In case you missed Part 1, check it out here. I’m just going to get right into it.
Pint Glass – Brasserie McAuslan St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout
This strange one pours black with a tan rusty head. The smells rising from the liquid are 100% mesquite. I’m immediately reminded of the one and only other beer that I’ve had that could be described in that way, Arcadia’s Imperial Stout. This beer is smokey and sweet at the same time. Did they add barbecued wood to the boil? The mouthfeel is a bit watery and thin, which seems odd considering the fact that the brewery went as far as to say that this is an oatmeal stout. Oatmeal, being the key word. I’d expect more luxury from the oats. The aftertaste, however, is very lingering and allows for some chocolate and coffee notes to be uncovered. At 5% abv, this beer feigns strength, but has no lack of intriguing flavor. Good stuff from north of the border.
We drank this beer, out of a pint glass, and it was good. If you want to know what it’s like, read my full review of it here.
Mug – Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout
Ah Bell’s Brewing, a Mid-West stalwart. There will never be a time that I’m not excited to swill some of their precious nectars, unless of course they are spoiled. That’s what happened here. Most likely, the store that we bought this from did not take proper care of the merchandise. The 10 malts that are used to brew Double Cream Stout push the abv to a level that is probably a bit low for cellaring, 6.1%, but we have only had it down there for a little over 6 months. I’m fairly confident that it wasn’t our doing, but who really know.
Everything started out just dandy. It poured with a very attractive head of tan that rose an average height and then eventually settled completely. There was coffee and some dark chocolate in the nose. Though the smell was not necessarily exciting, it didn’t put me off. The flavor, however, did put me off. I found it to be bitter, oily and acidic, with some mal-brewed coffee lingering in the midst. Then, as it lingered on my tongue, things went tart and I was assured that this was absolutely not what Bell’s intended. Frustrating, to say the least. We better move on.
Snifter – Traquair House Ale
This 7.2% Scottish brew departs its bottle with a clear brown, near red color and possesses a stark white, thin head. I found it to smell exactly like Juicy Juice. I guess that means it’s like a plethora of fruits mashed into one indistinguishable, homogeneous piece of produce. Grape and cranberry might have been most prevalent, but it’s hard to say for sure. The fluid has a very striking smoothness. On the back of the tongue there is a lot of Belgian yeast fruitiness, possibly some bubble gum. There is a very pleasant, sweet aftertaste. In summation, this beer is just plain juicy, and it works…well.
The snifter is my favorite of glasses. I like the way it looks, distinguished. I like the way it feels in my hand, rounded and organic. The way the circumference of the lip is slightly smaller than the apex of its width, it really allows for a slight “trapping” of the precious odors, all the better for me to smell my dear…
Chalice – Brouwerij Haacht Gildenbier
I really shouldn’t be in charge of writing about this beer. This little gem that we brought back from Belgium with us is DSR’s little baby. If you are ever in his presence, just mention Gildenbier, or “the archer beer”, or the beer we discovered in the underground, dungeon like brick lair that is Pelgrom in downtown Antwerp. He may demand your attention for about the next hour with his tales, but believe me, it will be time well spent. The man is passionate about Gildenbier, and I can’t blame him in the slightest. It exists in a very special corner of our collective hearts. It is Belgium in a bottle. Let’s see how it tastes.
When the great archer is inverted, out pours a clear brown liquid with a subdued white head that soon dwindles to a spotty foam. It has a very pronounced date aroma, but distinctly of Belgian descent. There is a lot of malt depth to be found here, with some roasty, grain sweetness providing a sturdy body. That all too familiar Belgian yeast fruitiness is very prevalent, and for me it mostly manifests into a very recognizable pear essence. Ever so delightful.
Chalice – Brouwerij De Bie Stoute Bie
This is another little nugget that survived the long flight back from Europe. Our tongues first became acclimated with the work of De Bie in a pretty bad ass beer bar in Brugge called Cambrinus. As time passed after Cambrinus, we realized that their beers were surprisingly hard to come across in Belgium, so when we found a bottle, we snagged it. This, like the above Gildenbier, was slightly difficult for us to open. In a perfect world we could keep them for years and years to come and eventually open them in a much more ceremonious way, where reminiscence may stand long overdue. But we know better, and with Stoute Bie’s 5.5%, it would surely not last such a span of time. So here we are, and here’s what it was like.
