***This was one of my favorite reviews that Timperial ever did and I wanted share it with you all. Enjoy!***
Enjoyed on: 1/11/10
Brewery: The Bruery
Location: Placentia, CA
Presentation: 750 ML – Brown Glass Bottle
Style: Berliner Weisse
Recommended Serving Temp: 45 degrees
Notes from the bottle: Brewed in memory of Fred & Sarah Hottenroth, this traditional ale can be served with raspberry or woodruff syrup, or simply enjoyed as is! Sour = Yum!
Food Pairings: Salad, chicken, raspberry or woodruff syrup
Cheese Pairings: Brie, gouda, havarti
Beer Advocate: B+
Rate Beer: 94 (3.68)
Once again, one requires a degree in linguistics to pronounce The Bruery’s latest offering. Luckily, their creations continue to be so downright inspirational that it’s easy to forgive them for their indulgences. Well, in this case, it seems to be a noble cause. This one is named in memory of owner and head brewer Patrick Rue’s grandparents.
First, a bit about the Berliner Weisse, for the tale is an intriguing one. A German story says that the Berliner Weisse style was once called “The Champagne of the North”. “Champagne” was actually one of the first words that came into my head after sipping this rare style, after, of course, thinking: “whoa…sour, I wasn’t expecting that”. Berliner Weisse literally translates to wheat beer from Berlin, and in addition to the obvious use of wheat, it is also characterized by a sour flavor and a very low abv. The style was once the most popular drink in Berlin, with over 700 breweries producing it. Not so rare back then, but now there are only 2 breweries left producing it in Berlin.
One thing (yes, there is a few) that Germany has been good at through the years, when it comes to brewing, is making up strange laws to govern beer’s production. The Reinheitsgobot, or German Purity Law, once strictly stated that all beer brewed in Germany must be made with water, barley and hops, and nothing else. The word “Berliner Weisse” has been reserved, much in the way that the word “Champagne” is throughout the world for sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France, for beers brewed in Berlin. In other words, you can’t produce a Berliner Weisse in Germany unless your brewery is in Berlin. Unlike the Champagne rule, the Berliner Weisse rule seems to only apply within Germany.
A final intriguing note on Berliner Weisse is that it is often traditionally served with flavored syrups to cut the tartness. The two suggestions given on the bottle are raspberry and woodruff syrup. Woodruff is a potently scented herb that is used in a variety of foods and drinks, mainly in Germany. Beyond its addition to beer, it can be found in sausages, jellies/jams, and even ice cream.
Oh by the way, we are drinking a beer here.
Pours a very peculiar hue. Extremely pale, straw-yellow that reminds me of white tea. It’s quite hazy, with sediment clumps found on the bottom of the glass. A pure white head barely rises on the pour and settles quickly. Despite the fleeting head, this brew has a lot of carbonation. Tiny bubbles quickly race from the depths of the goblet up to their freedom. This breathing lasts for quite a while. The sharpness of the fluid dancing in your mouth plays a large role in its reminiscence of Champagne.
If it weren’t for the carbonation I’d say this looks a lot like a lawnmower beer. Maybe we call this a plough beer? Either way, there is a lot of land around us…and farm animals.
We have just traveled to a backcountry German farm. A curious stroll from pasture to horse barn brings a battering to the olfactory nerves. Hay and earth and wet wood and mold and all sorts of horse related funkiness. It’s all there.
Side note: If I ever own a horse, his name will be Hottenroth, end of story!
Point is, the smells are plentiful if you really breathe deep and reflect. Wheat/hay and lactobacillus/brettanomyces (both used in fermentation) funkiness are most present, with some unleavened sourdough, a bit of lemon peel, white or skinless grapes (possibly infiltrating my mind due to the lingering Champagne thoughts) and periodically, a very faint strawberry and green apple odor persist.
The flavors…well…tart and funky, but in a really good way. Also, she is surprisingly sweet for a wheat beer. The carbonation makes it feel more like a lemon soda pop…that was…possibly left in the sun for too long…but in a good way. The wheat is omnipresent and makes it feel all the more like a hot summer day at the homestead. Ahh, escapism at its finest.
And then there is the matter of Hottenroth’s extreme session-worthiness. There is no mistake above. This beer is 3.1% abv. This is where Hottenroth is most noteworthy in my opinion. What do you session with, a lawnmower beer or a plough beer?
I’m not going to tell you that this 3.1% beer is the most complex-mind-blowing-must-buy-immediately beer I’ve ever had, but I can tell you that this sessionable beer is not thin and boring, and it sure doesn’t taste like the mash was cut with rice. It is a darn tasty beer, and you can easily drink a few of them in one sitting without slobbering on yourself and blathering like an idiot about farm animals or god-knows-what. Hottenroth is exciting, refreshing, delicious, and most of all inspiring. I choose the plough beer, and plenty of it.
