a pay-as-you-go celebration featuring tons of holiday beers on tap. So far, we’ve got:

-Affligem Noël (Christmas Ale)
-Delirium Noël
-Gouden Carolus Noël (Christmas)
-Corsendonk Christmas Ale ’09
-Buckeye Christmas Girl
-Dupont Avec les Bons Voeux
-N’Ice Chouffe ’09
-St. Bernardus Christmas Ale
-Bush de Noël (Scaldis Noel)
-De Ranke Père Noël
-Achilles Serafijn Christmas Angel
-Struise Tsjeeses
-Mikkeller Santas Little Helper ’09
-Mikkeller Red/White Christmas
-Mikkeller Ris a la M’ale

The festivities start 12-10 at 11:00AM when we open and continue all weekend long, or until the beer is gone! Come celebrate the season with us!

 

 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

 

Goose Island Belgium Ale Tasting: Cincinnati, Ohio

1:00PM-3:00PM @ Bigg’s Hyde Park

Today you will taste the amazing Belgium brews from Goose Island. An American brewery that focuses on bringing styles such as Belgium Blondes, Saisons and Sour Ales to our back door. Sofie, Matilda, Pere Jacques, Fleur & Demolition will all be available.

 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

 

Ommegang Beer Dinner: Seattle, Washington

6:30PM-8:30PM @ The Leary Traveler

The Traveler is teaming up with Ommegang Brewing, for a very special Holiday Beer Dinner. A 5 course meal featuring local meat and produce paired with some of the breweries finest styles of local craft beer. Dinner is at 6:30 PM and seating is limited. Ticket purchase will reserve your seat and tickets will be $45.

 

What event around the country did you attend this week?

Cheers!

 

Events for Week of October 11, 2010

October 12, 2010 1 comment

 

Home of the Great Pumpkin Beer Fest- T minus 5 days.

 

Written by Jess R.

A low key weekend began with a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale at Whisk(e)y Bar (my new favorite, local watering hole), several Firestone Walker Union Jack IPAs, a New Belgium/Elysian Trip III and several Fresh Hop beers (it was a rough week at work, ok). Other beer highlights include Port Brewing’s Old Viscosity, an imperial stout worth a moment of silence and a couple of tall boys of Rainier. And now for your week in beer.

Monday, October 11, 2010

” I Love New York” Beer Week Begins: New York, New York

All week @ the Spring Lounge

Start spreading the news, its All New York, all week, with beer from Brooklyn, Ommegang, Captain Lawrence, Ithaca Brewing Co., Greenport Harbor, Coney Island, Sixpoint, Southern Tier, and more. Check out www.beermenus.com for details on the special events this week.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Green Flash Night: Whittier, California

7:00PM-9:00PM @ The Bottle Room

Not only will all patrons receive discounts on beer, the first 36 guests will receive a complimentary Green Flash Brewing Co. pint glass with the purchase of a regularly priced draft (minus $1 for LA Beer Week). From there, bring your pint glass in and receive a $1 off Green Flash drafts until the kegs are kicked. Green Flash flights will be available–4-4 ounce pours for $11. Expect some special Green Flash beers not available elsewhere to the public.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Avery Rumpkin Release: Boulder, Colorado

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Avery Brewing Co.

AN IMPERIAL PUMPKIN ALE AGED IN RUM BARRELS. Stop by Avery Brewing Co. (where the magic happens) and experience the release of what sounds like am amazing, seasonal brew. Imperial Pumpkin Ale brewed with pumpkin puree and a blend of five spices. Aged in extremely fresh Gosling’s Rum barrels for six months. Consume fresh and often, preferably with a pumpkin pie and/or s’mores.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Unibroue Beer Tasting: Cincinnati, Ohio

6:00PM-8:00PM @ Catskeller

Just $10.00 and you get beer from Unibroue paired with small plates. What a deal! The menu reads as follows:

Maudite: with bruchetta
La Fin Du Monde: with bacon scallops
Ephemere: with brie and apricot phylo
Don de Dieu: with smoked turkey club with feta cut in fourths
Terrible: with sharp cheddar quiche
Trois Pistoles: with rich chocolate brownies

Friday, October 15, 2010

Cleveland Beer Week Begins: Cleveland, Ohio

From the website:

The second annual CLEVELAND BEER WEEK will take place from October 15-23, 2010. A celebration of craft and import beers, CLEVELAND BEER WEEK features plenty of tastings, dinners, activities and more at more than 100 venues throughout Cuyahoga County and beyond. We hope you will join us as we celebrate the world of craft and imported brews at CLEVELAND BEER WEEK.

