Festival of Hops
Sunday, January 24, 2010
One unfortunate side effect of being cash-poor but house-rich is that I haven't been able to try different craft beers as often as I'd like: expensive hobby. But I did pretty good budget-wise this month, so yesterday I called up Markie and Matt and we went to the Festival of Hops at the Muddy Pig. Lots of hoppy beers at $8 for 3 5 oz tasters.
I had three flights and sampled the more interesting stuff that Markie and Matt ordered. Here's what stood out:
Flying Dog Snake Dog — I didn't like their Doggie Style APA, but I can usually count on Flying Dog, and this IPA was really good. Where some other IPA's are content to hit you over the head with hops, this beer had all sorts of fun stuff going on.
Furthermore Knot Stock, a peppery American Pale that I'd love to try alongside some venison or my brother's famous prime rib. Probably not sessionable but much better than the overwhelmingly peppery Rosee D'hibiscus that I had in Canada.
La Trappe Isid'or. Nice of the Pig to have a Belgian Pale in the mix. I'm a sucker for this sort of thing, but luckily not everyone is. I traded my Rogue Yellow Snow (decent but not exciting) for Matt's taster of this.
21st Amendment Back in Black. Markie had this, according to Beer Advocate it's an IPA (and I'm sure they're right) but yesterday afternoon it tasted like an unusually smoky black lager.
Boulder Mojo. I had a taster of Bell's Hopslam to start, and I'm not sure any beer I had topped that, but this was a nice IPA in the same general taste area. If it's cheaper than Hopslam (and how could it not be) I'll probably give it another go.
New Holland Existential. I don't think I could finish a bottle of this Imperial-ish IPA, but this is one of those beers (like Rauchbier) that everyone should try just because it's so weird. It took us a bit to figure this out, but the overwhelming impression we had was of butterscotch and I didn't even know a beer could do that.
(Note to self, avoid these beers: Rogue Mogul and Founders Cerise. I think I've ordered both of these beers before too, and both times I could barely finish them. Bah.)
With Barry at the Pig
Friday, August 22, 2008
Work was pretty soul-crushing today, so I was happy to hear back from Barry about getting together. I stopped at his place after work, and one coin flip later we were at the Muddy Pig.
I've got to stop using the booths at that place: both the bar and the outside area are definitely better options. For one, they aren't right next to the men's bathroom.
I started off with a Flat Earth Curly Tail Ale, a nice no-nonsense drinking beer. Originally brewed for St. Paul Saints games, if I'm remembering correctly. Next I had a Heavy Weizen, a so-called "Imperial Unfiltered Wheat Ale" from Southern Tier. It seems like we just started getting Southern Tier beer here in Minnesota, and so far I'm impressed. Someday I'll have that Imperial Cherry Saison that's in the fridge. Maybe tomorrow.
Barry and I both had Furious for the last round. All I caught was the grapefruit aftertaste, which faded by the time I got halfway through the glass. I definitely need to get out the netty pot, because I remember this beer being considerably more complex.
Project Runway Happy Hour returns
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Yesterday Our Bold Hero, Ben, and eventually Markie met up at the Happy Gnome for a pre-Project Runway happy hour. I had a Pauwel Kwak, a Belgian Strong Pale Ale from Brewery Bosteels: it was good — orange and creamy and mellow — but I admittedly would not have paid $8 for the beer if its special glass didn't look so cool. And now that I've had it, I probably wouldn't buy it at the liquor store unless it was on sale.
(It's a very small thing, but I'm generally fairly bored with the conical pint glasses you see everywhere. Give me tulip or even just nonic.)
I followed this up with a Rogue Latona 20th Anniversary, a delicious American Strong Ale that was correctly described as earthy. Mind you, I can't quite conjure up what that tasted like (besides "good"), but I remember agreeing with the Gnome's description at the time. I believe there was dry-hopping. As I told Ben, I've added this to the list of Rogue beers I like.
(So far Brutal Bitter and Old Crustacean are the only Rogue brews I remember that I haven't liked, but I'm sure there's one or two I'm forgetting. And I'm probably willing to put up with more from Rogue than I would from some random other brewery. See: Juniper Pale Ale.)
I also tried Ben's TyranenaScurvy, an IPA "brewed with 30 pounds of orange peel," whatever that means. It smelled like orange, and while Ben (still recovering from oral surgery) thought this was another Applejacks beer, I could taste the orange at the end, and something right before that that was very loud and sharp. It's hard to tell this sort of thing off of a sip, but I don't think I like that beer very much.
At Barry's I gave in and let Jenna make me a vodka cranberry. It was very good, and apparently not that strong, because I had sobered from slightly to well below the legal limit by the time Project Runway was over.
The week in beer-review
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Let's see. So far this week I've had a Bell'sKalamazoo Stout, the roastiness of which was a great complement to the venison roast sandwiches I'll be eating lo unto the end of time, and on Monday I went out to Town Hall with Graham, Markie and special guest Barb.
Graham thoughtfully ordered me a pint of their delicious 1800 Old English IPA. Very cool to see that waiting for me when I showed up, late (as usual when I go to Minneapolis).
For my second and final drink... ooh, that would go well with a drumroll. Anyways, in hindsight I should have tried the new Solstice APA, but instead I got Mango Mama. Usually I'm a big fan of Mango Mama, but I just wasn't feeling it on Monday.
