29 November 2008

HBG Weekend Quick Hit | BIG Winterfest '09

We at HBG hope that the holiday weekend is treating you well. My beer damage so far: 1 Brugge White, 1 Brugge Black, 1 Weyerbacher Simcoe Double IPA, 1 Founders Breakfast Stout. Yes, I know those are small potatoes compared to what the rest of you may have consumed. But as the rest of the Knights will tell you, I'm a lightweight. I'm sure that I'll drink some more before Monday morning.

Some good news for those of you who have been yearning for a beer festival in the winter months--the Brewers of Indiana Guild and World Class Beverages will stage the First Annual Indiana Microbrewers Winterfest on January 24, 2009, at the State Fairgrounds Champions Pavilion. Tickets are $15 in advance. That $15 gets you 10 beer tokens, with more tokens available for purchase at the festival. 27 Indiana breweries will be there, plus a load of other brewers. Tickets may be purchased online here.

25 November 2008

The "What's on Your Thanksgiving Table" Open Thread

This year, the recommended beer for our Thanksgiving roundtable was Biere de Garde. Last year, my father-in-law served an American interpretation of an ESB, which worked well with Thanksgiving dinner. On Thursday, I'm heading to the in-laws' house with Brugge White to go with the turkey and Brugge Black to go with dessert.

Open thread time, readers. What will you be drinking on Thursday?

23 November 2008

KOTBR #62 - A Very Special Hoosier Beer Geek Thanksgiving Roundtable

A while back Matt R. (I think) made a suggestion that we might want to try doing a Thanksgiving beer pairing, complete with courses and beers to match each. We all agreed that that sounded like a good idea, and we laid out a menu of traditional Thanksgiving foods - carrot ginger soup, turkey, sweet potato pie, sweet potato casserole, cranberry relish, cranberry sauce, stuffing, green beer casserole, corn casserole, rolls, pumpkin pie..

One thing I learned from the Turtle/Rabbit/Squirrel beer paring was to not overdo it - but a full cast of Knights (short Jim - who is a Jewish Vegetarian Lawyer (and those people are weird)) meant that if anything, there would be more than enough beer.

Because coordinating a write-up between a cast of nine is usually a trainwreck, I laid down one rule: No one leaves until we're gotten everything written up. While doling out responsibilities, the question was asked: "Are we reviewing the parings? The beer? The spirit of Thanksgiving?" "Yes, Rod, we're reviewing the spirit of Thanksgiving." What follows is out of order in more ways than one. And so..

The Spirit of Thanksgiving

Once every year, the ghost of Jesus rises from the dead to feast on the souls of the living. Every year we survive this atrocity, we celebrate our safety for another year through the holiday of Thanksgiving.

Back to Mike: When we decided to do a Thanksgiving pairing, I immediately turned to Garrett Oliver's The Brewmaster's Table for turkey pairings, and came across two full paragraphs expounding upon the virtues of Biere de Garde and Thanksgiving foods. A sample:
The French have yet to discover this food match, so let me be the one to tell you - biere de garde is brilliant with turkey. And not just with turkey - it is also brilliant with the turnips, the stuffing, the cranberry sauce, the potatoes, the whole darned thing.
That's a fairly convincing argument, right?

Schlafly Biere de Garde

We probably served this beer a little too cold to start. The bottle specifically says cellar temperature ("51-55 degrees F") and we served it straight out of the fridge. Later samples definitely showed a bit more fruitiness. Not that that necessarily would have helped with the Thanksgiving meal pairings.

As for specific pairings, I thought the beer went particularly well with the green bean casserole. It was more of a contrasting pairing as opposed to a complimentary pairing. The fruitiness was interesting counterpoint to a dish full of green beans and mushrooms, though the caramelized onions linked up perfectly with the caramel malt flavors in the beer.

Mike: 3.5
Gina: 3.5
Rod: 3.47
Jess: 2.8
Chris: 3.3
Matt R: 3.8
Matt E: 3.0
Kelly: 2.0
Jason: 2.5

Schlafly Biere de Garde Average: 3.09 Mugs

Troegenator Doublebock - Troegs Craft Brewery

The nose starts out with a bit of a raisin sourness with chocolate and caramel toffee notes. It has a nice dark caramel color that resembles caramel ice cream topping. Taking a sip of this 8.2% ABV brew is a bit misleading as it warms the palate and tends to meander through the malt sweetness. As it warms to room temperature you tend to taste the lightly toasted caramel malt and it balances out. For being a fairly boozy brew, this has a great balance to misrepresent the ABV.

In regard to our Thanksgiving pairings, this worked really well with the sweet potato pie. It brought out the maple syrup notes and complimented the toasted pecans on the top. There is a great pairing with the oyster stuffing with bits of salty mushrooms and the malty sweetness of the beer. Overall, this works quite well with the majority of dishes for the Thanksgiving meal.

Matt R: 4.0
Chris: 3.1
Rod: 4.1
Jess: 4.2
Matt E: 3.75
Jason: 3.66
Kelly: 3.8
Gina: 3.3
Mike: 3.5

Troegenator Doublebock Average: 3.71 Mugs

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron

This is supposed to be a brown? We picked up a black liquorish nose, with hints of vanilla, smokeless tobacco, bourbony alcohol, soy sauce, molasses, and almond extract. A deep black/purple/marron-maroon color filled the glass and left no lacing. This is an all out beer, with little in the way of subtlety. Black liquorish, sassafras, molasses, some cough medicine I had and hated as a kid (someone else said Dimetapp, bourbon, and toasted wood all came to play.

We all agreed that this beer would be interesting with some age on it, but would it be good?

Mike: 3.0
Gina: 2.1
Matt. E: 2.175
Matt R: 2.0
Jason: 2.5
Jess: 3.1
Chris: 3.1
Kelly: 1.7
Rod: 3.8 (Who also noted: "You guys are jerks. If this was aged, (my score) would be even higher)

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron Average: 2.60 Mugs

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar

Jason brought out this beer and it wasn't really paired with anything, but just went along nicely in between dinner and dessert. Is that a new meal time? Rouge's take on the brown ale adds some nutty complexity with the traditional brown ale base. The mouthfeel is a little lacking in carbonation, but it still cleared the way for pumpkin pie quite nicely. This is beer is neither offensive or something to really write home about, but it is of good quality and worth your time.

Jason: 3.5
Matt R: 2.5
Matt E: 3.6
Kelly: 2.5
Gina: 2.3
Jess: 3.75
Rodney: 3.2
Mike: 2.0
Chris: 2.6

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar Average: 2.88 Mugs

Sorachi IPA

For lack of a Left Hand Juju Ginger, we paired the carrot ginger soup with Chris' homebrew Sorachi IPA. Named after the Sorachi Ace hops, this IPA carried a very refreshing lemon flavor. Citrus and pine filled out the background but this IPA was noticeably lighter than others, while maintaining a very prominent bitterness. When paired with the ginger and black pepper flavors of the soup, a very floral character emerged and created a chamomile and heather flavor profile which blended nicely with the soup. The finish was a bit overpowering, as the hops quickly cleansed the palette of creamy squash and carrot. I think the lesson that we learned here is a citrus pale ale with a bit of a floral character would be a good pairing for ginger spiced squash or carrots.