This beer week will not disapoint with participating breweries such as Hoppin’ Frog, Thirsty Dog, Great Lakes Brewing Co. and more. As if you weren’t excited enough, 12 breweries who participated in the largest known collaboration of its kind in the world, creating six brews. Family members have already agreed to mail us a six pack. Oh man! For more information, visit the event site.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Great Pumpkin Beer Fest: Seattle, Washington

(Saturday and Sunday) 12:00PM – the beers get tapped and the place shuts down @ Elysian Brewing Co., Capital Hill Location

I know we already did a write up about this event, but I am so damn excited, I had to mention it here- click here for details about the event from bb.com. Expect a crowd, a well-deserved crowd of people thirsty for pumpkin beers from Elysian, Russian River, Jolly Pumpkin and so many more. Sour pumpkin beers, pumpkin stouts, spiced ales and possibly beer brewed in a pumpkin. Also, get there early and you might get a sweet little taster glass (at least we did last year).

Sunday, October, 17, 2010

Farmhouse Ale Dinner: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

5:00PM-9:00PM @ The South Philadelphia Taproom

All you can eat harvest foods and beers for $50.00 (includes tax and tip). Featured beers include: Ommegang Hennepin, Sly Fox Saison Vos, Saison Dupont, St. Feuillien and more!

If you go to an event, want to talk about an event or a beer you had at an event, leave a comment or email us at beerblotter@gmail.com. Cheers!

Hopfest 2010: Big Beers Take the Crown

September 27, 2010 1 comment

our results are in.

September 10, 2010 marked the opening day of Brouwer’s Cafe’s 2010 Hopfest. This was the fifth installment of Seattle’ festival of hops. We like it a lot – so we put in a full day.

Our preview was well-read, but unfortunately, several of the beers showcased alluded most of the crowd. Moylans Wet Hopsickle and Green Flash Palate Wrecker never seemed to hit the taps at Brouwers, while Black Raven’s Dry-Hopped Trickster and Wisdom Seeker, and Russian River’s Blind Pig, each ran out fairly quickly.

But, most of you were able to get a taste of much of our Top 5 beers, stated below. For this year’s festival – the diamonds were in the rough.

For our tasting experience, we took on a table of 4 people. Two Beer Blotter writers, Amateur Hour’s Erik Baldwin and a nice rotating seat of various friends who found the time to join us over the course of our 7 hour day. As time went on, we had a few extra people. So, some rounds include more beers than others.

We took to 10 total rounds of hop madness, pitting different types of beer against each other. We went rare, we went unknown, and we went frighteningly strange (here’s looking at you Elysian Idiot Sauvin). After 10 rounds, we think we found the beers you need to seek out and try. Want to know something great? Washington brewers showed up; they showed up strong.

So, here is our 10 round excursion and Top 5. Enjoy:

 

Round 1:  Russian River Blind Pig, Black Raven Wisdom Seeker, Iron Horse Chinook Cask

 

Timperial: It had been quite a while since I last tried Blind Pig, and my memories of it were only so-so.  Since there are a lot of respected beer folk out there that are incredibly fond of it, I figured I better get a refresher.  It’s still boring.  Ok, not really, but it’s not nearly as good as Pliny, and that’s where I’ll leave it.  The Iron Horse cask was a little too yeasty to be truly enjoyed in all of it’s glory.  Wisdom Seeker was the number one beer to get on my Guide to Hopfest.  Our waiter didn’t even get a word out before I ordered it.  It is, without a doubt, in my top 5 Imperial IPAs of all time.  Perfect hop profile with a sizable dose of malty sweetness.  A balanced imperial IPA is no easy task, and local heroes Black Raven made it happen.

