Saturday, March 22, 2014

CO and TX spin

Had a really nice trip to Colorado and Texas, was able to several different breweries, chat with some really nice people, and all in all have a really good time.

First stop was at Left Hand brewery. It was quite busy by Sunday because there were apparently two different events going on: two private parties inside.

However the line at the bar was not too long. The only minor confusion happened because I did not want to drink lots of beer, so I asked the bartender to only fill the flight glasses about half-full. He did not, and when I was done with my first flight, he thought I did not like the beers. I explained, no everything is great I just did not want a full glass.

Check out the Schaumhaftvermoegen on that beer above! Seriously an SHV way over 140!!  Was able to see their new milk stout nitro in a bottle that you pour hard into a glass; it will not overflow. What was really nice is that I was going to buy a flight glass and they had none for sale and the bartender just gave me one to keep.

I did tell my wife that they would ship a keg, but she seemed disinterested. Tried the:
Left Hand Brewing - Polestar Pilsner - Lager, Pilsner, German Pils  { 7.0 }
Left Hand Brewing - Sawtooth Ale - Ale, Bitter, ESB  { 7.5 }
Left Hand Brewing - Milk Stout Nitro - Ale, Stout, Sweet  { 10.0 }
Left Hand Brewing - 400 Pound Monkey - Ale, IPA, English  { 8.0 }
Left Hand Brewing - Good Juju - Ale, Spiced  { 9.0 }
Left Hand - Pro Am Lava Lava - Ale, Stout, Milk  { 7.0 }
Left Hand Brewing - Fade to Black vol 5 - Ale, Rye, Black  { 8.0 }
Left Hand - Beer Week Sauce - Ale, Porter, Black  { 6.0 }

Next stop was an Oscar Blues brewery which was quite a trip, or a treat, or a trippy treat.

A very friendly atmosphere (dog friendly too) with a lot of nice people there. What was the most amazing is their version of a can growler. They have a large can that you can fill with beer of your choice, and they will it seal it right there. Great taproom name; maybe the best?

Oskar Blues - Mama's Little Yella Pils - Lager, Pilsner, Bohemian  { 8.5 }
Oskar Blues - Old Chub - Ale, Scotch  { 8.0 }
Oskar Blues - Obliterator (10.8 %) - Lager, Bock, Doppelbock  { 8.0 }
Oskar Blues - Gubna (10%) - Ale, IPA, Imperial (100 IBUs)  { 9.0 }
Oskar Blues - Reeb Reye'd IPA - Ale, Rye, IPA  { 9.5 }
Oskar Blues - Deviant Dales - Ale, IPA, Imperial  { 9.0 }
Oskar Blues - Ten Fiddy barrel aged - Ale, Stout, Russian Imperial  { 10.5 }
 yes, a “10.5” out of a possible “10.0”

Next stopped at Asher Brewing - you could tell one of the Brewers was from New England, as one of the beers was called Green Monsta. Fully organic, and like members of Club Belgique, we too are "solving the world's problems one beer at a time."

Had a nice time speaking with the bartendress. Not to sound pretentious, but she was very impressed with my overall beer knowledge. From the “it's a small world” category, chatted with a guy next to me who went to UMass when I was there. He stopped working for the high-tech industry about five years ago and started his own winery. Good show.
Asher Brewing  - Green Lantern Organic Kölsch  - Kölsch  { 7.0 }
Asher  - Green Bullet Organic IPA - Ale, IPA, American  { 8.0 }
Asher  - Greenade - Ale, IPA, Double  { 9.0 }
Asher - Green Monstah - Ale, Strong  { 8.0 }
Asher - Superfly Oatmeal Stout - Ale, Stout, Oatmeal  { 8.0 }

Given the night and needed something special for beer number 4,900. Went to a place called Brū Handbuilt Ales.

Appeared to be more of a bistro, and what was interesting here was the brewer used to be a chef; and I think the beers had extremely good flavors because of that combination. The food, yes that was very good as well.

