Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Trip to Capone's

In what has turned into an every other month tradition, Jo and I took a trip to Capone's the weekend before Thanksgiving. I had something to pick up plus there turned out to be a Mikkeller and De Struise event that day. Win win!

I, of course, started off with a sampler of the available special beers.
Going clockwise from the front, I ordered Mikkeller Black Hole Red Wine, Mikkeller Black Hole White Wine, De Struise Black Damnation, and De Struise Black Damnation 4: Coffee Club.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Schlafly Imperial Stout 2008

The Friday after Thanksgiving, I opened my bottle of Schlafly Reserve Imperial Stout from 2008. I bought this when I was in St. Louis earlier in the year. Turns out sharing it with my brother was a good idea as it would have been a bit too much for me alone I think.
Bourbon sweet nose, not much heat in it. While pouring it didn't look terribly thick, but on the first sip I realized the body was thicker than its appearance suggested. Lots of dark fruit, some oak, a bit of alcohol and a decent amount of bourbon flavor. As I drank more, the bourbon was the major flavor and slowly overpowered everything. There wasn't any heat at least and so it still tasted good but definitely different than the Bourbon County from yesterday.

I wonder what this is like fresh considering how strong the bourbon is three years later. I enjoyed the amount that I drank but the bourbon was getting to be a bit much for me and a full bottle would have probably worn out its welcome. Definitely something to share with friends.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2008

I was sent this 2008 bottle of Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout by a friend of mine. Figured the weekend after Thanksgiving seemed like as good a time as any to open it.
Very still, black as night. Nice bourbon nose, hints of graham cracker, some vanilla. No alcohol heat which was just awesome. Thick as motor oil. Delicious, delicious motor oil. The flavors were so smooth, almost decadent. Chocolate, vanilla, bourbon. Some alcohol burn in the finish but at 13%, not terribly surprising. Hints of dark fruit appeared as I drank more but chocolate and bourbon were the major players.

Man, this was totally awesome and completely lived up to the hype. Absolutely delicious. The new version is coming out soon and I'm hoping to get my hands on some. We'll see. Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and drank some good beers. I know I did.

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.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weyerbacher Rapture

Jo and I opened our first bottle of Weyerbacher Rapture we picked up at the release in September.
Lovely tart and sour nose, nothing harsh and not too acetic. Wow, pretty delicious. Tart up front, some slight vinegar notes, and a sour finish. Even spending a year and a half in the barrel, I didn't get much oak or vanilla although some reviewers claim to find some. No bitterness or harsh tannin notes from the pinot barrels. Some dryness in the finish though not too dry. All around I really enjoyed this one and thought it was quite a good offering from Weyerbacher. I enjoy the Riserva but this is definitely way more balanced than that vinegary monster.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sharing Beers

It's been a while but I finally met up with my friend Craig at his new house this past Wednesday and we availed ourselves of a few beers. When he lived up the street from me we were doing this a little more often but he lives in New Jersey now so I have to change states and who wants to do that? Okay fine, me, but still it's harder to get there but totally worth it.

We started with one we've talked about opening ever since we met the first time early last year, Big Sky Olde Bluehair, a bourbon barrel barleywine.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Weyerbacher Sierra at the Kite & Key

After the Craft Beer Express this past Saturday (which I'll write about soon), the Kite & Key turned over a few of their taps and put on Weyerbacher Sierra, a milk stout in the Select series. I've been wanting to try this since it was announced so I knew I had to order it.
Clean roasty nose, very smooth. Quite a thick body. First sip was very tasty with a nice creamy roastiness. Some slight hints of the lactose but it affected the body and cut the roast bitterness more than anything. I'm a big fan of most milk stouts and so it was almost inevitable that I'd enjoy this one.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Three Floyds Amon Amarth Ragnarok

I was sent this a while ago by a buddy who lives in Chicago. It's some sort of smoked porter with honey or something.
Mostly grapefruit in the nose although there was something else that neither Jo nor I could clearly identify. It was probably either roastiness or smoke, but the grapefruit was strong enough that it muddled everything else. Started hoppy followed by some slight dark fruit sweetness. Finished with roast and more grapefruit bitterness. Pretty complex with the dark fruit coming and going between the grapefruit, roast and hints of smoke. As I drank more, I felt like I noticed the smoke more but it could have been my mind thinking it should find smoke so it did. All in all, quite tasty and easy to drink. Thanks Matt!

