Written by Jess R.
If you all recall, and how could you forget, bb.com took an epic trip to Belgium in March of this year, marking one of the most exciting, most educational, most delicious beer experiences of a lifetime.
Among the beer tastings, beer bar dominations and brewery visits, we stopped at Cantillon. Founded in 1900, Cantillon is a staple in Belgium beer making. Known as the Museum of Geuzes, this brewery has perfected the process of making lambics and gueuzes. Time stands still here despite the ever changing background of the city of Brussels.
On March 16, 2010, Day 7 of our trip, we make the hour or so drive from Antwerp to Brussels. First stop, a little piece of history. We pull up in our rental car, and walk up to a non-descript facade with a large open garage door. We are greeted with a “Bonjour” as Brussels is primarily French speaking and receive a glass to taste Rose de Gambrinis and Faro. I am instantly in love.
Touring the Brewery:
A self guided tour is offered with a beer in one hand and a brochure in the other. I found this description on Cantillon’s website that I wanted to share:
Machines, most of them original, barrels with Lambic, Kriek or Framboise, cellars where bottles of Gueuze, Kriek or Lambic Grand Cru wait patiently till they get transferred to a customer’s table, a mashing tun and boilers, a granary with a cooling tun where the Brussels air has free play, a filter and a bottling machine, these are the things you’ll see during your visit.
We begin our walk through the process- the mashing tun, boilers, the process of natural fermentation, barrel aging and the bottling of these amazing beers. Each piece of equipment shines with copper lining and glistens with wisdom. I remember climbing up these rotting wooden stairs to the attic area. Open rafters let the sunlight in, as well as the wild yeast used to ferment the beer. When I first became a fan of lambics, I was fascinated by the natural occurrence of wild yeast in Belgium.
Brettanomyces is a genus of wild yeast important in brewing lambic, a beer produced not by the deliberate addition of brewer’s yeasts, but by spontaneous fermentation by wild yeasts and bacteria. Brettanomyces lambicus, B. bruxellensis and B. claussenii are native to the Senne Valley region of Belgium, where lambic beer is produced. Here at Cantillon, once the beer is ready to be fermented, it is placed in open containers begging for the hungry yeast to eat the sugar and produce alcohol.
Next is the barreling room. Lambic fumes escape from the barrels in which the beer matures for three years. This process is not for the impatient individual. After our tour, we were lucky enough to try a one year old lambic straight from the barrel! Subtle in taste and without carbonation, it still possessed a sophistication and complexity that I will never forget.
Throughout the tour, cobwebs hung from the corners, from the machinery and cats wandered throughout the aisle and slept on window sills. Every creature, every organism plays a part in the creation of these beers. A well constructed eco-system was before us and we reaped the benefits of these lambics and guezes.
At the end, we took a seat by a fire place (as the place was on the colder side), glanced at the list consisting of Gueuze, Kriek, Rose Gambinus, December 2008 Lambic, Faro, Saint Lamvinus and Lou Pepe (Kriek, Framboise and Gueuze). What a sight! We sat in silence, in awe of this church of beer.
Side notes about Cantillon and the beers they produce. 1. Lou Pepe refers to their top notch batches. A Lou Pepe Kriek would be their best cherry lambic, for example. 2. Gueuze are not brewed, lambics are brewed. Gueuzes are blends of lambics. See how much you just learned?
Cantillon remains a staple in my growth as a beer writer, beer lover and beer drinker. To see this process, to acknowledge the dedication to historical integrity while producing high quality beers is something I think about quite often when tasting beers of this nature. Brewing lambics is a tedious, scientifically extravagant and well defined process. To honor the memory, we brought back several bottles (at 8 euro per 750ml, how could we not) and a little piece of our amazing trip!
