Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lagunitas Lucky 13 at Kite & Key

Took my usual Tuesday visit to Kite & Key and picked out Lagunitas Lucky 13, an American Strong Ale.
Really nice grapefruit sweet nose, no real bitterness at all. Thick body. Began with a really pleasant grapefruit and light bitterness and ended with a decent amount of caramel sweetness. The play between the malt and the grapefruit hops was really great in this one. Never got too dry or too sweet and was just tasty.

On a separate note, I found out that my Tuesday at Kite & Key is going to become Monday at Kite & Key. My favorite bartender, Jacqueline (probably spelled her name wrong but it's close enough for science), has changed her shifts to Monday so I will to. Not like the day really matters.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Duck Rabbit Baltic Porter

This was another gift from someone along with the Cafe Royale I drank earlier in the year and a bottle of KBS. Obviously this is a baltic porter from Duck Rabbit which you probably guessed from the name.
Creamy roasty nose with some dark fruit in the back. First sip was similar. Lots of dark fruit with a bit of tart milkiness and some roast in the finish. Basically continued that way with the roast and dark fruit coming and going. Decent enough though I feel like a bit less dark fruit and the addition of some chocolate flavors would have balanced it out a bit more.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

The Vertical Epic series from Stone brewing was started February 2nd, 2002 with 02.02.02 followed by another release on March 3rd, 2003 with 03.03.03, etc. Get the pattern yet? Each year is a different style but they were sort of meant to be aged until December 12th, 2012 and then shared together. The 02.02.02 goes for a bunch of money on ebay which is pretty funny. I don't know if it will work out as some of the styles don't seem like they'll age well but Stone seemed to think so. The 09.09.09 I opened is a Belgian Stout.
At first I thought the nose was slightly sour, but soon realized it was a result of the roast mixing with the hops and Belgian yeast. Pretty interesting. Nice body on it even after 3 years. Rich creaminess up front, vanilla, some dark fruit and then earthy hop bitterness to finish it off. Very tasty and definitely holding up well. Enjoyable even in the 90+ heat we had last Friday. Air conditioning really is the best thing on earth.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Three Floyds Dreadnaught

Three Floyds isn't available in Philly as it doesn't get distributed here, but last weekend I was able to get a glass of their Dreadnaught, a double IPA, at a local establishment. Now, they were doing their best to keep it on the down low so I won't name the place but, well, it's not hard to figure it out if you really want to. I'll admit the draft was definitely a bit expensive but it's not available around here so I was willing to pay for one glass.
Great grapefruit nose with some light bitterness. The first sip followed with sweet grapefruit up front then some bitterness. I was happily surprised that the finish was quite dry despite the sweetness. I can see why people go out of their way for this one in its normal markets. Quite a good double IPA.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bell's Special Double Cream Stout

Even at 100 degrees, I still like drinking my stouts and barleywines. I guess having A/C will do that to you. Last night I drank a bottle of Bell's Special Double Cream Stout, an american stout.
Really pleasant roast nose with a hint of tartness or dark fruit or something in the back. Nice body, thick for a 6% stout. A creamy, milky start with smooth roast following and a light licorice flavor to finish. The latter actually disappeared as I drank more with the roast smoothing out even more and some chocolate coming out. Really nice beer that just got better as I drank more. Bell's is so good.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New Glarus Raspberry Tart

I was sent this a while ago by a friend of mine and Jo and I finally opened it last night at a BYOB. New Glarus is a brewery out of Wisconsin and the Raspberry Tart is a fruit beer.
Bright raspberry nose with a little bit of caramel sweetness and some tart notes. The raspberry smelled incredibly real. Thick mouthfeel, thicker than you'd expect and it just coats your mouth. More sweet raspberry in the first sip with a smooth caramel finish. Continued along that path throughout the glass. It may have only been lightly tart but there was just enough to keep it from being too sweet.

