1001 Beers: Arrogant, Oaked, Double, and Lukcy Basartd

To ring in the New Year, I decided to try something new... Well, not new at all but a few beers that collectively make the wait worth it. Some I have had many times, some I have only had a couple of times, and one I have had no times. That brings us to tonight. The night where everyone thinks they are going to make a change in their life but the only thing that will change is the beer that I'm drinking tonight. Will you make the change or will you be the same time and time again. You Are Not Worthy? You have no idea. But listen to this. I Know I Am.

The back of every Stone bottle always has great stories or representations of why we love and why Stone is here. Was Arrogant Bastard the brain child of the owners at a time when fancy beer was unknown and unliked or was it just a mishap that happened to be for the greatest of drinkers?
"We were doing some single hop experiments, working on the grist bill for the pale ale," he said. One evening he[Steve Wagner] and co-founder Greg Koch sat down to taste one of the batches three weeks after it was brewed. Wagner took a sip and realized that he needed to consult his copious brewing notes. "Oh, man, I screwed up," he told Koch. He'd added a far larger dose of hops than he had intended, and the beer was off the charts in terms of bitterness. Koch tasted the beer, then told Wagner it was the best beer he had ever drunk."
He knew that this beer was going to be one of the best sellers in the 22oz format and from that time on, in 1997, they would make history. Which brings me to the beer.

Beer Number 23: Arrogant Bastard

The hop aroma on this beer are so piney and resiny that it just screaming to get into my mouth. The bitterness plays games with my mind going from level one of search and destroy to level take the next sip. Deep caramel a bit of raisin and piney tones that linger on the edge of your tongue finish with a bit of alcohol when you sit there playing with your mouth not believing what you just drank. The evolution of this beer is one for the ages. Sure, this beer stayed exactly the same but the next few are variations that are released for those who do find themselves to be worthy. As noted by the founders,
This is an aggressive ale. You probably won't like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth. We would suggest that you stick to safer and more familiar territory--maybe something with a multi-million dollar ad campaign...
It only gets worse from there...

In 2000, for Stones 4th anniversary they decided to release an ale that was only fit for those whose eyes have been opened. The world of real beer, though, many were NOT Worthy, was further released upon the land.
Warning: Double Bastard Ale is not to be wasted on the tentative or weak. Only the Worthy are invited, and then only at your own risk. If you have even a modicum of hesitation, DO NOT buy this bottle. Instead, leave it for a Worthy soul who has already matriculated to the sublime ecstasy of what those in the know refer to as "Liquid Arrogance."

Off the nose of this beer the Arrogance really comes through and once again, inviting you to come in. On first sips all that you taste is the most amazing beverage in the world. It is great now, but also great with several years on it. Very thick and chewy, malty with dark toffee roast. The citrus and pine come back for this one but with even more power than before. They want to see who can really stand up to their challenge especially when the alcohol comes in the lightly clean everything away. It sneaks in there not letting you know the truth, but at 11.2%... Ye Shall Know the Bastard, and the Bastard Shall Set You Free.

Take the amazing beer that was and oak age it to the point where only those who are truly worthy can handle it. That is Oaked Arrogant Bastard. Flavor coming from two angles. The oak coats the mouth which then brings on the pine, citrus, and maltiness which proceeds to dry the mouth inviting, once again another sip. A beer among Kings would be nothing less than this.

When they all come together blended it is the epitome of Liquid Arrogance. Lukcy Basartd. Very creamy and hops forcing themselves upon you. Pine and citrus but toasted this time. The oak lingers and assaults your soul. The burnt caramel flavors pick out the weak of tongue to the great ones of humanity. Like they say, this one is not for the faint of heart. Take your pick of the Bastards and celebrate to all that is right in the world.

978 Bottles Of Beer To Go!


1001 Beers: Celebration Ale

Well, I actually had Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale a year ago as Beer Number 3 but I thought I would revisit it again this year since I found a six pack to put into hiding for a little while. I actually said I would in my review last year.
I should find a 6 pack and keep them for a long time haha.
I was hoping that I got a 12 pack of it but did not find one until after I bought the last 6 pack on the shelf... Maybe I should have picked it up... This one will do just fine to see how it changes over the next 5 years.

A quick look back to what I thought about the 2011 Celebration.
It has a strong hop nose but you cannot tell this at all when it comes to the taste... Ok, maybe at first my palate was overloaded with hoppy goodness but that faded after a bit. It was very piney and broke down to a kind of sweet, caramel flavor that finished very creamy.
This year, the copper color on this thing was once again a work of art. Even how there was a bit of tan in the head made you think of just how exciting this would be. Not to mention the strong hop aroma that was there and jumping out of the bottle, into the glass, into the room, and into your nose from the very get go. No denying that but upon first taste, the hops in this beer were very bright, very floral with just a touch of pineyness and maybe a little citrus. Caramel and a little creamy.

I am looking forward to how this will age. Or even how my notes on the 2013 version will look compared to these. It may be nothing but I think this years is better than last years...



The Cloak Of St Martin

When I first heard about Quad Day, I had no idea what Quad I should be drinking. I decided to turn to one my of favorite brewery tweeps and ask if they had one available, @AbbeyStMartin. Lucky for me, THEY DID!!! But it was not going to be easy to find.

This beer had a very limited release and it came to America two month prior for The Great American Beer Fest. I knew no other information about it either. The press release was some of the best information I could find since it wasn't even on the website.

Found at BeerPulse.com
Press Release:

(Rongy, BELGIUM) — The Cloak of St. Martin is a limited-edition Barleywine-style Belgian ale, ready to warm the North American autumn and winter (fermentation details seen below).