My hat’s off, yet again, to the Famille Rue.
If you like Hottenroth you should try:
Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard earned money at a local bottle shop.
***Notes of a Beer Nerd is a column written by resident cellar dwelling mammal, Timperial Stout. Feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, concerns or comments***
Enjoyed on 2/22/2011
Brewery: Cigar City Brewing LLC
Location: Tampa, FL
Beer: Bolita Brown Double Nut Brown Ale
Presentation: 750 ml – Blown Glass Bottle – Capped
Style: Double Nut Brown Ale
Recommended Serving Temp: 45 degrees
Bolita was a type of lottery popular with the working class citizens of the Ybor City district of Tampa. Bolita means, ’little ball’ but profits from the illegal (and often rigged) game were anything but little. In the 1920’s Tampa native Charlie Wall was the undisputed kingpin of the Bolita racket.
Our Bolita is a Double Northern English-style brown ale that has a complex malt forward character with notes of chocolate, toffee and hints of roasted nuts in the finish. Bolita pairs well with Baklava, Big Band Music, Cool Evenings and robust cigars.
Food Pairings: Pork, brownies
Cheese Pairings: Camembert, Asiago
Music Pairing: Sun Ra
Beer Advocate: A- (4.09)
Rate Beer: 98 (3.76)
I have been saying for a while now that The Bruery and Cigar City are the two most exciting new breweries to open in the past 5 years. In the case of The Bruery, I have relatively strong access to their beers and can speak with experience. With CCB, I am forced to go completely by word of mouth, publications and ratebeer/beeradvocate ratings…until now. Thanks to the overwhelming kindness and social grace of Jess and DSR, the better 2/3 of Beer Blotter, I was gifted with this bottle after they toured NYC in 2009. I had been waiting for a special occasion to open it. When I received a god-awful bill from a recent ER visit I made, I decided that I’d substitute “special occasion” with “extreme desire to escape reality”. Let’s see if they live up to the hype.
Just after opening the bottle, at a very cold temperature mind you, a bit of foam formed and began to slowly creep over the rim of the bottle. Out of fear of losing some of this rare brew to the table top, I quickly filled my snifter. A lively head rose up but I was able to get a good pour and not overflow the vessel. Bottle-conditioning success!
The fluid itself is a gorgeous mahogany color, and when held directly to the light it appears slightly toward a very dark, murky amber. Light does not pass through and though it is evident that the carbonation is strong, it is nearly impossible to see any rising effervescence.
The head is tan in color and fairly light in density. It falls somewhat quickly from its initial heights but leaves behind immense globs of lace, eventually settling into a soft, brownish-tan wisp. As I revel in the appearance, from a top view, I’m reminded of being on a beach, right at the point in which the crashing waves dwindle and recede. A froth of salty water resting upon dark, drenched sand, awaiting the next gravity fed barrage of the mighty sea. If I could shrink myself down and anxiously submerge my feet in these cool sands, I would not hesitate.
The scent is surprisingly vinous and estery…almost tart. It takes a deep waft and some searching to find the nuts and malts beneath, but they are there. The full experience in the nose – that being the combination of the before mentioned attributes – is actually really enjoyable, though my first impression is that this was not intended by the brewers. Though, upon further reflection, this is a Cigar City beer and there is no doubt that, in its current state, this would pair effortlessly with a cigar. Even still, as this is my first and only experience with this beer, I ponder the role that travel and age may play here. It may require a trip to the Southeast to truly know.
Had the label come out and told me that this beer was aged in wood I would feel much better about everything, but really, if it isn’t, and this isn’t the intended scent, maybe it should be because it’s amazing! It’s full of cherry notes and brown sugar, strawberries and rhubarb, pie crust and sugar cookies filled with jam.
Nuts and chocolate, again, can be found, but much deeper than the rest. The moment that they are found, it all comes together in a holiday-like harmony that really sends me to another place and time. It’s a magical experience. Very, very much unlike most brown ales, there is no subtlety to the nose. It bursts out of the glass like an overly perfumed grandmother. In this case, I want to rest my shoulder on granny all evening long.
The MF is on the high side with respect to carbonation, which slightly inhibits my ability to gauge anything in this category. Through many sips I determine that it’s above average in body but not overly cloying or oily. It’s spot on for a double brown ale.