 

Winner: Black Raven Wisdom Seeker

 

Round 2: Firestone Walker Union Jack Firkin, More Wisdom Seeker, Snipes Hopped Up

 

Timperial: Union Jack is an amazing IPA, simply one of the best around.  There was no way that I’d miss out on sampling it in firkin form.  Sadly, I much prefer the standard issue.  It seemed that the gravity pour depleted the hop essence that is normally so perfectly crafted.  Sometimes when you shoot, you miss.  Beer Blotter has a serious love affair with Snipes lately.  We were really excited to try Hopped Up, but I found it to have some off flavors.  This is a very rare case with Snipes.  In reviewing my notes from the event, I had noted that Hopped Up tasted like peperoni.  I shit you not, I wrote that!  Take it for what it’s worth.

 

Winner: Black Raven Wisdom Seeker (again)

 

Round 3: Mikkeller Trifecta – Single Hop Centennial, Chinook and Cascade.

 

Timperial: This little triple threat was high on my to-do list for the day, and I was very happy to have two close friends in my midst to share with.  I honestly thought that they were all excellent.  I remember saying “God I love Mikkeller!” several times while sampling.  I, personally, was most fond of the Chinook, which was the one that I thought I would like least (not sure why, I love piney notes in my IPAs).  I think it actually had the least traditional IPA qualities to it, which is probably why the rest of the group did actually like it least.  I’ll never be surprised when I stand alone with my overly-sweet and malty IPAs.

 

Winner: Mikkeller Centennial Single Hop

 

Round 4: Georgetown Lucille Cask, Elysian Idiot Sauvin & Black Raven Dry Hopped Trickster

 

Timperial: Lucille is a great IPA and the cask version was no exception.  I found it to have pronounced notes of resin and earth that may have just been illuminated with the warmth of the bar top cask.  Idiot Sauvin allowed me to pop my Nelson Sauvin hop cherry with style.  It was very unique and enjoyable.  Ultimately, the grapefruit bomb that was set off in my mouth with each sip of DH Trickster made it the best in round for me.

 

Winner: Black Raven Dry Hopped Trickster

 

Round 5: Midnight Sun XXX Black Double, Midnight Sun Hop Dog Wheat, Stone Dry Hopped Ruination & Big Time Action Jackson

 

DSR: This is where it starts to get a bit blurry in Timperial memory bank – so I am taking over. This was an exciting round as we finally decided to into the Midnight Sun collection. Midnight Sun has become one of our favorite brewers, ever since beginning to ship beer to Seattle in the past year. They do so many inventive, off-the-cuff beers. The best part – they are always delicious. Again, they didn’t fail with either of the two beers served during this round.

The Hop Dog Wheat was extremely refreshing, with a smooth malt complexity that was inviting this late in the day. XXX was the top choice of our good friend Erik Baldwin (Amateur Hour). XXX is a monster of hops with a delicious roasty flavor. We all liked it – but it wasn’t spectacular. It took the title in an otherwise weak round. Stone’s dry hopped Ruination tasted exactly like Ruination out of the bottle. Big Time’s Action Jackson lacked serious flavor.

 

Winner: Midnight Sun XXX Black Double

 

Round 6:  Two Beers Fresh Hop, Full Sail Lupulin, Dogfish Head Burton Baton, Russian River Pliny the Elder and HUB Ace of Spades

 

DSR: More people show up – more beers to try. Two of the more famous Imperial IPAs are selected – Pliny the Elder and Ace of Spaces. Pliny experiences endless acclaim from West Coast beer drinkers. HUB’s big IPA fared incredibly well last year at this same event. That was the launching pad for HUB’s popularity in the region. Over the past few months, HUB has penetrated the Seattle market and we see it often.

We tried HUB’s Ace of Spades back in July, at Saraveza’s IPA Fest. That time, it failed to impress. We held out hope that it was just bad luck with a bad batch and tried it in Round 6. Again,. it failed to impress anyone at our table. Most people felt it was just another IPA.

The one that did impress: Dogfish Head’s Burton Baton. The Baton has been around for awhile and many have probably tried it – if you haven’t buy it tonight! This beer is a huge IPA, aged in oak barrels. The beer is actually part Imperial IPA and part Old Ale, blended and stored on wood. Everyone enjoyed this beer, especially wood fanatics, who thought it had just the right amount of woody flavor. Hands down, the victor.