Stoute Bie pours black in color with the most glorious head ever. The foam is crazy fluffy with orange, red, and brown highlights. The nose is very, very complex. It is wildly sweet and sour. There is a fruitiness within that plays with the sour, lending thought of sour cherries. Also in the nose, an oily coffee bitterness, and vinegar. How perplexing? The flavor is intensely sweet up front with many of the scents translating over. The only flaw here is found in the aftertaste, which is plagued by that metallic flavor that we have previously discussed finding in many beers of Belgium. We still don’t really get how that comes to pass. If there is any redeeming aspect here with the Bie, it’s that the metal is slathered in a super sweet syrup. Not enough to mask it completely, but enough to prevent it from spoiling the experience.
Snifter – Deschutes The Abyss
You see that snifter next to The Abyss over there? Yeah, that little puppy is made of crystal. That gold rim, that is some high carat, real deal gold. When Beer Blotter busts out the vintage Abyss, they drink it in styzile.
Just as a reminder, this beer is brewed with molasses and licorice and 33% of it is aged in oak and oak bourbon barrels. It fills the crystal glassware with pure black oil liquid and a tan head that settles to a wisp and ring. It is very earthy in the nose. There is very little sweetness to be noted. The wood and licorice come out in the nose, as do roasted malts, all of which seem to impart a barren dryness. The flavor is very peppery up front, shifting into molasses soaked wood. I can only think to call the flavor “mature”. It reminds me, in a way, to Pu-erh tea. It’s just so earthy that I feel it’s much more of an acquired taste than most beers. So very dry. In the exhale following the swallow, the booze and licorice mingle expertly. Some salty pretzel notes simmer to the surface as the beer warms. This beer is really unique and deserves it’s notoriety.
As you all know, we indulged in and celebrated all that is Humulus lupulus at Brouwer’s Cafe this past weekend. Highlights include Black Raven Wisdom Seeker, Dogfish Head Burton Baton and Skagit River’s Barrel Aged IPA (the only barrel aged beer on the list). We continued our hop adventure at home by cracking Dark Horse’s Imperial IPA. On Sunday, we enjoyed the weather on our roof, while drinking kegs of Lazy Boy Oktoberfest and IPA, finishing the weekend with a present from some friends who just got back from Hawaii, Maui’s Coconut Porter. My god. Although this beer, as well as their IPA, Big Swell and their Hefe are available at Whole Foods, they got a hell of a deal purchasing this beer on the motherland. But now for your week in beer.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Goose Island Invasion: Chesterfield, Missouri
7:00PM-9:00PM @ International Tap House
This tap list is outrageous. Goose Island features: 312, Honkers, their IPA, Harvest Ale, Sofie, Matilda, Pere Jacques, Bourbon County Stout, Bourbon County Stout VANILLA, Bourbon County Stout COFFEE and Pepe Nero. My god. Get Matilda, all the Bourbon County Stouts and Pere Jacques.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Double Bacon Event: Sherman Oaks, California
5:30PM-9:30PM @ Boneyard Bistro
Sip on Mikkeller Beer Geek Bacon and feast on a special tasting plate composed of about seven bacon themed bites that will compliment the smoky/salty richness of the beer. There will be a set price for the tasting plate and a glass of the beer. Sounds damn good.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
New York State IPA Fest: Peekskill, New York
6:00PM-12:00AM @ Birdshall House
An evening featuring IPAs exclusively from the Empire State. Participating breweries include but are not limited to Brooklyn Brewery, Captain Lawrence Brewing Co., Sixpoint Craft Ales, Southern Tier, Blue Point Brewing Co plus a few surprises.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Boulevard Beer and Food Tasting: Lawrence, Kansas
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Genovese
Cost- $35 bones gets you four courses of delicious foods and Kansas’ very own Boulevard beers!