The Cloak is Brasserie Brunehaut’s first Abbaye ale brewed using doubled fermentation capacity gained via three new vats installed on Leap Day 2012. This increased capacity delivered enough vat time for the first batch of this labor-intensive 13%+ ABV quadruple. On October 10 at 4pm (during GABF), Brunehaut CEO Marc-Antoine De Mees visits Falling Rock Tap House — Denver for a first tap pull of his signature, long planned passion project.

The Cloak of St. Martin is a new Belgian Quadruple celebrating St. Martin’s famous charity of “sharing” his cloak with a beggar!

A very dark quad, The Cloak of St. Martin’s first fermentation, to 9% ABV, uses Brasserie Brunehaut’s signature, centuries-old yeast strain. Rare, exquisite champagne yeast boosts ABV from 9% to 13% during a six-week second fermentation. The Cloak is then cellared six more weeks before final fermentation yeast is added.

The low foam pour, due to high (13.2% ABV) alcohol content, announces with an extraordinary aroma. Robust, complex notes include blackberries, coffee and bitter Belgian dark chocolate. Only 1200x six-bottle cases of engraved, individually wrapped and corked with-muselet 750ml bottles were shipped. Demand seems certain to outpace supply.

Ingredients – Pure Belgian H20 + four malt types, three yeast strains, three hops varieties and candy sugar.
Now, like I said, the issue was trying to find this beer. I am so glad Bottle Revolution tweeted me and said that they had a few of them still sitting around and they would put one away for me if I liked. Of course I said, HELL YEAH!!! I went and picked it up and had it with my Christmas Dinner. DUCK!!!

So, I have never had or made duck before but it was delicious! Just a side note. The beer though, that was the biggest thing of the night. So amazing and so good.

This beer was a little warm on the nose but the dark fruits are the biggest thing to land in there. On first sip you do get a little citrus, or was that the orange glaze on my duck? followed by some cherries, plum a bit of spice and really sweet. It has a very full body and the flavor lingers with you for a good amount of time. This is seriously one of the best beers I have tasted this year. Loved it and I cannot wait to try some more.


Ballast Point: Indra Kunindra

On The 8th Day Of Beermas, SWMBO Gave To Me, A Ballast Point Indra Kunindra. Maybe I should have made these post in order or something like that but I just got around to them in the order I decided to drink them... Maybe I went about Beermas all wrong too. Maybe I should have drank each beer each day... lessons for next year? Why drink all of this amazing beer in just a 12 day span? Questions. Always, questions.

It was hard finding much information about this beer and with the laundry list of contact info but not a "general" contact section on the Ballast Point site and no response from their twitter account I just went with what backstory I could find online. From Ballast Point - Via The Full Pint
Brewed with madras curry, cayenne pepper, cumin, toasted coconut, and kaffir lime leaf, Indra Kunindra is a 9% ABV stout brewed in collaboration with homebrewer Alex Tweet. It was brewed for Holiday Wine Cellar’s 46th Anniversary Homebrewers Competition.
Another major brewery doing work with the homebrewing community. I guess they never really forget where they come from and it is cool that there was a contest involved, though I don't know the details on it.

This beer pours black and has a small tan head. Everything you would already expect from a stout but it was the nose that takes things for a spin. The amount of spice in it and maybe a little limey... I couldn't wait to taste it.

The curry is the first thing that came across my palate. As that was lightening up some coconut followed by bubble gum. You get a little citrus, lime in the back end but I could not get passed the coconut and bubble gum. That just really worked for me. A low carbonation pretty nice body, an interesting beer for sure.

4/5. I find it very drinkable and I totally recommend this beer to anyone. Several people I already talked to about it said they loved it. I guess good beer is good regardless.



1001 Beers: Three Philosophers

For those of you that didn't know, December 2nd was Inaugural Quad Day. I know this is pretty late, but hey. It's the holidays. I didn't, at first, know what to think but as I learned more and more about it I just let it be and celebrated all that is the glorious style that is, The Quad. Straight from the mouth of the founder:
I picked the Belgian Quad as the focus of the newest and greatest holiday this side of Christmas, and it was no mistake that December 2 will be the annual celebration of this glorious day (it's my birthday too).
It is a shame though that I did not earn a badge. But, what's that you ask? What beer did I drink for The Inaugural Quad Day? Beer Number 22: Brewery Ommegang Three Philosophers.

They say this beer was made for contemplation and we actually had a good discussion about it being it seemed to be the number one beer of choice for Quad Day. Even coming up with the recipe or I guess the concept of this beer seemed to give the brewer some issues.
What is your ideal beer? A hoppy British ale? An aromatic German hefeweizen? An Oregon home-brewer named Noel Blake sat down a number of years ago and pondered this question for a "Create a Great Beer" contest. For him, the matter of one's ideal beer is not simply about style or even ingredients; it's really a philosophical question whose answer can be debated endlessly.
I agree with this 100%. So much talk out there about one beer being better than others or how one beer should not be drank based upon things such as who brewed it etc, etc. Taste is subjective. Each beer could be someones ideal beer. I mean, someone had to think it was good to want to sell it? But hey, lets focus on this.

Things that I really picked out were the cherries on the aroma. Obvious I know but that really stood out to me. Even when I went in for my first sips, the cherries were over top of everything else. When the Belgian yeast started to kick in things may have became a little tart and raisins started to come out and maybe a little bit of chocolate. Very smooth and malty. I had to keep coming back to this. I am glad that I had the bottle all to myself. If you have not had it, get it... but you have to wait until Quad Day To Enjoy it.