Ps. Thanks to the folks at Goose the Market for their great brining instructional video and for all their help with the bird. Even I managed to make an tasty and tender turkey, which is no small feat.

22 November 2008

KOTBR #61 | All Hail Jason, Young Prince of Flanders

As the companion piece to KOTBR #60, KOTBR #61 had us seeing how many Belgian sour ales we could handle before our tongues were begging for mercy. After all, the flavor of sour ales is about as subtle as Rahm Emanuel. But that was okay with me. I really looked forward to this roundtable because I fell in love with sour beers after a visit to The Hopleaf Bar in Chicago this past summer. And I think all of us eagerly awaited the roundtable for another reason--Jason isn't a sour beer fan, so we wanted to see his reaction to each sip of tart Flemish suds. I suppose that we were hoping that we might see Jason become a latter day Mikey.

And so, the results of Act II of our pucker festival...

Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale

Jim. This Flanders Oud Bruin (translated as "Old Brown") started the sour beer show. Some of you might be familiar with Monk's Cafe, a Philadelphia restaurant and pub that is much like The Hopleaf in that it specializes in Belgian beers and cuisine. The Monk's Cafe Flemish Sour Ale is brewed by Brouwerij Van Steenberge under a private label for the restaurant and for distribution in the States. It pours with a ruddy brown color, and, like many sour beers, has a sharp, vinegar-like nose. It's very sour on the front of the mouth and slightly oak-like in character. However, after the initial shock of the sourness, it fades to almost nothing. Indeed, I found it to be very flat in the back of the mouth, so much so that I was disappointed. Perhaps my palate has become accustomed to the massive sourness of other sour ales, so I might not have truly appreciated this beer for what it is. Still, I can't give it a very high score when it's stacked up against other sours. 2.60 mugs.

Monks Cafe scores:
Gina: 3
Jess: 3
Rod: 2.4
Jason: 2.5
Jim: 2.6
Chris: 3.1
Mike: 2.95
Average: 2.79

Brouwerij Verhaeghe Vichtenaar Flemish Ale

This strikingly translucent beer was poured with a tan colored head that quickly vanished. It didn't seem to hold a lot of carbonation, but there were some bubbles in the glass. The nose was promising, with a sweet but vinegar-like smell. This tastes like what I want a Sour Red to taste like. That is, puckering sour with a hint of cherry.

I like this beer in the same way I like salt and vinegar potato chips, the flavor right on the edge of being too much, but enough that I want to keep coming back for more. I like! 4.40 mugs.

Vichtenaar scores:
Gina: 4.4
Jess: 3.2
Rod: 3.2
Jason: 3
Jim: 3.75
Chris: 3.4
Mike: 3.25
Average: 3.46

Brouwerij Verhaeghe Duchesse de Bourgogne

The Duchesse de Bourgogne (unfortunately, more commonly referred to by the KOTBR as the "Douche") was darker brown in color than the first two sour beers we tried. It had a nose of burnt sugar and acetone. If there was such a thing as sour raisins, this would be a perfect representation of sour raisins aged in oak barrels. The complexity of this beer was shocking in the way that it had an almost Chardonnay taste, but it was like Chardonnay with a sour raisin edge. It wasn't what I was expecting as part of Sour-palooza '08, but it was a very solid beer with a complexity that we only began to delve into. I give it 3.40 mugs on the basis that I want to try it again at different temperatures and see what that brings out in the beer.

Duchesse de Bourgogne scores:
Gina: 3.75
Jess: 3.4
Rod: 4.4
Jason: 3.2
Jim: 4
Chris: 4.6
Mike: 2.75
Average: 3.73

Rodenbach Grand Cru

Once upon a time I didn't like sour beer. I had tried a sour beer a few years back that tasted off. Even today after enjoying many different varieties of sour beers, the flavor of my first one sticks out as a beer that had turned. I stayed away until GABF 2007, where sour beers tended to be far more prevalent than in 2006 (or maybe it was my imagination). I tried a few and found a lot of them that I enjoyed, though none of them available in Indiana. New Belgium's Eric's Ale comes to mind. After that, on my first visit to The Hopleaf Bar in Chicago, I decided to try a goblet of Rodenbach Grand Cru. Wow. Just wow.

The bottled version, which I've had many more times than the draft version, holds up fairly well on its own. The nose on this beer contains a well blended oak and bourbon aroma melded with red grapes and a citric acid-style sourness (think the sour smell of lemon or lime juice). When it comes to the flavor of this beer, it is simultaneously one of the most complex and most balanced sour beers I have tried. Lemon, cherries and cranberries create a strong tartness. Sweet strawberries, oak, vanilla beans and pears create a great contrast to the tart flavors. 4.80 mugs.

Rodenbach Grand Cru scores:
Gina: 4.25
Jess: 3.7
Rod: 4.8
Jason: 2.25
Jim: 4.7
Chris: 4.1
Mike: 3.81
Average: 3.94

Struiselensis Wild Belgian Ale

You could say I’m a sour puss, because I’m not a fan of sours in general. Coming into tonight’s roundtable, I was totally expecting to come away feeling ill from all the sour stuff I drank. Looking over the collection of beers to sample, I expected De Struise Brewers’ Struiselensis to be my favorite of the night just based on who produced it.

I will say that I didn’t hate it. The sour was not over the top like many others that I have had before. It did find many apple and lemon sour notes, but for me, it was not as sour as the Rodenbach Grand Cru. At the same time, it also didn’t have the complexity of flavors of the Grand Cru.

I gave it 2.00 mugs. It’s not a beer for me. You won’t see me order this beer. Just thinking about it makes my entire body pucker up. But it does have quality to it, and I’m sure that many who do enjoy sours will enjoy this beer.

Struiselensis scores:
Gina: 3.1
Jess: 3.1
Rod: 3.4
Jason: 2
Jim: 3
Chris: 2.9
Mike: 2.8
Average: 2.90

Reinaert Flemish Wild Ale

I'm generally a pretty frugal guy, so when I shop for beer, I usually note things that look interesting to me and go home to check out BeerAdvocate ratings. My wife is much more adventurous, though, and enjoys taking a chance on a bottle of wine or beer. Sometimes she hits one out of the park and finds a bottle that's unexpectedly awesome (see the Oude Kriek from KOTBR #60).

Sometimes we end up with a beer that smells like urine.