First course: ZON paired with Wakarusa Valley Mesculan Salad with Grilled Pineapple, Local Goat Cheese and Toasted Almonds
Second course: Tank 7 paired wit…h Crostini with Caponata, Sliced Steve’s Meats Beef and Mustard Aioli
Third course: Lunar Ale paired with Bucatini with Lobster, Calabrian Chilies and Toasted Pistachios
Fourth course: Bully! Porter paired with Broken Arrow Ranch Braised Wild Boar in Boulevard Beer with Roasted Squash and Shaved Pecorino
Friday, September 17, 2010
2nd Annual Saisonfest: Emmaus, Pennsylvania
7:00PM-9:00PM @ Tap & Table
What a great idea- a festival dedicated to the under appreciated (by Americans anyway) style of beer- Saisons. This draft list is to die for- check out all of the amazing breweries: *jolly pumpkin es bam, *st. somewhere saison athene, jandrain iv, jandrain v, nuova mattina, blaugies la moneuse, *dupont avec les bons voeux, bruery saison de lente, glazen toren d’erpe mere, *cigar city guava groove, *lost abbey red barn ale, hopfenstark saison de repos, bullfrog fran-tastique, hop ten dormaal blonde, *nogne-o saison, pretty things jack d’or, *saison dupont. Seriously – one of the best events this fall season. So if you have been waiting for an excuse to visit Emmaus, PA- here it is!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Iron Horse WABL Event: Ellensburg, Washington
6:00PM-10:00PM @ Iron Horse Brewery
Iron Horse Brewery in Ellensburg is inviting WABL members to their Pint and Potato Fest. The event will feature 6 varieties of Irish Eyes, freshly harvested local potatoes with unique dipping sauces, plus 6 Iron Horse beers on tap. Music by Abby Mae and the Homeschool Boys. $9 entry fee includes taters and dips but WABL members will receive $2 off admission. While you are in town make sure to visit Iron Horse’s new micropub in downtown Ellensburg!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Arcadia Brewing Co. Shipwreck Release Party: Grand Rapids, Michigan
7:00PM-2:00AM @ HopCat
This venue always has amazing beer events and this is no exception! Come for the relase of Arcadia Brewing Co.’s Shipwreck Porter. There will be beer specials, best pirate costume prizes and other great things. I mean, beer AND pirates- how could you not go?
As always, if you go to an event, want us to post about an event or just want to speak your mind, leave a comment or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers!
Enjoyed on 3/7/2010
Location: Escandido, CA
Beer: Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter
Presentation: 12 oz – Brown Glass Bottle
Style: Flavored Porter
Recommended Serving Temp: 55 degrees
Notes from the bottle:
Food Pairings: Barbeque, smoked meats, chocolate, deserts
Cheese Pairings: Gouda, brie
Beer Advocate: A-
Rate Beer: 98 (3.87)
The Stone Collaboration series is another wonderful chapter in the big old book of recent brewing collaborations. To date, 6 have been brewed in this series, each being a triple collaboration with Stone acting as curator and permanent attendee.
It all began with the first brew being sent to market in late ’08 and has continued on a trend of about 2 releases per year. Each is brewed at Stone Brewing and is brewed once. This is what you missed so far:
#2 – a 9% holiday ale brewed with Ron Jefferies of Jolly Pumpkin and Kjetil Jikiun of Nogne-O. This brew has since been brewed at least one more time at Nogne-O in Norway and packed under the Nogne-O label. We are hopeful that it continues to be produced.
#4 – reviewed here.
The last 2 are already in the works and should be seen on shelves in due time.
There are some serious names being thrown around up there. Stone has created a monster! We love it!
Another really exciting thing about collaboration beers like this is that, in some cases, a result of joint brewing is joint distributorship. This means that we get to taste beers brewed, at least in part, by brewers who do not distribute their product to our market. At this time, in reference to this Stone Series, the collaboration involving Alesmith is the only relevant example of this in the Seattle area (lucky us), but this concept is never the less a valid reason for excitement.