 

Winner: Dogfish Head Burton Baton

 

Round 7:   Boundary Bay Imperial IPA, Avery Maharaja, Walking Man Homo Erectus, Ninkasi Maiden Shade & Double Mountain Molten Lava

 

DSR:  Round 7 and 8 were the “ok, its time to get these beers” rounds. With a nice group of 6 at the table, we were able to expand our orders and clean up the rest of the list. Some old favorites made it into this round, as Boundary Bay, Avery and Walking Man Imperials were ordered. Hopefully, many of you have had a chance to try Maiden Shade. Its a peculiar, but undeniably refreshing, beer.

In this round, we had division among the people. The Beer Blotter contingent has a widely known obsession with Boundary Bay’s Imperial IPA. On most occasions, I will admit that this is my favorite Imperial IPA to drink. It simply never disappoints. On this occasion, its the same old greatness we have come to expect. The only problem is that my palate has become shot. Now, it takes twice the flavor to curl my brow. Luckily, Boundary Bay continues to offer a dense flavor punch in the mouth, with one of the best malt to hop balances on the market. There is no doubt that this will be the BB.com selection.

But, we must acknowledge the group-think mentality that we had hoped to espouse. The crowd was overwhelmingly in favor of Walking Man’s Homo Erectus. Having just visited the brewery with many of the people at the table, it made sense that there was some positive support for the Stevenson, Washington brewer. Walking Man makes some of the best beer in the State of Washington; it is undeniably the best rated Washington brewery on RateBeer.com. We agree that Walking Man’s Imperial IPA is a damn good beer, but it lacks the punch that Boundary Bay routinely packs. Regardless, we give the people what they want and a tie results.

 

Winner: Walking Man Homo Erectus (crowd) & Boundary Bay Imperial IPA (Beer Blotter)

 


Round 8:  Midnight Sun Meltdown, Skagit Bourbon Barrel Reverend, Southern Tier Unearthly, Naked City Ace in Hole, Stone 14th Anniversary & Port Brewing 4th Anniversary

 

DSR: Well now, Round 8 is here. I can barely tell that we have tried almost 30 hoppy beers. This round is probably the most widely anticipated. For the people who hadn’t yet tried Port Brewing’s Anniversary or Southern Tier’s Unearthly, it was a momentous occasion. For those who were interested in the two intriguing Washington IPAs, there were goosebumps.

Port Brewing made this Anniversary Ale for its 4th year in business. We first had it back at 5 Guys, Burgers and Fries, which was held during Seattle Beer Week. The beer is everything that you have come to expect from Port Brewing: viciously pungent, densely lupulined, and incredibly sweet. We cannot say no. Unearthly is a lesson in fermentation cessation. The beer is purposely crafted to leave a lot of residual sugar, which nicely complements the high alpha oil content of its hops. The problem is that the Oak-Aged version is so amazingly incredible that it overshadows its un-oaked version. Because of that, this beer wasn’t too much to talk about.

We were very excited to try Naked City’s Ace in the Hole, a fresh hop made with Sorachi Ace hops. Sorachi Ace is a Japanese varietal, but it is now grown down in Prosser, Washington. This beer had almost no malt, allowing the aromatic hops to dominate the sip. We give it a thumbs up. Unfortunately, it had to perform next to Skagit River’s Bourbon Barrel Reverend EB IPA. At this juncture in the night, a bourbon washed IPA was exactly what the doctor ordered! The beer had a rich malt complexity to match the tartness of the bourbon barrel. Everyone at the table was intrigued, and the BB.com people were floored. We love this beer and encourage you all to seek it out. Nice work from the guys in Mt. Vernon.

 

Winner: Skagit River Bourbon Barrel Reverend EB

 

Round 9:  Silver City Whoopass, Big Sky Imperial IPA, Left Hand Twin Sisters & Port Townsend Dry Hopped Imperial IPA

 

DSR: Round 9 has an impressive guest list. These are all very big IPAs, packed with booze and lots of flavor. While we typically love to drink Whoopass, it failed to turn heads at the table. The same was true of Big Sky’s Imperial. Not much to it.