Yes, urine was this roundtable's descriptor of choice for Reinaert Flemish Wild Ale. And there were some comments about barnyard animals. And too much alcohol (this is not a common complaint). I decided to score this one a 2.10 before I even wrote any notes. After a couple more sips and listening to everyone else rip the beer (or just dump it out) I thought I might revise that score down. I found it awful, though slightly less than awful if I took a big swig. Rod agreed, noting that with a full mouthful it was almost like a Belgian Blonde. Almost, but not really. Good enough to bring my score back to 2.10 Mugs.

Reinaert scores:
Gina: 1.5
Jess: 0.9
Rod: 1.4
Jason: 1.8
Jim: 1.5
Chris: 2.1
Mike: 2
Average: 1.60

21 November 2008

Random Beer Roundup - I'm Still Bicycle Commuting Occasionally and I Appreciate Your Patient Sharing of the Road Edition

Welcome to the Random Beer Roundup for Friday, November 21st. I've attempted to start a tradition of a completely random title for each edition, and an equally random introductory paragraph. If you'd like to see us cover a completely random topic (a shout out to a friend, a video clip from your television appearance, anger towards deer that attack cyclists), drop me a line. I'll work it in there.

Oh yeah, beer.

A later in the evening update from Elizabeth at The Old Town Ale House:
Hi there...Apple Buzz just blew & has been replaced by the Bourbon County Stout by Goose Island (man, is it good!). Hurry, won't last long!

Updates from John at Big Red Liquors (Bloomington):
New arrivals:

Scaldis Special
Left Hand Snow Bound
Ridgeway Very bad Elf
Seriously bad Elf
Insanely Bad Elf
Criminally Bad Elf
Bells Christmas Ale (Scotch ale)
Mad River John Barley Corn
Meantime Coffee Porter
Mikkeller Big Worse
Mikkeller Black Stout
Hey you lucky Lafayettens (Lafayettians? Lafayetters?) - Look like John at The Black Sparrow (223 Main St. Lafayette, IN.) is taking care of you.
This Friday at The Black Sparrow we will be tapping a keg of Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout. It is a bourbon-barrel aged Imperial Stout that has previously only been available at Goose Island's brewpubs in Chicago. We have a very limited amount available to us, so it will go fast. Try it while you can, you don't want to miss this one. We will be having some other Goose Island small batch specialties in the coming months. The next one will be an Imperial IPA in February.

John Olakowski
The Black Sparrow
This just in from Mike at J. Gumbo's:
Recession Buster Specials

$5 Bowls
$2.50 U-Call-It Pints

Everyday Until December 31st

Closed Sundays
My advice? Enjoy it while it lasts.

Mike Sprinkle at Crown Liquors blesses us with his latest impressive list:
Three Floyds Broodoo
Struise Black Albert!!!!!
Mikkeller Santas Little Helper
Bells Christmas
Bells Hell Hath No Fury (back in stock)
John Barleycorn Barleywine
Dark Horse Perkulator Coffee Dopplebock
Sam Adams Chocolate Bock
Two Brothers Bonfire Dunkle Weiss
Two Brothers Ale to the Chief
Some other very special beers to be announced.

Cheers! Mike
We'd like to welcome Cari Crowe at Kahn's Fine Wine and Spirits to our HBG-WBR party. Here's what's going on over there:
Next Monday, November 24, Kahn's has it's free weekly beer tasting. This week we will feature Wabash Valley Brewing Co.

This week Kahn's is featuring Wabash Valley 6 packs for $6.99 and Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale 12 oz. bottles for $2.99.

We are currently stocking the following recently releases:
- Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
- Samuel Adam's Chocolate Bock
- Three Floyd's Broo Doo Harvest Ale & Moloko Milk Stout
- Red Hook Winter Hook Ale
- Bell's Winter Ale
- Bell's Christmas Ale
- Avery Old Jubilation
- Brooklyn Winter Ale
- Anchor Steam Merry Christmas Ale
- Breckinridge Christmas Ale
- Goose Island Christmas Ale
- BRAND NEW & only at Kahn's: Jerome Argentinian Ales - Negra, Rubia, Nochebuena, and Roja
Kirk at Mr. G's has a tiny update:
New this week:

Stone Double Bastard
Clipper City Winter Storm
Breckenridge Christmas Ale

Mr. G's
What's new at Cavalier Distributing? Looks like a lot. Here's an update from Mat:
A few cases of Struise Tsjeeses are being delivered to the Parti Pack tomorrow / Thursday (11/20/08). Along with a boat load of other crazy esoteric beers from Shelton Brothers including some new beer form Mikklers and Olfabrikken.

I would expect to see a lot of crazy esoteric beer going up to the north side on Friday to the usual places that sell the kind of high quality beer we distribute.

We have all our Winter line up now in stock! The Two Brothers North wind Imperial Stout arrived today (a few weeks ahead of schedule) and the Thirsty Dog 12 dogs of Christmas arrived yesterday. This it the first time around for the 12 Dogs!

Also the last cases of Founders of Breakfast Stout arrived today! We have had a 600% increase in the amount of Breakfast Stout come into Indiana this year! Be sure to raise a glass and toast the hard working / brewing people at Founders over the holidays. The Harvest Ale and Back Woods Bastard are outstanding this year as well.

The 2008 release Stone Double Bastard is all but gone from the warehouse!

Thomas Hardy's 40th Anniversay release is in stock an mighty tasty now! I can only dream of how it will taste in the years to come.

See our Holiday / Winter list below:

Berghoff Variety Pack
Boulder Beer Brewers Dozen (Mix Pack) - Boulder Beer Series
Breckenridge Sampler (variety pack)
Clipper City Sunken Sampler (Mix Pack)
Michigan Brewing Variety Pack
Sea Dog Motley Crew Variety Pack
Corsendonk Gift Set - Brown, Pale & 2 glasses
Corsendonk Christmas Ale Gift set with glass
Ridgeway Christmas Gift pack
Erdinger Hefe Gift sets
Weihenstephaner Gift Boxes
Berghoff Red Bock Winter Ale
Boulder Never Summer Ale
Boulder Obovoid Oak-Aged Oatmeal Stout
Breckenridge Christmas Ale
Breckenridge Christmas Ale - 1 liters limited
Clipper City Winter Storm "Category 5" Ale
Clipper City Below Decks Barley Wine
Breakfast Stout Early Winter Seasonal
Great Divide Hibernation Ale
Hebrew Jewbelation (12th Anniversary beer) 12%
Lakefront Holiday Spice
Left Hand Snow Bound
Mad River John Barleycorn Barley Wine - GABF Gold
Mendocino Imperial IPA Winter Ale
Shipyard Prelude Ale
Thirsty Dog 12 Dogs of Christmas *** New Beer ***
Two Brothers North Wind Imperial Stout (back in 6 packs!)
N'Ice Chouffe
BIG CHOUFFE - Magnums of La Chouffe
Corsendonk Christmas Ale
Santa's Butt - porter
Bad Elf - IPA
Warm Welcome - Nut Browned Ale
Reindeer's Revolt - Winter Warmer
Very Bad Elf - English Old AleIPA
Seriously Bad Elf - English Double Ale
Lump of Coal - Stout
Criminally Bad Elf - Barley Wine - 10.5% abv
Insanely Bad Elf - Dark Strong Ale - 12% abv

Mat Gerdenich
Cavalier Distributing
Rodney passes along this information from The Ram (downtown Indianapolis):
Our brewers seasonal specialty...celebrate the season with our festive winter offering, Nutcracker Porter. A smooth, chocolaty porter brewed with chocolate and caramel malts and infused with the essence of toasted hazelnuts. Decadent and delicious, Nutcracker is the perfect winter indulgence.
Here's Mike DeWeese's updated beer cellar list. All prices negotiable. Email Mike if you're interested:

We keep the beer flowing..