979 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



The Search For Abbey

I know this is pretty late but with everything that has been going on I just haven't had the time... but I still want to go on and talk about my adventure Finding Abbey while on my first trip to Denver... and to The Great American Beer Fest. This may get a little long...

I have been looking forward to this trip for a while. I mean, not many people want to avoid this event. I know it isn't for everybody but come on... this is totally me. I have never been to Denver either and I was trying to figure out a way to tour the town on my first trip. The event takes place at night and all of the hot spots have special hours for the event. Word of mouth is usually how I find places but this time, I was given an opportunity. A scavenger hunt. The Lost Abbey described this as, "A Live Version Of Where's Waldo".
Abbot the Monk (we call him “Abbey”) can’t wait for the Great American Beer Festival to start, so he’s heading out a few days early to explore Denver and its thriving craft beer scene. The problem is, Abbey’s terrible with directions (and maybe enjoys the pubs a bit too much), so he’s bound to get lost. We need your help to find him before it’s time to go home on Sunday, October 14.

Abbey will be issuing clues as to his location in downtown Denver. We need you to follow his trail and track him down. If you do, you can win lots of great stuff including some free beer, Lost Abbey wearables, and the Grand Prize, one of the super limited (there’s only 500), “Ultimate Box Set” barrel-aged beer collections.
It helped that there was a prize as well to this game and the rules were pretty simple. Figure out the clues and tweet plus check in via FourSquare. There were seven clues and places to check in... too easy... for someone who actually knows the city. The first clue was simple. It was a picture of Abbey with this weird blue blur and a shadow or reflection. I couldn't really tell what it was but as I was sitting in the cab and it drove passed the convention center, I saw this...

Simple enough, IT MATCHED!!! and I was then bestowed with the second clue.
Abbey enjoys a pint among his kind at this place. Check-in there for his whereabouts, but don't be cheeky about it.

This one took a little bit of a google search since I was not familiar with the bars around town. Even a few tweeps helped me out and I found The Cheeky Monk... and a few Belgium Beers that some would be lucky to taste. Delirium Tremens, Stone Cali-Belgique Aged In Red Wine Barrels, Affligem Blond, The Bruery Oude Tart, Mischief, Saison Rue, Hottenroth, and a house brew from The Cheeky Monk, 3 Cheeks To The Wind. Not a bad start to my first trip in Denver and my first GABF... Okay, at the airport I stopped by the New Belgium Hub and had a New Belgium Abbey (perfect start of the hunt), a Red Hoptober, and a Peach Porch Lounger... Now that is a good start to GABF.

Once stepping out from my hydration station I decided to see if another clue was waiting for me. Just as I suspected.
The hunt for Abbey leads next to a place whose moniker combines "new" and "skill". Be crafty & check-in there for a fresh clue.
Again, knowing nothing of the town, this took another bit of googling. Trying to figure out what was new and skilled... I decided to take a walk down the street to think...

Okay, so The Great Divide was not my second clue but I mean, I was in Denver. It is a brewery, and I was there to enjoy and celebrate beer... plus it would give me time to figure everything out. I picked up a Hoss, Hibernation, and Wolfgang. Another great round of beers and I figured out the clue from there. Fresh Craft. I enjoyed a brew while charging my phone and decoding the next clue.
An educated monk, Abbey's been known to brush up on his studies at the place named for the father of geometry.
That was a pretty simple one to decode and lead me to Euclid Hall where I had an Upslope Thai IPA. Why not have a local brew while in the area.
Rumor has it Abbey, like Simple Simon, met this fortuitous man and tapped him for slice and a beer at his house.
Lucky Pie is the place where I first got my hands on Stone Enjoy By. The date on this beer was 11.09.12 and it was actually a damn good IPA. I wish this place sold pizza by the slice because I wanted some so bad... it just didn't work out in my favor.
You're closing on Abbey! He's at a place whose name rhymes -- its not far from where you are.
Star Bar was a place that literally blew my mind. It was my favorite bar and the staff was amazing. They feature Colorado beers and have their own line of cocktails that they whip up... and I only had a few beers while I was here... one of my top favorites, La Folie, Funkwerks Leuven, New Belgium Colorado Wet Hop, Tart Lychee, Avery Tweek (which I guess used to be called Meth Addict according to the bartender, and Dogfish Head Punkin Ale. One I have been looking for quite some time now. And I forgot to take a picture before I got deep into drinking.

It was here at Star Bar too that I ran into Abbey. It was pretty exciting but not the end of the hunt. I got a bad ass Lost Abbey Hat and a T-shirt. Some of my favorite drinking gear... and people keep asking me if I work for The Lost Abbey when I wear it. HAHAHA I wish. That would be an awesome job. It is pretty crazy that I got all of this in before heading to the first night of the festival. I may or may not have been over beered... Though, I did get the last clue.
Last clue! Be 1st to find Abbey & you win! 10/13 at 4pm: catch the man with a bad mustache where Stones can Tumble. That's our...

That gave me about 24 hours to figure it all out...

Walking into the festival one of the first things I saw was the silent disco. Empty. Though, the festival was not what I was expecting at all being this was my first time. I thought for sure there would be miles of line, the inability to talk to any one about the beers they were pouring, and you know... just a lot of crazy stuff. It was actually a good time. Short lines, a lot of good conversation, a lot of good beer, and... Sam Adams Utopias. A beer that I always wanted to try but never did because, well, the price tag. I have spent quite a bit on a beer before but never that amount.