Had the mussels for dinner and they were amazing.
Brū Handbuilt Ales - CO Common Pale Lager - Lager, Pale  { 7.0 }
Brū Handbuilt Ales - 5290 - Ale, Saison  { 8.0 }
Brū Handbuilt Ales - Citrum IPA - Ale, IPA, English  { 9.0 }
Brū Handbuilt Ales - Belux - Ale, Pale, Belgian  { 8.0 }
Brū Handbuilt Ales - Belgian IPA - Ale, IPA, Belgian  { 9.0 }
Brū Handbuilt Ales - Big Brown Woody (11.7%) - Ale, Brown, Imperial  { 9.5 } [#4,900]
Brū Handbuilt Ales - Obitus - Ale, Brown, American  { 8.5 }

Then went to a favorite - Avery brewing - I do have a fondness for the brewery as that his name of one of my sons. Note impossible to find unless you follow their Web directions, or wait until they move.

So the people behind the the bar were a bit more than surprised as they were presented with a bottle of Spencer Abby ale. The assistant brewer Mike gave me a high five and said the next beer was on him.
Avery Brewing - Currawong - Ale, Saison, Dark  { 7.5 }
Avery Brewing - Trogdor the Burninator - Lager, Rauchbier, Doppelbock  { 8.0 }
Avery Brewing - Old Jubilation - Ale, Strong, Winter  { 7.5 }
Avery Brewing - Hog Heaven Barleywine Style Ale - Ale, Barleywine  { 8.5 }
Avery Brewing - Tweak - Ale, Stout, Belgian Imperial  { 8.5 }
Avery Brewing - Eremita VI - Ale, Belgian Sour  { 9.0 }
Avery - Boulder Weisse - Ale, Wheat, Berliner Weisse  { 9.0 }

The following day stopped at Pikes’s Peak Brewing. They win the prize for the best company vehicle.

It is a very nice little place with some good food, and great beer. In fact their Ascent pale ale is perhaps one of the best pale ales in recent memory.

Pikes Peak Brewing - Little London English (British) Mild - Ale, Mild, Dark  { 6.5 }
Pikes Peak Brewing - Paddy O' the Peak - Ale, Red, Irish  { 6.5 }
Pikes Peak Brewing - Ascent Pale Ale - Ale, Pale, American  { 10.0 }
Pikes Peak Brewing - Benet Hill Dubbel - Ale, Belgian Dubbel  { 7.0 }

Pikes Peak Brewing - Devils Head - Ale, Red  { 8.5 }
Pikes Peak Brewing - Gold Rush - Ale, Belgian Blonde  { 9.0 }
Pikes Peak - Elephant Rock - Ale, IPA, American  { 9.0 }
Pikes Peak - Summit House Oatmeal Stout - Ale, Stout, Oatmeal  { 8.0 }
Pikes Peak - Switchback Coffee Porter - Ale, Porter, Robust  { 5.0 }

Also stopped in at Colorado Mountain brewing; more of a restaurant/brewpub.

Colorado Mountain Brewing - 7258 Blonde - Ale, Blonde, American  { 6.0 }
Colorado Mountain Brewing - Ole 59'er Amber Ale - Ale, Amber, American  { 6.0 }
Colorado Mountain Brewing - UniBräu Hefeweissen - Ale, Wheat, Hefeweizen  { 7.0 }
Colorado Mountain Brewing - Panther India Pale Ale - Ale, IPA, American  { 8.0 }
Colorado Mountain Brewing - Monumental Stout - Ale, Stout, Dry (Irish)  { 7.5 }
Colorado Mountain Brewing - Rollier Coaster - Ale, Red  { 7.0 }
Colorado Mountain Brewing - Azacarillo Red IPA - Ale, IPA, Red  { 9.0 }

In the evening in Colorado Springs, unfortunately a couple local breweries had their tasting rooms closed;

so a short walk down to Trinity brewing. Did I mention it was St. Patrick's Day?

First I have to say that their flight holder with the doorknob and that all was actually perfect. They also have some good appetizers and food to go with the beer. Beer is served at near-textbook temperatures.

