Darkness and the last Porterfest
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
I had some Surly Darkness last night. So delicious. I couldn't mention it before because I was giving Ben a bottle for Christmas, but I was one of the extremely lucky final 10 people who got let in to buy on Darkness Day after the official limit of 700 had been reached.
I've got one bottle left now, and I'm thinking about either trading it on Beer Advocate (if I can figure out something I want) or just selling it. Or maybe I'll go ahead and drink it at some point... the opportunity cost is something like $20/pint, but assuming I don't lose my job, I'm expecting to have a lot to celebrate in 2009.
A few of us are heading over to Flat Earth today for the last day of Porterfest. Very exciting. I'm not the biggest porter fan, but I went to try the orange, raspberry, peppers, and peppermint offerings. Ideally I'd like to appreciate every beer on its own terms, and I think I've made some progress this month in enjoying porters.
(I've also been trying to figure out which of the standard Flat Earth beers I enjoy... they brew sort of perpendicular to my tastes, too dry generally, and while I love Curly Tail and Bermuda Triangle, I can never remember the one beer I like that they brew year-round. Maybe Angry Planet?)
I wrote before about the Xanadu's crazy nose, but the peppermint Snow Dog Porter may be my favorite Porterfest beer so far. I met up with Jess, Rae and Markie there last week and the Flat Earth guys were making Snow Dog milkshakes. Good stuff.
Oak-aged Summit Great Northern was one of my favorite beers at Winterfest last year, so I have some high hopes for today's Big Money Porter.
Flat Earth Porterfest: Xanadu
Friday, November 14, 2008
Yesterday after work Barry and I drove over to the Flat Earth Brewery for growlers. It's Porterfest for the next two months, and this Thursday's special was the Xanadu Porter, Cygnus X-1 infused with orange.
The bouquet on this beer is amazing: I wasn't expecting so much orange and it totally knocked my socks off. I haven't had more than a tasting glass yet, but my initial impression was that the front is very good, the middle is a little weird, and there's a bit of that roasty/smoky porter back that I don't particularly like.
Announced Porterfest beers so far:
11/20 - Red Barchetta - Cherry infused Porter 11/26 - The Trees - Hazelnut infused Porter 12/23 - Snow Dog Porter - Peppermint infused Porter
Barry and I talked about going back every Thursday to try these. It may be a thing.
We tried a few other beers. The Belgian-Style Pale Ale is still too bready for me (I want to say that it was too "brett" but I'm still not 100% sure what that means) and the Rode Haring, their Flanders Red Ale, was delicious but a little too dry at the end for my taste. That may be the style; I've never had a Flanders Red Ale before and they sound complicated.
They poured some Black Helicopter and while I'm not sure I could drink too much of it, I was shocked by how much I liked it: I've tried this once before and absolutely hated it, and Oatmeal Stout has been on my list of no-go styles for a while now. Nor do I really like coffee-flavored beers.
I think the difference this time was #1. It's winter and I'm in the mood for darker, roastier beers (this one actually has caffeine: hilarious!), #2. It had the mouthfeel I was missing from the other beers and, #3. I've been into beer pairings recently and couldn't stop thinking how good this would be with a nice chocolate dessert.
(Incidentally I have no idea what to pair with an orange-infused porter. Some sort of smoky cheese? Pheasant?)
Barry wanted to get the Curly Tail, but they sold their last growler while we were standing there. I'd been warned to get our growlers first and not dawdle, and now there'll be no Curly Tail until April. We both got a growler of Xanadu.
I'm looking forward to next week: they have a Winter Warlock Barleywine that I don't think I've ever tried, and 'tis the season. Plus now that we've bought our first growlers we can get in on the savings.
A curious incident at the Gnome
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I had two beers at the Happy Gnome tonight; this was a somewhat dubious decision, since I seem to be coming down with something, but the Internet claims that if you're not getting intoxicated, then the immune system isn't noticeably affected.
Whatever. I had another Flat Earth Bermuda Triangle. Once again it wasn't as malty as I'm used to for a tripel, but I like it nonetheless. For my second beer I had the Ommegang Hennepin. An increasingly unseasonable standby.
Jess ordered an Avery Reverend. I've had this before at Town Hall and liked it, but she was put off by a metallic aftertaste that seemed wrong. Jess had me double-check that she wasn't crazy, and there was definitely a strong copper taste at the end. The waitress told the owner and he did something to fix the problem, but when the next glass still had a bit of that copper taste, Jess switched to the Maudite from Unibroue. I tried a sip and it was crazy flowery. I'll have to check that out later.
A drink or two or three with Barry
Friday, August 29, 2008
Went to the Gnome with Barry tonight. Don't go there on a weekend night, it's way different.
Basically he just wanted to give me some stuff to scan, but we ended up hanging out for a few hours, i.e. for two pints of Surly Hell and a pint of the new Bermuda Triangle, a tripel from Flat Earth.
I'd like to try it again as a first, rather than last beer, but it was still pretty decent. It didn't seem as malty or complex as most of the tripels I've had, but it's nice to have another beer I like from Flat Earth.
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.
The first of the RNC beers
Friday, August 1, 2008
Over on my language blog of all places, I posted recently about the DNC beers: I love the name "Obamanator" for a Maibock. Kudos Wynkoop.
Now it looks like Minnesota is stepping up to the plate as well, with the Flat Earth Convention Ale. I'd have preferred ConventionAle, but apparently Surly is the only brewery willing to eschew standard orthography for the sake of a pun.
Yesterday after work I went to the poorly-advertised Ola Dubh event at the Gnome; they didn't start serving it until 7 pm (at first my server didn't think they were doing it at all) so in the meantime I had a Rogue Old Crustacean Barleywine, an OmmegangRare Vos, and a Flying DogGarde Dog. I was warned away from the Rogue Love Hop, which is apparently too subtle to follow the likes of a barleywine.
The barleywine wasn't spectacular, or maybe just not accessible. Tasted just like alcohol to me; I think I actually prefer the Sierra Nevada barleywine. Rare Vos was good as usual, and Garde Dog was a farmhouse ale with some nice grassiness. I mentioned my weekend beer misadventures and Barry and I joined together in praise of Springboard.
Dave had a Flat Earth Black Helicopter oatmeal stout and wow did I hate that beer. Or as Marge Simpson might say, "coffee."
The server said that they have one or two bottles of Rogue Brew 10,000 cellared. I'm going to try to convince some people to split a bottle next month. It's very expensive, like $35. But it has Paul Bunyan right on the label! Next month, when my entertainment budget isn't shot to hell from hours at the Gnome.
(Actually it would be much cheaper to buy that retail, if I can find it.)
HarviestounOla Dubh was interesting, a strong Imperial porter (apparently based on Old Engine Oil) that had been aged in malt whisky casks from the Highland Park distillery. Jenna said she couldn't taste the whisky but that came through very strong for me. We sat next to the distributors and one of them came over and answered our questions about the process and waxed on about Scotch. He said that the quality of the whisky that had been in the casks makes a huge difference, which sounds plausible.
He also hooked us up with a different batch of Ola Dubh Special Reserve (16?), which I remember being good, smoother... but my taste buds were probably well and truly fried by then.
That stuff must have a huge punch, because after two glasses I was .12 and stuck reading in the car for several hours. I got home very late and I taste whisky this morning.