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Smuttynose Beer Dinner: Milton, Massachusetts
6:30PM-9:00PM @ Abby Park
Smuttynose is one of my favorite breweries- their IPA, Wheat Wine and Barleywine are all amazing and hopefully on the menu tonight! Enjoy a 5 course specialty dinner paired with 5 Smuttynose beers for $55.00. Call 617-696-8700 or email Aja (email@example.com) for reservations.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Grand Teton Thursday Beer Tasting: Greenville, South Carolina
5:00PM-7:00PM @ The Greenville Beer Exchange
Grand Teton Brewing Company hails from Victor, Idaho and brews some extremely delicious beers! This week we will be tasting their Bitch Creek ESB, Sweetgrass American Pale Ale, Pesephone Pils, and Black Cauldron Imperial Stout. Drop in anytime between 5pm and 7pm this Thursday to experience four Idahoan beers (and how many of those can you say you’ve had?) completely FREE!
Friday, March 25, 2011
Stone Brewing Co. Tasting: Boston, Massachusetts
5:30PM-7:30PM @ Wine Emporium
Stop by tonight to sample Stone Brewing Co. beers all the way from Escondido, California (sounds warm and sunny): Featured beers will include:
Stone Smoked Porter
Arrogant Bastard Ale
Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale
2010 Old Guardian
2011 Old Guardian
Saturday, March 26, 2011
Dogfish Fest: Dallas, Texas
11:00AM-5:00PM @ The Common Table
The Common Table is tapping 12 Dogfish Head beers all on one day, Saturday March 26th- starts @ 11AM.
Here’s the lineup: HOT DAMN!
Palo Santo Morrin
Red & White
90 Minute dry-hopped through a Randall
Namaste (yet to be confirmed but likely will be available)
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Meet the Brewer, Cantillon: Escondido, California
3:00PM-5:00PM @ Stone Brewing Co.
Spend two hours in the presence of beer holiness- Jean Van Roy, the head brewer of one of Belgium’s finest, Cantillon. Cantillon is known for brewing traditional lambics for over 100 years. We have been there, its amazing as are the beers.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Brown Bag Night “Stouts”: Los Angeles, California
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Blue Palms BrewHouse
The idea is that this is a way to strip away any pretensions and preconceptions about specific beers you are drinking, and to challenge and educate your palate about the flavors and aromas you experience.Price of admission? Just a bottle or two of beers that you bring in for the occasion. If you’re bringing a 22 oz. or 750 mL bottle, one should be enough. If it’s a 12-ounce bottle or can, please bring two (if possible– if you only have one, just bring the one).
If you want us to post about an event, go to an event or want to just drink good beer- email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment!
Sunday was quite the trip. It lingered through Monday, but no regrets. Upright Brewing rocked my world. Le Pigeon made me redefine the word “burger.”
Upright Brewing was celebrating their 2nd Anniversary, so we made it a point to get their early to taste the new release. But, we couldn’t help but to shuffle around the city to visit some other favorites.
Top of the Morning with Imperial Workhorse
I won’t jump right into Upright’s display of greatness, because we had some other amazing visits that I’d like to share. First off, we visited Laurelwood’s production brewery in NE neighborhood of Hollywood.
Laurelwood Brewing recently released its first ever batch of Imperial Workhorse, a larger than life version of its iconic Workhorse IPA. The big brother is 9.9% and almost 100 IBUs. At first sip, it immediately wakes you from whatever slumber you might be residing within. The beer is incredibly flavorful, sharp and non-boozy. Lots to like about that beer, and the brewery will be bottling a limited amount in swing-top bottles that will be available at the brewery. Hint: Do not miss the Bourbon Barrel Aged Moose & Squirrel Russian Imperial Stout – I actually preferred this beer to the Imperial Workhorse.
Upright’s Rise to the Top
We left Laurelwood to head over to Upright Brewing, where we spent an hour crying in the last drops of each beer. Its that good. Watching it reduce to nothing was so incredibly painful.
