Monday, November 22, 2010

Visit to Hulmeville Inn

I had a free afternoon and hadn't seen my friend in a while so we decided to meet up at the Hulmeville Inn.  Great beer, decent food, and an awesome owner, what's not to like?  I was excited to try a couple of the things on draft (the owner, Jeff, lists all of their current drafts on the website and I check it entirely too often) plus my friend let me know that they had some new Cigar City stuff in bottles.

The main thing I wanted to try was the Dark Horse One Oatmeal Stout as I loved the Plead the Fifth and wanted to try another of their stouts.  This was the dead man walking, the oldest keg on draft, so it was also heavily discounted (although Hulmeville's prices are ridiculously low anyway.)
It had a mild roasted aroma but not much else.  No strong oatmeal smell on this one.  First sip had a little oatmeal, some malt and a small finish of alcohol bitterness.  As I worked through it, the oatmeal started to dominate the other flavors which was pleasant.  Good stout, but nothing compared to the Plead the Fifth.

After that, we were offered a small taste of Sam Adams Utopias which pretends to be an American Strong Ale.  Really it's a liquor aged for a number of years in all sorts of different barrels and ends up at a whopping 27%.
Considering its ABV, it wasn't surprising that it smelled and tasted like a liqueur.  I thought it was sweet and syrupy and tasted a little like some bourbon stouts taste.  I'm incredibly glad to have been able to try it since it's expensive ($175 a bottle) but seeing as how I'm not a big liqueur fan, I don't know if I'd get it again.

After that, my friend and I ordered bottles of Cigar City Either and Or so we could check them out side by side.
While they are both Black IPAs and made with similar recipes, the differences shine through quite clearly.  The two beers are a result of a collaboration between Cigar City and two breweries; Hill Farmstead, located in Vermont, and Grassroots, located in Denmark.  You can read all about the specifics here but the gist (as far as I could tell) is that Either is Cigar City's version and Or is the collaboration of the other two breweries.

The Either smelled delicious.  Hints of alcohol, some hops but not too much, and some malt. Flavor was very smooth with some hops but no bitterness to it.  I thought it tasted similar to Jack & Ken's, Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary Black Barleywine which I talked about in this post.  On the opposite side of the coin, the Or smelled much, much hoppier without the delicious malt smell from the Either.  First sip just punches you with hops and bitterness and it never relents.  I called Hop'solutely a Hopwine in the previous post and Or is in exactly the same category except I guess it would be a Dark Hopwine.  It wasn't bad, but compared to the Either, I didn't feel it competed.  Of course my friend who likes IPAs more than me enjoyed the Or a lot more than the Either.  So, if you like hops a lot, drink the Or.  If you like maltier beers with some warming alcohol, get the Either.  You win either way but you win more if you choose wisely.

Then, the owner Jeff happened to be drinking a bottle of Jubel 2010.  Notice in my "beer cellar" list I currently have a bottle of that on my shelf.  I was curious where he picked it up and while chatting he offered me and my friend a sample of it since they weren't going to finish the bottle and because he's awesome.
It poured a dark brown color with minimal head, but the bottle had been opened for a bit so the carbonation may have been higher in the beginning.  It tasted of caramel, toffee, and some spices.  Super delicious and now I cannot wait to open my bottle.

Finished up with a glass of Boaks Wooden Beanie, a Dubbel aged in oak.  Actually, forgot to get a picture of this, but think of a glass filled with a brown liquid and very little head.  Smell was very Belgian, bananas and sugar.  Taste followed with some caramel, bananas, and sort of a biscuit flavor.  I also got some apple as I drank more.  Good dubbel and I'd order it again.  Plus Boaks is in Pompton Lakes, NJ near where I grew up.

Once again, a great trip to the Hulmeville Inn.  Everyone is always really nice there and Jeff, the owner, is always willing to chat with me which is awesome.  His beer knowledge is really thorough and it shines through in the draft lists at the Inn.  Plus, the prices there are always the lowest in the area.  The bottles of Either and Or were only $8, the same as my friend found them in Florida.  Just crazy good.  So, if you're in the area, definitely stop in for a drink.

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