Friday, November 11, 2011

River Horse Hipp-O-Lantern

I still have a few pumpkin beers I haven't written about yet and River Horse Hipp-O-Lantern is one of them.
Not much carbonation in it even with vigorous pouring. Smelled of allspice, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Jo and I couldn't figure out the exact spices but we both couldn't find any cinnamon although it may just be muted compared to the rest. The body was sweet and fruity with apple notes and a brown sugar finish. The spices were mostly present as background flavors as they were overpowered by the sweetness and brown sugar. I quite enjoyed this though I tend to enjoy most imperial pumpkins so I may be biased.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ithaca White Gold at Kite & Key

The best thing about going to Kite & Key the Tuesday after Savage Sixtel Sunday is that a lot of the sixtels are still available. With this in mind, decisions are made easier on Sunday since I'll have another chance to try the more common beers in the group. This time, I left Ithaca White Gold, a wheat beer with brett, for Tuesday.
Slightly spicy nose, reminded me of a saison. Possibly a result of the yeast. Slight bit of mustiness, bit of earthy brett, bit of wheat. Interesting mix of flavors. Develops into a sort of wheaty earthiness. It's an interesting beer, but nothing really jumped out at me to bring it to the next level. Worth a try just to form your own opinion though.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Another Savage Sixtel Sunday at Kite & Key

It was finally time for another Savage Sixtel Sunday at Kite & Key and of course I had to go. I mentioned a while back that it's named after the bartender on Sunday nights, Jim Savage, and so he was there behind the bar. With all the tvs Kite & Key is definitely a nice place to spend a Sunday night.

I started with a glass of Stillwater Debutante, a saison of sorts.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Two by 8 Wired

Saturday night I decided to open two bottles my wife had picked up a little while ago when she was in Massachusetts. They were from a brewery named 8 Wired located in New Zealand.

The first I opened was their smoked porter, The Big Smoke.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Visiting Perch Pub

I've heard good things about the Perch Pub, located at Broad and Locust, and finally decided to visit last Friday night. The bar was already pretty busy when I got there around 5 as they have a decent happy hour with half off most of their drafts. Right now, they have 14 different draft lines with 2 being reserved for small batch stuff like Hill Farmstead, one-offs, things like that.

I started with a glass of Blue Point No Apologies, a double IPA.
Clean grapefruit nose. Started a little bitter up front, followed by a bit of grapefruit, and then finished with some malty sweetness. Decent enough double IPA although it may be a bit sweet for some people. Nice way to start off the night.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Left Hand Juju Ginger

Left Hand Juju Ginger is classified as a spiced beer and is made with ginger as expected.
Well, the first thing I'll say is it's definitely made with ginger. Mostly ginger in the aroma with some notes from the base beer. Not sure what the base is, possibly something wheat. Who knows. A little tangy up front followed by some sweet ginger and finishing with some bitter ginger flavor. I'm guessing the sweetness and bitterness come from the base which is why the ginger appears in both situations. This is a decent enough beer, but definitely slightly odd. If you like ginger, you'd maybe like this. If you hate it, then you'd hate this. Simple as that really although even if you like ginger it's not really something to write home about.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fegley's Brew Works Space Monkey

The Brew Works Space Monkey is a raspberry saison.
Sweet raspberry nose with a slight hint of fermentation. Sort of a like a musty undertone to the raspberry. Sharp raspberry flavor, a little tanginess, but finished a little weak and empty. The major flavor was raspberry without much else. The first two bottles I had the saison part was more prevalent and added a nice touch of spiciness which complemented the raspberry really well. Without that, this was just another fruit beer. Not bad if you are looking for that but I thought it was better before. It's my fault for not drinking it sooner though. Still it's not like it was bad so I can't fault it too much.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Green Flash Double Stout at Kite & Key

I've been seeing the Double Stout on the upcoming beers list at Kite & Key for a couple weeks now and couldn't wait until it was finally available. The choice was this or Rogue Chocolate Stout on cask and I decided this one may not last as long.
Roasty nose with hints of coffee in it. On first sip, I got chocolate and roast with some more coffee in it. Some bitter notes but otherwise relatively smooth. Very nice stout. As I drank more and it warmed up a bit, I was getting an interesting sweet flavor that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Reminded me almost of maple but it wasn't quite that. Either way, pretty delicious and I'm going to be on the lookout for some bottles to try it again.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Founders Lunch at Jose Pistolas

Just like usual, it's been a while since I've been to Jose Pistolas for lunch so I decided to fix that problem last Friday. I wasn't really planning on it but Adam put together a last minute Founders themed lunch so I figured that was as good a reason as any. I don't remember everything they had, but the main ones were the Wet Hop Harvest and bottles of 2010 KBS. Since I was going during work, I decided KBS was a bit much so went for the Harvest IPA instead. People seem to be excited about it so why not, right?