Monday, June 13, 2011

Beers at Monks

The final event of the weekend for me was being held at Monk's. Now, I don't know if I've talked about Monk's before, but even on normal days Monk's gets ridiculously crowded. Add in rare Lost Abbey beers and the owner Tomme Arthur and I figured the crowd would be monstrous. I was totally right although some would say it was worse than monstrous. For some background, Lost Abbey is a brewery near San Diego that makes interesting but expensive beer. The unfortunate thing is their bottles sometimes have quality control issues but at least the stuff on draft is always good.

I got to Monk's around 3:45 while the event was supposed to start around 4:30. Since I had some time to kill, I got a glass of Flying Fish Exit 9, an imperial red ale.
Hoppy grapefruit nose and a little bitter smelling. First sip had some grapefruit notes, some sweetness, and finished with just a little bitterness, cleaning everything up. Pretty happy with it as it was reasonably balanced and a bit more normal way to start off the visit to Monk's.

Up next was the actual event and, holy crap, insanity. I've done my best not to swear while writing this blog, for whatever reason, but I don't know how to describe the event as anything other than a shitshow. The back room was at least 7 people deep and if you've ever been to Monk's you'd know it's not really a big room. To start off the event, Tomme Arthur, the owner of Lost Abbey said a few words although I have no idea what they were at this point.
You can sort of see him back there. Just be glad the picture isn't blurry. There were four pretty rare beers available with three being super rare. Now, generally for an event like this, you'd see 8oz glasses at the most. Monk's, however, decided to go with 8oz or 12oz pours of everything. While this means you can get quite a bit of something incredibly rare, it also means that a sixtel is going to kick pretty quickly if people are getting 12oz pours. That, combined with the fact that getting to the bar took me over 30 minutes even though I was all of 4 people from it, led to the necessity of using shitshow to describe the event.

However, after quite a while, I finally managed to make it to the bar and get glasses of Framboise De Amorosa and Cuvee De Tomme. I was debating between the former and Duck Duck Guava, but the Duck Duck kicked in the 30 minutes it took me to get to the bar and order so decision made for me.
Just a terrible picture. Sorry folks. You can make out two glasses there, kind of, but well yeah. The other issue is I was standing around talking while drinking them so my notes are awful. Oh well. I started with the Cuvee De Tomme and thought it was pretty interesting. Bourbon, sour, back and forth, and very different. The sourness was generally the major flavor with the bourbon adding in some sweetness. Enjoyable although I probably would have been happy with 8oz. Damn greediness. The Framboise De Amorosa was pretty different as fruit was the major note in it. Made with tons of raspberries, it was actually pretty sweet with just a bit of tartness. Decent although in a large glass, a bit sweet. Guess the theme is I shouldn't be greedy.

Now, I really meant to head home after the Lost Abbey event. I got my two glasses, spent a while drinking them and talking to people, but really meant to leave. However, I ran into the owner of PhillyTapFinder (sort of a theme of Philly Beer Week it turned out) and ended up chatting with him and his wife until the Sierra Nevada event started. As a result, two things happened. I got to meet Ken Grossman, the owner of Sierra Nevada, which was really cool and I got a glass of the Exportation. This is the Exporter Beer Camp beer from last year, aged in Pinot barrels at Russian River. Very cool.
There's a glass in that picture, I swear. Smelled creamy with just a hint of wine in it and flavors followed that pattern. Creamy body, wine with some roast, and a sweet finish. Makes me want to see what Russian River could do with a porter that is specifically made to be aged. Or maybe they'll make exportation again? Could be exciting but I doubt it.

So that was Monk's. Craziness with Lost Abbey followed by getting to meet the owner of one of the largest breweries in the US, chatting with Tom Peters, the owner of Monk's, and hanging out with the very cool PhillyTapFinder and his wife.

I've finally managed to finish writing about the first weekend of Philly Beer Week even if it took me an actual week to do it. Just a crazy weekend of beer, ridiculous in both rarity and availability. I met a lot of new people whose names I already forget and got to visit a bunch of great bars I don't get to enough like the Khyber Pass Pub and Devil's Den. Up next includes an awesome dinner at London Grill and a sideshow act at Kraftwork. Oh and generally better pictures. Hopefully.

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