Upright Brewing decided to release a sour version of its Four, a 4.5% wheaty farmhouse ale. The beer, appropriately named “Four Play,” uses a combination of fresh Oregon cherries, brettanomyces and lactobacillus yeasts aged in Pinot Noir barrels. This beer is right now, my beer of 2011. Drinking this beer reminded me of standing in front of Jean Van Roy in Cantillon’s tasting room, drinking one of their more celebrated Lou Pepe lambics – its that good. Incredibly smooth, yet refreshingly tart, the cherry flavor is subtle enough to keep this from being a kriek, but pronounced enough to not be forgotten. Do not miss, if you can find it.
To prevent a one-sided affair, Upright also decided to pour its last remaining portion of its christmas ale, Noel. This spiced farmhouse ale is aged in Pinot barrels and spiked with cherry juice. The wood really works well on this beer, because the alcohol is barely noticeable and it goes down very smooth. The spice is unforgettable, hitting you with concentrated dosages of black pepper and herb. Had Four Play not knocked me out of my boots, Noel would have stole the show.
To end our visit, we had a great talk with owner/brewer Alex Ganum. If you want to meet a great brewer and better guy, chat with Alex. Ganum hails from the ballyhooed ranks of Ommegang and certainly knows how to make incredible beer. Despite his incredible success (they made the Rate Beer Top 50 Brewers in year 2), he remains a normal guy, more than happy to stand and chat with his customers over a beer.
Some Old Favorites
After leaving Upright, we had quite the whirlwind trip around the east side. We visited renowned bottle shop Belmont Station, who was holding its 14th Anniversary sale (Congrats). There we got our first tastes of Corvallis brewers Block 15 and Flat Tail Brewing. Block 15 poured several bourbon barrel aged brews, including the rare Pappy’s Dark Ale. Pappy is a Strong Ale aged in 10 year old Pappy Van Winkle barrels for 2-4 months. While a few other Block 15 barrel aged beers were surprisingly unimpressive – this one blew our minds. The Pappy wood is noticeably more rich and flavorful than other bourbon barrels, and we agree its worth the extra dough.
After Belmont, a visit to Hair of the Dog was simply nostalgia and routine. Why the hell would you ever go to Portland and not get indulge in Alan Sprints’ craft? The house flight of Greg (a spiced pilsner?), Blue Dot, Fred and Adam, will warm the cockles. If you are lucky, Alan might be serving the duck wings, a stack of 3 full wings smothered in a rich gravy. Get it.
A Burger for the Ages
Last but not certainly not least – a visit to Le Pigeon. While we were waiting for this renowned eatery to open, we ran over to Burnside Brewing and tried the Oatmeal Pale. I was surprisingly impressed by that beer, as Pales typically do nothing for me. The oatmeal was absolutely noticeable and really changed the body of this otherwise simple beer. But, 5:00 PM rang and we ran back to Le Pigeon.
Why are we running? Rumors of Le Pigeon‘s incredible burger have haunted my dreams for weeks. I have seen glaring images of this burger in nightmares in the previous few nights. It was seemingly stalking me – and for good reason. Le Pigeon makes 5 of these bad boys each night. Thus, its incredibly important to get in there when they open at 5 PM. By 5:15 PM, all 5 orders had been placed.
Le Pigeon has an earthy, classic gastropub feel. Sitting at the bar, you feel part of the kitchen and the decor makes you feel right at home. It only took about 60 seconds to order our burgers with greens ($13) and our $4 Pilsner Urquells (they also have $2 High Life – got to love it).
The icon of glory arrived before me in less than 15 minutes. I had ogled at its creation, built from the implements of success, beauty and wonder. Its time. I sliced the perfectly charred ciabatta bun in half and dig in. What followed was a protein orgasm smothered in pickled specter. I have no doubt in my mind that this is the best burger I have ever tasted – and my companion agrees. The meat is top notch, cooked to a perfect medium rare, maintaining its juiciness. The pickled slaw on top is such an added treat that you barely notice the perfectly melted cheese that covers 100% of the burger mound. Perhaps most important is the fresh powdered ciabatta roll that was charred to perfected, giving the burger an “off the grill” flavor.