Really enjoyable beer and if it was available around here I'd definitely buy it again. Too bad it's not. I actually disappointed the waitress last night since she asked me where I'd gotten it and the answer of Wisconsin wasn't terribly useful to her. Ah well.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Port Anniversary Ale at Kite & Key

With the end of Philly Beer Week comes my return to Tuesdays at Kite & Key. This week I ordered a glass of Port Anniversary Ale, a double IPA.
Juicy grapefruit nose. Not super bright but it's very clean and inviting. Started bitter followed by some grapefruit and a caramel sweetness. A bit bitter and dry in the finish though not too bad. An enjoyable double IPA, at least for one glass. The sweetness may grow a bit much after more than one but who drinks something twice in a row? Crazy people, that's who, so it's not really a big deal.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DuClaw Double Naked Fish

Back in January, I drank a beer from DuClaw named Naked Fish, a raspberry chocolate stout. While the raspberry and chocolate were quite strong and tasty, I thought the body was a bit thin and maybe an imperial version would be better. Imagine my surprise when a DuClaw employee responded to me and mentioned that they were already brewing a stronger version and to look for it in the next month or two. Well, a friend of mine grabbed me a bottle recently so I drank it this past weekend with some friends.
Roasty nose with some light raspberry in it. Didn't get much chocolate as the roast was the strongest flavor. Nice body, a bit thicker than the original. Some roast started followed by some raspberry and a light chocolate finish. Yes, this version tasted less like a chocolate raspberry candy, but I thought the beer was better overall. The body had more weight making it more enjoyable to drink and all of the flavors blended together better keeping anything from being overwhelming.

One of these days I should try to get my hands on their peanut butter porter, HERO, and see how that one tastes. Luckily, they may be distributing to Philly soon which will make it easier to try their stuff.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Boulevard Chocolate Ale

With Philly Beer Week over, I can finally get back to drinking beers at home. Crazy I know. This past weekend I opened a bottle of Boulevard Chocolate Ale.
Sweet nose with a hint of light cocoa. Slight cocoa up front, some almost apple fruitiness in the body, and finishing with some dry cocoa flavor. While the chocolate flavor was incredibly light, it at least tasted real which was nice. The fruity body was a little sweet but at least it went well with the chocolate flavors. Enjoyable beer though the chocolate could have been a bit more apparent in my opinion. I've read people say the draft version is better but we don't get Boulevard around here so no chance for me to try it like that.

Also, apparently this is my 400th post. Hurray! I should drink something interesting when I hit 500 but I'll probably forget.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Philly Beer Week Day 9: Nodding Head & Hawthornes

Finally, the last day of Philly Beer Week. Well, my last day at least. Others went out Sunday too. I was really excited for this Saturday from the beginning of beer week as the Dark Horse event at Hawthornes last year was one of my favorites. Adding the Nodding Head Second Saturday event on top of it just increased my excitement.

Starting off the day was the Second Saturday event at Nodding Head. This event was named Weird, Wacky, and Wonderful and consisted of a couple sours and couple variations of Crosby Tears. I started with a glass of Phreddie, a sour tripel.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Philly Beer Week Day 8: Jose Pistola's & A Beer Garden

We're almost to the end of Philly Beer Week! Just two more relatively full days and I'll be done and you can go back to reading shorter posts. On this Friday, Jo had the day off so we were going to have lunch at Jose Pistola's and I had planned to check out the With Love Beer Garden later on. We also ended up with an unscheduled stop at St. Stephen's Green for dinner which turned out great because they still had a bunch of great beers on tap.

As I said, the day started at my favorite lunch spot, Jose Pistola's. They were hosting a lunch for Hill Farmstead and how could I miss that? For those that don't know, Hill Farmstead is really well known for their hoppier stuff though Shaun Hill has a deft touch with mostly everything he brews as far as I can tell. I started with a glass of Florence, a saison.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Philly Beer Week Day 7: De Dolle & Deschutes

For the seventh day of Philly Beer Week, the beer gods gave me De Dolle and Deschutes. Originally I had only planned on the Deschutes event but it turned out that De Dolle was at Monks when I got there so win win! Of course all of this meant that I had to brave the waters of Monk's back room again but I was hoping that it wouldn't be as bad as Sunday's Funky Buddha event. For the most part I was correct though it did get pretty busy later during the Deschutes stuff possibly because Monk's was the only place they visited during Beer Week..

When I arrived the back room was only a little crowded and so it wasn't too hard to get my first beer. I realize I was at a De Dolle event, but I didn't feel like one of their beers. Instead I went with the intriguing De Molen Bakker Wort Brouwer, a whisky barrel aged imperial stout.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Philly Beer Week Day 6: Tired Hands

After our busy fifth day of beer week, Jo and I were originally going to take Wednesday off. Well, mostly off as I was still going to get one drink, but then the Friday before, it was announced that the Tired Hands cafe was finally opening! Immediately I said so much for our day off, time to go to Ardmore!