The other two beers were quite the opposite. Left Hand’s Twin Sisters is packed with Sorachi Ace and a bevy of other typically bitter hops. I was surprised when I checked the hop bill, which Left Hand provides for all its consumers on its site (we love it when brewers do that – kudos to LH). Twin Sisters has a light spice due to the rye malt and bitter hops, which was a nice juxtaposition with the utterly profound fruitiness of our next beer. At 9.6%, its toasty.

Port Townsend: thank you for showing up. Over the past few years, we have watched Port Townsend grow into a more diverse, more risky and more delicious brewery. Their IPAs had lacked at tastings in the past, but the last few visits to the brewery, and showings like this, suggest that they belong near the top of WA brewers. Port Townsend’s Dry Hopped Imp. IPA was incredible. The fruitiness was something unmatched by any other beer at the table. We tasted grapefruit, tangerine, mango and melon. Mixing that with a mild malt base allowed the hop oils to burst in your mouth. Every person at the table was impressed. We confirmed this the following day (see below).

 

Winner: Port Townsend Dry Hopped Imperial IPA

 

Round 10: The Re-Run – Port Townsend Imperial IPA, Port Brewing Anniversary & Skagit River Bourbon Barrel Reverend.

 

Round 10 came on a second day visit to Brouwers to try some of the favorites. This trip included a new party who had trust problems over our Skagit and Port Townsend selections. We wanted to make sure we were not making a “tipsy” choice.

Well, we stuck with our guns. Our new guest thought that Port Brewing’s Anniversary could not be beaten – she was wrong. Port could not withstand the incredible flavors offered by Skagit and Port Townsend. The two local grogs floored our new guest and our selections were vindicated.

 

Winner: Skagit River Bourbon Barrel Reverend EB (Again.)

 

The Beer Blotter Top 5:

 

  1. Black Raven Wisdom Seeker
  2. Dogfish Head Burton Baton
  3. Skagit River Bourbon Barrel Reverend EB
  4. Port Townsend Dry Hopped Imperial IPA
  5. Boundary Bay Imperial IPA / Mikkeller Centennial Single Hop

 

Honorable Mentions: Midnight Sun XXX (voted #1 by Amateur Hour), Left Hand Twin Sisters, Port Brewing Anniversary and Walking Man Homo Erectus.

 

Beer Blotter’s Guide to Brouwer’s HopFest 2010

September 7, 2010 13 comments

Photo by Dor & Bob

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.

52 Weeks: Apex, Portland, OR

The tap list is generated from their webpage - which is updated in real time!

Week 24 of 52

Apex

1216 SE. Division St.

Portland, OR 97202

Rank: 4.5/5

Type of Establishment: Beer Bar

Visit: This was one of many trips to Portland, so we were thrilled to try a new beer bar (although Horse Brass, as always, did not disappoint). If nothing else, the five hours it took to drive from Seattle to Portland the evening before was completely validated by Apex. I am about to tell you why. But lets start with 55 beers on tap.

Since there are 55 beers on tap at any given time, I shall not name them all. Apex streams their tap list from a plasma screen to their website. For a current tap list, click here.

 

BEERS ON TAP —> to name a few that popped while we were there.

Oh how pretty - the taps at Apex

Hair of the Dog Blue Dot IPA

Great Divide Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti

New Belgium and Elysian Pink Peppercorn IPA and Trip III

Cascade Summer Gose

Russian River Consecration

 

FOOD OPTIONS:

There are none. Apex focuses on one thing, beer and they do it right. However, right next door is a Mexican to-go style restaurant and across the street, Artemis serves up great sandwiches. We got our beers, a Blue Dot, a Consecration and a Trip III and sat outside in the sun eating a delicious Ham and Swiss sandwich. Im okay with a beer bar not serving food, as long as their are quality options close by.

 

BAR OPINION:

Where do I begin? After a morning of Pacific Northwest weather- cloudy, chilly and July we head to this new beer bar, Apex. Word has reached Seattle about this must stop for beer lovers. As we arrive, we walked through this nicely sized outdoor area with bike racks galore (bike, don’t drink and drive) and picnic table after picnic table.  The clouds part and the sun begins to shine. No joke. It happened this way.