It’s in the flavor that the nuts and chocolatey, roasted malt characteristics truly shine, but that only really holds true when the beer is colder. In that stage the flavor is much reminiscent of Nutella. When you couple that with the fruity nose, well, quite literally… it’s like enjoying a Nutella dipped strawberry, which, let me tell you, is simply stupendous!
The grains do not present any acridity or chalkiness and it all goes down smooth and sweet. As the beer warms the experience has much less of a yin and yang effect and the flavors seems to devolve more into what was experienced with the surface scents. The maltiness is pressed to the aftertaste and it all transitions into something very Belgian in nature. If there was ever a time that I’d bet wood was involved in the production of this beer it would be now. Strawberry bubblegum screams the loudest, but a woody, earthy flavor rests below. That may be my palate misinterpreting the nuts since they are rare in this context. The booze really brightens up here and plays yet another role in my (spiked?) barrel theory.
Amidst all this seeming mayhem, there is not an ounce of me that is disenchanted by any of it. In fact, I can’t get enough. It’s a chameleon of a beer. What strange shade will I see the next time I blink?
The aftertaste is an afterthought for most of my time with this beer. It’s all sweet and just slightly acidic, but with warmth there is a lasting, cocoa powder graininess that gives the impression of a chalky dryness that isn’t actually there. This is probably the worst part of the entire experience of Bolita Brown but that is a bit of a misnomer because the whole experience is grande. There is no doubt that I want to continue to the next sip.
It’s been a long time coming, this foray into the realm of Cigar City, and whether I “compromised” the product or not, I really enjoyed my time with it. I have great hopes that the time will soon come that I have full access to CCB’s product line.
If you like Cigar City Bolita Brown, you should try…
Samuel Smith’s Nut Brown Ale; Smuttynose Brewing’s Old Brown Dog Ale; Lazy Magnolia Brewing’s Southern Pecan
Disclaimer: This beer was purchased by Beer Blotter with our own hard-earned money, and aged to perfection by yours truly.
If you are following me on Twitter (@timperialstout), I’m sure that you have noticed that I have been blowing up your timeline with beer check-ins via Untappd. Sorry about that. Hopefully, you’re just a little jealous that I get to have an entire week of unencumbered liver destruction at the hands of many Eastern and Southern beers that I either very rarely get to drink or have never had before. Needless to say, I’m having a blast!
I’m pretty sure that I could be happy living in Asheville solely thanks to two establishments. First, Thirsty Monk. Thirsty Monk is one of the best beer bars I have ever been to. The owner actually lived in Seattle for a while and is a huge fan of The Stumbling Monk in Cap Hill, as well as Brouwer’s and Hale’s Ales. The Thirsty fella is much larger than the Stumbling one, and I’d venture to say that it’s more true to form in its Belgian authenticity. The layout and minimal food offerings (cheese, soft pretzels, humus plate) bring much reminiscing to my time in the true home of the Belgian Beer Bar Experience. Though, the top floor is home to all American beer taps, many of which are local. It’s the bottom floor that is the real lair of the monk. All taps in the depths are of Belgian style, though not all are imports. During my visit there were several Belgian styles on tap from American brewers such as The Bruery, North Coast and Allagash.
The best part about Thirsty Monk, other than the decor and great taplist, is that they offer taster trays (four samples) and half pints. No beer is excluded. This is very similar awesomeness to Uber Tavern’s relatively new service upgrade in allowing tasters of any beer on tap. When you order a taster tray at TM you are also given a tasting notes card and a pencil so that you can, of course, write tasting notes and have something to take home with you so that you can remember what you had and if you enjoyed it. This is especially helpful for me in my current situation…drinking beers that I very rarely if ever have, that is.
That brings us to the second establishment that would make it easy for me to permanently reside in Asheville, Bruisin’ Ales. Before I made it here I had stopped into a few local markets, wine shops and the other bottle shop in town, Hops & Vines. No one seems to compare to Bruisin’ Ales in selection, and really, that’s what you want in a bottle shop. BA has an exceptional selection of locals, regionals and Belgians (lots and lots of Belgians). They also have a great collection of glassware available and sell t-shirts with their logo on them.
The location is prime, right in the mix of it all downtown. It’s actually on the same road as Barley’s Taproom and Mellow Mushroom, two great beer bars. I found the staff to be very kind and knowledgeable. As is always the case when I’m in a new place with a huge collection of beers that are unavailable in Seattle, I was wildly overwhelmed. I decided that I should hold off on purchasing the final bounty of bottles that I will smuggle back to Seattle until later in the trip when I have a better idea of what’s good, rare, etc. I grabbed a few bottles to take back to the dwelling for late night options. These included Terrapin So Fresh & So Green fresh hop IPA, Terrapin Gamma Ray wheatwine, New Holland Blue Sunday Sour, Weyerbacher Riverva 2010 and Ska Nefarious Ten Pin imperial porter. Good times.