Its not often when a Sunday in March results in my favorite beer of the year and my favorite burger of all time (and that is saying a lot). This past Sunday, Portland floored me. Well played, PDX.
The article reviews Belgium as an educational trip abut beer. A place where you can sample endless styles, visit age old breweries and settle down at some of the best beer bars in the world. Its true. Its totally true. I have done quite a bit of travelling especially around Europe and even beer aside, Belgium stole my heart.
The article touches on the key places you should go in this tiny country. Of course, there are so many amazing places, the article couldn’t mention all of them.
IF YOU GO
In de Vrede (Donkerstraat 13, Westvleteren; 32-57-40-03-77; indevrede.be)
Moeder Lambic (Place Fontainas 8, Brussels; 32-25-03-60-68)
Cantillon (Rue Gheude Straat 56, Brussels; 32-25-21-49-28; cantillon.be)
’t Brugs Beerje (Kemelstraat 5, Bruges; 32-50-33-96-16; brugsbeertje.be)
De Dolle Brouwers (Roeselarestraat 12B, Esen; 32-51-50-27-81; dedollebrouwers.be)
Brouwershuis (Trappistenweg 23A, Watou; 32-57-38-88-60; brouwershuis.com)
We were fortunate enough to visit the top four places listed. De Dolle is one of my favorite breweries in Belgium and the 1998 Stille Nacht at the Kulminator (another amazing beer bar in Antwerp). Next time, that will be at the top of my list!
Other honorable mentions from our trip include:
Pater’s Vaetje ( Blauwmoezelstraat 1, Antwerp, http://www.patersvaetje.be/)
Kulminator (Vleminckveld 32, Antwerp)
Eetcafé de Gans (Diephuisstraat 6 (zijstraat Korreweg, bij het Noorderbad),Groningen, http://www.degans.nl/index.php?page=contact-locatie)
Brasserie Thiriez (22 rue de Wormhout, Esquelbecq, France) Although not in Belgium, it is a mere 4 miles from the boarder of Belgium and if you are in West Flanders, it is worth the trip!
For the full NY Times article, click here.
Week 51 of 52
East Side Spot (place of visit)
13463 Cedar Road
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118
Monday-Thursday: 11:00am – 11:00pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:00am – 12:00 midnight
Sunday: 10:00am – 10:00pm
Bar open till 2:00am every night.
They are also located on the West Side of Cleveland
14718 Detroit Ave
Type of Establishment: Psychotically creative meal emporium; home of grilled cheese magic.
Visit: A homecoming for Xmas, I went to Cleveland to spend an evening with my little brother. He recently graduated college and became a man. It was time for him to finally buy his big brother a beer (he bought 1, I bought all the others).
Beers on Tap (at time of visit):
Yikes. Unfortunately, it was so dark that I couldn’t get a legible photo. This is from memory, but they have about 25 beers on tap at any time.
Bells Two Hearted Ale
Bells Winter Ale
Breckenridge Small Batch IPA
Breckenridge Christmas Ale
Troegs Mad Elf
Great Lakes Christmas Ale
Thirtsy Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
Left Hand Milk Stout
Southern Tier Old Man Winter
and many others…..
Excellent bottle list for a place more geared towards food than beer. The full list is here, but they supplement that list seasonally, with some random others. All in all there are about 100 bottles on hand at any time. I was really excited to see the offerings from New Holland Mad Hatter, Jolly Pumpkin selections, and Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Imperial IPA.
They also have an impressive Belgian list. This is one of the few places in Cleveland where you can find a bottle of Gueze from Cantillon, the full gamut of Trappist ales, and a tasty bottle of Boon’s Oude Gueze. Don’t forget to check that list out here, as well.
This should be the focus of this article, not the beer. The beer is simply a pretty cool little throw in, to the epic food options available here.
Melt was featured on Man v. Food, and several other eatery TV shows. It has the distinct pleasure of being called Cleveland’s greatest pub food venue. I cannot disagree, after partaking in their grub for two meals during my 24 hours in Cleveland.
