Posts Tagged ‘Big Wood’

Events for Week of November 29, 2010

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Mug's Alehouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY

Oh Thanksgiving – I miss you already. Alas, there is one heck of a week ahead.

A first pouring of our 1st Anniversary beer met a quite amazing meal on Thursday. We followed that up with a journey out to Kitsap, stopping by Silver City Brewing, Der Blokken Brewery and 7 Seas Brewing, along the way. I have got to say that Kitsap is one heck of a trip. The beer gets better each time I visit.

After a day at Mt. Baker on Saturday, we got our first ever taste of the Beer Shrine – North Fork Brewery. Later this week, expect some write ups on some of these wonderful excursions.

Lets embark on a new week in beer:


Monday, November 29, 2010


21st Amendment Beer Dinner: New York, New York

6:00PM-9:00PM @ Spring Lounge


The first of these events features 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat (in a can!), the newest winter seasonal by 21st Amendment Brewery of San Francisco, and is catered by Jeff Maslanka, head chef of Black Shack Burger in midtown and 67 Burger in Brooklyn. He’ll be serving up short ribs braised in Fireside Chat, along with some seasonal sides that will both highlight and be highlighted by the taste of the beer.


The food is complimentary, the beer is not. So bring your wallet and your appetite.

We’ll also be featuring these great brews by 21st Amendment on draught – Brew Free or Die IPA, Back in Black, and Hop Crisis


Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Yeast Strains with Mikkeller: New York, New York

7:30PM-9:30PM @ Jimmy’s N0. 43


Join in the sampling of 6 different beers from Mikkeller‘s Yeast Series. This will only cost you $10 and these beers are not only delicious, but will provide insight into this innovative, international brewery.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Holiday Ale Festival: Portland, Oregon

2:00PM-10:00PM @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

Its that time of the year, so gear up for some Christmas beer drinking fun!


The 15th annual Holiday Ale Festival will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 1, and continue through Sunday, Dec. 5 at Pioneer Courthouse Square, located at 701 SW Sixth Ave at the intersection of SW Broadway and Yamhill Streets, immediately on the MAX Light Rail line.

Wednesday 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Admission & Costs:
*FREE* re-admission into the Festival all 5 days with wristband and current year’s mug!

To enter and taste beers, the purchase of an initial tasting package is required. Advance tickets cost $20, or $25 at the door. This package includes a souvenir mug and 10 beer tickets.


Thursday, December 2, 2010


Big Wood Barrel-Aged Beer Festival: Seattle, Washington

11:00 AM-Close @ Brouwers Cafe


You’ve read about it here on This is one of those “can’t miss” beer events that happen in Seattle. The initial tap list has already been handed down by the good folks at Brouwers Cafe. We are astonished at some of the iconic names, including a rare appearance by the elusive Russian River Deviation (a Bottleworks Anniversary beer from several years back).

The event begins at 11:00 AM and will continue through the weekend. If you are trying to sample the big guys (HOTD, Russian River, The Bruery, Lost Abbey), I would suggest getting there early on Thursday. See you there!


Friday, December 3, 2010


Founders Brewing Co. Sampler: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

4:00PM-6:00PM @ Bell’s Beverage


As you might already know, Founders is a Beer Blotter favorite. Although I do not know what beers are pouring- Founders will not disappoint!


Saturday, December 4, 2010


Strong Ale Festival: San Diego, California

11:00AM-11:00PM @ Pizza Port Carlsbad


The 14th San Diego Strong Ale Festival at Pizza Port Carlsbad will be held Friday and Saturday, December 3rd and 4th. The festival will feature more than 75 beers all over 8% alcohol from all over the United States. Admission is $30 and includes 8 taster tickets each good for a 4 ounce pour. If you can’t make it today, Pizza Port always has stellar beers on tap!


Sunday, December 5, 2010


Belgium to Brooklyn: Brooklyn, New York

11:00AM- 11:00PM @ Mugs Ale House


Oh my- this is epic and actually begins on Saturday, December 4th. 5th Annual Belgium 2 Brooklyn Mug’s Ale House Belgian Style Beer Festival: Saturday 12/4/10 & Sunday 12/5/10 from 11 AM onwards. No entrance fee, pay as you go. Over 40 Belgian Style Ales on draft + Mug’s Ale House usual enormous bottle selection.

