My excuse this week. A little thing called San Diego Beer Week. So much more about that to come, on Alpine Brewing, Lost Abbey/Port Brewing, Stone Brewing Co., Allagash Night, Green Flash at Toronado and so much more.
But now for your week in beer.
Skipping Monday. Sorry!! Re-coup day.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Smuttynose Rare Beer Night: Greenville, South Carolina
7:00PM-10:00PM @ Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria
Tonight, some rare Smuttynose beers will be on tap. The list includes:
-Rouge d’Shire (Short Batch #9)
-Vunderbar (Short Batch #11)
-Wheat Wine Ale // 2007
-S’Muttonator Doppelbock // 2008
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Dogfish head and Three Floyds Collab Release: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
8:00PM-10:00PM @ Roman’s Pub
Release of this super rare collaborative brew by Dogfish head and Three Floyds along with special tappings of DH Worldwide Stout ’09, DH Bitch’s Brew and bottle sampling so far. Poppaskull is described as an “Old School, German Brown Ale with Palo Santo Wood and Botanicals.”
Thursday, November 18, 2010
VictoryBrewing Night: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
8:00PM-10:00PM @ The Devil’s Den
Join us as we tap a selection of beers from Victory Brewing Company.
Victory people will be on hand pouring the following –
-Yakima Glory (Black IPA)
-Harvest Ale (Wet Hopped Pale Ale)
-Golden Monkey (Tripel)
-Storm King Stout (Russian Imperial Stout)
Friday, November 19, 2010
Dissedent Release Party: Portland, Oregon
5:00PM-12:00AM @ Deshutes Brewing Co.
Event details were too epic to reiterate.
For those of you who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our 2010 The Dissident, wait no more! After almost 2 years in isolation our distinctive sour brown ale has finally been bottled. Our only wild yeast beer, brettanomyces and lactobacillus impart its characteristic sour taste. Lavished with whole western Washington cherries – pits and all – It’s our wildest, most extensively pampered beer.
Alcohol By Volume: 10.0%
International Bitterness Units: 25
We have very limited bottles available.
Our Bend and Portland Pubs will begin selling 22oz bottles of The Dissident after 11:00am on 11/19 and there will a 6 bottle limit per person. Check out the special dinner menu with 3 specialty food items paired with different sour brews including The Dissident, our Benderweisse, a sour cherry wheat and a sour cherry porter (Portland Pub sour brews may vary).
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Hair of the Dog’s 17th Anniversary Celebration: Portland, Oregon
10:00AM-8:00PM @ Hair of the Dog Brewing Co.
To celebrate 17 years of brewing, Alan Sprints, owner and head brewer of Hair of the Dog will be having a release party for Batch #2 Matt and the seasonal Doggie Claws. Check out our write up of this event here.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Alligator and Allagash Beer Dinner: Blue Island, Illinois
2:00PM-6:00PM @ Maple Tree Inn
In honor of this amazing brewery, Allagash and some delicious gator, I present a unique menu and a beer pairing not to be missed.
Maple Tree Inn’s famous “Swamp” Alligator Soup paired with Allagash White
Fried Alligator Po’Boy with Cajun fries paired with Allagash Tripel
Alligator & Andouille Sauce Piquante paired with Allagash Black
Tickets on sale now at the Maple Tree Inn — $35 in advance; $40 at the door (if tickets remain). Limited seating only!
If you go to an event, want me to post about an event or just want to tell me a beer related story, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers!
Enjoyed on 9/15/2010
Brewery: Russian River Brewing Co.
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Beer: Pliny the Elder
Presentation: 16.9 oz. – Brown Glass Bottle – Capped
Style: American Style Imperial India Pale Ale
Pliny the Elder was a Roman naturalist, scholar, historian, traveler, officer, and writer. Although not considered his most important work, Pliny and his contemporaries created the botanical name for hops, “lupus Salictarius”, meaning wolf among scrubs.” Hops at that time grew wild among willows, much like a wolf in the forest. Later the current botanical name, Humulus Lupulus, was adopted. Pliny died in 79 AD while observing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. He was immortalized by his nephew, Pliny the Younger, who continued his uncle’s legacy by documenting much of what he observed during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Pliny the Elder, the beer, is brewed with 40% more malt and over twice the amount of hops as compared to our already hoppy IPA.