Melt’s name means something – melted cheese. The pub offers about 20 grilled cheese masterpieces, along with about 12 burgers, which might as well be grilled cheeses stuffed with burger.
The motif is this – take two giant pieces of texas toast, smother then in butter, fill them with an epic proportion of cheese, stuff it with some other artery clogging delight – grill that puppy. Check out the full list of options here. Pay attention to the one stuffed with bratwurst, the one stuffed with pierogi, the one stuffed with LASAGNA!
I will talk more specifically about the sandwiches that we ordered, below. But, Melt also offers some amazing appetizers. We had the grilled pierogis and the buffalo chicken soup, which has become a cult classic. Both of these items were incredible. I especially loved the soup, stuffed with blue cheese, celery, carrot and a delightful spicy broth.
Whether you elect to go savory or sweet, you cannot miss with these sandwiches. Get one.
Melt is my type of place. Its dark, heavily decorated in Cleveland lore, and full of great bar seating. When you enter the Cleveland Heights venue (they also have a place in Lakewood, on the west side of Cleveland), you see a wide open space, with the bar in the center. The bar area is rectangular, providing seating all around a central “island” where the booze is stored. This provides maximum area for lounging at the bar and starting at the taps and bottles. I like it.
We grabbed some bar seating and some menus. We are clamoring for some christmas beer and some massive heart attack initiating sandwiches. Luckily, our menu obliges. We decided to start off with some pierogis and a couple of xmas ales. I start with the Breckenridge Christmas Ale, and my brother grabs the Mad Elf from Troegs.
While we sip on these beauties, I begin mulling over my stomach’s demise. The menu’s best options appear to be the Municipal Stadium Magic, stuffed with local bratwurst, vodka kraut, grilled peppers and american cheese; the Parmageddon (named for local burb, Parma), stuffed with potato & cheese pierogi, vodka kraut, grilled onions and sharp cheddar; and of course – the Godfather, 3 cheese lasagna, fresh fennel-oregano pasta sheets, spicy red sauce, provolone and garlic spiked bread. No lies, lasagna in a grilled cheese. Got to have that one.
We grab a Godfather and decide to get the Municipal Stadium for the other, as we had already had some pierogis. The sandwiches weigh in at no less than 2 lbs a piece, but to add insult to your small intestine, they dump a large serving of their delicious house-made slaw and a pile of their fresh cut fries. Someone get the stomach pump ready.
Those first two beers were very good. Breckenridge’s Christmas Ale has a nice spiciness and light body that makes it easy to drink. But, the Mad Elf is the surefire winner. Mad Elf has a sharp boozy finish and a bright euro spiciness. Some say that this beer is off this year. Sometimes when I hear that its because the beer is “too much” for the palette. While that turns off some beer drinkers – it only peaks my interest.
In preparation for our meal, we grab a second round – all Mad Elf. When our sandwiches arrive, I am famished. By the time, I box up the remainders – I can barely move. The Municipal Stadium is incredibly flavorful. I love the local bratwurst, which was juicy, spicy and wonderfully matched with the vodka kraut. But, the Godfather is clear victor. As if any lasagna stuffed in a grilled cheese wouldn’t be amazing? Guess what – this lasagna is amazing! The amount of cheese in this puppy is striking. It bursts with flavor and spice and is unmatchable. Its a no-brainer.
The pierogis, slaw and the buffalo chicken soup (which I got on a follow up visit the next day) were all amazing. Nothing that I tried failed to meet expectations. Get as much as you can. Remember that you can always take it home. No one at this place will judge you. Take a visit, eat some food, drink some good beer and take a nap.
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!
Brouwer’s Blogs, Minds Are Blown All Around the Sound!
December 2nd, 2010 will be a big day for Seattle beer nerds. Fremont’s Brouwer’s Cafe will be hosting Bigwood Fest, which has to be one of the biggest 100% wood barrel aged beer festivals in America, if not the world. Distilled spirits and wine are no longer the only boozes that can be aged in wood barrels. It’s beer’s turn to be marinated and steeped and even infected by the essence of oak. We have been on the edge of our seats since Hopfest to gaze upon the options that Ian Roberts and company have gathered up over the years and will offer for this spectacular festival.