The New Year quickly descends upon us. What will you be drinking to ring in 2011?
After a trip to Ohio full of endless Great Lakes Christmas Ale, we arrive back in Seattle. But now for your week in beer.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Meet the Bruery Fundraiser: Santa Monica, California
6:00PM-9:00PM @ the Library Ale House
The Bruery is one of the newer, yet highly acclaimed breweries in Southern California. Tonight, they will be tapping kegs of 3 French Hens and Rugbrød. Rare bottles of Workman’s Friend Imperial Porter will also be available. A flight of all three will be available for purchase. In addition small bites for pairing will be provided:
- Workman’s Friend with Turkey Meatloaf
- Rugbrod with Jerk Chicken
- 3 French Hens with Bread Pudding
Fellow SoCal brewery Port Brewing will have Santa’s Little Helper for your enjoyment.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Pint Night with Breckenridge Brewery: Exton, Pennsylvania
6:00PM-11:00PM @ The Drafting Room Taproom and Grille
Pint Night at The Drafting Room Taproom & Grille
featuring Breckenridge Brewery
Join us on Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 6:00
On Tap from Breckenridge:
Christmas Ale (Winter Warmer)
Lucky U IPA (American IPA)
Avalanche (American Amber)
471 IPA (Imperial IPA)
Regal Pilsner (Imperial Pilsner)
Hope to see you there
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Founders and Friends Benefit and Tasting: Columbus, Ohio
7:00PM-11:00PM @ Bob’s Bar
All things good in the Midwest (and more) will be available on tap tonight!
1) Founders Brewing – Backwoods Bastard Tapping
2) Columbus Brewing – 12 Hops of XMas (Firkin)
3) Fatheads – Headhunter IPA (1st columbus tapping) –> THIS BEER IS SO GOOD!!!
4) Stone Brewing – First tapping of their collaboration with Fatheads (brewed during Cleveland Beer Week)
5) Sierra Nevada – Celebration and 30th Anniv.
6) North Coast – TBA
7) Troegs – Mad Elf and perhaps a little surprise from the brewery
Friday, December 31, 2010
New Beer’s Eve: Chicago, Illinois
4:00PM-12:00AM @ Fountainhead
Ok this event is only $30.00 per person and the beers on tap and the food look amazing- this might be the best New Year’s Eve deal in the country.
New Belgium/Allagash – Vrienden
Left Hand – Fade To Black
Bierbrouwerij Emelisse – Triple IPA
Two Brothers – Bare Tree Weiss Wine
Dogfish Head – Bitches Brew
Bear Republic – Apex Imperial IPA
Mikkeller – Rauch Geek Breakfast Stout
Anderson Valley – Imperial Boont Amber
Half Acre – Big Huggs
Bells Two Hearted
Three Floyds Alpha King
New Beer’s Eve Pre-Fix Dinner:
Beer Cheese Soup, Spicy Beer Cheese Soup with Potatoes, Lime Cream, Bacon, Grilled Rye & Sourdough
Crispy Salad, Spiced Walnuts & Diced Apple with Goat Cheese over Mixed Greens & Cherry Vinaigrette
Pot Roast, Rioja Demi and Root Vegetables over Parsnip Puree
Bourbon Maple Glazed Salmon with Root Vegetable Succotash and Celery Root Salad
Generous slice of Belgian Chocolate Bread Pudding with Caramel and Candied Pecans
Each course paired with a beer by our Beer Director
Pre-Fix Dinner by reservation only, 4-8 pm, $30 per Person
Please email by Wed. Dec. 29th with Preferred Time, Number of People, & Course Choices to: email@example.com
New Beer’s Eve Small Plates, 8-11pm
Saturday, January 1, 2011
20 Stouts on Tap: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
12:00PM-12:00AM @ Monk’s Cafe
Yep, we’re doing it again. Every line will have a stout running though the spout. As always, we’ll have some recognizable stouts and a few keg that most of you have not tasted before. Come in out of the cold and warm up with some hearty food and robust stouts.
Cash Bar, starts around noon.
Sunday, January 2, 2011
All of the events I can find today are not worth going to. Sit at home with some friends and break open something from the cellar.
Monday, January 3, 2010
Diners, Drive-In and Dives Party: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
10:00PM-11:00PM @ Memphis Taproom
The Memphis Taproom will be featured on the Food Network’s show, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Tonight, celebrate with PENNY DRAFT BEERS for one half hour! During commercials only — when the show’s on, you will have all eyes on the TV!
If you want me to post about an event, want to talk about an event you went to or just want to talk about beer, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment!! Cheers!