Also picked up a couple bottles to take home including Red Swingline, one of Draft magazines top 25 for 2013.
Trinity Brewing - Chi Belgian Pilsner - Lager, Pilsner, Belgian  { 7.0 }
Trinity Brewing - Saison Man - Ale, Saison  { 8.0 }
Trinity Brewing - Sunna Wit Bier - Ale, Wheat, American  { 8.0 }
Trinity Brewing - Flo India Pale Ale - Ale, IPA, American  { 8.5 }
Trinity Brewing - Soul Horkey Ale - Ale, English, Session  { 9.0 }
Trinity Brewing - Farmhouse De Lón - Ale, Saison  { 6.0 }
Trinity Brewing - Slap Yer Mammy (10.5%) - Ale, IPA, Double  { 10.0 }
Trinity Brewing - Awaken Chicory Stout - Ale, Stout, Dry (Irish)  { 9.0 }
Trinity Brewing - Pappy Legba Cerise Saison Regal (13%) - Ale, Saison  { 9.5 }
Trinity Brewing - Seven Day, Golden Sour - Ale, Sour  { 8.5 }
Trinity - Wee Banshee Irish Heather - Ale, Red, Irish  { 6.5 }
Trinity and Black Bottle - Blow Up Your TV, Blanch Saison Grisette  - Ale, Saison  { 6.0 }
Trinity - Passed Stout, Imperial Stout (11%) - Ale, Stout, Imperial  { 9.5 }
Trinity  - Chilly Water, Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Baltik Porter - Ale, Porter, Baltic  { 9.5 }
Odell - Friek - Ale, Wild  { 10.0 }

The next day, tried a couple of beers with dinner, at Steve's at the Denver airport. The snappin’ ale is a jalapeño spiced beer, hard to drink.
Steve's (brewed by Bull & Bush) - Steve's Snappin' Ale - Ale, Spiced  { 4.0 }
Avery - Out of Bounds - Ale, Stout, Dry (Irish)  { 7.5 }

When in Austin one place you have to really try is Adelbert brewing.

Very unpretentious place with some very good to fantastic beers. I told the bartender the reason I stopped in was I tasted one of their beers from Beer of the Month Club.

Several good beers, especially the Flyin’ Monk. They are also contract brewer for Naughty Brewing. Note rarely are pictures of people taken deliberately, but that is one righteous 'tail!

Adelbert's Brewing - Naked Nun - Ale, Saison  { 8.5 }
Adelbert's Brewing - Philosphizer Saison - Ale, Belgian Saison  { 8.5 }
Adelbert's Brewing - Flyin' Monks (10.9 %) - Ale, Belgian Quadrupel  { 9.5 }
Adelbert's Brewing - Tripel B - Ale, Belgian Tripel  { 9.0 }
Naughty Brewing - I Think She Hung the Moon - Ale, Saison, Smoked  { 10.0 }
Adelbert's Brewing - The Traveler - Ale, Belgian IPA  { 7.5 }

Made it to the very small and hard to find Austin Beer works (did I mention I had GPS and Apple Maps and Google Maps?).

However, sadly, they were finishing a private event, and then the closing right after. The good news is that I was able try two of their beers.
Austin Beerworks - Battle Axe - Ale, Red, Imperial  { 8.0 }
Austin Beerworks - Black Thunder - Lager, German Dark, Schwarzbier  { 8.0 }

That is a short walk to BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse tried some other basic beers which were very good.

BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse - Lightswitch Lager - Lager, Light  { 5.5 }
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse - Brewhouse Blonde - Kölsch  { 6.0 }
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse - Harvest Hefeweizen - Ale, Wheat, Hefeweizen  { 7.0 }
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse - Piranah Pale Ale - Ale, Pale, American  { 7.5 }
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse - Hopstorm IPA  - Ale, IPA, English  { 7.0 }
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse - Oasis Amber - Ale, Amber, American  { 7.0 }
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse - PM Porter - Ale, Porter, Robust  { 9.0 }
BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse - Tatonka Stout - Ale, Stout, Imperial  { 8.5 }

That was a walk back to hotel and very close by was North by Northwest restaurant and tried their beers, with some unusual names for a couple of them.

North by Northwest - Bavarian Hefeweizen - Ale, Wheat, Hefeweizen  { 6.0 }
North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery  - Northern Light - Ale, Blonde, American  { 7.0 }
North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery  - Duckabish Amber - Ale, Amber, American  { 7.0 }
North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery  - Py Jingo Pale Ale - Ale, Pale, American  { 8.5 }
North by Northwest Restaurant & Brewery  - Okanogan Black Ale - Ale, Black  { 7.0 }

I suppose for for us as a full disclosure once I got home went out to dinner at the Stomping Ground. This evening they had Gandhi-Bot on gravity fed cask.