I started the night off by looking for breweries I knew and beers I wanted to try from them. Ones I missed since moving but also ones that are limited and are hardly available. Dogfish Head Positive Contact, New Belgium Love - Felix, favorites from Ladyface Alehouse & Brassirie, Bear Republic and the list goes on and on. Seriously. I stopped by Sierra Nevada... ok, ok. But seriously the amount of beer.

The next day was the day to find abbey. Of course I did some more beer hunting and figuring out the clue. Luckily it was the Falling Rock Taphouse. I walked past it a few times the day before trying to get to other locations. All of the clues were within walking distance and I noticed a lot of traffic at this location the day before but I did not have time to actually stop being I wanted to workout the other clues. I had my eyes on this place before I caught my flight out to Denver because there was going to be a New Belgium event the last night of the festival.

I was a bit early so I started some conversation and got me a beer and some food. Maybe that was a bad call and I should have been waiting by the entrance. Once I found out Abbey showed up, I made my way outside but I guess someone had just stopped him. I did a once around the bar and before I headed outside. Another bad move? Oh well. I wish I would have one the box set but I had a great time in Denver and some awesome beer. Everything I was hoping for when I purchased my tickets. I can't wait to get out there again. Now I know some hot spots and what to expect. Can't wait to see what else I discover.


Twisted Pine: Ghost Face Killah

As the story goes, On The Second Day of Beermas, SWMBO gave to me, This fancy little beer from Twisted Pine Brewing Company, Ghost Face Killah. I had no idea when I was going to drink the beers that I got for this event but the "End Of The World" seemed like no better time.

So, I was pretty thrilled, (weird right?), when I got this bottle. I have never had anything from this brewery but just the thought of the beer got me excited. I love hot and spicy things. I wanted to do the Four Horseman Challenge at Chunkys in San Antonio but I never made it out to there during my trip. I guess that will have to wait for another day. But this beer... this beer here. Just read the description from the website.
GFK is brewed with 6 zany peppers. Anaheim, Fresno, Jalapeno, Serrano, Habanero and Bhut Jolokia – Otherwise known as the Ghost Pepper. 200 times the heat of jalapenos, Bhut Jolokia are the hottest peppers in the world, a pepper so hot it can be weaponized. So hot that our brewers had to wear masks and gloves to cut them up. Aroma of smoked chillis fills the nose on first whiff, but don’t let it linger to long.

They give a little description of what is to happen on first taste but I figured that I would skip over that for now and see what I taste... and then compare to how it is not like that haha. One of my tweeps gave me a heads up of what to expect too.
@BryanDRoth: @L_AllenH It was good practice in masochism: http://thisiswhyimdrunk.wordpress.com/2012/12/09/twisted-pine-ghost-face-killah/ … Definitely worth a shot, though!
I went on to say I will take this like a champ and make him look like a little sissy girl... The World May End For Me Today...

When I opened this bottle it started to fizz out of the top. Not sure if this is because the bottle is old or due to bad storage. The shop we got it from has a pretty bad shelf rotation but it is the best selection we have in this small little town... sucks. The peppers are definitely the best thing coming off of the nose. A bit sweet even though it has that hotness to it. I couldn't narrow it down to exactly what it is but it kind of reminds me of a red bell pepper. It just smells like it will burn to hell though.

First Sip... I am totally fooled. I bring it in and think that I taste nothing... then fire rolls from the tip of my tongue all the way to the back and throughout my mouth. Insanely smooth though... It is essentially flat, pretty thin and oily. Nothing but fire in each sip. It burns with each swallow. Honestly, I would have to say this beer is a damn fine experiment and one I can get behind. I don't know about this whole 12 oz bottle but this is nice. It is pretty hard trying to pull beer flavors out. Pepper and spice are the major player here. Pairs well with Sriracha.



1001 Beer: Smoked Porter

Beer Number 21: Stone Smoked Porter.

This is a beer I have fell in love with the very first time I had it. Being that Stone brewed it, that should be no surprise. I'm not saying it is my favorite porter, but it is damn good and damn solid. One of my first times I had this beer, I had the other two variations; Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Beans, and not too long after that, Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle. Both of these beers I had at a few festivals I attended since they were one-offs and not bottled... until recently. Looking through 1001 Beers, I discovered some interesting facts.

Stone Smoked Porter was released not long after Stone Brewing opened, and it was meant to be a one-off; it was also meant to be sold solely on draft and only in the San Diego area.
There was quite a bit more information in there but then it goes and rambles off about the Vertical Epic series. I have had 09-09-09 through 11-11-11 and wish I could get the earlier ones, but that is for another time.

The smokiness on the nose is fairly light but very distinct... You know what I mean. You can definitely taste it on the finish. Chocolaty and coffee notes are running all through this beer and it has a great maltyness about it. A great beer from one of the great breweries. What can be said? But that brings us to the other creations that they released upon the world.

Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla. The nose does not have that smokiness as the original but it is still there in the taste. Very smokey all around and a bit sweet. You get a hint of the vanilla on both ends. I cannot figure out which one came out first. This version or the next one. Quick searches on the web are proving noneffective. Though, reading the back of each bottle I have a feeling it was the Chipotle.

The nose on this beer is kind of on fire. I like it though. It is not overly hot, just kind of smokey hot... Again sticking with the theme. On first sip, the heat overcomes your mouth and you get a hot prickly sensation all over. You can still get a hint of the coffee but the chocolate seems to disappear.