Check out for a full tap list!  Highlights include, ‘t Smisje Speciaal 2009 10.5% ; Struise Tsjeeses 10% ; Mikkeller Santas Little Helper 10.9% and Dogfish Head Au Courant 2003 7% among so many more!


If you have an event you are going to or have an event you want us to post about, please email me at Cheers!

Early Notice: Brouwers Cafe Hosts Big Wood on December 2nd!

A magnificent night of woody grog awaits...

Big Wood is coming. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

There is no secret that we are utterly obsessed with Brouwer’s Cafe’s Big Wood beer festival. Last year, we launched this site in the midst of Big Wood 2009. This year, we are giving you a 3 week “head’s up.”

Big Wood will be held on December 2, 2010. If I remember correctly (but I might stand corrected), Big Wood begins in the afternoon, sometime around 4 PM. The event is officially one day, but the beers will pour for several days afterwards.

What is Big Wood? Guess. Big Wood showcases wood-aged beers on more than 40 taps. Typically, you will see a plethora of massive scale beers pouring, including some of the most complex beers you will ever taste.

Last year – Hair of the Dog dominated. From beer nerds to beer newbs, Hair of the Dog shocked and awed the crowd. Alan Sprints delivered Fred from the Wood, Michael (Flemish Red), Matt (Bottleworks 10th Anniversary) and BOB (a barrel-aged lambic). Read our review of the event by following this link.

Brouwers has yet to release a list of this year’s beers. They will slowly begin to trickle in but we have already seen them announce that Midnight Sun is sending a keg of Berserker and heard, through the grapvine, that New Belgium is bringing something special!

Keep following Brouwers Cafe’s website and Facebook.

Another Successful Year: Big Wood Fest 2009

December 4, 2009 1 comment

Big Wood Fest has something for everyone!

Upon arrival, Brouwer’s Cafe was already packed to the brim. With some patience, our group managed to take over the area with two couches and plenty of floor space.  The waitstaff was efficient and attentive, so we thank you for that!

So a list of the some of the beers we tasted:

Hair of the Dog Brewing Co. featured four beers on the menu, Bob (Lambic), Matt (Bottleworks 10th Anniversary Ale), Fred (Barrell Aged Golden Strong Ale) and Michael (Sour Red).  We have always been fans of this brewery but after last night, we have a new found respect.

BOB Lambic: This beverage looks like a magical potion. It glows with a maroon red coloring.  BOB introduces itself as a beer with wine-like qualities.  It smells like red wine vinegar, tastes like a smooth, well balanced sour and finishes with a light, smooth sensation that pours down your throat.

Fred: This Bourbon barrel aged golden strong ale will knock your socks off. A dessert masked as a beer, Fred is thick with a prevalent caramel flavor. The “Candyland Milkshake of Life,” if you will.  The smell is overwhelmingly sweet and pleasant.  Fred is named after the first person to purchase a Hair of the Dog beer back in 1993.

Moving right along to Port Brewing out of California. Both Older Viscosity, a barrel aged version of the dark ale Old Viscosity and Brouwer’s Imagination #2 Strong Sour were tasted.

Imagination Strong Sour: Smells like sweet balsamic vinaigrette. The taste is sour without a doubt. Imagination has a surprising maltiness while lacking a strong sugar taste.

Older Viscosity: This beer is complex, salty and sweet. Smells like hot, soft pretzels. The flavors are reminiscent of chocolate fudge. You can taste the age on this one as it burns the back of your throat in a way that leaves you wanting more.

Some other highlights of the night include:

New Belgium Eric’s Ale Sour Peach: This beer is similar to Love, but has hints of peach. Peach is a subtle fruit.  The natural sugars  of the fruit add a level of complexity.

Great Divide Espresso Yeti: Tastes like a smooth after dinner coffee drink.  You can taste the alcohol, but it is combined with the bitterness of the coffee flavor.