Here is the original list that was posted on Brouwer’s blog today:
Hales Rye Whisky Aged Imperial Stout
Naked City ???
Stone Lucky 13
Ahahhahahaa! A day of gorging. A day of consumption comas – don’t act like it won’t happen to you.
This year, we are celebrating with a wonderful group of friends, amongst a vast cornucopia of grub. A turducken will grace the table – but how will we wash it down?
This week marks Beer Blotter’s 1st Anniversary. That’s right, one year of typing up rantings to project our passion for the nectar. Over the course of the past year, we have done the events, traveled Europe, drank the new stuff and emptied the cellar (don’t worry, we replaced most of it). We had a blast.
Now, its Thanksgiving and to celebrate we will be enjoying a nice hearty keg of Beer Blotter’s 1st Anniversary Ale. For our first season on the web, we brewed an Imperial Cranberry Saison – the perfect of beers for the Thanksgiving celebration. While we wait for the remainder of our brew to finish with a champagne yeast, we will go ahead and sip on a young version (6.5%) for the great holiday.
For today, each of us wanted to take a moment and grace the blog with a Thank You for 2010. We are all thankful for more than beer, but lets humor the great beer gods with a “thank you” to beer in 2010:
2010 has been a year of great growth for me within the craft beer community. The blog…it goes without saying, but it has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people who are doing great things to progress the community. It had also given me a voice and allowed me to express my passion creatively. I am thankful for beerblotter.com and it’s amazing members.
Second, there was the trip to the beer promised land. It was my first ever trip to Europe and it was, honest to god, the best vacation of my life. Any time that I even think about going away to a new place, my primary goal is to take in the beer culture of that place. Often though, my company doesn’t allow for such forays. To go to Belgium, France, Germany, and The Netherlands with my closest friends and fellow beer lovers Jess and DSR… priorities were in line and our lengthy preparations and unyielding ambition produces a trip with zero regrets and 100% joy. I am thankful for EuroBeerTrip2010.
2010 was also the year that I threw caution to the wind and made a bold/exciting/terrifying shift in careers. I decided to give up my job in business and follow my dreams. I began to work for a small craft brewery. I was trained to brew professionally on a 15 bbl system. Almost simultaneously, DSR and I invested in a real-deal, 10 gallon all-grain homebrew system. We are making serious steps toward living the dream, and for that I am most grateful.
So many things to be thankful for these days. To start off with some non-beer related items (although beer is truly what I am thankful for)- my family who is clear on the other side of the country, my friends who are dispersed all over the world, my friends who will be joining in the snow-covered turkey celebration, writing via Beer Blotter and all my experiences. I am a lucky girl.
Furthermore, I am thankful for my palette, my love of various beers, my current location and easy access to the craft brewing industry, to my world travels, all of the beers I have tasted and the people I have met along the way. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Well, Jess made me feel like I need to say all my thanks – but I’m going to stick to the script and talk beer. 2010 was filled with great growth in the beer industry. The Seattle brewery list seemingly grew each week. But, the loss of one in the family, impacted me the most.
This year, I am thankful to the wonderful, tough-willed owners of the Water Street Brewing & Alehouse for sticking together and helping keep Strange Brewfest alive for a 7th year. For many of us, Strange Brewfest 2011 will be a glimpse of our former favorite watering hole; it will bring hope of a new future for the once iconic alehouse that graced Water Street. Thanks, Nina and Mark.
What are you thankful for?
This weekend we saw a good friend off to Philadelphia (tear) with a lot of Rainier and a relaxing Sunday compiled of a vertical tasting of Southern Tier’s Pumpking- ’08, ’09 and 10. A great way to end the the season of pumpkin ales and the weekend (double tear). But now for your week in beer.