Some monks brew beer, some monks just like the bottles: Check out these photos of a Buddhist temple made of beer bottles. Probably a really nice place to be during an earthquake. Or a hailstorm. Or when the neighbor kids are throwing rocks.

And here's my choice for best reading article about beer this year: The New Yorker with a story about the rise of extreme beer - well, that's not exactly true.. it's more an article about Dogfish Head. A couple of my favorite bits:
Calagione had brewed fewer than ten batches before coming to Delaware, and he rarely used the same recipe twice. "I'd just grab herbs and spices and fruits from the kitchen and throw them in," he says. "I used to think, Oh, it's cool that every batch tastes different. It's like snowflakes!"
While other brewers were dyeing their beer green for St. Patrick's Day, Calagione brewed his with blue-green algae. "It tasted like appetizing pond scum," he says. "The first sip, you were like, 'Wow, that tasted like pond scum. But you know what? I kind of want a second sip.'"
And lastly, here's some help in getting people to stare at you while you're at the bar: Behold! A link to a handy-dandy pronunciation guide for the beers and styles of Belgium. I'll have a gur-zur, thanks.

20 November 2008

Tapping tonight (11/20) at the Downtown Rock Bottom

Rodney loves Rock Bottom. In fact, even if Rock Bottom were Vladimir Putin, Rodney would still want to have Rock Bottom's Vladimir Putin babies. So I suppose it's lucky for us all that Rock Bottom and Vladimir Putin have absolutely nothing in common, including the ability to procreate.

Anyway, Back to Rodney. He wanted to pass this along, but The Man has blocked him. So he passed it along to me:
'Tis the season, or almost! Just for the holiday season, your favorite downtown Indy brewers have brewed a very special and festive ale! This year's Blitzen is a Belgian style ale spiced perfectly with flavors of the season. It has a wonderfully rich raisony flavor with a decadent fruity and spicy aroma. Beat the downtown holiday chaos and join us for a pint of Blitzen Ale Thursday, November 20th at 6pm (at Rock Bottom Downtown).

OG: 15 degrees Plato
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 25
Malt: Canadian 2 Row Pale, Belgian Special B, German Munich
Hops: German Noble Hops


Your Brewer,
Jerry Sutherlin

Specialty Beers on tap:
• California Common.
• Pumpkin Smasher

Upcoming Beers on tap:
• Old Curmudgeon
• Bourbon barrel aged series ales

19 November 2008

KOTBR #60 - It's Mostly About the Uplands (Lambic Post)

You may recall that a while back Gina and I stopped in at Upland and picked up four varieties of their Lambics: Kiwi, Strawberry, Cherry, and Peach. During a stopover at my mom's house that very same day, we opened a bottle of the strawberry. And it was ok - but there just wasn't enough strawberry flavor there to make any of us fall in love.

So we tried it again with the Knights. And I'd say we got about the same result. A sour-smelling oaky nose leads to a water + alcohol + oak flavor. Would you guess this is a strawberry lambic without reading in on the label? I'm not so sure. And I think that if you buy a strawberry lambic, it's probably natural to expect some strawberry flavor. We didn't get much, and I think the score reflects that. I gave it 2.9 Mugs.

Gina: 2.4 Mugs
Jess: 3.4 Mugs
Rodney: 2.7 Mugs
Jason: 2.0 Mugs
Jim: 3.4 Mugs
Chris 3.4 Mugs
Mike 2.9 Mugs

Upland Strawberry Lambic Total Score: 2.88 Mugs

I've also been given the task of writing up Upland's Kiwi Lambic. You may know the story on this one - Upland's Kiwi cask exploded, meaning that only 40 bottles of this variety made it into the hands of the general public. Luckily, Gina made a call to Upland on Day 1 Hour 1(ish) of the reservation period, and we were amongst the 40 lucky individuals.

Naturally the excessive demand for rare beer drove this one right into "stupid expensive" levels on eBay... at least two bottles went for right around $155. A fool and his money are soon parted. A KOTBR and his/her beer are soon drunk.

Stupid expensive indeed.

Writing the review for the kiwi is remarkably similar to the strawberry. Oak and sour, very little fruit flavor. In fact, we should probably put some of the widely available strawberry variety in a kiwi bottle, add a hint of green food coloring, reseal it, and sell it on eBay to an idiot.

Ps. If you're reading from outside Upland's distribution area, please know that these beers are sitting on shelves all over Indiana. There's no need to buy them for $40 on eBay. Besides, that's illegal.

Mike: 2.9 Mugs
Gina: 2.4 Mugs
Jess: 3.4 Mugs
Rodney: 3.1 Mugs
Jason: 1.8 Mugs
Jim: 3.4 Mugs
Chris: 3.4 Mugs

Upland Kiwi Lambic Total Score: 2.91 Mugs

The most striking aspect of Upland's Blueberry Lambic is the color. It's a cloudy maroon color with a colorful head. The nose was similar to the strawberry and kiwi, and unfortunately the flavor was too. In the lineup, I wouldn't be able to tell what fruit was supposed to be represented in this lambic. I am interested to see if some age on them will help better define the fruit characteristics. I give it 2.5 mugs.

Gina: 2.5 Mugs
Jess: 3.6 Mugs
Rodney: 3.1 Mugs
Jason: 2.7 Mugs
Jim: 2.8 Mugs
Chris: 2.8 Mugs
Mike: 3.0 Mugs

Upland Blueberry Lambic Total Score: 2.93 Mugs

The Upland Blackberry batted number 3 in the Lambic lineup.  By the time we poured it, my tongue was having a battle with the rest of me.  It was screaming at the top of its lungs, poised to drop out of my mouth and on to the floor, where it would crawl away searching for more mercifully mellow flavors.  

Still, I was the #1 Shock Tart fan in my neighborhood when I was a kid, so my sour-loving brain said, "More!"  So there was the Upland Blackberry Lambic, pouring into my glass with a cloudy copperish hue.  The nose was quite astringent like the nose of the Upland Strawberry and Blueberry, which were the first two beers we sampled.  But unlike the Strawberry and the Blueberry, which had a noticeable oak character in the nose, the Blackberry had an odd metallic note to the nose.  For me, the Blackberry was the tartest of all the Lambics we tasted.  The sourness was nearly over-the-top, but I quite liked the extreme that it presented.  No trace of any blackberry flavor in this, though.  Nonetheless, a solid sour beer, and the best of the Uplands.  3.90 mugs.