Probably because I've been stuffed up all week. I'm probably the first person to research neti pots just so beer will taste a tiny bit better.
I'm pretty excited for the new Fourth of July beers at Town Hall, by the way. I think I may actually like blueberry beer, which of course wouldn't have the disgusting appearance and texture of actual blueberries.
Yesterday I went to Senor Wong, where I downed cheap tasty Wonton Poppers and $3 pints of Kirin Ichiban until around 8:30 or so. Nora and Ben came over, joined eventually by Jenna.
Dark goodness and special-delivery hops
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Over at Ben and Nora's yesterday night for Nora's B-day, I finally had my Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest, which was not bad but — since I'm not one of those types who can tell what kind of hops are in a beer — completely wasted on me. I will say that it has a nice finish for a fairly hoppy IPA.
After that Ben let me try some of the AveryMephistopheles' Stout that Nora had got him for his birthday. It was very good; I liked the notes of chocolate and the aftertaste (which is apparently "double espresso"). Ben was right about the drinkability though: you can really tell that this is a strong, alcoholic beer.
I finished the evening with a Sierra Nevada Porter. That was decent, certainly better than some other porters I've had — but after the Mephistopheles' that beer seemed completely one-dimensional.
Drinks at the Coworker Cookout
Saturday, June 14, 2008
My coworker Pete hosted a cookout yesterday, so I brought four beers: a Two Hearted, a Skinny Dip, and two Sierra Nevada Stouts.
I enjoyed the first two, as usual — I think the Skinny Dip may have been more subdued following the Two Hearted — and the Stouts weren't bad. Although as b/4, they weren't really interesting enough for me.
Several of his guests like good beer, and we had a brief conversation about the weirdness of Surly brews (if you don't like one, you can always plausibly claim that you just don't understand it), the upcoming Flying Dog mix-packs, and their fondness for the Flat Earth Black Helicopter, easily (because I hate coffee flavors) my least favorite local beer.
Later on I was offered a Stella Artois and I just couldn't refuse. It's not that Stella is better than the Two Hearted or the Skinny Dip, but on an intellectual level Stella is so interesting — with its references in Achewood, failed British ad campaign, and mysterious choice of green glass for the bottles — that I like it far more than I would an identical beer under a different brand name.
Ben's B-day at the Muddy
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Yesterday I met up with Nora and Ben at the Pig for Ben's b-day. I can't remember either of the beers he had — the first was extremely weird and the second was a nice fruity hefeweizen — but I had the Rush RiverBubblejack IPA and then a ''Golden Axe,'' a.k.a. Small Axe Golden Ale, an American would-be hefeweizen.
The Bubblejack was hoppy and delicious, as always. If Leinie's and Stella are my standby "panic beers" at dives, Bubblejack is my new panic beer at fancy places like the Pig and the Gnome. (Not that there aren't plenty of other beers at those places that I know I like, but they'll always have Bubblejack.)
The Small Axe was disappointing: it was too grassy for me (I know, I know, I think everything is grassy) and didn't have the fruit flavors I was hoping for.
It was pretty cool (or should I say, "awesome"?) to finally meet Alvey after spending so many hours listening to him and Philip on the What Ale's Thee? podcast. He gave us plenty of beer suggestions... and provided the prices for beers we were curious about. Pricing is still a work-in-progress.
Remembering how delicious Colaweizen is, I also picked up some Sierra Nevada Wheat Beer for mixers later. I was taught that there was a difference between a Diesel and a Colaweizen, something about proportions maybe, but the Internet does not seem to have my back on this. The English-language Wikipedia page on mixed beer is an abomination.
Probably I could find a lot of this without going to St. Louis Park (sooo much Sierra Nevada...), but I also could've walked out with a $100 in obscure and hard-to-find beer if I'd really wanted to.
A few bottles of the really good stuff is enough for now; hopefully we'll have some nasty cold weather now that my fridge is full of so much dark heavy stuff.
Afterwards Ben and I went to Town Hall. We both started with an 1800 IPA, a huge hoppy beer made with British hops and malt (it's a "Welsh Coast IPA," if you will... or... well just nevermind) that was really good. Maybe just because we were hungry and had planned a day around beer without having drank any as yet.
My next beer was a framboise from somewhere or other. It was decent but not spectacular. It wasn't cloying (which I gather is the typical complaint with fruit beers) but the taste kind of missed a beat in the middle.
Ben had a West Bank Pub Ale, which I tried. It was waaaaay too biscuity for me and way too biscuity and boring for him.
We met up with Jenna and Barry at Acadia, ditched immediately because of the terrible live music, and went to Matt's Bar, apparent birthplace of the Jucy Lucy. The four of us split a pitcher of Newcastle that I didn't really care for, watched and/or listened to the Twins fail, and went our separate ways.
Drink a beer for each scene with unnecessary Jack-flesh
Friday, May 2, 2008
I usually try to have a special beer on Lost night: this week Ben brought over some New Glarus, and I had the Hop Hearty IPA.
Verdict: meh, ho-hum IPA. I'm not sure my assessment can be trusted though, because for some reason I drank this beer straight from the bottle instead of using a glass.
You could also read that last sentence as: for some reason I think that pouring beer into a glass makes it way better, rather than just slightly better. It makes it classier though. New beers do taste better if there's some solemnity to the initial sip.
I also had Rogue Dead Guy Ale, which is probably my favorite Rogue beer and possibly one of my favorite beers.