A look at the outside. That green building across the street houses Beermongers, our favorite bottle shop in PDX

We immediately rush up to the taps, 55 gloriously individually crafted beers stand before me and on the TV. That’s right, Apex makes it a point to constantly update their tap list. It shows up on this plasma screen and is then streamed through to their website. A beer lover’s worst nightmare is checking a website, finding a beer, thinking about the beer all of the way to the bar, just to find out it got tapped 3 days ago!!! Oh the horror.

Tap list is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Everything from Lagunitas, Great Divide, Hair of the Dog, Russian River, Double Mountain, Bockor and more. We order our beers to find out that its cash only. Uh oh. A late night out in Portland left our wallets less than full. “Don’t worry, there is an ATM over there and we will take the ATM fee off of your next beer.” What? Serious brownie points.

Aside from the ridiculous beer options, Apex is a wide open space reminiscent of a garage. There isnt a door, not on what turned out to be a gorgeous summer day. The entire place is exposed to the bright sun light. Its great. Within the wide space, there is a very long bar (you need space for all of the taps), several tall boy tables and in the room to the left, brand spankin’ new pinball machines.

The bartender Megan (Meghan?) was sweet, nice and is my kind of girl, knowledgeable and a huge fan of beer (specifically Russian River). Our small group felt right at home and comfortable chatting her up about the opening of Apex, the beer and life in general.

An epic beer adventure. Our buddy, and guest writer for bb.com, after trying Consecration for the first time grabbed a pen and piece of paper and began to divulge the experience he was having with the beer. It was a momentous occasion for all. What I have come to learn is that when surrounded by good people, good beer and a great atmosphere, its just magical.

I will leave you with a quote from Apex’s website:

APEX is the beer bar Portland deserves. Combining a love of great beers from around the world with a life-long passion for all things two-wheeled.

Jessica (our editor) with a Trip III & Erik (Amatuer Hour) with Consecration

Events for the week of May 10, 2010

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

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

Monday, May 10, 2010

FredFest 2010: Portland, Oregon

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

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Belgium Beer Fest: Santa Monica, California

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

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

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Great Beers of the Great Lakes: Bronx, New York

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

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

Thursday, May 13, 2010

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

5:00PM @ Hales Ales Pub

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

Friday, May 14, 2010

Back in Black Stout Night: Seattle, Washington

3:00PM-3:00AM @ Brouwer’s Cafe

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

Lazy Boy Brewing Night: Seattle, Washington

5:00PM- close @ Naked City Taphouse

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

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tour de Pints: Seattle, Washington

11:00AM @ Pike Brewing Co.

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

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

Route is as follows:

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

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Brett Brunch: Seattle, Washington

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

This is my dream brunch:

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

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

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

April 22, 2010 2 comments

Wowsers. This Great Lakes Imperial Stout takes the cake.

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

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

ABV – 9%

Vintage – 2010

RateBeer – 100

Commercial Description -

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

One Sentence Note -

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

Jai Alai - A welcome gift during our trip to Florida

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA: Tampa, FL

ABV – 7.5%

Vintage – 2010

RateBeer – 99

Commercial Description:

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

One Sentence Note:

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

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

Three Floyd’s Dreadnaught Imperial IPA: Chicago, IL

ABV – 9.5%

Vintage – 2009

RateBeer – 100

Commercial Description:

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

One Sentence Notes:

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

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

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

ABV – 7.25%

Vintage2009 (1st batch of year)

RateBeer – 100

Commercial Description:

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

One Sentence Notes:

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

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

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

ABV – 5.3%

Vintage2009

RateBeer – 98

Commercial Description:

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

One Sentence Notes:

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

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

The Belgian Perspective: Drinking North American “Belgians”

March 24, 2010 1 comment

Oh how we miss these wonderful Belgians - but we hope to find some gems around the US of A.

Well we just got back two days ago. We are in the process of writing a full gamut of articles about our Belgium experience. The time table is incomplete, but please expect some Top Places lists and Beer Tour Maps in the next week.