Gina: 3.6 Mugs
Jess: 3.8 Mugs
Rodney: 3.25 Mugs
Jason: 1.8 Mugs
Jim: 3.9 Mugs
Chris: 3.2 Mugs
Mike: 3.0 Mugs

Upland Blackberry Lambic Total Score: 3.22 Mugs

If you've ever wanted dried apricots covered in that tart sour patch kids sugar, pureed into a delicious peach juice and fermented - this is perfect for you. It was pretty bland in color and in smell, but the flavor was delicious and reminded me of when we used to eat the sour patch kids coating in the bottom of the bag after eating all the candy. A great introductory Lambic for anyone who is a fan of peaches, this one gets a 3.9 mug rating from me.

Gina: 3.4 Mugs
Jess: 3.9 Mugs
Rodney: 3.2 Mugs
Jason: 2.9 Mugs
Jim: 3.1 Mugs
Chris: 3.7 Mugs
Mike: 3.2 Mugs

Upland Peach Lambic Total Score: 3.34 Mugs

There's a scribbling between my notes for the Blackberry and Kiwi that says "sour fatigue...." My tongue was saying, "Enough! Cleanse me with imperial stout!" Three beers later, my mouth was so beaten down that it was reduced to telling me things like, "uhhh...I taste....lambic? and cherry? Is that good enough?" I relented and just started writing down what others were saying. Some comments were odd -- Jess: "tuna fish juice!" -- others were disturbing -- Jim: "there's a definite fecal smell" -- and some were actually useful -- Rod: "definitely red grapefruit." Ultimately, I decided it was better than the Kiwi but not as good as the Peach, so I split the difference on my scores and gave it 3.55 Mugs.

Gina: 2.2 Mugs
Jess: 2.0 Mugs
Rodney: 3.4 Mugs
Jason: 2.4 Mugs
Jim: 3.0 Mugs
Chris: 3.55 Mugs
Mike: 3.2 Mugs

Upland Cherry Lambic Total Score: 2.82 Mugs

Hanssens Artisanaal Oude Kriek

This lambic had a moldy, bleu cheese kind of nose. It had a sweet, but puckering mouthfeel with a funky, cherry taste. I really, really liked the combination of the wild yeast flavor and the fruit, so I gave it 4.3 Mugs.

Gina: 4.3 Mugs
Jess: 4.2 Mugs
Rodney: 4.3 Mugs
Jason: 1.0 Mugs
Jim: 4.5 Mugs
Chris: 4.2 Mugs
Mike: 3.27 Mugs

Hanssens Artisanaal Oude Kriek Lambic Total Score: 3.68 Mugs

After drinking six lambics from Upland and a kriek, this beer gave me whiplash. No sourness. No tartness. No anything to make you think lambic. If you drank this in a blind taste test, you would not think lambic. You would not think beer. It is too sweet for that. You would think banana soda. Or some other liquid version of bananas. It was like drinking fried bananas.

I once spoke of Brugge’s Tripel de Ripple and referred to a Gwen Stefani song. Specifically that this shit is bananas. But in the banana world, this beer tops the Tripel. It ain’t no hollaback girl.

(Hey Jason, 2005 just emailed. They want their lame ass Gwen Stefani song references back…)

The banana love fest that is going on in this bottle will thrill many. I was thrilled that it wasn’t sour or tart, but I’m not a big fan of bananas either. If you like bananas… and I mean REALLY like bananas… give this a shot.

Myself, I’m left to wonder: what would this beer be like poured into a mug filled with vanilla ice cream? It might be pretty tasty. But until then, I give this beer a rating of two bunches.

Gina: 2.8 Mugs
Jess: 4.5 Mugs
Rodney: 2.8 Mugs
Jason: 2.0 Mugs
Jim: 3.0 Mugs
Chris: 2.7 Mugs
Mike: 3.13 Mugs

Chapeau Banana Lambic Total Score: 2.99 Mugs

Hey Beer Advocate, check this out! Before everyone craps their pants, let's remember that the mixing of lambics is completely normal. Gueuze is the mixture of old and young lambic. Standard lambics are typically mixed with fruit syrups. So there is nothing wrong with us mixing 6 Upland lambics together into one super lambic. NOTHING. And after trying it, I regret nothing. Overall I found the Upland lambics strong in lambic flavor but somewhat lacking in fruit flavors. Good, but they could be better (and I don't regret pre-ordering all 7). However, when combined, much like Voltron or Captain Planet, they become an eruption of complex fruit flavors.

There used to be an image here, but my domain expired.

The aroma is that of a mixed fruit jam, strong in red, juicy fruits such as raspberry, cherry and strawberry. Lemon juice, kiwi, peaches and pears all come through in the flavor profile along with a very prominent pink grapefruit character. Bitter lemon zest and that white membrane found on the inside of citrus fruits, particularly oranges, create a very dry sourness. This combination was bursting with fruit flavors, and while it was quite a bit sweeter than most of the individual lambics, it still carried through that funky yeast sourness that lambics are famous for. 3.7 mugs

Gina: 2.0 Mugs
Jess: 1.8 Mugs
Rodney: 3.7 Mugs
Jason: 2.0 Mugs
Jim: 1.0 Mugs
Chris: 3.5 Mugs
Mike: 3.2 Mugs

Upland Lambic Mix Total Score: 2.46 Mugs

17 November 2008

Beer Cellar Sale at J. Gumbo's - Mike DeWeese

Updated 11/18/08 to reflect comments

Looking for that special Christmas gift for the beer lover in your life? The following was forwarded on from our old friend and founder Chris Maples:

I'm liquidating my beer cellar. Attached is the list, all prices are negotiable. Forward it on to your websites and let's help me share the love.

Mike DeWeese

Looking to buy? It might be in your best interest to drop Mike a line first and let him know when you plan on stopping in.

14 November 2008

Random Beer Roundup | Chewbacca Defense Edition

It's a bit of a slow news day around here. In fact, things just aren't making sense. Nonetheless, we'll try to put things in some semblance of order for you with this week's edition of the HBG Random Beer Roundup.

We're Better Than You. From John at The Black Sparrow in Lafayette:
The Black Sparrow is participating in the "Most Arrogant Bar in America" contest from Stone Brewing. All this week, we will be tracking sales of Stone's Arrogant Bastard products. In order to promote the consumption of these fine beers, we've knocked down the price.

* Oaked Arrogant Bastard on draft: $4.50 for a pint.

* Pint glass deal: $6.50 you keep the glass (Arrogant Bastard commemorative pint glass, while supplies last), $4.00 refills for the pint glass deal.