Beer Advocate: A+ (4.55)
Rate Beer: 100 (4.24)
beeradvocate.com recently posted their 2010 “Top Beers on Planet Earth”. At the time of that list’s release Beer Blotter felt obliged to lend their opinion on the extremely interesting phenomena surrounding it, but alas, time did not allow. Seeing that the beer to be reviewed here is the controversial number 1 on said list, we will take this opportunity to toss out a few thoughts.
First, the background. I believe that this list comes out every year and is essentially beeradvocate.com‘s version on ratebeer.com‘s The Best Beers in the World (overall), or possibly The Top Widely Distributed Beers. These lists are always created exclusively with the use of the reviews of the website’s users. That being said, no matter what you may think of the results, they are the will of the people.
I personally prefer ratebeer’s Best in the World list over BA’s Top Beers list because I feel it gives credit to beers that, yes, may be very rare, but most likely taste the best, or are the most complex. BA’s list seems to have been compiled only with beers that have been reviewed by roughly 1,000 users, or have roughly 1,000 total reviews. This, however, makes the list much more accessible to the masses. A decent majority of the beers on the list have a sizable distribution.
For us Seattleites, the only breweries represented in the list that don’t distribute to our state are Founder’s, Bell’s, Three Floyds, Troegs, Great Lakes, Brooklyn, and Smuttynose. That’s really not that bad. 7 out of 44 breweries. Of course, none of those 44 breweries are from WA, but we kinda already knew that would happen. Tell me what WA beer deserves to be on the list, but before you answer, ask yourself what that beer’s distribution looks like. When you weigh quality with the number of mouths that get to taste it, you will begin to realize why our state is never represented.
Now, to number 1 on the list. Pliny. This is insane! Don’t get me wrong, Pliny is an amazing double IPA. I’d drink it everyday for the rest of my life if I had to and I’d be quite happy. Vinnie Cilurzo is truly a hero of mine, but…there should never, ever be an IPA in the number one spot on a list like this. IPAs lack depth and complexity. The number 1 spot should be reserved for a beer that has so many layers and nuances that you struggle to describe it. Even my beloved imperial stout, though unarguably complex, doesn’t have the depth of some of the greatest Belgian ales. This is why I will never argue with the ratebeer perennial champion Westy 12. Now that is a worthy beer for number 1 on planet Earth. But, Westy 12 is very rare and therefore has no place on this list. Rochefort 10 on the other hand, found in the number 3 position on the list, should be on top in my opinion. Anyone who has ever had this beer knows a little something about speechless.
But, I deeply digress. This article is about hops and Pliny has plenty of it. Wherever Pliny should end up on this list, or any other list for that matter, is up for debate; but what surely is not up for debate is if it should be on the list, or any other list for that matter. There is absolutely no doubt that this is one of the world’s best hoppy beers and I’m ecstatic to be drinking it tonight.
The filling of my pint glass is no easy task. A huge, rocky head arises of a just off-white, nearly yellow hue. It takes a while to fizzle down into beer, so you can imagine the pains it took to hold patiently. In fact, I failed. Refusing to wait, I slurped up a big, prickly mouthful of foam that seemed a microcosm of the taste experience soon to come. Immediately evaporating like a pinch of cotton candy between my lips, waves of citrus and pine span past me in fractions of a second before a stern slap of bitterness stung my senses.
Before even one liquid sip made it to my mouth, I felt as though I had climbed just slightly too far up a pine tree, became fearfully stuck, then became the target of a potato gun loaded with citrus. I’m taking it square in the jaw with propelled fruit and hanging on to the sharp, sappy branches of my captor with all that I have. It sounds like a nightmare, and to the bitter bewildered, it just may be, but to The Hop Brief, it’s an extreme sport. We do it for the love of the thrill.