New Belgium Bottleworks 10- Wild Ale: After just having the Wild Ale this past weekend, comparing the two was quite exciting. This beer was different, much more sour than the “normal” Wild Ale.  A must try!

Other beers you should check out:  Allagash Interlude: Belgium style ale aged in Merlot and Syrah barrels, Hales Bucephales Blended Sour: sweet, bitter but mostly sour with flavor notes of licorice and vanilla, and  Port Townsend Oak Aged Imperial Porter: smooth, chocolaty flavor, thick and simply delicious.

With a list of beers from Belgium, Washington, Oregon, California, Pennsylvania, New York, Maine and Colorado, Big Wood was full of flavor, potency and unique beers.  An event that features sours, saisons, porters, stouts, IPAs, Winter Ales and more, there is something for every beer lover!

Events: Week of November 30, 2009

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Bar Great Harry in Brooklyn, NY is hosting the Winter Blackout Stout Night Tomorrow!

The first week of December brings Christmas cheer and Christmas beer around the country. What better way to bring people together than through beer events? Check out the list of events for the week of November 20, 2009 through December 6, 2009.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Jolly Pumpkin 2009 Noel de Calabaza Release Party: Ann Arbor, Michigan

4:00PM- 6:00 PM @ The Jolly Pumpkin Cafe and Brewery

Free to get in, this event offers a first taste of Jolly Pumpkin’s Christmas Ale to those in attendance. Get it while its hot and before its distributed!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Winter Blackout: Night of the Big Stouts: Brooklyn, New York

6:00 PM- 10:00 PM @ Bar Great Harry

This is an event not to be missed. Not only are there free meats and cheeses, but you have big players in attendance such as Brooklyn Brewery’s Mystery Stout, Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout and Southern Tier’s Jah-Va Imperial Coffee Stout. Great line up!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2009 Holiday Ale Festival: Portland, Oregon

2:00PM- 10:00 PM @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

Come one, come all to this Holiday Ale Festival! Beginning on December 2, 2009, this event runs through the 6th of December and features beers such as Alaskan Brewing Company’s Barley Wine, Cascade Brewing Company’s Drie Zwarte Pieten “Sang Noir 2009” and Dogfish Head’s Chicory Stout, among many many more. For a full list of beers, visit the 2009 Holiday Ale Festival’s website.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Big Wood Festival: Seattle, Washington

11AM- until @ Brouwer’s Cafe

Those friends and followers of Beer Blotter know that the countdown to this day, to this event has been going on for quite some time. We’ve gone around Seattle recruiting fellow beer lovers to join us at this event. The more the merrier and the more beer to be ordered. This event will feature wood altered beers and provides the public with a wide range of styles. For more information on Big Wood Festival and the process of barrel aging visit our website and check under events! Big Wood lasts through the weekend. For a full list, visit Brouwer’s Cafe’s blog.

2009 Holiday Ale Festival: Portland Oregon

11:00 AM- 10:00 PM @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

Anniversary Cask Fest: New York, New York

3:00 PM- until @ Rattle -n- Hum Bar

This event presents cask beers from around the world featuring England’s very own Darkstar Brewing Company. Named the best brewery in England, Darkstar will showcase approximately a dozen beers. Other beers to get your hands on during this event include Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA, Moylans’ Dragoons Irish Stout and Oskar Blues’ Old Chubb. For a list of full beers, visit Rattle-n-Hum Bar’s blog page.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Big Wood Festival: Seattle, Washington @ Brouwer’s Cafe

Continues on starting at 11:00 AM until close

2009 Holiday Ale Festival: Portland, Oregon @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

Continues on starting at 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM

Anniversary Cask Fest: New York, New York @ Rattle -n- Hum Bar

3:00 PM- until ???

Winter Beer Festival: Seattle, Washington

5:00 PM- 10:00 PM @ Hale’s Ale Brewery

$23.00 in advance and $25.00 at the door, this two day long festival is worth saving your energy. The ticket price includes a tasting cup and 6 5.5oz pours with additional tokens available for $1.50/each.  Last year, Hoppy the Woodsman by Schooner Exact Brewing won the Gold and our friends at Gilligan’s Brewing Co. tied their Chamomile Ale for second place with Pike Brewing Co’s Pike Entire. This year features beers such as, Water Street Brewing Company’s Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and Black Raven Brewing Company’s Second Sight Scotch Ale. For a complete list visit the Washington Beer Commission’s website.