* Double Bastard 22oz bottles: $7.75 (If you haven't had this yet, you need to. A HUGE rendition of an American Strong Ale).

In addition

* Founders Breakfast Stout on tap for a very limited time!

* Founders Harvest Ale (fresh-hop IPA) in bottles with Backwoods Bastard and Old Curmudgeon coming after that for our Founders rotating bottles.

As always, a great lineup of constantly rotating drafts with "no crap on tap."
Goose on the Loose. Our pals at Goose the Market update us on their offerings:
The Goose has stocked the following brews:

Brooklyn Winter Ale
Delirium Noel
Oaken Barrel Epiphany
Samuel Smith Winter Welcome
Clipper City Winter Storm
Clipper City Below Decks Barley Wine
Two Brothers Bohnfire Dunkel Weiss
Stone Double Bastard
Left Hand Snow Bound
Boulder Beer Co. Looking Glass Never Summer
Breckenridge Hibernation Ale
Founder's Old Curmudgeon
Founder's Backwoods Bastard
Three Floyd's BrooDoo
Browning's Bourbon Barrel Russian Imperial Stout
Bell's Third Coast Old Ale
Bell's Christmas Ale
Bell's Winter White
Bell's Expedition Stout

We will be picking up quite a few more winter seasonal beers throughout the coming months, so stay tuned. Thanks.
Little Plates & Big Beers. From John at ZING Restaurant:
Just a short note to keep you updated as we have added a few beers. We now have Three Floyds Alpha King on tap. In bottles, we have Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Three Floyds Gumballhead, and Victory Prima Pils.
Irvington's Hair-of-the-Dog Remedy. From our very own Kelly:
My favorite hangover-remedying breakfast joint, the Steer-In, just got their beer/wine license. And their selection is actually pretty good--Samuel Smith, Three Floyds, Barley Island, and some other microbrews.
Fuel for Yellow Snow. Great news from Indiana Beer:
The Brewers of Indiana Guild has completed a contract with the State Fair Commission for the first annual WinterFest. January 24th 2009. 3:00 – 7:00 pm. Champions Pavilion @ Indiana State Fairgrounds. $15 advance/ $20 day of event. Limited tickets available (not on sale yet). Receive 10 tokens, 4 oz glass, beers from Indiana breweries and select distributors, live music. Purchase additional 5 token lots for $5 at event. More details on the BIG site later.
Bob also notes--
And next year World Class Beverages will be bringing in limited, very limited, amounts of beer from breweries we don't usually see around here. They've made agreements with the Boulevard (Smokestack Series), Rubicon, 21st Amendment, Moylan's Oskar Blues, and Ska.
And finally--
Great Crescent Brewery in Aurora will open its doors to the public on November 15th. The first offerings from Dan Valas's 3bbl system will be a Blonde Ale, an English Mild, and a Stout. He will quickly add a Witbier and a Cherry Ale to the lineup. Packaging will be in mini-kegs, growlers, and 5-gallon kegs. A few limited releases, such as the Cherry Ale, will be distributed in 750ml bottles. The Aurora brewery doesn't have a proper tasting room yet but they will offer samples and sell beer on-site to the public. They will also self-distribute to southeast Indiana stores and pubs.
The Governor Called in with a Last Minute Reprieve, So You Ain't Gonna Fry. Goose Island's flagship location, originally slated to close, will now stay open. Huzzah!

Stellaweiser. Anheuser-Busch's shareholders have approved InBev's takeover bid:
In July, Anheuser-Busch attempted to block a hostile takeover by InBev, claiming "illegal" and "deceptive" conduct by the firm.

A takeover was agreed after InBev later raised its offer.

More than two-thirds of shareholders approved the new deal, including billionaire investor Warren Buffett.

The new company, to be named Anheuser-Busch InBev, will be not only the world's largest beer company but also one of the top five consumer goods groups in the world.
This Month in Cosmo: 101 Ways to Get Rid of Your Beer Gut. Women's Health Magazine has some suggestions for ladies who are attempting to maintain a girlish figure. Not much quality on that list.

Maybe You Shouldn't Bother, Goliath. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer pits the macros' new craft lines against those of the micros in a blind taste test. The result is predictable:
All of the tasters agreed they would welcome good craft-style beers from the large brewers. But after seeing the results of this blind tasting, no one was running out the door to buy any six-packs.
What Would Meredith Vieira drink? The Today Show offers this basic seasonal beer guide. Something tells me that Matt Lauer is a Blue Moon drinker.

11 November 2008

Beer Diary #10 - Mike

16 October 08 - Location: Home
Rice with green curry pairing

First up, thanks to Worth Your Attention for the curry recipe. I've used it over and over again and it always leaves me happy and wanting more.

Alaskan Summer Ale (Kolsch Style) - Golden and lively/fizzy, with a light and sweet malty taste. The beer cuts but also compliments the salty spicyness of the green curry. The earthly flavors of the peas, beans, and mushrooms blend well with the malt. As I got to the bottom of the glass, banana elements started to appear. This is a real knockout of a beer, by the way, with flavors and a mouthfeel that keep delivering.

Odell Easy Street Wheat - Brewmaster's Table calls for a witbier to match mild curries, and this is the best I can do on short notice. A creamy mouthfeel and extremely light taste cut the spicyness of the curry. I should have sampled this beer before the Alaskan, as the flavors are definitely a bit more muted here. Gina noted an acidity up front and a full smooth mouthfeel on the back.

If you're going to try this pairing, I'd stick with a highly rated Kolsh-style beer.

20 October 08 - Location: Home
Ska Brewing (Durango, CO) Buster Nut Brown Ale - This is a beer I'd seen around back in the St. Louis area, and Ska was a brewery that I was hoping to check out while we were out in Colorado. But Durango is way out there, so instead of visiting the brewery I picked up a few samples while we were at LiquorMart in Boulder.

This beer pours a deep dark reddish brown with a head befitting the Guinness glass I just happened to pour the beer into. Big sweet malty notes from the nose lead to a creamy mouthfeel and sweet roasty malt flavors. The beer starts full flavored and finishes chewy, but it seems like the beer is more mouthfeel than flavor. Not a bad beer by any means, but it takes a little more flavor to set my heart aflutter.

31 October 08 - Location: Home
Deschutes Obsidian Stout
- Pours a deep dark black, with a lumpy white head. A grainy malt and slightly sweet nose leads to a creamy and extremely smooth beer. Well balanced, with chocolate and malt elements, finishing with the bitterness you might find in the darkest chocolates. There's also a hint of flowery sweetness to this beer. Very enjoyable, very drinkable. I should have bought more.

8 November 08 - Location: Brugge Brasserie
Pivo Defendu - A strong Belgian Pale. This beer has the magic dark fruit house Brugge nose, with a hint of alcohol. Dark fruit, smooth and agreeable, and a slightly bitter finish. What is it about Brugge? You can walk in, eat a meal, have one beer, and be ready to head home, call it a day... and the whole experience is completely positive. Am I alone on this? Brugge is like a magic mind numbing drug. And I'll have some more.