The head eventually settles to a white wisp and ring. Surprisingly, the lacing is a bit subdued. After such a thick head on the pour and the sweetness expected from such a big brew, I presumed there would be much more stickage. The color is also a bit unexpected, a pale, cloudy amber. Pale enough that I would have projected a lighter brew before me. The most striking attribute of all, gathered with the eye, is the level of cloudiness. Actually, I hesitate to even use the word cloudy, though it seems an appropriate adjective for beers with suspended yeast. Here we have some serious floaters! My mind tells me that it’s hop shrapnel, and I like the thought of that. Maybe I can chew some hop as I drink some hop.
The nose is very pleasant to this IPA lover. There is a slight sting in the nostrils from the multi-tiered potency. Many facets of potent lupulin resins (pine and citrus, as mentioned earlier), backed with a potent booze factor. The biscuity malts that break through add a complexity and balance that is an invaluable sidekick. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a dash of wheat in the grain bill. That may also be a factor in the color and cloudiness. Fruitcake… and no, I’m not talking about you… in the nose. There is a slight but noticeable sweetness in the scent that brings me relief.
The mouthfeel is spot on for the style. Fairly low but present carbonation, smooth and slick with sweetness… I’m not rushing to swallow.
The flavor is pretty fantastic. No shit, right? The taste experience begins with an onslaught of bitterness, which I generally am opposed to, but after the bitter sensing portions of the tongue relax (or are desensitized, I’m not sure which), it’s all so right. An exhale through the nose stirs up all of the crucial hop flavors that were prefaced in the nose. BIG earthy pine (trapped in a tree), grapefruit, pumello, bitter orange (potato gun shooting citrus); it’s all there and wiping about the mouth like a swirl-and-spin of hop-flavored paint, coating every corner of the mouth with aromatic arts.
The malts are like the cool, smooth looking guy that just strolls through the bonkers house party with no worry in the world. He puts it all into perspective, making all the hopped-up party animals look like riotous ne’er-do-wells who will never grow up to do anything with their lives. In this particular case, we all know that those hopped-up animals turn out to forever change American brewing, but don’t tell that to the malty fellow, he is still cool as ice. You may have picked up on my IPA desires by now, but if not, I NEED BALANCE! Get a little heavy on the malt bill, leave behind some unfermentable sugars, arrest fermentation, do whatever you have to do to massage my sweet tooth. This brew gives it a little stroke, and I’m near bliss.
For me, the aftertaste is the peak of excellence as far as PTE is concerned. All the flavors coalesce into a sweet song in the key of sturm und drang. Extremes in emotion mingle. Stabbing, pungent bitterness leads into soothing, relaxing sacchariferousness. There is very little dryness at all and, though I so badly want another sip, I really don’t need it. The flavors just keep going and going. All is right in the world.
With PTE, the sweetness is desperately close to perfect for me, but falls just short. I can actually feel the tension within me. I want so badly for it to be perfect, but no. Lest we not forget though, it’s a rare occasion when I even discuss the possibility of perfection in a beer, of any style, and that is why Pliny the Elder is a legend in both history and beer.
Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.79
Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.86
Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.99
Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.94
Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.88
Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.99
Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 9.45
Without further ado and no introduction, drum roll please…..
Monday, March 29, 2010
Southern Tier Pint Night: Pawtucket, Rhode Island
8:00PM-10:00PM @ Doherty’s East Irish Pub
Put your Guiness down and enjoy a pint from NY’s Southern Tier Brewing Co. An amazing brewery with a wide range of styles, you can expect to enjoy the following on tap tonight: Mokah, Unearthly IPA, Choklat, Cherry Saison, Iniquity Black IPA and many more!
Allagash Beer Dinner: South Norwalk, Connecticut
7:00PM- 9:00PM @ The Ginger Man
Tonight, $70.00 will give you an all inclusive beer experience, with 5 courses, 5 pairings, tax and gratuity included. Come in early for a pint, and then enjoy hors d’oeuvres and a brief introduction to the Allagash Brewing Company when everyone is seated. 4 courses follow, including a cheese plate and dessert.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Enter the Smutty, An Evening with Smuttynose Brewing Co.: Burlington, Vermont
5:00PM-11:00PM @ American Flatbread Burlington Health
This line up is amazing and since our trip to Ohio, we are huge fans of Smuttynose Brewery. So here goes: Wheat Wine ’08; Big A IPA; Oaked Old Brown Dog CASK; Brett & I and many more.