I would have to say on a 6oz pour, or so, that Stone Smoked Porter with Chipotle is my favorite. But having to get my way through these bottles, the original is the best. The vanilla stirkes as too sweet, the chipotle, too hot. The original is just right.

980 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



New Belgium: Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout

Again, another Lips of Faith beer. You know how much I love these and the brewery but this time I thought I would try something new. This is a beer I have been looking for since I knew it was going to be released and I decided, you know what? Why don't I do a little research on the New Belgium Site about the Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout. You know what I found?!?!? A DINNER IDEA!!! Was it a good call to pair a beer with the sites suggested pairing? Hey, it couldn't be a bad idea.

So I don't really know who Joey McCarthy is but he is proclaimed as the New Belgium Steak Saint. I love steak. I want steak. I need steak. He suggest I eat an Espresso Crusted Filet Mignon. Honestly the recipe is very simple and I had just about everything I needed already. The only things I needed to pick up happened to be the meat, the arugula, and the salad dressing. What could be better than that!

The first thing that needed to be done was to candy the pecans. SWMBO actually took the steps in doing this for me. She made me some of these for Thanksgiving. I guess it was practice for something she knew would come. After that I made the Dry Rub and coated the steaks. I was excited to use the Verona Blend from Starbucks. It is pretty much the only roast of coffee I love and I actually plan to make a homebrew with it. That is exactly why it is around. I mean, I prefer my coffee in my beer.

I was not sure if this is what they meant by coat and make a crust but it was the best I had to go on. There was no picture of the recipe. After the saute I threw them in the pan like it was meant to be done and baked them out. SWMBO finished the salad and then we go to dinner.

About the recipe... Well, honestly I love spicy and peppery things, but I think this was far too much. SWMBO hates spicy things but she found this good smothered in ketchup. I sucked it up and took it bite for bite but the Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout took a lot of the edge off... and the steak took a lot of the edge off of the beer as well. Weird how that whole pairing thing works. I kind of wish this beer had a name, but oh well I guess...

I mean, it was not bad but just way too hot. The salad was good but the dressing mixing with the strawberries was kind of intense too... It was fine with the pecans. Maybe I should get to the beer though... You can really pick out the dark roast of the coffee and it is a little bit spicy. It really works for this beer. The thick, rich, malty body and the dark malt bitterness bring this beer across different flavor realms and kills the sweetness up from. The 9% alcohol in this beer is very much noticeable and it is a little slick in the mouth.

Overall, I'd say give the recipe a try. No beer is harmed in the making of it, but if I were to only pick one, it would be to just drink the beer. Unless you like very peppery things. I will pass again though. The beer is calling me.



New Belgium: Biere De Garde

There has been so much going on recently that I have not been on here much at all. That doesn't mean I don't have any beer stories to tell though! Some of the major events I went to that I meant to talk about but just couldn't find the time were; Bottle Revolutions 1 Year Anniversary, My Hunt Through Denver to Find Abbey during The Great American Beer Fest, a new brewery I visited or two, and a whole slew of beers that need to be added to my 1001 Beers To Try Before You Die section. I will get to all of those in due time. Right now I just thought I was take the time to talk about a beer that I actually just had, just so this one doesn't get lost in the suds of time as well.

Every quarter, as you probably already know, New Belgium releases 2 beers for their Lips of Faith program. I actually emailed the brewery a year and a half ago to get more infomation about the series as a whole. This is what they had to say.
The Lips of Faith Program can be a hard one for consumers to fully understand, hell – it’s hard for me to recall exactly what’s happened over the years, because it’s morphed so many times. With this said, here’s an overview:

It used to just be an internal offering (what’s now called our Loose Lips Program). But people loved the variety and esoteric nature of a lot of the Lips of Faith offerings, so …

We started bottling some of these quirkier, acquired taste beers and selling them in limited accounts across our territories. This was done on a none scheduled basis. We’d wait until the beer ran out, before brewing another Lips of Faith beer. But, waiting until we ran out complicated things, so …

2 years ago or so, we decided to start brewing 2 new Lips of Faith beers every quarter, which is where we are now.

They went on in the email to tell me which ones were released in the past and which ones were currently out at the time. I was trying to track down the ones I have had and the ones I did not. Since then, I have never missed a release. I was getting kind of worried about the current release right now but then good ol Ted, of Bottle Revolution, stepped up and let me know that both this one, (Biere De Garde), and the Imperial Chocolate Coffee Stout were available and he set them aside for me.

I don't have much experience with Biere De Gardes to begin with so going into this was pretty much a blind leap. I am a New Belgium Fanboy so I saw nothing that could be bad about it going into my first sip. The only information I knew about it was what was printed on the Chicken Painted Bottle.
Famous in Michigan for farmhouse ales, our friends at Brewery Viviant introduced us to their biere de garde ale yeast strain. From there, we imagined a slightly tart, intentionally dry beer with hints of bergamot citrus that pairs perfectly with French cheeses.

I wish I had some French cheeses lying around, but oh well... Just like the description pointed out, this beer was pretty dry and had a bit of a grainy texture. The orange flavors meld well and seem a little lemony in the finish. The nose was floral, a tad earthy with a little spice and you could really smell/feel the 9% abv in your nose. Though, it was not in the taste at all. A medium bodied beer that overall was really enjoyable and easy to drink. Another fantastic beer, I'd say. You know I gave it a 5 out of 5 rating. And this isn't just a I'm really bias toward the company. I actually really enjoyed it. I plan to seek out other Biere De Gardes now and I am always looking for suggestions. I know they can be hard to find around these parts though...

