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.
In which sweetness is a weakness
Monday, November 24, 2008
Still paranoid about my sense of taste/smell; I'm trying out some drugs for it this week, and while I think I'm doing better, I haven't noticed any difference that can be measured objectively. This could easily be entirely in my head.
I was over at Barry's on Saturday, so the night's beers were wasted on me, except for the Gonzo Imperial Porter I started with. It was delicious as always, and surprisingly affordable for an Imperial.
While relaxing on Sunday night I poured myself a glass of the 2007 Christmas Ale from Anchor Brewing. It's a Winter Warmer. I agree with the Beer Advocate reviews, but this was brown sugar central, not at all what I was hoping for. Without enough fruit or spice, I really don't know what to do with a beer that sweet.
Girl's Night at Stub and Herb's
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Yesterday Jess, Rachael, Markie and Our Bold Hero went to Stub and Herb's for drinks before Project Runway. They have a great happy hour, but Ben advises you to stay away from the BBQ wings. So stay away.
I started off with a Surly Hell lager, a great session beer (we almost got a pitcher), but after that I caved and ordered a Leinie's Big Eddy Russian Imperial Stout.
I've been trying really hard to drink seasonally... but it was overcast! That's almost like fall! It was foolish though, since most of the other craft beers were $3.50 for happy hour and these were like $5 apiece. Not a huge waste of money, but still.
So good. Rachael, not a huge beer fan, said it "didn't taste like beer" (this is a compliment), but a whole glass was too much for her to finish... which meant another glass for me. I really liked it, but since I seem to like all Imperial Stouts, who knows how it stacks up.
I'd love to have a tasting, but Graham made a good point recently about how Pepsi generally wins tastes tests even though people, when they want to drink more than a sip, are happier with Coke. So maybe I'd just end up with the sweetest Imperial and not the best. Then again, it would be fun.
Markie and Jess were overjoyed when I mentioned that this place still served Coffee Bender. To each his own. I didn't so much as try a sip, so my worst decision yesterday would have to be drinking some wine during Runway. I like having something to sip on while I watch t.v., but it could just as easily have been water.
I'm still working on avoiding that last, pointless glass of alcohol after a night at the bar.
Bonus Big Eddy story: When I was last in Chippewa Falls, home of Leinenkugel's, a clerk at the liquor store explained that Big Eddy was contract-brewed in Madison and currently not available — Leinie's was going to tell them as soon as it was. She was a bit... surprised when I mentioned that a bar in Minnesota has had it on tap for months.
I went back to Town Hall again yesterday for Markie's b-day.
For my first beer I tried the Dortmunder, which proved too biscuity. Apparently the Dortmunder is its own beer style ("these pale golden lagers exhibit a classic clean character with notes of biscuity malts") so I'll have to add this one to the wax museum of Styles I Don't Like:
Munich Dunkel gets one more chance. I know I don't like the Capital Brewery version, but there's room within that style for something good. In the case of the Dortmunder however, I don't like biscuity beers, so unless they start serving it with a lime (which is what saves Landshark for me) I don't see myself liking this style.
After that I just gave up on Town Hall beers entirely, opting instead for known quantities: a Reissdorf Kölsch (I always mispronounce this as "Reesdorf" instead of "Ricedorf") and an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout. Good, although somewhat wasted as a third beer.
Nevertheless, I'd convinced Nick to try the Old Rasputin on a strong recommendation-by-proxy from Ben, and it's hard to play beer roulette when you know that the person next to you has something mighty delicious. Mine got passed around a fair bit for other people to try.
'tisn't the season
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Wonder of wonders, I'm almost out of beer.
I ran out of the cheaper and lighter stuff (Mothership Wit, Unfiltered Wheat) last week, which put me in the awkward position of having to steal one of my brother's macros the other day to have with my lousy chili. I've grown accustomed to having a beer with dinner most nights, and I make no apologies for that.
Of what's left, the Chocolate Stout and Imperial Porters are strictly late night dessert beers, I won't touch the Barleywine until Fall at the earliest, and I'm not breaking open the Dunzelweizens until Ben's around to try them. Today, I go to the liquor store.
Not that I haven't been drinking out of season anyways. Last night I had my Plank Bavarian Dunkler Weizenbock; I can see drinking it at Octoberfest or somesuch, but prettymuch all I tasted was the alcohol. The whole point of buying that was to see where I stood on the Weizenbock style (after the Longshot) and it looks like I'm anti- rather than pro-.
At a family get-together on Sunday I had a Samuel Adam's Cream Stout (I like dark beer, but sometimes I wonder if my family thinks that's all I like to drink) and a Bacardi Mango Mojiti. I'd had the Cream Stout before — it's good if not pool-party-appropriate — but the Bacardi was pretty terrible. Sooo sugary, and if I can make real mojitos why would I drink something so vile?
(Jenna's mojito recipe so I don't forget: a shot Bacardi Limon, a heaping tablespoon brown sugar, three or four mint leaves (ripped), ice, and 7-up to fill. It always requires some tinkering.)
On the Fourth I had yet another unseasonable choice, the Flying Dog Imperial Porter. Not crazy-complicated, but very tasty.
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.
Both beers were good, but dubious in sequence, and both suffered from comparison with similar beers I like more. In the case of the Pêche, I had a great Apricot lambic last time we watched Lost (that was somehow... "thicker" is the word I want to use?) and the peach flavor reminded me too much of all the bad peach schnapps I used to drink.
I know I like Old Rasputin, so this may just by my impression because I was following a lambic, but... Surly Darkness has a fullness I don't get here. This has a nice rich finish though, one that gets better as it warms.
Once it gets cold out again I think I'm going to visit the Imperial stouts; it's a bit weird drinking them in the summer.