Friday, March 30, 2012

The Day Before Beer for Beasts

This coming weekend, my wife and I are heading to NYC to attend a brewfest called Beer for Beasts. Last year was the first year they held it and after reading about it I knew we had to go. Basically, Sixpoint brews 40+ different one off beers on their little pilot system and makes them available for this fest. All proceeds from it benefit The Humane Society of NYC, hence the name. We'll be attending the evening session if anyone reads this and is going as well.

If you're curious, the entire beer list can be found here. Tons and tons of variety with some pretty weird stuff like one made with pepper and mushrooms and another named Pinky In the Brain made with peppercorns, ginger and hibiscus flowers. I'm looking forward to, predictably enough, some of the stouts. There's a chocolate, coffee, cinnamon stout, a chocolate and chili stout, and even a lobster shell stout named Rock Lobster. So, yeah, I'm excited.

Look for a real writeup next week or so.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Allagash Saison Mihm

Yet again, I was lucky enough to order one of the beers on the Tuesday following a Savage Sixtel Sunday. Actually, everything except Younger was still pouring so I could have had anything but still. This time it was the Allagash Saison Mihm, a saison made with honey and some other stuff. (edit: I've since been told by their rep Beerlass, the other stuff was juniper and lemongrass. So it's no longer just other stuff. Thanks Suzy!)
I'll say the extra hours of sunlight is certainly great for the ability to actually take pictures at the Kite & Key. Means you can actually see what the beers look like again. Nice sweet honey and floral nose. Hints of fruit underneath the sweetness. Body followed with an emphasis on the honey sweetness. At first, there was a sharp bite from the alcohol but it was pretty cold so that's probably why. Once I warmed it up a bit, the sharpness mostly went away. Definitely pretty good and quite enjoyable.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sixpoint Resin

Over the course of two weeks or so, I drank two cans of Sixpoint Resin, a double IPA.
The interesting thing about drinking both cans close to each other was noticing the differences between them. They both had a bright citrus nose with some malty sweetness. This followed in the first can with a relatively nice balance in flavors between the bright hop notes and the malt which I quite enjoyed. However, in the second can, the balance was quite different with way more bitterness at first and less of the malty sweetness to balance it out. Luckily it did let up a bit as I drank more of it but it still wasn't quite the same. Just interesting to see batch variation from smaller breweries.

Still, Resin was a pretty good double IPA and I know lots of people are enjoying it. I'm pretty sure Sixpoint changed the recipe slightly for the second shipment, though, so these comments may not be terribly meaningful anymore. Guess you'll have to buy some and see for yourself!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Savage Sixtel Sunday at Kite & Key

This past weekend Kite & Key held another of their Savage Sixtel Sunday events. (See here and here for previous events.) I missed last time because it was on the day of the Superbowl so I was happy to be able to make this one. Even disregarding the generally interesting tap list, there are usually lots of people to talk to at them which is the real reason I enjoy it. With PhillyTapFinder on vacation in Belgium or Paris (he's somewhere over there right now), I didn't actually know what was on draft other than Pliny the Younger and Hopslam, so I was excited to find out.

When I arrived the bar was pretty full though probably not as full as other bars have been when they tap Younger. Surprise tappings will do that I guess. I said hello to one of the owners, Jim, who I last met during a previous Sixtel Sunday and then made my way to the bar to order a beer. Unfortunately, Younger had kicked a few minutes before I arrived so I started with a Bells Hopslam instead, a double IPA brewed with honey.
I've talked about Hopslam quite a few times (here, here, and here) so I'll just say it's definitely starting to fade but is still quite decent. If you have bottles or kegs, drink them sooner rather than later.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Wednesday Beer Share

Once again I took the PATCO out to the wilds of NJ (okay it was only Collingswood but going to NJ is scary) to share some beer with my buddy Craig. He had just spent some time in Florida visiting Cigar City to buy some Hunahpu's, their crazy imperial stout, and I picked up a Midnight Sun Arctic Devil, a barrel aged barleywine, when in San Francisco.

We decided to start with the Cigar City Hunahpu's. This is aged on cacao nibs, ancho and pasilla chili peppers, cinnamon, and madagascar vanilla beans. As I said, pretty crazy.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Annual Visit to Russian River

It's been a little over two weeks since our visit to Russian River, but that's not going to stop me writing about it. Last year, I was lucky enough to go to the brewpub when they had Younger on draft but this year I just had to settle for all of their regular stuff. Luckily their regular drafts are pretty amazing so it's not like I was disappointed or anything. The brewpub itself is actually pretty small with a long bar running the length of it and tables lining the walls on the right. We ordered some food this year and it turns out their pizzas are quite good. But, really, you aren't going here for the food so don't fool yourself. You're going for the beer.
See, look at all those beers! And on the bottom right you can see all of their sours which is of course where I started.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Goose Island Pere Jacques