Now I don't know much about Brewery Vivant but looking over their site and having this beer, I may have to make a trip to The Brewery just to check it out. Maybe there actually is something good in Michigan???



Headed to GABF

Not too much exciting going on here... EXCEPT THE FACT THAT I AM HEADED TO THE AIRPORT AND GOING TO BOARD MY FLIGHT TO GABF!!!!!!! Ok, sorry... I guess I am missing the first day so I cannot be too excited :p but I am getting to day 2 and 3. I guess the only thing to figure out now is what I am going to do while in Denver and the festival is not going on... This is my first year there... I don't know what to do or expect. All I can do now is wait. I hear the lines are ridiculous. I hope I don't end up stuck in something all day and miss out on all the fun stuff... I should have ordered a tour guide haha. Anyway, a full report via Twitter and once I get back.



2008 Double Bastard

When those at Stone tell you that you are not worthy, what do you think? When you read the bottles and find yourself lost in the world or doing what they are describing, how do you feel? Well, my friend, I can't answer those questions for you but I can tell you that after getting my hands on a 2008 Double Bastard my eyes are so much more open now.

Before now I have only had current versions of all of Stones brews. I have had quite a few, but again only current. Here is a picture of 2011 Double Bastard. When I found this bottle of 2008 I knew I had to buy it. I wish that I found other years as well but I guess this was no time to get greedy... or was it?

Nobody can really say what goes into Stone Arrogant or Double Bastard but we can all agree that they are very tasty. I was told by somebody that when the time finally does come to open this beer to just find a time when I can sit back, relax and nurse this one all day. So I did just that.

This beer has changed a lot from the fresh one I had not too long ago. I should have taken some good notes because it would have been awesome to compare, or maybe I should have waited for a fresh batch, but this celebration was in order. Nothing was holding me back. This go around the scent was rather sweet and malty. I had a hard time trying to figure out if there were hops I was smelling or if it was something else. I would not expect an aroma at all after 4 years or so in the bottle... They may be there but for sure not like it a fresh batch at all. A little alcohol comes through in both the nose and the taste. A very nice, tan head deep amber color in the glass. There is no denying that it mellowed out a ton but I guess that is the beauty of this beer and its design. Grassy hops in the finish linger, caramel and tofee all the way through. It had a light carbonation but still bubbling in the glass and a bit of a burnt toastyness to it.

I guess there is really no way to experience this beer and the complexities without aging one. I think from here on out I will buy several and just hold onto them year after year. This is a must.



1001 Beers: In Heat Wheat

I figured it was time for me to try some more Flying Dog from the collection that I have acquired. And what better way to do it than with some of their wheat beers. Particularly, Beer Number 20. In Heat Wheat.

They say that this beer, more so the man who designed this beer; Eric Warner, Literally wrote the book on Wheat Beers. "German Wheat Beer, published in 1992. Wheat beers that were made in America were crafted after this book supposedly. This is one of the best wheats I have had in a while. I always liked the style but I thought that my palate was straying away from them because it has been pretty hard to find some that I can come back to time and time again, but In Heat Wheat changed that story. The strong citrus nose, banana, and carbonation level really work well into this beer and a bit of spice really define this Bavarian style wheat... or err, German, I guess.
We didn't brew this German-style Hefeweizen with its award-winning flavor just so you could wing a lemon slice in it for showmanship. You're not getting style points from us. Germans don't drink it that way, so save your attention-grabbing tactics for the karaoke stage, OK? OK.
This got me thinking, and with everything I already had from this brewery, why not break into another one in a similar style. Woody Creek. I really need to work on that whole focusing the iPhone thing.

Flying Dog Brewery found George Stranahan is widely considered to be the unofficial mayor of Woody Creek, Colorado. George and his collection of social misfits known as "Woody Creatures" are the reason this mountain community has morphed into Gonzo Ground Zero. This unfiltered and traditionally spiced Wit Beer pays tribute to the hotbed of progressive thought.
This beer also has an interesting story on the website if you want to check it out. Again, the bananas, cloves, yeast, and citrusy spice melded very well and into a really creamy, tasty brew. Flying Dog just keeps winning today.

I had the Classic Pale on my last visit, so why not try the Double Pale this time. And a quote, from Ralph Steadman.
For that other night, that other goddamn night.

I am not completely sure what he is referring to, I am sure there is a story behind that as well but this is something that makes me think it could relate to each and everyone of us. Time after time, night after goddamn night. At least we have good beer to celebrate it with. A very clean pale ale. Light bitterness, grassy, a little citrus that blends into the finish.

The last beer here is Old Scratch, an Amber Lager.
Tom Walker and his wife loved money more than life, so they surrendered their souls to Old Scratch. And when her liver and lung were found lying on the forest floor Tom forever feared a certain rapping at the door. Knock... Knock... Knock.
I had to look into this one a bit and see if the story of Old Scratch has something to do with this beer. Pretty chilling if you ask me. A beer with a light, up front bitterness, very clean and a tad of toast being named after the devil... What to do??? Though, it was pretty hard to find anything about this... I guess I will have to go to the brewery and find out the full story behind this one...

981 Bottles Of Beer To Go!



Beer Camp

The time has come once again to release the beers of Beer Camp. Sierra Nevada is even offering up the contest again... will I make another video... hmmm... Check out mine from last year. It would be a great escape from work. Though, I cannot wait until They open the new location out here in Asheville. I guess only time, and if an idea comes to mind, will tell. Especially since I only have until the end of the month!