13th  Annual San Diego Strong Ale Festival: San Diego, California

4:00 PM- 11:00 PM @ Pizza Port

Over 75 beers over 8% alcohol on tap & some cask conditioned ales at the Bottle Shop area next to Pizza Port Carlsbad. $30.00 gets you admission plus six 4 oz tasters.  Know your limits! They didn’t call this one “strong” for nothin’.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

2009 Holiday Ale Festival: Portland, Oregon @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

Continues on starting at 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM

Winter Beer Festival: Seattle, Washington @ Hales Ale’s Brewery

Continues on starting at 1:00 PM until 10:00 PM

13th  Annual San Diego Strong Ale Festival: San Diego, California @ Pizza Port

11:00 AM- 11:00 PM 

Anniversary Cask Fest: New York, New York @ Rattle -n- Hum Bar

3:00 PM- until ???

Big Wood Festival: Seattle, Washington @ Brouwer’s Cafe

Continues on starting at 11:00 AM until close

Firestone Walker 13th Anniversary Release Party: Scottsdale, Arizona

1:00 PM-3:00  PM @ AJ’s Fine Foods

It is free to get up close and personal with this new release by Firestone Walker Brewing Co. An ale with sweet aromas and tastes, it is not to be missed!  Get to AJ’s Fine Foods for the two  hours that it will be poured!

Iron Horse Brewery’s 5th Anniversary Party: Ellensburg, Washington

6:00 PM- 10:00 PM @ Iron Horse Brewery

Come celebrate Iron Horse Brewery’s 5th Birthday! 5 is a landmark year and yes there will be a heated tent outside, live music and FREE appetizers. $12.0o gets you in the door, a beverage of choice and a glass to keep. Save $2.00 if you arrive sporting Iron Horse apparel.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

2009 Holiday Ale Festival: Portland, Oregon @ Pioneer Courthouse Square

Continues on starting at 11:00 AM until 7:00 PM

Big Wood Festival: Seattle, Washington @ Brouwer’s Cafe

Continues on starting at 11:00 AM until close

Anniversary Cask Fest: New York, New York @ Rattle -n- Hum Bar

3:00 PM- until ???

And that is this week’s line up of events. So much to look forward too with the winter season in full swing. Beer Blotter can be there for all, so if you attend an event that we haven’t listed or want to share your opinions about your favorite beers at the various events, leave a comment or email us at  Cheers!

Big Wood Update: New Beers Added

November 27, 2009 Leave a comment

Some very good adds on the new Big Wood list.

The Big Wood list has a few changes as of November 27. 2009. You can keep tabs on the beer lineup at Brouwer’s Cafe’s website and their Twitter feed.

New additions include Avery Beast from the Wood 2008, Double Mountain Terrible Two, Port Brewing Older Vicosity, Skagit  and Harmon Oak Aged Double Porter.

Of course, we are massive fans of the Beast! This is one of the most complex ales out there, rivaling Lost Abbey’s Angles Share.

There is also some clarification on the “…..from the wood” that HOTD was to be pouring at the festival. Hair of the Dog will now be pouring  Bourbon Fred from the Wood.

The mysterious Hales beer is Bucephalus. According to Rate Beer’s two ratings – this beer is 4/5. Should be something to try.

Why You Love Barrel Aging – and the Big Wood Festival

November 21, 2009 1 comment

Timperial's 2008 Big Wood list and notes. The 2009 list is more impressive. Click to see full size version.

Barrel Aging.
Barrel aging is most commonly used with wine and spirits such as whiskey and rum.  There are many different types of wood that can be used for these barrels, most commonly oak (often French or American), sometimes chestnut, redwood, cedar…

The wood used for these vessels imparts flavor upon the fluid within.  Vanillin (a primary component of the extract of the vanilla bean) and tannins (commonly found in red wine, “pucking flavors”) are natural flavors that come through.  In the case of beer being aged in wood barrels, well… it’s both ancient and modern.