Allow me to get back to the beer at hand. Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter (mouthful) has a really interesting story line. It was brewed at Stone in Southern California collaboratively with Garrett Marrero of Maui Brewing and Ken Schmidt, a homebrewer whose creation is the source of the recipe. Ken brewed a beer, inspired by Maui Brewing’s Coconut Poter, he called Aloha Plenty for the AHA Rally in ’09 and won first place. As part of his prize, the beer would be brewed in the Stone system and put on tap at the Stone Bistro. It was just an added bonus that the brewing ended up being in collaboration with Mitch Steele of Stone and Garrett of Maui. When the final product was bottled and sold under the Stone label, the project reached new heights of homebrewer fantasy.
One of the initial challenges of the project was to acquire the 1,000 lbs. of coconut, 300 lbs. of macadamia nuts, and 200 lbs. of 100% Kona Coffee that would be required to brew the beer with volume in Stone’s system. As you can imagine these are not cheap ingredients and not quite as abundant in Southern California as in Maui. The team used their resources and, naturally, made it happen. The second major challenge was to toast the 1,000 lbs. of coconut, a necessary process to pull out the flavors that would be imparted into the beer. The Stone Bistro Crew took up this task, which was done in the small bistro’s kitchen and took a whopping 32 hours to complete. Then, when it came to brewing day, in order to steep the essences of all these rare ingredients into the beer, steeping bags were required…a lot of them. In the end, 22 bags were required, more than Stone had available.
Keeping true to the collaborative spirit, the folks across town at Green Flash Brewing stepped up and lent a few of theirs to make up the difference.
A lot of people came together to make this beer possible, so let’s pay tribute to their efforts and tip one back. Here’s how it turned out:
No light can pass through the coffee black color of this beer. A very nice caramel shade is found in the head, which is fairly subdued on a vigorous pour and whimpers to near nothingness fairly quickly. Coffee possesses a very potent scent, and its presence in this beer dominates the nose. Chocolate and roasted malt does break through however on the tail end of the inhale. Each and every whiff seems to be slightly different from the last, a lot of nuances here. The nuts, as I suspected, are hard to place. I could image them sharing a buttery expression, but the stronger scents are too potent to allow it.
The mouthfeel is very slick and soft. Very little carbonation is felt, which matches the style well and would be off-putting here. This is essentially the best iced coffee (with no actually ice) I’ve ever had. It just so happens to be skillfully spiked with booze, which is slightly present as it warms. It has the aspects of coffee that I most enjoy, and leaves behind those I do not. The sweetness is just right. There is some oiliness and a dash of fruitiness. The chocolate and nut infusion adds complexity without stealing the stage and makes for an aftertaste that is not at all bitter or dry. That is a very key role here. The genius of their addition is now most evident.
It is the aftertaste of this porter that is most pleasurable for me. The aftertaste of coffee itself is often its least desirable attribute. You can feel it gripping to your tongue in a bitter rage and fouling the air before you with every word you speak. Coffee breath is deadly. Hell, beer breath might even be deadly, but, though this theory stands untested, I feel this concoction might intrigue a communicatory counterpart. Possibly, bait with curiosity and wonder.
As this brew gets further and further from iced coffee and closer to room temperature coffee, I am reminded of a coffee liquor and become obsessed with the thought of adding cream to this and making it a Caucasian…I mean, White Russian. Ah, even better yet, some vanilla ice cream would be just lovely in this beer. Yes, both editions would surely spoil the nuances of the flavor, but I can’t think of a better beer to experiment in those ways with. Such a shame this was brewed only once and is very limited. I’d say though, were any hope to exist for a repeat brewing, Stone would probably be the brewery most likely to issue it. There is precedence. Remember Stone’s 11th Anniversary Black IPA? Brewed once…and then made into a standard offering dubbed Sublimely Self Righteous.
Ultimately, this beer is not traditional. Not, as they say, liquid bread. This is liquid coffee-infused chocolate cake with little nut bits suspended within and coconut shavings on top. If that image doesn’t want you to try this beer you should check your pulse.
If you like Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter, you should try…
Kona Brewing Co.’s Pipeline Porter; Surley Brewing Co.’s Coffee Bender; Midnight Sun Brewing Co.’s Arctic Rhino Coffee Porter
Disclaimer: This beer was purchased on my own with my own hard earned money at a local bottle shop.