Beers for Babes: New York, New York
6:30PM-9:30PM @ The Pourhouse
Beer is not just for men, women have sophisticated tastebuds and many enjoy the sweet nectar as much as their male counterparts. So tonight, lets drink to female beers lovers at the Pourhouse for a women only event. Tonight’s themed is flavored beer which includes Bluepoint Blueberry Ale, Ithaca Apricot Wheat, Lindeman’s Pomme, Sam Adams Cherry Wheat, Abita Purple Haze. Light appetizers will also be available.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Bell’s Oberon Kick Off Party: Atlanta, Georgia
6:00PM-8:00PM @ The Porter Beer Bar
Come and celebrate the beginning of Spring with Bell’s Brewery’s new edition, Oberon. An American wheat ale brewed with Saaz hops. Spicy and fruity, Oberon is the color and scent of a sunny afternoon. Get a pint, keep the glass.
Goose Island Beer and Wine Dinner: Rocky River, Ohio
6:30PM- 8:00PM @ The Pub Rocky River
Who said beer and wine lovers can drink in unison? Join Goose Island‘s Eddie Anderson as well as a Gallo Wine Rep in this very unique event of beer and wine pairings. Goose Island will be featuring Sofie, Matilda, Pere Jacques, 312 & Mild Winter.
Cask Night: Redmond, Washington
Every Wednesday, come get a pint of one of Black Raven Brewing Co.’s beers on cask at the brewery of Redmond amazing bottle shop. This Wednesday, the Saison is featured.
Thursday, April 1, 201o
April is IPA Month: Burlington, Vermont
4:30 PM-11:30PM @ American Flatbread Burlington Hearth
Out with the barleywines and in with the IPAs. For the ENTIRE month of April, expect to enjoy IPA after IPA. American Flatbread Burlington Hearth’s own Zero Gravity brewery will be offering multiple IPA options in addition to the many exciting selections have been gathered from the top regional and not-so-regional breweries.
Dogfish Head Keg Party and Chili Cook-off: Chicago, Illinois
8:30PM-11:30PM @ Landmark Grill and Lounge
Ok, listen carefully- $20 at the door gets you unlimited chili and $.25 drafts of Dogfish Head India Brown, 90 min IPA, Rasion D’extra and Aprihop all night long. Done and done!
Friday, April 2, 2010
Avery Brewing’s Depuceleuse Release: Boulder, Colorado
5:00PM-8:00PM @ Avery Brewing Co.
After waiting patiently for an entire year, this beer, aged in zinfandel wine barrels , Depuceleuse has matured and is primed to be bottled. A 100% brettanomyces fermentation gives this brew lots ‘o funk throughout, intertwined with pungent elements of sour cherries, delicate aromas of aged wood and a gentle spice thanks to the zinfandel barrels. Sounds amazing!
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Stone Barleywine Fest: Libertyville, Illinois
1:00PM-3:00PM @ The Firkin
Try one of 11 Stone Brewing Co. beers on draught including Old Guardian Barleywine from 2007, 2008, 2010! Also featured will be Levitation, I.P.A., Pale Ale, Ruination, Smoked Porter,and Arrogant Bastard. Brewer, Greg Koch will be stopping by during the party as well to say hello! New Old Guardian glasses will be yours to keep. Exciting!
Philadelphia Breweries During Prohibition: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
2:00PM -3:00PM @ Philadelphia Brewing Co.
Celebrate the 77th Anniversary of the Repeal of Prohibition which occurred April 7, 1933 when 3.2% beer was made legal. Find out how Philadelphia breweries coped during 13 long “dry years” some of which weren’t all that dry.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Easter At Stone: Escondido, California
9:30AM-11:30 AM @ Stone Brewing Co.
Egg hunt for kids, beer for adults. Happy Easter to you.
Easter, Avery Brewing’s release of a sour cherry beer, educational opportunities for woman and wine lovers, and the beginning of Spring. Life is good, so drink up- cheers!