For the time being, we are having a hard time walking away from our magical beer experience abroad. I think that we are having a bit of Belgium withdrawal.

To cure this problematic dilemma, we have selected a few Belgium styled North American beers to try and water our burning desire for more Belgium! After drowning our livers in Belgium beer for 11 days straight, we think we finally have the refined flavors down – bruin, blonde, trippel, gueuze, and lambic.

There are good ones and there are not so good ones. For instance, our good bruins finished full of fruit and cocoa, while our bad ones finished with a metallic aftertaste.

So, we are turning to a few wondrous beers from the Western Hemisphere.

  • Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian IPA

First, Flying Dog Raging Bitch Belgian IPA (i know, i know – they don’t make IPAs in Belgium). Raging Bitch is a 8.3% ABV brewed with a Belgian yeast called “Diablo” and dry-hopped with Amarillo hops.

I have no problem drinking this beer – its damn good. But, its not a Belgian beer. In fact, I am kind of bothered by the American trend of adding Belgian yeast to an American beer and calling it “Belgian.” But, I know that this is a harmless trend – a melding of the best of America (its hops) and the best of Belgium (its yeast).

With that all being said, the beer is very good. But the Belgium flavoring only survives the first few sips. After that – its all Amarillo hops. I would drink this beer any day – but not after 11 days of Belgians. It just cannot cut the mustard.

  • Unibruoe Trois Pistoles

Next up – Unibroue’s Trois Pistoles. UTP (as I affectionately call it) is one of the greatest Belgian styled beers to ever be brewed on the continent. I have no problem saying that because no one knows how to match the classic Belgian taste like Unibroue. After enjoying countless exceptional Belgian brown ales, I now better understand and appreciate UTP.

Unibroue masterfully blends the body of a cola, the scent of overly ripe fruit and the bursting tart boozy flavor of a wonderfully concocted Belgian bruin ale. The color is dark, the pour is soft and the aftertaste is pleasant and diverse, changing with each swish. When you leave the booze in the glass it becomes sour, just another surprise for the drinker.

This one is a can’t miss for any beer drinker. Luckily – its easy to find.

  • Russian River Temptation

Last up is our attempt to find a Belgian styled sour ale. Russian River typically takes the cake for the best sour ales in the Western Hemisphere. The Santa Rosa, CA brewer is only met by US brewers Avery and Jolly Pumpkin when it comes to sours. But in the end, Russian River reins supreme.

For our evening we selected Russian River’s Temptation, which we thought might best match the Belgian gueuze styling. The gueuze is a blend of old and young lambics. This type of beer is seriously unmatched in the USA. There simply are no lambic producers of note. But, Temptation is a blonde styled ale, light in color, body and maltiness – allowing us to best mimic the lambic styling.

Russian River Temptation is a RateBeer Top 50 and a 100 overall. People like this beer. It has all the makings of a highly regarded beer – unique, complex, aged in wood, and a cult-like following.

We have enjoyed Temptation on many different occasions, on tap and from the bottle. This particular bottle comes from the first batch of 2009, which we obtained from Full Throttle bottleshop in Georgetown, Seattle this past summer. The beer has been resting well down in our cellar, where the active yeasts have now settled to the bottom of the bottle.

Temptation is brewed during a complex process. First, the beer is brewed and fermented in French Oak Chardonnay barrels over a period of 12 months. During that time, Brettanomyces (a wild strain of Belgian yeast) is added and allowed to do its worst to the beer. Finally, the beer is refermented in the bottle – allowing it to attain its soft carbonation.

This beer is the most wine-like of the series of sour ales that Russian River produces. In fact, the beer is almost that of a champagne bitterness, with a very sharp finish. The sour flavor does not dissipate quickly, leaving the drinker with much to savor over the life of the bottle.

We love Temptation – we do. But, we still prefer the red and brown ales of Consecration and Deviation much more. The heavy fruity and malty beers do very well with the sour Brett flavor. Blonde and lambics tend to be entirely one-sided.

Well, its a great experiment. In some instances it bettered our appreciation of North American beer – in some cases it worsened it. We hope to find some better Belgian lookalikes soon.

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