When I arrived the first floor bar was about three quarters full but still plenty of room for me. I took a seat and ordered my first beer, EWBANH (apparently Everything was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt), their India Black Coffee Saison.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Philly Beer Week Day 5: Founders & Funky Buddha

After my day of rest (hah!) on Monday, Tuesday was planned to be a long day. I had lunch at Jose Pistola's, a stop at Kite & Key, and then finally Prohibition Taproom. Maybe seems like a lot for a Tuesday, but Philly Beer Week! Woo! Okay, okay, I'm a little crazy, I know.

The first stop of the day was the Founders lunch at Jose Pistola's. They were going to have CBS, two years of KBS, Curmudgeon's Better Half, and a few others. To say it was going to be popular isn't giving the crowd the credit it deserves. I arrived about five minutes before opening and the crowd was already like forty or fifty people long.
For those that don't know Jose Pistola's, the entrance is over past the green sign in the middle so pretty far from where I was standing. Lucky for me, my friends showed up at about 11:10 and were twenty to thirty people ahead of me. Pays to have friends who took the day off, I guess.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Philly Beer Week Day 4: Goose Island

After our pretty crazy Sunday, it was refreshing to only have one event on Monday. This time we planned to head to City Tap House to check out some beers from Goose Island brewery. Goose Island entered Philly rather recently and, at least in beer nerd circles, is well know for a ridiculously great stout named Bourbon County Brand stout, a bourbon barrel stout that clocks in at 14.5%. I knew they were serving it at this event which is partly why I chose to go to that one instead of others.

When I arrived at 5 for the 6pm event, the place was actually still pretty empty. What a nice change of pace from the Monk's event. I got a seat at the bar ordered a glass of the Yards Bourbon Porter to pass the time until the Goose Island stuff was available.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Philly Beer Week Day 3: Eulogy, Capone's, and Monk's

Our Sunday was looking to be a pretty busy day as we had three different events we wanted to hit. Well, I wanted to hit. Luckily for me, Jo offered to drive me around from spot to spot. I'm really lucky. We started out with our new tradition of Eulogy's Coffee Beer Brunch. This event is pretty self-explanatory, as it's a brunch with a number of coffee beers on draft. Here are my thoughts from last year's event.

When we arrived, we happened to get a parking spot across the street and then found two seats at the bar. Really convenient. The brunch menu was a little small this year having only two dishes, but the chicken fried steak was pretty tasty so that sort of made up for it. Hopefully next year they have a couple more things available though. We ordered a Ballast Point Victory@Sea, a vanilla coffee porter, first.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Philly Beer Week Day 2: Kite & Key

Originally for day 2 of Philly Beer Week we were going to go down to South Philly for the saison event at Tapestry, but we decided instead to just hang in our neighborhood for the evening. So around 5pm we wandered over to Kite & Key, missing the Gladiator games part of the event but in time for great beers. The real event looked like a lot of fun but maybe next year. The beers being poured were a combo of Allagash, Dogfish Head, and Yards and at least all of their beers were still pouring when we arrived.

I started with a glass of the Yards Bourbon Bart, the bourbon barrel aged version of their Olde Bartholomew.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Philly Beer Week Day 1: Devil's Den

We decided to start off the this year's Philly Beer Week the same way we started off last year's by going to Devil's Den for the Bella Vista Beer Bash. It was so awesome last year that I figured it was a good choice for this one. I got there plenty early this year to ensure I got a seat and got one right on the side of the bar. By about 6:30, the place was pretty jam packed so it was a good thing I got there when I did. Here's what it looked like then.
Okay well that doesn't actually show the crowd real well but it was busy, I swear.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Philly Beer Week Schedule

I learned last year that the best way for me to get the most out of Philly Beer Week was to make mostly solid plans for the week before it started. It was a little more difficult this year since we were in Belgium recently but there were enough events listed that I mostly chose what I wanted to do before leaving.

For the most part, we've decided on everything we want to do except for the last Sunday. We won't necessarily be right on time for them but we should make it at some point.