Monday, November 8 , 2010
Coronado Brewing Co. Beer Week Event: San Diego, Califoria
5:00PM-10:00PM @ Urge Gastropub
San Diego Beer Week continues (T-minus 5 days until 2/3 of bb.com take their trip down “south”) with a tasting of San Diego’s first microbrewery, Coronado Brewing Co. beers.
Urge will be featuring 5 specialty CBC draft beers and a very limited edition cask of Mermaids Red Ale soaked in Buffalo Trace distillery oak chips! Be sure to make it for this cask and enjoy CBC beers at Urge with their excellent food! Idiot IPA on tap, Orange Avenue Wit, Red Devil Imperial Red, CBC Summer Ale made with Ginger and Kaffir Lime and Ingrid’s 1 in 8 limited release collaboration with Ballast Point!!!
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Green Flash Debut: Mount Holly, New Jersey
7:00PM-11:00PM @ High Street Grill
The first time that Green Flash will be on tap at the High Street Grill….with the Imperial IPA and the West Coast IPA. Live Irish tunes from 7 to 11 pm. All you can eat mussels in beer for just $ 10. HSG is bringing the West coast to your pint glass.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Evening of Rare Founders Beers: Washington D.C.
6:00PM-8:00PM @ The Big Hunt
A private tasting of Founders‘ Black Biscuit, Breakfast Stout, Canadian Breakfast Stout, Backwoods Bastard, and Devil Dancer, hosted by Founders National Sales Manager Michael Bell. Tickets are $30 per person. $30 for only beers sounds a bit steep. With an outdated event page, you might want to give The Big Hunt a call with any questions- 202.785.2333.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Beer Belly Dinner: Portland, Oregon
Ill let the event description speak for itself. Beer Belly is a great weekly beer inspired event!
Our casual meet & eats are bringing together Great Food, Great Beer & Great People
The events are hosted on our 4-season patio combined with our special events Annex. Picture a backyard griller, but you don’t have to cook, serve or clean-up, and best of all some super beer guru shows up with “the goods”
This month we are proud to welcome Walking Man Brewing Co., with Brewer Jacob Leonard.
The Dinner begins at 6:30pm, serving food and beer throughout the night. Cost is $35 per person, including a 4-course dinner and 1 of each beer.
All proceeds are donated to RideOn, Portland’s Safe Ride Program.
Reservations must be paid in advance via PayPal or by stopping in to the EastBurn.
for questions please email Tina
or call the EastBurn 503-236-2876
Friday, November 12, 2010
Bell’s Tasting: South Beloit, Illinois
5:00PM-7:00PM @ Everett’s Liquor Store
I’ll give you 6 reasons to go to this event: Bell’s Brewery beers such as Christmas Ale, Oarsmen, Winter White, Cherry Stout , Expedition Stout, Third Coast Ale (there will be others…).
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Public Brewing Session: Brussels, Belgium
7AM-12PM @ Cantillion
I know this isn’t in the USA, but how cool is this?? You actually get to see the Cantillion (House of Lambics) brewing process. See below (its an incredible opportunity):
In a 19th Century brewery with its original equipment :
from 7.00 to 9.00 Brewing process
from 9 to 13.00 Filtration and hopping
from 12.00 to 15.00 Cooking
at 15.30 Pumping of wort into the cooling tun
from 7.00 to 12.00 Barrel cleaning “ancient method”
Guided tours every 2 hours as from 7.00
Admission fee: EUR 6 per person – this includes guided tour and one drink of your choice
Croissants and coffee are proposed until 8.30, free of charge
BRUSSEL’S TYPICAL TRADITIONS AND ITS FUN FILLED ATMOSPHERE GUARANTEED
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Local Farm Beer Dinner: Rehoboth Beach, Delware
6:30PM- 8:30PM @ Dogfish head Brewing Co.
Totall Local, natural and paired with Dogfish head beers- I’m in!