The first beer of this go around will be the Imperial Pilsner. The beer is described as,
Packing a big hop-forward punch and bright crisp finish, this golden pilsner features a hearty dose of "sticky," resinous Crystal and Pacifica dry hops, which balance the light-bodied yet complex malt backbone.
Would I agree? Yes. HAH! This was a very tasty pilsner. Though, a pilsner for sure. It took the things that I could never really get my head around and flipped it completely. The hops blended really well even though this was an "Imperial" version... not that I really know what that means in this style...

This next beer I am expecting big things from just because of the reputation Sierra Nevada has. Floral IPA. They are pretty much just as big as Stone, (even though they are bigger than Stone), of a name when it comes to IPA's. I expect nothing but the best.
This unique take on the traditional IPA style pairs the bold and intense aromas of whole-cone hop "flowers" with aromatic natural rose hips and petals for complex aromas and unexpected flavors.

Upon opening the bottle you get that deep, big floral nose immediately. The scent pretty much fills the whole room. Now that is what I call quality. I was expecting a really bitter beer just from my experiences with Sierra Nevada but flavor is what runs the show here. A nice caramel and bready background with the sweet juicy hops lying over it. Like I said, I was expecting big things and look what I got. A masterpiece.

Maybe the Oatmeal Stout was not the next best to go with, but lets call it a palate cleanser.
This big oatmeal stout is midnight black in color-with a big, roasty, mocha-like aroma. It has a silky body from the use of rolled oats, and a round and lasting finish. Perfect as an after dinner treat.
Very good advice there about after dinner. I had it before dinner so I guess I don't listen to things that I am told but it was a damn fine oatmeal stout. Alcoholic on the nose and in the flavor but very mellow and full bodied malt profile. It has some nice stout crispness but the oatmeal really helps to balance this one. Sweet and yeah. I know right lol.

This Imperial red Ale takes the intense hop profile found in a traditional double IPA and turns up the malt. It has big aromatic hop notes of grapefruit, peach, and melon-balanced by smooth and surprisingly robust malt body.
The fruity flavors are the major production of flavor in this brew. It does just as it says. This was probably a perfect written description. This beer is not about the bitterness of a double IPA. It is all about the flavor and that is what I love. So many people ignore that when they throw IPAs together. Seriously, another great brew. Point blank.

This pack has actually impressed me a lot more than the one released last year. And I loved the Weizenbock they released. All of the beers in this pack seemed to flow together and not really just try to stand on their own... maybe they wanted to attract more customers by using a similar flavor profile, or maybe they just decided to pull out the big guns this year... either way, Beer Camp did well.



Samuel Adams Octoberfest

A spur of the moment decision, on a spur of the moment day. I guess there is no time better to get into the Octoberfest season than Septemeber 11th... Why? I have no clue, but I guess I can finally get over the whole it's too early for pumpkin beers thing too. Kind of odd that yesterday the humidity in this town went form 367% down to feeling like I am back home in Tacoma, WA right now. It is chilly to what I am used to but nice all in the same time. I love it.

Twitter taught me something new today. It actually made my dinner plans. While looking through my feed I found this article... and you know what? I decided I should do it. Now I'm not really a fan of Beer Cocktails or anything to that extent, but I just figured I would order everything off of the menu insert that they had. Too easy, right?

Well, clearly the first thing I did was order this beer. Samuel Adams Octoberfest. I have heard pretty much only good things about this one and I was skeptical going into it because there has not been many beers from this company that I would ever revisit. Though, I will continue to try anything they release for many reasons. I am sure you understand.

This beer was actually a lot better than I expected. It had a nice caramelly bready nose, and the taste to follow and dry on top of that. It had a smooth, all over bitterness. I thought it was pretty nice and tasty. I am still making my mind on if I will come back to this one or not but it is probably the best beer I had from the company. A bit later I got to get my hands on the Octoberfest Shake... Now that was interested.

The next thing to come out were my pretzel bites. They were pretty thick and doughy. No skimping in this area. Very nice with a light touch of pretzel salt and a beer cheese dipping sauce and a honey mustard I believe. The mustard seemed more like a glaze. It was pretty thin and very sweet. The beer cheese was like that stuff you get at amusement parks on your nachos. Never bad, but who knows where they could have taken it. I am not sure what beer they used in the cheese and the mustard but it was still good.

Now, I have been to Red Robin a few times in my day, but never did I expect what I did when I ordered my burger... The appetizers had just got to the table, I haven't gotten very far into my beer yet and then about 2 minutes later my food shows up... surprised me to all hell. I really just did not know how to take it.

I have had a few burgers in my time but I do not think I ever had one to the likes of this... There was a whole lot going on in this one. The Oktoberfest burger was brought out to me with a toasted pretzel bun, covered in beer mustard, topped with Swiss cheese, lettuce and sauteed onions. I haven't had ham on many hamburgers but this one had it. I just did not know where or how to start. Not sure if I should cut this one in half or just go for it. I guess I did not have to deal with the egg situation like last time I couldn't make the decision, but oh well. I decided to just pick it up... as soon as I did though, this showed up...

I have only once considered doing a beer float and that was with some Old Rasputin. That beer seems like it would be the perfect balance of kick ass with the vanilla. I thought this one was a weird combination of the caramel and vanilla, which doesn't make sense to me... then again, it could have been the fact that it was a beer float. It was not horrible, but for sure not my thing. Again, I drink my beers straight. I have problems ordering Black and Tans but I will if they look as beautiful as this. I kind of wish I could have got a to go cup, but I guess in this city that is a no go. It was a shake after all, I didn't think it would be that big of a deal.

