Thursday, November 25, 2010


I started celebrating Thanksgiving early by going to lunch at Jose Pistolas on Wednesday.  I was supposed to go with a friend of mine and even though he bailed on me I went anyway.  There were quite a few things on draft that I wanted to try (Founders Curmudgeon, Duck Rabbit Wee Heavy, Nøgne Ø Sunturnbrew, and St. Bernardus Christmas) but seeing as how I could probably find all of them again but the Nøgne Ø, I decided to get a glass of that.  It's a barleywine that's brewed with some smoked malt.

Sorry about the picture, something odd is going on, oh well.  It had a sweet smell with quite a bit of smokiness to it.  Definitely the most interesting smelling barleywine I've seen (smelled?).  First sip had some sweetness up front with smoke finishing it.  As I drank more, the smoke started taking over.  Every sip I'd get the aroma of smoke followed by a taste of campfire.  It sounds odd but it was quite delicious.  This was also on draft during the Craft Beer Express but Jo and I didn't get to try it as it wasn't tapped yet.  Really glad Adam had gotten a second keg of it and decided not to sit on it.

Later that night, Jo and I were going to see the new Harry Potter movie (enjoyed it and can't wait for the next one) and so we went to dinner at the City Tap House on Penn's campus.  Let me say neither of us particularly enjoyed the visit.  Their food isn't particularly good (my chicken sandwich was terrible) and while they have 60+ draft lines, I just haven't been impressed with the variety.  There are so many that I've either had or don't have any interest in having.  Plus, their prices are super high compared to other bars in the city.  I don't think we'll be going back there again unless they are having some event and even then we'll eat some where else.

I had a Dogfish Head Chicory Stout first but didn't feel like writing about it and it was too dark for a picture.  Quite tasty though.  After that I got a glass of the Brew Works Insidious, an Imperial Stout.
Poured a near black with about a centimeter of brown head.  Looks good for an imperial stout.  Hints of malt in the smell, but not strong.  Alcohol was the leading and ending flavor but not in a bad way.  As I drank the alcohol took a back seat to some coffee and roasted malt flavors.  Another good offering from Brew Works.

Now we finally come to Thanksgiving Day.  As I mentioned in some other post, Jo and I picked up a case at Weyerbacher of a random assortment of stuff.  I brought in Fifteen, November and a Double Simcoe IPA for myself and Hops Infusion, Harvest Ale, a Blithering Idiot, and Winter Ale for others.  My aunt really enjoyed the Blithering Idiot.

I started with the Fifteen which is a Smoked Imperial Stout.
Nice looking bottle right?  (Yeah I didn't decide to take this until after I drank it.  Ah well.)  Unlike the Nøgne Ø from earlier, the smoke in this was very mild.  I could smell it but I got more alcohol and roast.  It's possible it's a result of the difference in styles or how much smoked malt Weyerbacher used compared to Nøgne Ø.  Taste followed the nose, some smoke but mostly roasted malt and alcohol.  I thought the base imperial stout was really good and I'm glad I have another bottle of this at home.

After that, I had a bottle of the November, a Coffee Infused Brown Ale.
This is part of their brewer's select series.  I actually found out the other day they were originally thinking of releasing it in December to give enough time after Mike's release, but it was helpfully pointed out that people would be confused and think the beer was old because of the name.  So, they pushed up the release a bit and have both Mike and November out right now.  As a result, their next release, Oscar, won't be out for a while, probably next February or March.  Okay enough of that, back to the November.  When I had it at the release of Riserva, it tasted like a cup of black coffee.  Delicious, but slightly overpowering.  Happily, this bottle tasted much more balanced.  The coffee was still there, but it blended with the brown ale really well.  Once again, I'm glad I have a second bottle of this at home as I really enjoyed it.  Going to have another good night when I pop this and the Fifteen.

I finished up with the bottle of Double Simcoe but didn't take a picture or anything of it.  Good Double IPA.  Not too hoppy nor too sweet.  I have a 750ml bottle of it at home and I'll do the review then.

Good Thanksgiving with some good beers.  Hope everyone else had a good day and enjoyed something new.  As a side note, I only managed to write Nøgne Ø with the fancy characters because I copied it from somewhere else then copied it throughout this post.  Works for me.

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