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.
12037 W. 159th Street
Homer Glen, IL 60491
10750 South Cicero Avenue
Oak Lawn, IL 60453-5402
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
- 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 email@example.com!
If you live in the Seattle area and you like beer enough to read this blog, chances are pretty good that you will be hitting up Big Wood Fest at Brouwer’s Cafe, if not on opening night (Thursday Dec. 2), at some point this coming weekend. Hopefully you have already gazed upon the outstanding preliminary list which can be found on our site here and on Brouwer’s blog.
Clearly, there’s a lot of options to chose from, and all of us, most unfortunately, only have one measly liver to assist us in tackling them. This is where we come in. We drink a lot of beer. We have been to BWF several times now. If you want to make sure that you order your barrel aged beers wisely, heed our advice. We don’t think that you will be disappointed.
I’ve decided to choose my top 15. These are the beers that I plan to sample, based on the current list. It’s my game plan. I know what you are thinking, and yes, I actually do think that I can try 15 beers. When bb.com goes to big beer events at Brouwer’s, where there is never a cover, we make sure to roll deep. We bring out as many friends as possible, we direct them on what to order, and then we drink their beers (of course we let them drink ours too). Always be sure to order the smallest size that is offered, every time. These events are all about getting your hands, and tastes buds, on as many special and rare beers as possible.
This list is, as always with Brouwer’s events, subject to change because it is very likely that the final list will include a few eye-popping secrets. This year I’m hoping to see a few more special Hair of the Dog beers, more vintage Bottleworks Anniversary beers like barrel aged Ivan the Terrible, and maybe some more killer locals like Petite Mort from Black Raven or some Big Time treats.
Deviation is the best Russian River beer that I have ever had (and that puts it very high on my all time list, if not at the top). Also, Bottleworks periodically pulls some out of their cellar and sells it for nearly $100 a bottle. I think I bought it for $15. This beer is the epitome of rare and the epitome of mind-blowingly delicious. Please, don’t order this so that I can drink it all, that is, if it really does still exist…
Its Thanksgiving week which means a short work week and snow for people in Seattle- a rare occurrence, I might add. This weekend I warmed up with some Firestone Walker Double Jack, Stone‘s 2008 Russian Imperial Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout (unreal), The Bruery‘s Autumn Maple Strong Ale and Upright‘s 5 Rye Saison. But now for your week in beer!
Monday, November 22, 2010
BrewDog Night: Washington, D.C.
4:00PM-9:00PM @ Birch and Barley
Tonight, Birch and Barley will be serving the insanely potent Sink The Bismarck (a Quadruple IPA at 41 % abv) and Tactical Nuclear Penguin by BrewDog (Uber Imperial Stout at 32 % abv) in 1.5 oz. pours beginning at 4 PM! Come and taste these singular libations and discover that there is much more too them than hype!
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Firestone Walker 14th Anniversary Release Party: Seal Beach, California
7:00PM-10:00PM @ Beachwood BBQ
I recently had this beer in San Diego and it is out-of-this-world! Beachwood BBQ will be taping a keg of Firestone Walker‘s 14 as well as Union Jack, Double Jack, Velvet Merlin, Solace, Pale 31, and DBA.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Emerald City Brewing Co. Tasting: Seattle, Washington
6:00PM- close @ Jillian’s
Check out our article about this event. Emerald City Brewing Co. is new to Seattle, so get out and discover all the beers this brewery has to offer.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
HAPPY TURKEY DAY from bb.com!
What beers will you drink today?
Friday, November 26, 2010
Black Friday: Chicago, Illinois
10:00AM-12:00PM @ Goose Island Cylbourn
Join Goose Island on Black Friday for a special preview of the much anticipated Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout. The Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub will be tapping a few barrels of the Rare that morning at 10am. Once it’s gone, it’s gone and we expect it will sell out fast. Aside from this special tapping the only time you’ll see Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout on draft will be at select beer festivals and promotional Goose Island events in the future.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
HOPSGIVING: Barto, Pennsylvania
12:00PM-10:00PM @ Union Jack’s Old Congo Hotel
No cover- pay as you drink. Check the list. Its pretty amazing.
PORT HIGH TIDE
GREEN FLASH IMPERIAL
PORT HOP 15
DOGFISH HEAD 90 MIN
PLINY THE ELDER
SOUTHERN TIER UNEARTHLY
ROGUE XS IPA
GREAT DIVIDE FRESH HOP ALE
BEAR REPUBLIC RACER X
VICTORY HOP WALLOP
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Freakin’ Firkin Sunday: Benton Harbor, Michigan
2:30 – ?? @ The Livery
Brewmaster Steve will be tapping the Firkin cask at 3.00 p.m. (or thereabouts) on this Sunday. Enjoy a pint of real ale in its true form – and also enjoy the lively Irish Session which is the same day from 2-5 pm.