I'm almost ready to write about our trip to Russian River but didn't quite have enough time this morning. I know you all can't wait but you'll just have to. Sorry! Instead, you get a simple write up about Goose Island Pere Jacques, a dubbel. Goose Island is a recent addition to the Philly market actually and we should start seeing more of it. I'm excited to see if we'll get some Bourbon County, their awesome bourbon stout.
Light sweet nose with tons of fruit and a little clove. Started bready and fruity with more clove. As it warmed, the fruit came out more clearly with some caramel. It was a sweet and malty beer, but that's generally expected in a dubbel and as long as the flavors are clean like in this, it works out. I tend to like my dubbels with a little more caramel flavor but this was still pretty good.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Lagunitas Imperial Stout

The other stout I drank over the weekend was a Lagunitas Imperial Stout. Not a terribly original name for a beer but at least you know what to expect. Apparently I bought it back in 2010 at some point so it was probably around a year to a year and a half old. Not sure how aging changed the flavors that much without having a fresh sample on hand though.
Interesting nose. Sweet with hints of chocolate and then almost a salty or soy sauce like flavor. It sounds gross, but somehow it worked with the sweetness. Thick body which was nice. Not as thick as BA Boris from yesterday, but close enough. I like a nice, viscous imperial stout as it gives it a nice mouthfeel and makes it more interesting to drink. On first sip, I found some chocolate, roast and then caramel and malt. The salty flavor from the nose was present but blended into the whole and was eventually subsumed by the maltiness. Didn't change much as it warmed up other than the saltiness mostly going away. Pretty unique stout with a different flavor profile than most which made for a nice change of pace.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hoppin' Frog Barrel Aged Boris

Over the weekend I drank two different stouts with the first being Hoppin' Frog Barrel Aged Boris. This was aged in bourbon barrels for a few months. Not sure exactly how long, but I feel like it's got to be at least four months based on the strength of the flavors. I easily could be wrong though.
Mmm, lovely nose. Vanilla, graham cracker, and roast blended together amazingly well. Nice thick body, very viscous. At first, I tasted vanilla, some light bourbon, a little dark fruit, and a slightly nutty finish. The dark fruit and nuttiness faded away as I drank more but the bourbon and vanilla continued through to the end. This just had a really nice richness to it that made it really pleasant drinking and delicious. I actually thought it compared favorably to Firestone Walker Parabola though that one was slightly more complex. Definitely one to pick up if you see it and don't mind spending a little bit for it.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Lost Abbey Judgement Day

Last Tuesday, I stopped by Kite & Key and ordered a Lost Abbey Judgement Day, a quad brewed with raisins. The description mentioned that it's the base for Cuvee de Tomme which I didn't know and thought was pretty interesting.
Slightly roasty nose with dates, raisins and hints of chocolate. I think the roast was in my mind though and it may have been more of a smoky flavor or the combination of raisin and chocolate. If someone else has had this maybe they'll offer their thoughts. Flavor followed with a nice blend of raisin and chocolate with a caramel, malty sweetness finishing it off. Super clean flavors, a nice body, and no hint of the ABV made this one quite enjoyable. After having the Cuvee de Tomme back during beer week, I can sort of see how souring this would turn into that.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Dugges Never Mind the Bollox

Still feeling lazy today so you get a Swedish beer from Dugges named Never Mind the Bollox. If you remember, Jared brought a bottle of their 1/2 Idjit to our Swedish party a while back.
Besides the fact that I love the name, this was quite an interesting beer. It's labeled as an IPA but from the start it didn't seem like that style at all. Big malty nose with the smell of aged hops. Spicy and earthy but not bitter. Big sweet body with lots of dark fruit and some malty breadiness. Sort of continues that way with the earthy hops perking up every once and a while to keep it from being too sweet. While the bottle clearly wasn't fresh, I thought it had been bottled in November 2011. However, I just saw a review on BeerAdvocate from February 2011 that claims to have seen the same notching so it must have been quite an old bottle. However, I can safely say it didn't actually hurt this beer and it was still pretty decent. I do wonder what it was like fresh though.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Midnight Sun Obliteration VIII

While I have a few things to write about after our trip to San Francisco, I'm feeling too lazy right now so I'm just going to talk about one of the individual beers I drank over the trip: Midnight Sun Obliteration VIII, a double IPA.
Citrus in the nose but it was pretty mild. Some maltiness and some bitterness followed with a tiny hint of the same citrus. Continued that way without much deviation. Nothing real special here though it wasn't bad. Unfortunately there was no date marking on it as far as I could tell so it's impossible to know the age on it to know if it was brighter fresh. Probably didn't help that we worked through a growler of Pliny the Elder the day before either. Oh well.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Russian River Pliny the Younger 2012

