Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Random Tuesday Tasting Part 2

Continuing yesterday's post, there are four more beers left from the Random Tuesday Tasting. After the Olde Burnside cool ranch beer, we opened a bottle of Marin Barrel Aged Old Dipsea Barleywine.
You may not have heard of Marin's here on the east coast, but they are connected to Moylan's which sends a few beers over here. It's more well known on the west coast though. Slight bourbon nose with a bit of tartness. Not sure on the latter flavor but I wrote it down so who knows. Lots of bourbon followed, some barrel, but not much barleywine. Nice looking beer but the base just wasn't strong enough to hold up to the bourbon.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Random Tuesday Tasting Part 1

A couple weeks ago, I went over a friend's house with another buddy to hang out and split some beers. Considering it was a Tuesday we weren't planning on opening too much but, well, things didn't really work out that way and we ended up opening 8 different beers. Since eight at once would be too much, I'm going to talk about four of them today and then the rest tomorrow just to avoid boring you all.

We started with the Allagash Tenth Anniversary, an imperial witbier that's about 5 years old at this point.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Karl Strauss 22nd Anniversary

I was sent this a while ago from a friend out in San Diego and finally got around to opening it. The 22nd Anniversary is a vanilla imperial stout with 25% aged in bourbon barrels. Sounds nice, doesn't it?
Sweet bourbon nose, some oak and a bit of roast. While pouring, the body looked thin, but it turned out to be pretty thick which was good. My initial thought was that it was tasty yet quite sweet. Definitely not one for people who don't like sugary beers. I got a little roast, a tiny bit of vanilla and some hints of alcohol. Enjoyed this one quite a bit. Of course, I love sweet things a ton so that isn't terribly surprising. Showed how even a bit of barrel aging can affect the flavors too.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bear Republic Heritage Ale

Stopped by Kite & Key earlier this week and ordered a Bear Republic Heritage Ale, a scotch ale.
Nice malty, bready nose. Sweet and inviting. Started with a burst of caramel sweetness which was followed by malt and toffee. The sweetness never became cloying which was good. This was just a really flavorful scotch ale and really hit the spot. Glad I chose it.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Yards 2009 Olde Bartholomew

I haven't been as great about getting to Kite & Key every week and then even writing about it when I do visit. But, oh well. A few weeks ago I went and was able to get a glass of Yards 2009 Olde Bartholomew which was left over from an event held there a few days earlier.
Sorry about the picture, still getting dark early. Sweet plum and caramel nose. Started with some plum, some caramel, and dark fruit and finished with some slight bitterness from the hops. Even after two years, I still got some alcohol notes but not a lot. I liked it decently enough though the two years on it may have helped with that. I have some fresh bottles so we'll see whether this year's is as good as the 2009.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Beer Four All Seasons

Yesterday, I was invited to a press tasting for the collaboration between Dock Street and the Four Seasons hotel. The overall series is named "A Beer Four All Seasons" as there will be four beers this year, one basically in each season. The gist is that the Four Seasons is providing the ingredients and various ideas and then Dock Street works with them to create something unique. For the first beer, they created a Truffled Old Ale, an old ale aged in Chardonnay barrels and then blended with black truffles. Sounds bizarre, yes, but it turned out to be tasty.

When I got the invite I honestly didn't know what to expect as I've never been to anything resembling a press event. I arrived at the hotel and walked back to the Swann Lounge where they were holding the event. I didn't recognize anyone at first, but then saw Bryan Kolesar and Lew Bryson so at least I knew a couple people. After a few minutes, they started opening some bottles for us to try.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Nodding Head Ice Capades

Every second Saturday, Nodding Head holds a special event following some sort of theme. This month their event was Ice Capades where they took a few of their beers and ice distilled them. In doing so the beers get stronger because they have a higher concentration of alcohol and the flavors can change or intensify as a result. The process mostly involves filling a keg about three quarters full, putting it on its side in a freezer for a couple days, then draining the unfrozen beer. The reason it gets frozen on its side is so when the keg gets flipped back upright, the tap isn't blocked so the beer will actually come out since the ice won't be blocking it. Pretty smart really.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Baladin Isaac

I realized earlier that I totally forgot to write about this one. At this point I've lost my notes but I remember a little. Baladin Isaac was bought for me in Italy by my sister in law and her husband. And, yes, they bought it because it's close to my last name.
Isaac is listed as a witbier on BeerAdvocate, but it differed from the style because of the additions to it. I remember being surprised at the amount of spice and flavor with the wheat base being pretty mild. Some fruitiness was also present. All in all, I was quite pleased and surprised with this one. Le Baladin, a brewery out of Italy, can be found in the US though it's probably expensive since most Italian beers are priced pretty high for a few reasons. Glad I got to try this though disappointed in myself for tossing my notes before writing about it. Oh well.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

DuClaw Naked Fish

I had picked this one up in Virginia since we don't get DuClaw in Philly. Naked Fish is a chocolate, raspberry stout.
Really strong and inviting nose. Lots of chocolate and raspberry, basically like those chocolates with raspberry filling in them, you know? Unfortunately the taste didn't follow anywhere near as strongly though it was still pretty pleasant. Mostly a little chocolate and then a light raspberry flavor in the finish. The body was a little thin but as a regular stout it wasn't terribly surprising. All in all, pretty tasty though the flavor could have been slightly stronger.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ommegang Seduction

