Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Craft Beer Express 2

I've been meaning to write about this year's Craft Beer Express (aka CBX) for over a week and just haven't had the motivation to get on it. Part of it is my notes are hilariously terrible but it's also that I got remarkably drunk and don't totally remember the end of the night. Or some of the middle. Yeah, it was one of those days. But, whatever, I'll start from the beginning and see how things go. For an explanation for what the Craft Beer Express actually is, see my post for last year's.

Jo and I started at the Kite & Key which had six Ommegang beers flowing. Some of them were their normal lineup so I ordered an Adoration, a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, for Jo and a Gnomegang, a Belgian Strong Pale Ale, for me.
The Gnomegang had a sweet Belgian nose. Thicker body than I expected which was nice. Sweet, slightly spicy with a hint of something going on that I couldn't recognize. They used two different yeast strains, one from Ommegang and one from L'Achouffe, so maybe the flavor came from them. Not bad for the style. The Adoration smelled sweet with brown sugar notes. Caramel, toffee, some sweet cherry notes and finishing with a little alcohol burn in the finish. Jo thought it was a bit strong tasting though I didn't notice it as much. I liked it quite a bit but then I'm a sucker for strong, spiced winter beers.

At that point, our friends joined us and it was time to move on to Jose Pistolas. When the bus pulled up, it said "beer" on the side so I said "Yo homes to Jose Pistolas!" (Okay, so not sure that worked as well as I thought it would but come on, Fresh Prince!)
See? Just like the "Fresh" license plate. Totally works.

When we arrived at Pistolas it was crowded but there was some room upstairs. They were doing "Funky Ass Shit" which was Russian River Supplication, Consecration, and Temptation. I started with a Temptation.
Man I love Temptation. I may still like Supplication more, but Temptation is a really close second and can surpass it depending on the day. If I wasn't in a dark restaurant, you'd see it has a nice yellow body. Quite tart with a hint of mustiness. Taste follows with the tartness being tempered with the mustiness and it all just comes together really well. Really great sour blonde.

I also had a Schneider Nelson Sauvin but forgot to take a picture of it apparently. German malt nose (meaning banana and bready), slight spice to it. Thickish body. Spicy, slight hoppiness, some clove notes (from the yeast esters during fermentation probably), and weizenbocky. That's a word right? Guess you'd need to have had a weizenbock to understand but if you haven't, well you're missing out, so go and order one and you'll understand what I mean.

We decided we'd had enough of Pistola's at this point partially because a band was about to start playing about two feet from us. Turns out it was a good decision as the next Craft Beer Express bus added at least 40 people to a bar that was already quite full.

We headed on to the Sidecar for their Founders themed event although when we arrived the Founders were already starting to run dry. Well, at least the more seasonal ones. See, they decided to have Canadian Breakfast Stout which is ridiculously rare and so the place was probably mobbed from when they opened at 10:30 until we arrived. This meant that CBS, KBS, Backwoods Bastard, and Blushing Monk were all gone by then. Sort of an odd decision in my eyes, but hey they sold a lot of beer so it worked out for them. Luckily, Breakfast Stout is tasty and their Porter is pretty great so I ordered those for Jo and I.
I've talked about them before so I didn't take any notes. You'll just have to search for them on the blog. Sue me. I'm feeling lazy right now. And I probably should be leaving for work soon. So yeah they were both tasty and I'll leave it at that. Oh and here's another picture of the Breakfast Stout. At least I think it was the Breakfast Stout. Ah well. Lets pretend and just look at that artistry.
I also got a glass of their Red's Rye which was spicy and delicious. It's a regular too so it's around all the time. Very handy.

Up next on the bar tour was the P.O.P.E. I was excited to get there since we enjoyed our time there during the last CBX and I really wanted to try Voodoo Headless Horseman.
It's the one on the right and I think the left was the Bell's Oktoberfest which was for Jo. However, I didn't try it so lets just talk about Voodoo's offering. Headless Horseman is a Belgian Pumpkin Stout poured on nitro. Chocolate and cinnamon in the nose, really inviting without being overly spiced. Decent body. Chocolate, roast, cinnamon, and graham cracker and very smooth. Pretty excellent and lots of flavor for being on nitro. It's supposed to be poured on nitro according to Voodoo but I'd be curious what it's like just being poured normally.

I'll be honest, it was at this point in the day that things started unraveling for me hence the complete lack of pictures. We headed on from the POPE to Brahaus Schmitz for their doppelbocks. When we arrived, we managed to snag a table and ordered some beers. Other than the Duck Rabbit Doppelbock (quite tasty, lots of nice caramel) and a Schneider Aventinus Eisbock (also tasty but oh so powerful at 12%), I don't remember what we ordered. I do know the food we got was delicious and we had a great time, though. Also, I saw Bryan Kolesar (of the Brewlounge which you should be following) and Chris LaPierre (brewer at Iron Hill Mapleshade) and talked to them for a bit.

We then headed to Johnny Brendas and then Bishop's Collar after Brahaus if you can believe it. I remember most of it but there are definitely a few gaps. I had been doing really well, too, but well that's the Craft Beer Express for you. I know we got some Bell's Cherry Stout at Bishop's Collar which is always good and even Jo enjoyed it. All in all, a great day of bar hopping on the Craft Beer Express. The buses definitely seemed more crowded but I guess that's bound to happen as it gets more popular. Things seemed to be getting busier earlier too so maybe we'll have to start before 1:30 next time. We'll see I guess.

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