So where the hell have I been? Well, when Baby Asshole was born, I told myself I’d take six months off. Then that six months turned into a year, which turned into… well, nobody cares. But my three readers can rejoice! I’m back. Hopefully I’ll post more than once every 18 months from now on.
So for now, here’s a pic of the carnage from a somewhat impromptu session last night. In order:
Fiddlehead – Second Fiddle
Pizza Boy – Eternal Sunshine
Funky Buddha – Last Snow
Bruery – Tart of Darkness w/Cherries & Vanilla
Cantillon – Fou Foune
Casey’s Fruit Stand – Cherry Fruit Stand
Fremont – Coffee BA Dark Star
Council – Three Berry Beatitude
Cigar City – Campeador Greaves
Fremont – Coffee Cinnamon BA Abominable
East End – BA Gratitude
Great Divide – BA Hibernation
Prairie – Apple Brady Noir
DuClaw – Sweet Baby Jesus
Lots of good times and general fritatta-ness all over.
I’ve grown to love this time of year, at least for beer. I wasn’t much of a pumpkin beer fan, but having options like Good Gourd, Almanac Heirloom Pumpkin, and now TREAT, I’m coming around. This one is a sort of a cross between a pumpkin ale and a chocolate porter (I know, you probably already knew that from the damned label).
Lots of pumpkin pie spice in the nose, not much in the way of chocolate. But the chocolate comes through in the flavor, and not in that shitty metallic way that I get from a lot of cheap chocolate stouts. More of a milk chocolate covered pumpkin candy way. Plenty of fall spices in the finish; nutmeg, cinnamon, some clove. It’s a bit thinner than I remember from last year, but still solid.
If this was cheaper (and if I didn’t have to get it from the other side of the country) I’d probably get this by the case. I think I like Good Gourd more, but this is a nice change of pace.
Style: English Barleywine
Bottled: June 2013
Size: 22oz bottle
Bottle Count: 480
Pretty awesome barleywine from Olde Hickory, made for a local beer/liquor store, Peabody’s. OH is usually hit-or-miss for me, and some of the misses have been pretty bad. But I’ve heard great things about this beer.
The aroma and flavor hit all the same high notes – toffee, caramelized sugars, molasses, and vanilla. Big barrel flavors. Long sweet finish, and almost no heat for a reasonably strong beer. Easy to drink even in the midday heat of our tasting. Opinion of the group seemed to be pretty consistently high.
I love it, and I wish I had more.
From what I’ve heard, this surprisingly hung around for a couple of weeks after release. I guess things move slower up there in NC; 40 cases would barely last a day down here in Tampa (case in point: Life Is Like, which was yet another in a long line of release clusterfucks around here).
Style: American Strong Ale (whatever)
Growlered: Sep 2013
Size: 500ml flip-top growler
Price: n/a (see below)
Bottle Count: ~800
So yeah, the Rare DOS release turned into quite the clusterfuck. More than a few growlers turned up infected, likely due to the beer gun used to fill them. I opened seven here without issue, but almost all of the ones I sent out (a dozen or so) turned out bad. I think it was being exposed to room temp or above during shipping that did it. So this is a beer that Doug did to make up for it, sending them out to anyone who reported an issue within a set timeframe.
I had a prior version of this a couple years ago, and this is really close. It’s sort of an barrel-aged English Barleywine-American Strong Ale-Imperial Stout hybrid, and it’s damned good. Reminds me a lot of Mother of All Storms. Lots of toffee and caramelized brown sugar, and the barrel gives it a pumpernickel quality that works really well with this beer, similar to the way it did with Nooner batch 3. It’s not as sticky and thick as the DOS twins (triplets?) so it goes down pretty quickly. Good stuff as always from the talented crew at Cycle.
Lots of people have talked about the original Justin Blabaer, which is a blueberry berliner from Evil Twin. This one is a Brunello Wine Barrel BA version, made in conjunction with CBX, Westbrook, and Fano. It’s a little pricier and a little smaller, but packs more of a punch. The label is pretty damned funny, with Beiber jokes a-plenty.
The pour is a nice purple-ish blue, with a decent head that stuck around for a long time. Smells like… well, not as much like Blabaer as I’d like, but still pretty nice. Some sweet-tart-ness, not much fruit, and a little wheat. Flavor is more of the same, although the blueberry shines a little brighter. As it warms, it gets a lot better, with more blueberry skin and a lot more tartness. Maybe this would’ve been better poolside in the sun (no, I don’t own a fucking pool).
Is it worth the price? Well, it’s not much higher than the base beer, but it’s smaller but a bit (500ml vs. 22oz). Not sure I’d order it again, but it’s definitely pleasant and worth trying at least once.
Yesterday we finally had a tasting that we’ve been planning for a while. Five of us had some big bottles that we wanted to open, so we put together a little get-together at a townhouse in Ybor. It grew into something pretty ridiculous, as you can see above (and below). The pic above is part one of just the highlights — I didn’t even include about half of the bottles in the pics. Here’s the other half of the highlights:
What was supposed to be six people turned into about fifteen — too many people just started inviting friends, regardless of whether they had beers to share, so some pours ended up being midwest-style thimble servings — but everyone was friendly and it turned out really well. And our host went way above & beyond with the food, serving roasted marrow bones and beef barbaçoa, plus Rob brought a bunch of cheeses and I made roasted red pepper hummus.
I’ll be posting some mini-reviews of the beers that we tried over the next few weeks. Can’t wait to do it again.
Okay, so when you make a trade, it’s a common part of the culture to include a couple/few extras in the box, unless it’s agreed that we’ll skip that part. Me, I’ll often research (cyberstalk) the hell out of my trading partner to find out what (s)he likes/wants/needs/doesn’t already have. Tools like seekabrew.com and wants/gots lists exist to make this easier.
Lately there’s been a disturbing trend… after years of getting solid extras in trades, all of a sudden I’ve had a string of trades where people are sending absolute garbage — and some from established, repeat trading partners. Here’s some of the highlights of the shit I’ve received in just the last six weeks:
Jolly Pumpkin (distro here)
Lees Harvest Ale (distro everywhere)
Petrus Pale (distro everywhere)
Victory at Sea (distro here and listed as a beer I have already)
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (distributed… well, fucking EVERYWHERE)
Some Sam Adams dunkel (Sam Adams has even better distro than SN)
BCBS (not distro’d here yet, but listed as a beer I have already)
Random cans/bottles that don’t get distro in the sender’s state, and are obvious “regifts” of stuff they’ve received from others
Six-month-old pale ales and IPAs that were scrounged out of the back of someone’s fridge
Nothing at all
Some of these are honestly baffling. Really guys, if you’re gonna send them, don’t just grab whatever you have laying around that you’re not gonna drink. Extras are your chance to blow someone away and establish a good trading relationship. Fuck it up and just send a bunch of random shit and you’ll soon be wondering why no one wants to do a second trade with you.
Style: American Wild Ale
Bottled: Spring 2013
Size: 750ml C&C bottle
Bottle Count: Unknown
Awesome sour from Cascade, one of their tasting-room-only bottles. Lots of bourbon barrel to go with a cherry-based sour. Not usually my bag, but this pressed all the right buttons with me. Big lacto sour, like almost everything they do, paired with vanilla and marshmallow from the barrel. I want more, but it’s probably not worth the money or the chase.