All in All, this was an interesting buy. I guess it was my first step into the season so that is pretty awesome, but I am hoping that I am able to find a pumpkin next weekend. Sure, it may be too early but I want to get started on brewing my Pumpkin Ale. I guess I can wait if not though. I have a few other things ready to come down the pipeline. I would definitely check it out being it is new, or back and all. I kind of wish I would have tried the Ghost Chili burger though...



1001 Beers: Boston Lager

One of my favorite places to go out and eat... just because Fondue is amazing, is The Melting Pot. They can get a bit on the pricey end but you never leave dissatisfied... unless you get a crappy waiter. I have not experienced that yet. Just throwing out variables. Makes sense, no? Well, Recently I was there and decided to have the beer flight with my Big Night Out. Mainly because I wanted beer, not really because I was trying to pair. The last time I was here I did the wine flight. I think there was one I really liked and I didn't really keep notes on them so it's whatever.

The beers for the flight were split between ones I have had many times before and ones that I have only had a few times. They were Boston Lager, Sierra Nevada Pale, Stone IPA, and Rogue Chocolate Stout. Honestly, I did not really see any correlation in flavor of the food to the beers that they presented but I guess I cannot be too mad. There were a few good selections.

The first course was just The Big Night Out Boston Lager Cheese Fondue. A little appetizer to get us going. Bread Fruit Vegetables, and Beer Number 19 Samuel Adams Boston Lager. I have only had this one a few times before, and I always say I am not really a fan of Sams so this was just a formality since you cannot substitute beers in the predetermined flight... not that they really have a beer menu anyway. Honestly, I found nothing interesting about it... again. Just another beer. A bit of floral hops in the start, a tad earthy and then citrusy... It was way better in the cheese than in the glass but I guess I can't be too picky, I did come here for the food.

The next beer was a classic. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. I can't say anything bad about this beer. Though, I did not think it paired well with my salad... It wasn't bad, but for sure it was not thought out. Check out This beer Here.

Stone IPA is one I have had a few times and it actually fits into this series, but I will give it it's own post at a later date. It deserves one and will not go into this count. There is just so much to be said about this beer and this brewery, that I'd rather have it organized than just thrown together to get Boston Lager out of the way hah! I guess Lobster and Stone IPA is never a bad choice, but again, the whole coming together thing was just lost. My fault, or theirs???

The last beer, Rogue Chocolate Stout. I thought I had never had this one before, but a little search on Untappd proved otherwise. I am not really a fan of Rogue, but this beer was actually one I might buy get a pint of one day, and not just because I am at the brewery. Again, who ever made these pairing decisions should be fired but I guess the beer and the courses stood alone and that is what matters?

982 Bottle Of Beer To Go!



1001 Beers: Black

Not too long ago, about 5 days ago actually, we took a little test in my class on the subject of Cardiology. It was only about 200 questions and only took me around 4 hours to finish it. By the end of the test I was just filling in blanks with my best guesses because I did not want to leave knowing for sure that I failed. I only thought that I was border line when leaving the testing room. We had a long weekend, in which I worked the whole time, but I decided not to do anything school related the whole time and I figured Tuesday I would see what happened from there. There was no way I expected the test to be graded at this point, but to my surprise... They were.

This got me sweating a little bit because I really do not remember anything that I had filled in and at this point in the class it was one retest and then a boot out of it. A little bit of pressure I would say. But I was relieved to receive my test and find that it said 92% on the top of it. I even asked the instructor if this was a typo lol but sure enough, I guess I know what I am talking about. I thought this called for a celebration of sort. I was going to go home and treat myself to a Victory Dinner and a nice beer. I had no idea what it was going to be when I made this decision but I knew it had to be worth it. I almost pulled out the Sierra Nevada and Dogfish Head Life and Limb but I then decided it was not time for that to be released. My next instinct was to go big. Hell, after this feat, I needed to. That is when I decided it was time to open that Mikkeller Black that I got from Bottle Revolution a while back. I think it was just as sweet that it ended up to work out for this series as well!

Brewer Mikkel Borg Bjergso describes this imperial stout as "one of my experiments." It is one of the many that have succeeded as the Danish Brewer has quickly proved himself as a craftsman of challenging beers since the first brew in 2006.

I find it interesting when I explore a new brewery, or in this case, a brewer, and learn a bit about them. I knew before that he was a gypsy brewer and did not have a set location for his production. Just that he traveled and brewed in various locations but before this beer I have only had one or two others from him. I plan to try and check out as much of the line up as I can but the ones I have had before were a great introduction... though, nothing could have prepared me for this.

Beer Number 18: This beer was hot right off the bat. I thought the nose was a bit tamed and you could really pick out the coffee-esque scents from the dark malts and maybe some raspberries and plums. That is where the subtleness ended though. Again, this beer was REALLY hot! I swear I got some pepper in here but it could have just been the alcohol. Which would not surprise me being it clocked in at 16.5%. Though, everywhere I look says 17.5%. I wonder if there has been a change to the recipe or something recently? After I was about a quarter of the way into the bottle and the alcohol relaxed a little, I was able to get a bit of chocolate at the start of this one. It had a very distinct sweetness that was laying over the malty background of this beer as well. The beer was surprisingly not thick and chewy at all. It was still a full bodied beer though and it did not try and hide that one bit. For sure a must try.

For dinner I decided to grill one of the Rib Eyes I had in the fridge and some mashed potatoes. The only thing that could ever make that better would be surf and turf! Plus, I love broccoli... Weird, right? So that made planning dinner very easy.

983 Bottles Of Beer To Go!