Seduction is the newest addition to Ommegang's lineup, replacing Chocolate Indulgence. It was brewed with Callebaut chocolate and Liefman's kriek.
Roasty nose with some slight, dry chocolate notes. Didn't get any cherry. Decent body. Slight tartness, some bitterness and then finished with the same chocolate flavor from the nose and some Belgian notes. Not bad. As I drank more, the chocolate and tartness grew making it a bit more interesting. The only real issue I had with it was that it's a little expensive but oh well.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tired Hands Brewing Company

A little over a week ago, I contacted one of the owners, Jean Broillet IV, of the upcoming Tired Hands Brewpub in Ardmore and asked if I could stop by and check the place out. Apparently people are always stopping by on the weekend so he said sure, come by whenever. It's a pretty easy place to find, just off the main road in Ardmore. At least I think it's the main road, I don't really know Ardmore well. There seemed to be a decent bit of metered parking in the area and it's about two blocks from the R5 station (or whatever it's called now) so it seems like it'll be quite convenient to visit.

Right now the outside is nothing much to look at although I think they just put in a bunch of work on it this weekend so it may look more interesting now. When you enter there's some tanks on the left and various construction equipment throughout the room.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Stewart's Brewing Company

Last, but certainly not least, we come to Stewart's Brewing Company in Bear, Delaware. While it was a little further from Blue Mountain than Vintage 50 was from Philly, it still made for a good pitstop to take a break from the long drive. Plus, it's only about an hour from Philly so once we were finished it wasn't too far to get home.

As you enter, the place is one big giant room with a big three sided bar basically in the center. Lots of tvs dotted the walls and a number of people in there were wearing football jerseys. Clearly, besides being a pretty good brewpub, it's also a major sports bar for the area. We overheard the bartender telling someone that there is a five year waiting list for their mug club. If that isn't loyalty, I'm not sure what is.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blue Mountain Brewery

The last stop in Virginia was the Blue Mountain Brewery. It is located on the same road leading to the Devil's Backbone but about twenty minutes closer. We did this one last because it was a bit more convenient to visit before heading back to Philly.
The one thing I can say is the views were pretty incredible. This is a view of the outside as you are walking into the place. I imagine during the summer the outside seating is mobbed but right now it was a bit too cold though it was sixty degrees that day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Starr Hill

After leaving Devil's Backbone, we made our way to the Starr Hill brewery. This is a production facility so we weren't quite sure what to expect.
See, even looks like a production facility especially after the Devil's Backbone. Inside was a very large empty room with a bottling line off to the right, the brewing equipment in the back, and a small bar off to the left.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Devil's Backbone

We had a nice, normal dinner once he made it to Charlottesville Friday night and left our next brewery trip for lunch on Saturday. This time, we headed about 40 minutes outside the city to the brewpub, Devil's Backbone.
Really nice looking building. Looks rustic without actually being rustic if you know what I mean. Off to the left side is a grain silo with their logo on it. When we got there, it was busy but there were still a few seats at the bar and some tables were empty. As you walk in, a hostess stand is right in front with a wall separating the bar from the entrance, a restaurant area off to the right and some more high tops by the bar. We made our way to the far side of the bar and took a seat.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vintage 50 in Leesburg, VA

While our New Year's trip was specifically a trip to visit Monticello and Montpelier, I just happened to be the one that planned our meals and, surprise surprise, a bunch of them were at brewpubs. The first stop on the trip was at Vintage 50 in Leesburg, VA. This was sort of on our way down to VA and it worked really well as a pit stop as it was a little more than halfway from Philly to Montpelier.
Pulled up to a nice brick front in what looked like an office building. As you walk in, their brewing tanks are right in the main entryway. Seemed like there were tables off to the right with a few more on the left in the bar area. We took a seat at the bar in the far corner of the room and I ordered a flight. They had, I think, six or eight beers and the flight allowed 4.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Bell's Darkest Day at Devil's Den

Okay, so this event was over two weeks ago at this point, but it was such a great time, I don't want to just skip writing about it. The event took place on December 21st, the shortest day of the year hence the name,  Darkest Day. Devil's Den got about 6 different Bell's beers including the incredibly rare Black Note. When the event was first announced at the end of November, I quickly put it on my calendar since I knew I couldn't miss it. Now, maybe I was a little too excited because when I got there at 4, there were only three other people in the bar and they all left before the event making me the first to arrive for it. I even took a picture!
See, empty bar. Luckily, I knew the next four people that walked in after me so I had plenty of company to pass the time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pumpkins on Christmas

Yeah, maybe having Pumpkin beers on Christmas seems odd, but we were having a pretty faithful Thanksgiving meal so why not Pumpkins? Besides, the two I decided to open aren't your average pumpkin beers anyway

The first I opened was Midnight Sun Treat, an imperial porter made with cocoa nibs, pumpkin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.