By the way - Pivo Defendu? Jim did some research.
Pivo = czech word for "beer"
Defendu = french word for "forbidden," as in "le fruit defendu" (forbidden fruit)

9 November 08 - Location: Home
Founder's Backwoods Bastard - A body that resembles sweet tea with a thin head hosts a tempered bourbon nose - a bourbon presence that isn't overwhelming, but is definitely the defining characteristic. A strong but not boozy bourbon flavor on front, which grows more as the beer works its way around the palate. Silky mouthfeel - and as the beer warms its bourbon presence only grows. This beer is basically creamy smooth bourbon. Nice. Should age well.

08 November 2008

Beer Diary #11 - Jim | The man with the metal face

Date: 30 October 2008, 8:00 p.m.
Location: Home (in gorgeous Meridian Park)

Settling in to watch my beloved Chicago Fire take on the New England Revolution in the first round of the Major League Soccer playoffs. This is Game 1, and I'm pretty psyched. I shouldn't be, however, because the Fire have a Revolution curse when it comes to the playoffs. They face the Revs in the playoffs every year, and they lose every time.

But this year, I'm confident that the Fire can advance because they have a new weapon up front: former U.S. international Brian McBride. This dude is literally a man of steel, and I'm not just talking about his stamina on the pitch (though he really can go at full speed for the full ninety minutes). I'm referring to the list of nasty playing injuries he has suffered in the past, which includes two broken cheekbones.

I figure I might as well drink a red beer (the Fire's team color), so I grab a Founders Rubaeus. Ah, Founders--one of the true giants of craft brewing, in my opinion. Never had a bad beer from them, and the Rubaeus is no exception. This raspberry wheat ale pours with a reddish-pink hue and smells like a carton of candied raspberries. The flavor of this beer is heavier than the typical fruit beer, probably because it clocks in at 7.0% ABV, which is higher than the typical ABV for a beer of this type. It's slightly tart, quite sweet, and has a pleasant alcohol bite. There's a bit of a lambic character to this beer.

In the end, the beer is better than the match. I have to settle for a boring 0-0 draw. Yes, soccer haters, I know you're going to say, "I told you so," but many 0-0 games are exciting. No really...I swear.

[Postscript - The Fire advanced to the MLS Eastern Conference Championship on November 6 after beating the Revs 3-0.]

Date: Saturday, October 25
Location: Shallos, Greenwood, Indiana

Hanging out on the south side with Mike and Gina. We're at Shallos after having dinner at the Fireside Brewhouse. As usual, Shallos' beer list is chaotic, confusing, and outdated. Therefore, our visit is sort of like going on a scavenger hunt as we ask the bartender to search various shelves, nooks, and crannies to help us find a good selection. I begin with a Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA, which is one of a plethora of "wet hopped" beers that come out around the hops harvest every year. This one's on tap, so I figure it ought to be pretty decent, and it is. This IPA pours with a coppery color and is predominately piney in the nose and flavor. I don't get a lot of malt sweetness out of this beer as you do out of other American IPA's. Indeed, to me, it's rather dry, à la Bell's Two Hearted Ale. A good wet hopped beer, but Gina had the Founders Harvest Ale; after having a sip of it, I thought it was head and shoulders above the Heavy Handed IPA.

After finishing the Heavy Handed IPA, I puzzle over what to have next. The bartender suggests a Belgian she has on tap: St. Bernardus Abt 12. She gives me a sample. Mmmm...much potential, so I order a full glass. This ale comes served in a sizable goblet, which spells trouble because the beer clocks in at 10.5% ABV. In fact, Gina and I decide on the politically incorrect nickname of "St. Retardus" (sorry--please don't hate us because we're sometimes vile people) because of the potential for this beer to wreak havoc on brain cells. But sipped slowly, this is a beer to savor. It pours with a dark brown color, and it has that classic, silky mouthfeel you get from a Belgian of this particular style. It also has that nice blend of sugar, chocolate, and dark fruit notes you get from this kind of beer. Almost as good as Trappistes Rochefort 10, but not quite.

07 November 2008

Random Beer Roundup - We Miss You and We're Sorry Edition

Thursday, 11 AM - The reminder email has been sent, and we anxiously await the updated beer lists from our usual Random Beer Roundup contributors. But, alas, nothing has hit the Hoosier Beer Geek mailbox. Is it because everyone's too busy celebrating the Obama victory to bother working anymore? Is it because our contributors are McCain supporters who've decided it's not worth living anymore? Did you see South Park this week? It was pretty entertaining.

Not to worry, though. I've got a backup plan..


From the LA Times (of Anaheim?) comes this story of two young and attractive people who loved each other so much they couldn't keep their hands off each other and there was a lot of sex (with pictures!). Actually, none of that's true. But here's a story about Southern California's "Craft Beer Revolution". The craft beer Boston Hop Party (where beer drinkers dressed as Indians poured hops into Boston Harbor) is partially responsible for our current hop shortage.

Straight outta Pittsburgh (via Canada): Did you know that beers can be seasonal? For example, you might not want to drink an Imperial Stout while cutting your grass in August. You might not want to drink a Miller Light ever. Here's The Canadian Press (all of them?) with this story about the increasing market for seasonal brews.

No thanks, I'll stick with my rotten shark's meat fermented in urine:
Mikkeller is a pretty fantastic brewing operation. From the folks at Beernews.org comes word that another Mikkeller brew, Beer Geek Brunch, is about to make its way to America liquor stores. What's this on the label?
"This Imperial Oatmeal Stout is brewed with one of the world's most expensive coffees, made from the droppings of weasel-like civet cats."
That should make for an interesting KOTBR.

All my notes say is "Woah Dude I'm Drunk": The folks that judge beer at The Great American Beer Festival have to be a little clearer in their beer judgment than we do. Flossmoor Station is sharing some of that feedback with the notes they received from their GABF reviews.

I know a gal in Chicago named Abbey but she doesn't read this blog: Other Abbeys in Chicago - Lost Abbey. Well soon enough. Chicago is close to Indiana. And that's why this is relevant news. Other places close to Indiana? My heart. Awwww.

At Hoosier Beer Geek, we'd never make a top five list of anything. It's a cheap ploy to draw in readers. Oh wait: Here's Epicurious' list of Top Five Holiday Beers, complete with food pairings.

If it comes down to a financial decision, you can always drop your kids off in Nebraska: A post from the Clipper City blog about the choices we make regarding craft beer in the current economy.

This can only be good news: Oskar Blues has added former Coors Brewer Jeff Nickel, 5 New Tanks, and hopes to increase production 75% in the next year. Let's get some of that beer in Indiana.

Wait! What's this! Real news about beer in Indiana?