If you have an event you are going to, went to or an event you want us to post about, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers!
One of my writers in crime here at Beer Blotter, Jess R., quite recently published a very well crafted article about glassware. It reminded us all of the overwhelming importance of presenting beer in its proper vessel.
In turn, we were reminded of the the one place in the world where bartenders actually feel the need to offer a heartfelt apology for momentarily being out of the proper glass for the beer ordered: where else but Belgium. Thoughts of Belgium take us down never ending roads of memory that we will most definitely not get into right now.
But for us three blotterers, a chance to get together, drink beer, and reminisce about our mighty Euro trip will never go unrealized. In the midst of that exciting undertaking, we figured why not clear out a small corner of the cellar that drastically needed to be cleared, all the while bringing it full circle with just the topic that spawned the meeting, glassware.
This night was epic. I guess we had a lot more cellar space to open up than we thought. Time will not allow me to copy all of my notes on all of the beer-glass pairings of the night in one sitting, so here I present part 1.
Pilsner Glass – Victory Brewing Summer Love Ale
Though dubbed an ale right there in the name, this was most likely brewed with California Common yeast, which would indeed make it an ale but would attribute many characteristics of a lager. Thus, the pairing with the pils glass, which allowed the head to stay compact and lively in the decreased circumference, where it would normally dwindle and lay dormant in short time. This beer was specially made for Philly Tourism, who recently contacted us due to Timperial’s roots there.
We took our popular With Love, Philadelphia XOXO tourism initiative from campaign to consumer experience by partnering with Victory Brewing Company to create Summer Love Ale. Brewed locally in Chester County, PA with pale malts, German hops and water from the Brandywine River, the golden brew began flowing at bars throughout the Philadelphia region during the annual Philly Beer Week in June.
Check out this quote from Victory Brewer Bill Covaleski:
Summer Love starts with an all German malt base upon which we overlaid crisp German hops for that familiar, import quality that some many beer drinkers find attractive and comfortable, then we put bright, lemony Citra hops, grown here in the US, into the mix for an exciting aroma to start and refreshing and enduring finish. Kinda like Philly. Mostly familiar but always surprising!
My notes of the beer read as follows: This pours, not surprisingly, light in color, hazy yellow with a white head of very large bubbles. The odor is very impressive in it’s hoppiness; floral and grassy. This is very easy drinking with excellent sweetness coming from mild caramel notes. From a light(er) beer perspective, this is really well balanced with a striking lemony, citrus hop profile. I could drink this for days!
Tulip Glass – Victory Brewing Saison Du Buff
This beer was originally released under Stone Brewing’s liscense as part of their collaboration series. Dogfish Head, Stone and Victory teamed up to create this one, but each brewery is now releasing it under their own license and with their own distinctive artwork.
I found this beer to be hazy golden in color with intense carbonation. To call it spicy and floral would be an understatement. Herbal to the nth degree. Some possible herbs at play are chamomile, ginger, coriander, citrus peel, rosemary, sage… It’s a cornucopia.
The head quickly subsided to nothing at all, which I found to be very odd with respect to the lively carbonation. Perhaps oils from the herbs had negative effects on the retention?
The aftertaste seemed to linger for days, and I also found it to be surprising that the finish was not super dry, which seems to be commonplace with saisons in general. Damn good beer!
Goblet – The Bruery Trade Winds Tripel
This is seriously no ordinary beer for no ordinary glass. For branding consistency sake, I turned the glass around to the non-logo side for the picture (left) but just take my word for it that it’s a Westvleteren glass. We got that shit straight from In De Vrede in West Flanders! And the beer…well, it’s made by The Bruery…’nuff said!
This puppy weighs in at 8.1% and is brewed with rice and Thai basil. It pours a soft amber hue with above average carbonation and pretty poor clarity. Arising on the pour, a luscious white head that sticks around. In the nose, that striking candy sweetness that accompanies nearly all true Belgian tripels. There is also a malty sweetness that lends credibility to the brewer’s art.
The basil manifested itself into a simple, neutral spicy characteristic, and I also found there to be a very pronounced green apple quality. The lacing on the glass is not to be scoffed at and all that sweetness lends to a fantastically smooth mouthfeel.
The aftertaste is mesmerizing as well. Booze and grains come out as it warms, but I don’t find either to be negative here.