Of course, back in the day, wood barrels were used to store liquids, end of story.  That’s what they had and that’s what they used.  In some cases, mostly in Europe, this hasn’t changed.  Many of your English, Scottish and Belgian breweries still use wood barrels just as they always have, for hundreds of years.

In the last several years, with the explosion of the American craft brewing culture, intrepid brewers have begun to return to these roots.  Naturally, because this is America and we’re damn crafty…and a little thifty, we have, in many cases, used recycled barrels for our aging.  Most often the barrels have been salvaged from wineries or distilleries, and thus have been infused with the flavors of the fluid that was previously aged in them.

Imbibing the beer aged in these wood barrels is a sublime experience to say the least. The smells and tastes that encase you are not only products of the brewmaster’s craft, but nature’s, the vintner’s and/or distiller’s of the past, and good old Father Time.  And while we are speaking of his holiness, let’s please not downplay the importance of time, after all, aging is right there in the title.

What does aging do to beer?  Mostly if dulls the bitterness, creating a much more balanced, often, sweeter and “rounder” flavor.  A lot of the young harshness melts away, and what’s left is a fine, mature luxury for the heart and soul.  The popularity of this process is increasing rapidly, and I must say, this brings me great enjoyment.  I love barrel aged beer!  I love the complexity, and the history.  It’s distinguished, and I like that.

Now that I have (hopefully) whet your whistle for some serious barrel aged beer experiences, I must inform you of one of my absolute favorite Seattle beer events of the year… Brouwer’s Cafe Big Wood Fest.

On Thursday, December 3rd, there is no other place in the world you should be.  Seriously people, this is something special!  There is not very many bars on Earth that host events like this.

Nearly all of Brouwer’s 64 taps will be pouring barrel aged beers, many of which are extremely rare.  This is the penultimate Brouwer’s fest.  Not only the last fiscally, but in my opinion, the best.  I know, standing up against a fest of all barlerywines, all IPAs and all sour beers is no meager task, but the proof is once again, right in the name.

It’s a fest of wood aged beer…of any genre.  There’s barleywines, IPAs and sours to be found here, plus much more.  It’s all the diversity that you would expect any day that you step into Brouwer’s, but kicked up a whole heap of notches.  Pretty much every beer on the list is going to be worth trying, but of the preliminary list that has been posted on the Brouwer’s website, this is my list of “can’t misses”.

First and foremost, Lost Abbey Angel’s Share.  Get this or be damned, that is, while it lasts.  The name alone is just fantastic.  Since wood barrels are made from a natural, organic material, and therefore imperfect, small amounts of water and alcohol are lost due to evaporation.

This portion is known as the “angel’s share”.  Sometimes labeled a barleywine, sometimes generically strong ale, this brew was my number one pick of last years fest.  To use the word “complex” would be to greatly discredit it’s brilliance.

My second highest recommendation would be for anything Russian River.  Does the name Vinnie Cilurzo mean anything to you?  Well for the love of god it should!

Vinnie is the legendary man behind Russian River Brewing Co. and has, no doubt, had an enormous hand in the growing popularity of barrel aged beers.  Pretty much anything on tap this night from RR will be sour and aged in wine barrels from the pleniful wineries in their back yard of Sonoma County, CA.

Drink it up and relish the fact that the Brouwer’s owners have a great relationship with Vinnie (RR on tap is rare in WA).  I very much doubt there is any Deviation (Bottleworks 9th Anniversary) left, but if by some strange twist of fate another barrel was uncovered in the depths of Brouwer’s cellar, get 2 and thank me in the morning.  Easily in my top 5 beers of all time!

Anything by Hair of the Dog will be sure to please you, and it’s always rare to see on tap.  Firestone Walker, yes please.  Cascade Brewing, I’ll have another.  Southern Tier, Avery… I’m salivating.  And you all know, timperial stout loves, loves, loves his imperial stouts.  Abyss, Entire, Ivan the Terrible, hopefully some Yeti… obviously.