Thanks to our dear Chris:
I don't know if you guys get Ram emails, but they're doing an open tapping party next week. That's pretty unusual. Their tappings are usually just for Mug Club members which (unlike Rock Bottom) you have to pay for. They must have made an exception because they're proud of their gold medal beer. Who knows what this will be like, but I'm guessing the beer isn't free like at Rock Bottom tappings.

Subject: GABF Medal Winning Tapping Party

It's time to tap our Great American Beer Festival GOLD Medal winning Imperial Stout featuring Jack Daniels. Join us on Thursday, November 13th at 6:30pm to 9pm. Jack Daniel's will be on hand featuring the "Whiskey Professor" John Barrett. We will also feature recipes from Chef Mark Williams from Jack Daniels.

We will be giving away great door prizes including a Jack Daniels electronic dart board and Jack Daniels poker chips set and more. Please RSVP at 317-955-9900.
John at Big Red Liquors (Bloomington) checks in:
New at Big Red Liquors Today:

Check Out the Big Belgian Beer Sale and see these new items

Flying Dog Kerberos
3 Floyds Broodoo
Moinette Blonde
Moinette Bruin
Kasteel Brown
Kasteel Triple
Kasteel Rouge 750
Maredsous Dubbel ( bruin)
Affligem Noel
Affligem Triple
Gouden Carolus Ambrio
Gouden Carolus Noel
Gouden Carolus Easter
Victory Festbier
Victory Hop Wallup
Victory Fest Bier
Winter's Bourbon Cask
Bells Brown Ale ( seasonal)
Flying Dg Kerberos Triple
O Hanlon's Royal Oak Pale Ale
Isle of Skye Wee beast
Sam Adams Imperial Pilsner
Sam Adams Chocolate Bock ( Made every other year, rotates with Utopias )
Schlenkerla Helles
Mishawaka Founders Stout
Mikkeller it's Alive ( Belgian wild ale)
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast (oatmeal Stout brewed with Coffee)
Sierra Nevada celebration Ale( First time in 12pks)
Blue Moon Full Moon ( Winter Seasonal)
St Amand French Country Ale
Stone Double Bastard is Back ( In both 3 L and 22oz bottles)

And Last but not least,

World Class beverage has a new Midwest Taster 12pk out and they have crammed it full of some great beers.

I heard it was Jared at WCB that picked these out, at $17.99 this is a heck of a deal.

Delirium Tremens
Sam Smith Nut Brown
Harpoon Oktoberfest
Xingu (Brazil, Schwartz Bier)
Affligem Blonde
Spaten Optimator
Unibroue La Fin Du Monde
Unibroue Maudite
Dark Horse Sapient
Bell's Expedition Stout
North Coast Pranqster
Those sampler packs make nice Christmas gifts, folks, and in this case you're not getting a bunch of beer no one's ever heard of before.

What's up at J. Gumbo's? - Today (11/7/08) they're donating $1 from every plate of each order of seafood jambalaya sold to Fish for Fishburn, a fundraiser for IMPD Officer Jason Fishburn, who was shot while pursuing a homicide suspect. Saturday (11/8/08) from 5:30PM - 10:00PM they're having a crawfish boil, $15 single serving, $20 all you can eat, and the price includes a flight of Abita beer.

* * * * *

If you're wondering if I say things like link-a-dink-a-do in real life, the answer is no. At least not on purpose. I do say "rad" a lot.

03 November 2008

KOTBR #59 - A likely story

This KOTBR took place on the night of Rock Bottom's Pumpkin Ale tapping. We had decided to organize on this night and review a few more beers at the downtown Rock Bottom location. This decision was made after realizing that even though we're all fans of their beers, the only beer we had reviewed to date was the Pumpkin Ale and we all know how most of these jerks feel about pumpkin beers. That's when all of the excuses started pouring in. Jason's son was sick. Jim's cat died. Chris was sick. Mike and Gina were in Denver. Matt R had to work. Matt and Kelly mysteriously disappeared. YEAH RIGHT GUYS.

Actually Chris came out despite his sickness and Claire's previous work shift of like 30 hours in the OR. We had a few pumpkin beers and observed what was probably the largest tapping crowd we had ever seen. The basement was literally filled. Luckily we got there early and were seated at the bar. After enjoying our pumpkin beers (that's right, enjoying) we decided we would review the Brickway Brown and their Seasonal IPA. Jerry brought us a pitcher of the IPA from upstairs since it wasn't on tap in the basement. Thanks Jerry!

Brickway Brown

Nose - roasted malt nose with a baked bread smell
Color - nice head with a bit of lacing from the foam, dark brown color but can still see light through it
Taste - roasty, coffee, tastes like chocolate covered coffee beans, bitter with a coffee aftertaste.
4.0 mugs

Body - dark opaque brown, reddish hue, light brown head
Nose - cocoa, milk, chicory, toasted coconut, caramel, warm sugar
Taste - creamy mouthfeel, coffee porter, bitter coffee notes, milk chocolate, hazelnuts, roasted malts, plum-like sugar?
awesome porter and very drinkable, this is one of my go-to session beers
4.0 mugs

Did I actually drink this? Apparently. Did I taste it? No (see Foggy, flu). Did I take notes? My wife says yes. Did I save them? Apparently not. Trying to taste something through a flu-haze doesn't really do a beer justice anyway. Luckily, I've had this beer many times and I always enjoy it. A nice roasted malt smell and a very creamy mouthfeel are the characteristics that stick out to me. Add some nice chocolate and subtle coffee notes in the flavor and you've got yourself a very nice porter.
3.9 Mugs

Final score for Rock Bottom's Brickway Brown: 3.96 Mugs

Seasonal IPA

Nose - pine needles, spice, very hoppy, very deliciously grapefruit
Appearance - Darker golden color, pours nice foamy head, almost pillowy
Taste - big hops bite with a bit of grapefruit, juicy fruit sweetness
4.2 mugs

Body - reddish-orange, semi-transparent, creamy off-white head
Nose - grapefruit and pine hops, oregano, mint, caramel malt
Taste - pink grapefruit, balanced bitterness, lemon zest, caramel sugar, apricot
I'm not huge on IPAs, but this is one I could drink quite a bit of. Very well balanced.
3.8 mugs

Even tasting with the flu, this was one damn fine IPA. I could smell the strong citrusy/piney hops aroma on this beer through a stuffy nose and the strong citrus carried over to the flavor where it met up with just a touch of sweetness. Reminded me a bit of Clipper City's Loose Cannon. I love IPAs and, again, this was a damn fine example.
4.1 Mugs

Final score for Rock Bottom's Seasonal IPA: 4.03 Mugs.

As a footnote, the next Rock Bottom brewer's dinner will be November 11. These are an excellent intro into the world of beer and food pairings and are a great deal at $35/person for 4 courses and 4 beers. Jess and I have been going to these for a couple years now, maybe we'll see you there?