Flute – Ommegang Zuur
This 6% Flemish Sour Ale was brewed in collaboration with the much heralded Belgian sour brewer Liefman’s. It fills the glass with a brownish ruby red color and possess respectable clarity.
Initially, as it makes contact with the glass, the carbonation is wild and it’s very difficult to pour anything but a glass full of foam. As quickly as the suds rise up they dissipate to not but a trace. I find dark fruit in the scent, mostly the cherries that it was brewed with, and a good dose of funky, sour tartness, spot on for the style.
On the tongue, it’s prickly with the carbonation and tensing with tartness. Puckering yes, but I’ve soireed with many Flemish ales with much more zing. There is a pleasant bread-like maltiness in behind all the pizazz, but the overall body and intensity is underwhelming in the end.
Many respects for Ommegang for taking a swing at this exciting style, and though it’s very drinkable, it’s no Rodenbach.
The 29th edition of the Great American Beer Festival is just 2 weeks away. Sadly, I’m not going to make it this year. Even sadder, I’ve never made it. It’s on my bucket list, I assure you, but I can only really afford one big trip a year and the last few years…well, it didn’t make the cut for one reason or another. I already took my trip this year. I went to Belgium. I think that that’s a pretty good excuse.
But, just because I’m not going doesn’t mean that I can’t pretend. I’ve decided to make a list of the 25 breweries that I would visit at the fest if I where going. Hopefully, this will be of assistance to some of our readers out there that are going. Of course, this list is strongly influenced by my beer experiences, which are most likely very different from yours. Maybe you grew up in WI and have had all the New Glarus you can handle. That’s OK, but I have had a very minimal experience with NGB and given that it is a very well-respected brewery with minimal distribution, I’d visit their booth. Just a small example of the way this will go down.
Considering that there are roughly 460 breweries pouring at the fest, one needs to develop a game plan. Otherwise, ones head would likely explode. My general rule would be to make sure that all of the brewery’s booths that I visit fit into 1 of 3 main categories.
These categories are as follows:
1) Breweries whose product I have never tasted, due to never living or visiting within the distribution area, and whose product is met with great respect in the beer community. Breweries who I may have never heard a “buzz” about before but have been big winners in past GABFs would also fit into this category.
2) Breweries whose product I have tasted before, but whose product is met with such a profound respect in the beer community that I would desire to drink said product at anytime, anywhere.
3) Breweries whose product I have tasted before in my time living and drinking in the Northeast, but are either missed greatly by me or have released new products since my departure that I have not yet tasted.
With as many breweries as are attending this year’s fest, these rules alone would by no means whittle the list down to 25. I’ll tell you right now that I will be forced, quite painfully I may add, to leave some true gems off the list, but no one ever said it was easy to make lists like this. Here’s my first 10 choices, in no particular order.
New Glarus Brewing Co. – I mentioned these guys above so I might as well put them on here first. NGB only distributes to WI. That makes it a bit of a challenge for a lot of us to get. Thanks to a good friend’s willingness to share, I was able to taste a few of the standard releases about a month ago. They were quality brews with great ratings from the community, but it’s their rarities that really put NGB up on a pedestal. If they were pouring Raspberry Tart I just might get in line twice.
Dry Dock Brewing Co. – This is a very small brewpub out of Aurora, CO but it was awarded the Small Brewery of the Year at last year’s GABF. That’s enough to pique my interest.
Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. – I hope to visit this Michigan brewery in December when I visit my girlfriend’s family. Their Raspberry Eisbock and 4th Dementia Old Ale are both subject to a cult following in the beer community. These are two of my favorite styles and I would have a hard time coming up with many beers in the world that I want to get my hands on more.
Foothills Brewing – This North Carolina brewery is mostly famous for their imperial stout called Sexual Chocolate. Not only is it massively hyped on the internets, but it won the bronze metal last year in the Impy Stout category. That gives it some pretty respectable cred if you ask me. Timperial wants.
Pizza Port/Port Brewing/Lost Abbey – This is Tomme Arthur’s world. Tomme is a living beer legend for a reason. I’d steer more toward the Pizza Port offerings simply because I have not tasted their particular brand of grog. There are four different Pizza Port locations that enter beer, and they all seem to do very well in the competition. I’d lean more toward the San Clemente and Calsbad locales.
McKenzie Brew House – Even the biggest beer junkies in the West may have never heard of this one. It’s actually in Glen Mills, PA which is the town that I grew up in. The “town” (no actual downtown) is so small that I very rarely tell people that I grew up there in order to combat the blank stare that I would no doubt receive. I just tell people that I grew up in West Chester, PA because there is at least a remote chance that they would have heard of that one. Anyway, this is not only on the list because it fits into category 3 above but because they have been winning a bunch of awards lately. Check them out, you won’t be disappointed.