Butternut Squash Gnocchi with Truffle Cream and Fresh Ricotta – paired with Shelter Pale Ale
Mixed Greens with Roasted Pumpkin Dressing and Fresh Goat Cheese – paired with Punkin Ale
Life & Limb Braised Duck Breast with Winter Vegetable Ragout paired with Life & Limb
Sweet Potato Chocolate Cake with Chicory Stout Ice Cream paired with vintage Olde School Barleywine
If you go to an event, want us to post about your event or want to just state a fact, then please leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org! Cheers!
Recently we have received a lot of updates surrounding various releases– new labels, new beers, new bottles. As a worthy source, it is our job to spread the love, the news, the landmarks of breweries in the great Pacific Northwest.
In this article you will find out how to fight Breast Cancer, learn about new wheat ales, blended porters, barrel aged beers, beer and art, a Seattle tattoo artist and who knows what else.
Silver City’s Release of TA-TA Wheat Ale
Located on the Kitsap peninsula (that’s right, we have peninsulas in the Pacific NW) in Silverdale, WA, Silver City Brewing Co. has been producing a line of quality brews since 1996. From a flavorful IPA to a well-done, well-balanced Scotch Ale, Silver City never disappoints. In support of the fight against Breast Cancer and Breast Cancer month, Silver City is releasing TA-TA Wheat Ale, a crisp, refreshing brew with Cascade hops that add some welcomed flavor. With all the suffering in the world, its hard to pick one cause which is why Silver City makes it a point to switch it up. This particular beer benefits a cause that hits close to home for many.
“Supporting breast cancer awareness and encouraging early detection is near and dear to our entire community,” said Scott Houmes, Co-Owner of Silver City Restaurant & Brewery. “We thought brewing and serving the Ta-Ta Wheat, everyone could help support this drive for a cure.”
Drink for a cause– you’ll be a better person for it.
Cascade’s Bourbonic Plague and Vlad the Imp-aler Bottle Release
Holy hell. Both of these Cascade Brewing Co. (Portland, OR) beers are unrealistically amazing. The fact that you can take them home with you, even more amazing. Both of these beers would age with such grace. The Bourbonic Plague is a beast of a beer, blended porters aged in bourbon barrels then blended some more with added cinnamon and vanilla and AGED FOR ANOTHER 14 MONTHS. This is not a beer for the light hearted. It is complex, it is sophisticated and damn good. Topping out at 12%, this beer will be a great addition to anyone’s “cellar.”
Vlad, oh I dream of our next encounter. The first was at Brouwer’s Cafe’s Sour Beer Fest in 2009- it was up there with Cantillion‘s beers. No lie. This sour is barrel aged, is well-balanced and is a blend of strong blonde quads and tripels aged in oak and Bourbon barrels. And if that wasn’t enough, Vlad is further blended with spiced blondes and left to condition for an additional five months. Quads and Tripels refer to Belgium style beers that are generally very high in ABV. This beer comes in at 10.2%, despite its light body.
Elysian’s Dragonstooth Stout Gets a Makeover
Although Elysian Brewing Co.’s Dragonstooth Stout has been around for a bit, its full body, richness and new label make it a must have beer in Seattle.
The beer hasn’t changed, but a lot of thought went into the re-creation of the label. Elysian Brewing Co.’s regularly featured labels embody elements of Greek Mythology. Their new angle– Northwest mythology. I can dig it. I’ll let Elysian explain more of the background:
We thought about how so many people wear their stories on their body through tattoo art, and we immediately sought out our friend and local tattooer, Joe Who (Pierced Hearts Tattoo). He drew up some gnarly artwork that we think is a great new representation of our Dragonstooth Stout.
Although I don’t have a picture of the new label in the format I need to post it, I hope to this week. But trust me, its enticing, just like the beer.
A mid-week whirl wind of local updates. 1. Take a trip to Silver City – grab a Fat Bastard Scotch Ale and a Wheat Ale. 2. Go to Portland and bring back 12 bottles each of the Bourbonic Plague and Vlad the Imp-aler. 3. Grab a bottle of Dragonstooth Stout, admire the artwork, think about getting a tattoo and enjoy the beer!