Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weyerbacher Riserva Release

The 2010 release of Riserva finally arrived and boy was it worth the wait.  Weyerbacher released it on Friday November 12th with a small event at their brewery where they offered samples of it plus a few of their other beers.  Jo and I drove up there after work and were both very excited for it.  Me to try the Riserva and Jo because it sounded fun.

We arrived around 6 to find the parking lot and brewery pretty full.  Nothing crazy like the Troegs event but still a decent number of people.  They had three different stations, pouring 5 different beers: Riserva, Quad, Tiny, November and Verboten.  Those beers, in order, are an American Wild Ale, a Quad, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, a coffee infused Brown, and a Belgian Pale Ale.  The other cool thing about the night was that, as far as I could tell, the people pouring the samples to the crowd were all brewers.  They all seemed happy to talk to me and as everyone knows I like to talk about beer and will take any chance to do so.
This was the pouring station for the Riserva.  I'll have a full write up for the 2010 Riserva when I open a bottle but quite simply it's sour and tart with a little bit of vinegar and fruit and it's delicious.  Sean Anderson is in the black shirt and Chris Reilly is in the brown shirt.  According to Weyerbacher's website, they both hold the position of Cellarman at the brewery.  I honestly have no idea what that means but that's their title.  I talked to Chris for quite a while (long enough for Jo to wander around the brewery taking pictures, walk to the car to get our growler, and get a sample of their winter to see if she liked it).
I don't know a ton about the brewing process itself and Chris told me some things about what the final gravity of a beer means and how it affects the dryness of the beer.  He also partially explained how yeast creates the alcohol and that different yeasts can digest different types of sugars and such.  Really, really interesting stuff and it was awesome of him to chat with me for as long as he did considering I was completely distracting him from pouring for people.  Luckily Sean was there pouring as well so it worked out fine.
After that I tried the new Brewer's Select, November.  As I said above, it's a Brown Ale infused with coffee.  I asked the guy who was pouring it (turns out that was Dan Hitchcock, one of their brewers) how they made it and it was pretty cool.  They took the tank they usually use to cultivate their yeast, put the fully brewed brown ale in it, and attached bags of coffee grounds to it.  In essence, they cold brewed the coffee with beer instead of water.  Dan said that they decided on this method by having their brewers home-brew different coffee brown ales and sampling them all.  I got distracted though and didn't get much else as far as the other methods they tried.  I have heard that other places add the beans to the boil, add brewed coffee to the boil, or add it some other time.  Dan did say you can add it whenever you want, really, so the timing probably affects the coffee intensity in the beer more than anything else.
The Quad I've had before and it's good.  Orange color and a sort of sweet, alcoholic fruit flavor.  The Tiny was a dark purple and it had hints of figs and some alcohol hotness to it.  The Verboten, previously known as Zotten but changed due to a trademark issue or something, was also good.  It had a mild hop bite that was balanced really well with the Belgian yeast flavor.  Jo actually liked this one although not enough to get a whole growler of it.
We then picked up a mix case of 12oz bottles which I'm going to bring for Thanksgiving.  Awesome stuff in here and I can't wait to share it around and see what people think.  I also got a case of Riserva with a bottle of Double Simcoe and a bottle of Tiny.

I hadn't done anything with the cookies I made on Thursday so Jo told me to just bring them inside and share them with random people.  Turned out this was a great idea as, unsurprisingly enough, people love cookies and they make a great ice breaker.  The last group I gave cookies to was the crowd outside that was sharing some bottles of stuff and they were incredibly nice so I got to try some cool beers.  There was a Lindemans from Europe that was good, Black & Blue from Dogfish Head which was fruity and satisfying, and I opened a bottle of Spring House Kerplunk which even after a year plus was still chocolatey and delicious.  However, the absolute star of the bottles was an Apple Brandy aged Hunahpu from Cigar City.  They only sold 60 bottles of this one and it's ridiculous that I got a chance to try it at all let alone on a random Friday night outside Weyerbacher.  However, I did get to try it and it was honestly amazing.  It was one of, if not the, best beers I've ever had.  The apple brandy was present, but unlike the bourbon aged beers, it wasn't overbearing.  The sweetness was really pleasant and blended really well with the stout flavors.  I really have to thank Adam, the guy who brought the bottle, for sharing it with a complete stranger and it really was one of the highlights of the night for me.  He was a really nice guy too and it was interesting getting his perspective on the whole beer scene and how it's developed and changed over the years.

After that Jo and I went to Pearly Baker's Alehouse for dinner.  We went there after the last visit to Weyerbacher and it turned out the same bartender, a guy named Nate, was serving again.  I was a little drunk at this point and so of course pointed it out to him that we had been there once before on Labor Day.  Remarkably enough, he actually remembered us once we gave him a few minutes.  With their delicious Alehouse burger, I got a glass of Stone's Cali-Belgique, a Belgian IPA.
It smelled hoppy without any Belgian hints at all.  The beer had a balanced hop flavor but I couldn't detect anything from the supposed Belgian side of it.  It was a decent IPA but again I don't know what makes it a Belgian IPA.  Others could have a different experience, but that's mine.  It's nothing to avoid but it wasn't super either.

Really what a great night.  The new Riserva was awesome, I got to try an incredibly rare beer that was delicious, and I met a lot of the Weyerbacher employees who were all super nice.  I actually got to meet Dan Weirback, the owner of Weyerbacher, as well which was also cool.  Plus everyone enjoyed the cookies I brought and they made a great ice breaker.  It makes me want to bring cookies everywhere I go.

Look for another post soon about the Craft Beer Express that Jo and I did on Saturday.

1 comment:

  1. You should definitely bring cookies everywhere you go. Good work Rich! Sounds like a lot of fun.