New England Brewing - Gandhi-Bot - Ale, IPA, Belgian Double  { 10.0 }

Welcome home.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Two New Brew View Coup

What a spectacular week, was able to meet, chat, and most importantly taste the new beer of not one but two new nascent breweries coming on-line. One in CT, one in MA.

I had spoken with Cory - one of the two principals with Black Pond Brewing - at some point in February at Maury's in Danielson CT. He mentioned that they would be having a tasting/intro/fundraiser at Maury's

It was quite an impressive setup. For very reasonable donation, one had a lot of great food to nosh on, as well as four very different beers to try.

The beers offered by Black Pond were all very good. Truth be told, the American IPA - "Razorblades" or "Rzr" - was good but not that different from any good non-UK-style, non-hopslam-style IPA. Although IPAs are a quintessential favorite.

The Sexy Bitch" Belgian IPA Saison was great; should make a great "standard bearer" or trademark beer. Had not really had a beer style like this, and hopefully we can expect it for a seasonal. It's very dark, there were also overtones of IPA goodness.
Razorblades  {7.5}
Sexy Bitch  {9.5}

The next two ales were similar, yet very different. Both are a bit spicy, however the spices are different. Machu Piccu uses a jalapeño pepper as one of the secret (% by weight) ingredients; and the Ottoman Empire uses Turkish chili powder.

The two beers are quite a contrast:
Machu Piccu - spiced IPA; color SRM 9; peppery tingly taste; crisp thin mouthfeel; with a thin head. Ottoman Empire - spiced Belgian Brown; color SRM 34; zesty hot bitterness taste; crisp dry mouthfeel; with a foamy head.
Machu Piccu {9.5}
Ottoman Empire  {7.5}

These latter two beers - if one is man or woman enough - are really good with something rich and hearty, be it a good squash soup or homemade BBQ. I really wish them well; we will see some good things from this brewery.

On the weekend went to visit my mother as it was her 80 birthday. All not a beer fan, she does interested food so we went to the Opa Opa Steakhouse in Southampton MA. 

This is a pretty large restaurant/group, the food is very good as everyone selection. Beers range from basic pale ale on down. Had the:
Opa Light - Light Lager  {5.0}
Raspberry Wheat - Wheat Ale  {5.5}
Belgian IPA  {5.0}
F15 Double Eagle Red - Red Imperial  {8.0}
A10 Warthog - Imperial IPA  {9.0}
Honesty 47 - Pale Ale  {6.0}

After that it was a quick stop at Abandoned Building Brewery in Easthampton MA. The owner/brewery Matt give us a tour as well as a taste of two beers that were almost ready, although in their nascent stages. 

The Saison was quite good. An interesting backstory, and that Matt apparently decided to brew beer and liked the Easthampton area and moved there. They should be selling beer soon. He also has plans to have a moderate size tasting area as well. Note on the scores; these beers were not quite ready, but a 7.5 for an "almost there" beer is solid gold in anyone's book.
Lola Saison  {7.5}
Pennhust Pale Ale  {7.0}

That it was time to go to Northampton MA to place called Dirty Truth. This is a really good beer bar, possible for the best for finding unusual beers. 

We had a duck nacho appetizer which is real good. Was able to try a few beers I had not had.
Lost Nation - Gose  {9.0}
Brasserie de Blaugies - La Vermontoise - Belgian Saison  {8.0 }
De Ranke - XX Bitter - Belgian Ale  {8.0}

On the way back, stopped at Trū Beer to pick up a few different beers.

Was very pleased to find there's a great beer for those with a gluten intolerance. My previous favorites of this was Greens Belgian ale, however this new Celia Saison is really quite good.
Ipswitch/the Alchemist - Celia Saison  {8.5}

Later that night, walked to several downtown bars Amy's place the Brass Monkey and Whiskers. Tried the following
Evil Genius - Evil Eye PA - IPA  {7.5}
Opa Opa - Watermelon - Fruit Ale  {6.0}
Wormtown - Be Hoppy - IPA  {7.5}
Brewmaster Jack - Stray Dog Lager  {7.0}
Tyskie - Gran Prix - Dutch Pilsner  {6.5}