Another February brings another year of Russian River's triple IPA Pliny the Younger. Unlike last year, I was not lucky enough to be at the actual brewpub to sample it straight from the source or saunter into an uncrowded St. Stephen's Green to get a glass. Since we were heading to San Francisco in the beginning of March (which is when Younger finally reaches Philly), I had actually given up getting to have a glass this year. Lucky for me, a chance presented itself at Tria Washington West and my wife was awesome enough to buy me a ticket before they sold out in 17 minutes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The New Troegs Brewery

After spending a great hour and a half or so at Spring House, Jo and I headed on to the new Troegs brewery in Hershey, PA. For those that don't know, Troegs used to be in an industrial park in Harrisburg and was pretty much a medium size with a smallish taproom and a retail store about the same size. I always liked it since it still felt personal at that size but things change as places get more popular and I'm pretty sure Troegs was getting mobbed on the weekends so a change was definitely needed. Plus they needed a bigger brewery to keep up with demand which is probably the main reason for the move.

The new brewery is absolutely enormous with a gigantic taproom, a retail store about the size of the old brewery building itself, an enclosed barrel room, and a really impressive self-guided tour. Here's a picture that should give you some idea of the size of the taproom.
Hmm, or not after looking at the picture. I don't know how many people the taproom fits but it was packed when Jo and I arrived on Saturday. The bar has got to be like 100 people long and you can see tables that run through the middle of the room in the picture. There are also some more tables on the other side of the wall on the left that you can't quite see I think.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Port Midnight Expressions at Kite & Key

Last Tuesday I stopped in at Kite & Key like usual. There were a few things I'd already had on the list so I decided to go with something a little more normal and ordered a Port Brewing Midnight Expression, a schwarzbier or a black lager in English.
Clean roast nose, hints of chocolate and coffee but not overpowering. Flavors were mostly roast throughout with a light body as expected by the style. Decent schwarzbier with everything you'd expect and nothing you wouldn't. Jo drank this a few days later and liked it as well. It would definitely make a good intro to porters as the roast flavors are much more subdued.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Visit to Taproom Spring House

My wife and I finally had a free weekend and managed to combine it with a visit to the Spring House Brewing Company Taproom and the new Troegs brewery. I'm going to start with the Spring House taproom and make a post about the Troegs brewery in a few days. We've been trying to get out to Lancaster to visit Spring House for going on three months probably. I think we must have planned at least 2 or 3 other visits and had to cancel them all for one reason or another so lets just say I was excited.

I first learned about Spring House a few years ago, probably in August of 2009 or so, when I bought a case of their Kerplunk Chocolate Stout. Previous to this past Saturday, I had managed one visit out to the brewery which is actually a barn next to the brewer's (Matt Keasey) house but it must have been over two years ago at this point since I didn't write about it. I imagine if I had started the blog I would have written something. That visit was quite cool just because the brewery was so rustic. I mean it was in a barn, how much more rustic could it get? However Matt finally realized he needed to do something about the large number of people that were visiting the barn and parking on his tiny street and so he opened the Taproom to alleviate the crowds. I'm glad he did since it was quite impressive and well put together.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring House Kerplunk '09

In preparation for our trip to the Spring House Taproom, Jo suggested I open one of my bottles of their Kerplunk Chocolate Imperial Stout in order to compare it to a fresh sample. Figuring I'd get to drink a delicious beer even if for some reason it turned out not to be on tap anymore, I opened my second to last bottle.
Some chocolate in the nose with a bit of dark fruit or something. Thinner body than I remember, probably a result of sitting for two and a half years. It was still quite tasty though I think it may be past its prime a bit. Nice clean chocolate flavors, a few hints of oxidation in the middle, and then a decent chocolate finish. There wasn't much roast or coffee in this stout, but lots of nice chocolate flavor made for an enjoyable beer. At this point, I have one bottle left and based on this one I should probably drink it soon as it's definitely not getting better anymore but we'll see how well I follow that plan.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Trip to Moe's

The other great part about visiting Lee, Massachusetts is the chance to go to Moe's Tavern. It's a smallish bar just off main street that has a varying tap list, great bartenders, and a nice drinking environment. One of the things Jo and I really like is that the owner, Josh, replaced his small high top tables with tall picnic style tables that seat eight plus people. It makes the bar much friendlier and easier to hang out. The only thing Moe's doesn't have is food but you can bring any food into it so it's not a big deal.

When we arrived, I saw the Maine Beer Company Mean Old Tom was on draft and since I haven't found it in Philly yet I figured I'd order it. Mean Old Tom is an American Stout aged on vanilla beans.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sixpoint Diesel

I opened a can of Sixpoint Diesel last night, a hoppy American stout.
Pleasant citrusy nose with a hint of roast in it. No bitterness just citrus goodness. Quite inviting. Remarkable body for a 6.3% stout. Started with some more nice citrus followed by an amazingly creamy roastiness. I imagine it was hoppier fresh and maybe more bitter but I don't know. I'll say the middle flavors were probably lessened a bit with the hops fading so I don't think it'll continue to age well but right now it's quite tasty. My last can should still be good if I drink it soon.