Iron Hill Brewery – Another small brew pub that is near and dear to my heart from back east. I’d venture to say that these guys make some of the best beer I’ve ever had. Not a single trip back home will pass without a stop here. Seattleites just may have sampled some of their product at Elysian’s Pumpkin Fest.
The Duck-Rabbit Craft Brewery – I couldn’t really name one particular reason to check these guys out, I just know that I have read about them for various reasons for quite some time now. Another very high quality brewer from North Carolina.
Cigar City Brewing – If you have never heard of Cigar City, you need to read more. These guys are absolutely blowing up the world of craft brewing right now, and they are still super new. If I could get a little bit personal with you for just one moment. I have a goal that I’m working toward. That goal is to open my own brewery in the next few years (I know, aren’t I just so unique). With this in mind, I am constantly analyzing breweries – learning from their positive and negative attributes. There are two American craft breweries that have opened in the past few years that exploded in popularity right from the onset. Obviously, I want my brewery to open in such a way as well. Tampa, FL’s Cigar City and the next brewery on my list are two businesses that should be analyzed by all future entrepreneurs.
The Bruery – I feel like we talk these guys up on the blog all the time. These guys are amongst the top ten breweries in America, hands down. I really shouldn’t have to go into it any deeper.
I have 15 more to choose, so check back frequently in the waning days of the pre-GABF calendar.
***This Notes of a Beer Nerd was originally published on December 30, 2009. As I am preparing for my trip to The Bruery’s tasting room in Placentia, CA next weekend, I thought it was a great time to do some research on one of the brewery’s finest. That – and this write up is sexy.***
Enjoyed on: 12/13/2009
Brewery: The Bruery
Location: Placentia, CA
Presentation: 750 ML – Brown Glass Bottle
Style: Julebryg / Dark Rye Ale
Malt: 3 types of Rye
Recommended Serving Temp: 50 degrees
Notes from the bottle: A deep auburn colored robust Danish-style ale with spicy rye, and caramelly, bready malts. Rugbrod Rye Ale is suitable for aging up to 2 years when cellared properly, around 55 F (13 C) in a dark place. Best served at 50 F (10 C). Pour carefully, leaving the yeast sediment behind in the bottle. Best served in a tulip or wine glass. For proper pronunciation, chef recommended food pairings and recipes, please visit our website.
Food Pairings: Pork, lamb
Cheese Pairings: Monterey, Pepper Jack
Beer Advocate: B+
Rate Beer: 89 (3.58)
What the hell is Rugbrod? Good question, I didn’t know either. As is turns out, Rugbrod means “rye bread” in Danish. What the hell is a Julebryg? Good question, I didn’t know either. As it turns out, Julebryg is a Scandinavian term for a winter warmer. Tis’ the season. Now that we have crossed the language barrier, let’s see what this unique brew offers.
This one is unfiltered and bottle conditioned. A subtle, inquisitive pour brings a glass full of head. It takes several minutes and a lot of patience to get a tulip full of beer. A dark auburn fluid eventually settles out from the luscious tan head. The scent is so warm and cozy I wish I was enjoying this by a fire in a remote European village. Understandably Danish, it’s Belgium that comes to mind when i put my nose to it. So bready! Croissants and ryes and pumpernickel. A faint fruitiness lends the Belgium thoughts.
Despite the big head there is not a lot of carbonation feel to the liquid. The mouthfeel is pleasantly smooth and some alcohol comes through as it warms.
The flavors are more of yeast with mild fruitcake notes. A drying aftertaste is present, like I just swallowed a mouthful of absorbent, porous bread. Bread, bread, bread… so much bread here. Rye beers are not extremely common, yes, but I have no doubt had my share, and none have tasted quite so much like the bread.
I’ve always had a great appreciation for bread, in its many forms. Some subtle, even bland, other deep and flavorful. It seems like such a simple food, something that has always fed man. Sustenance for the most poor, a simple pleasure for the most rich. The process of baking bread and its ingredients make it a similar product to beer in many ways, and it is surely a great accompaniment as well. Throw some cheese in the mix and I think I’d have all I ever need for a happy life.
Some chocolaty, caramelly flavors come through well after the swallow reminiscent of Werther’s Original Caramels. The Bruery really made something special here. Unique, intriguing, historic, delicious. My hat’s off to the Family Rue.
If you like Rugbrod, good luck finding something similar. If you like rye you should try, or buy:
Bear Republic Brewery’s Hop Rod Rye; Two Brothers Brewing’s Cane & Ebel; Left Hand Brewing Co.’s Terra-Rye’ZD
Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard earned money at a local bottle shop .