Beer Blotter will see you there!

The 2008 Winners of Brouwer’s Cafe’s Big Wood Fest….Drum Roll Please

November 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Brouwer's Cafe's Big Wood Fest 2009 (Seattle, WA): An Event Not to be Missed!


Alas, a year has passed and it is time for the winners of Big Wood Fest 2008 to relinquish their thrones. However, in light of the fast approaching epic night of beer reviewing, drinking and more, I would like to refresh everyone’s memories of those beers that took home the gold, silver and bronze.

2008 Big Wood Fest Winners:

In third place, for the bronze metal: Port Townsend Brewing Co.’s Makers Mark Porter

Second place, for the silver: Lost Abbey’s Brouwer’s Blend


The winner and gold medalist (for the second year in a row): Flyers Brewery’s Bottleworks III

As mentioned in the previous blog, this year’s line-up features Port Townsend Brewing Co.’s Barrel Aged Imperial Porter. This thick, flavorful beer was tasted, reviewed and enjoyed by Beer Blotter. We are interested to see how it places compared to last year’s third place PT Porter.

2009 will bring new contestants from both Lost Abbey and Flyers. Lost Abbey will feature Angel Share. With flavors of vanilla and oak, this beer was aged for 1 year in freshly emptied bourbon and brandy barrels. We can only begin to imagine the complexity of flavors this beer is going to divulge.

Flyers Brewery out of Oak Harbor, WA is switching it up this year, featuring Laphroaig Chipped BW 8. After a relentless search for a description, a rate, a review of this beer, we present a beer unknown to beer bloggers and internet sources alike. The sheer weight of a gold metal should entice you to try this new beer and see for yourself.

Congratulations to Flyers Brewery, Lost Abbey and Port Townsend Brewing Co. for a job well done. And to all the beers listed for Big Wood Fest 2009, the day cannot come soon enough. Let the count down to December 3, 2009 begin!

Big Wood Lineup: Preliminary Thoughts on the Brouwers Masterpiece

November 19, 2009 1 comment

Abyss 08 and 09. we'll see you at the Big Wood fest.

***Note: I apologize for the brevity of this post, but i am fairly certain resident beer nerd Timperial Stout wants to chime in tomorrow about this lineup. I just cannot contain myself***

Brouwers Cafe’s Big Wood Festival is probably our second favorite Seattle beer festival of the year. It closely rivals, and perhaps in the eyes of many, passes Brouwer’s Hopfest. But, being as its November – its the only thing in our minds.

Big Wood is a celebration of wood-altered beers. Whether beer is barrel-aged or enhanced by wood chips, you will find it here. This year’s Big Wood is kicking off on December 3, 2009. If its like most of Brouwer’s events, it will likely start around 4 PM. I would suggest getting there around 3:30, snagging a table and ordering some fried chick peas (awesome). Hold down the fort for your buddies and enjoy the night.

In any event, this year’s beer list is incredible. We pulled a copy of last year’s list (which is being posted tomorrow on and firmly believe this year’s offerings far exceed last year’s bevy.

For starters,Picobrouwerij Alvinne, Cantillon and Oud Beersel are each being put on tap. I really enjoy the Belgian offerings mixed into these events, it just isn’t often an option.

Firestone Walker (The Black Xantus), Port Brewing (Brouwer’s Imagination) and Fremont Brewing (BN Barrel Dry Hopped Abominable) are all offering exceptionally curious ales for the event. I cannot wait to try them.

I was ecstatic to see Port Townsend’s Barrel-Aged Imperial Porter on the list. We sampled this ((downed a few) at the Naked City 1st Anniversary party last month. This is a very tasty brew.

We’d like to also say the same about Cascade’s Vlad the Imp Aler, a damn good sour produced outside of Portland at the Racoon Lodge (you should visit).

The big review is coming tomorrow – with Timperial’s full review of the goodies. Stay tuned, but make plans to see us on December 3rd!

Reminder: Brouwers has the best beer events. The next one coming up is Hard Liver Barleywine Festival. This is a great event with 4 oz pours – allowing you to actually try the whole list (or close to it)  without going to the hospital.