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!



Mash House

Being I am new to North Carolina I thought it only made sense to try and figure out what this place has to offer for beer. I know being stuck in Fayetteville is probably not the best place to try and figure out what the state has to offer, especially after having been to an event like Twin City Taps but this brewery was local to me, and that is what it is all about. I have had a few people suggest The Mash House to me. They talk about the beer that is served there and the burgers that they make. It only made sense to me... Though, I ordered a steak... so of course I am going to do it. I guess I will have to pick out a burger next time but here we go...

I am pretty sure you can see what the beers are going around the circle so I will just tell you I started at the top, and worked my way around clockwise. The first beer, was obviously the blonde. I wrote out short hand notes on a napkin while eating haha. I just had to be sure of everything when I went back and decided what I wanted for my growler.

The Blonde was pretty decent. I have been falling for this style and the Kolsch a lot recently. I might even brew one. I mean, why not? I tried once before with the Kolsch but that was way back when in my early days of brewing before I knew that simple things mattered... like sanitation lol. Anyway, the straw color, not much could be picked out of the nose in that environment and glass though it was sweet and crisp. Lemon and wheat stood out. Very dry and light. Decent beer.

The Hefe was very hazy and kind of reminded me of milky orange juice. Not very attractive. Though orange, lemon, some spiciness of clove really hit the spot. The orange flavors kind of blended into vanilla and banana. It drank pretty light but felt a bit heavier than that... if that makes sense. I thought it was decent even though it went through some radical flavor changes.

The Red Ale was really malty. The finish of the hops though was quite harsh. Not a fan of that or the high level of carbonation. This beer was pretty much passed on. The IPA was next. I kind of wish I got the names of all these beers, but oh well. I guess that does not matter. This IPA apparently won gold at GABF in 2001. I am not going back to look in the record books but this gives me some expectations. The bitterness in this was very mellow. I appreciated that. Grapefruit came through quite a bit and it soothed out with a touch of lemon that followed into the finish. I thought this was an all around good beer. Well balanced.

Now we are getting to the darker beers. The porter was nice and malty. Pretty robust and had a sharp malt bitterness followed by a caramel sweetness. The stout, dark brown and a mellow head. Dark roasted coffee like flavors and caramel overtop. Pretty full bodied but not syrupy. That was nice. This beer was given to me on Nitro. I usually do not like beer on nitro. I don't know how to describe it but it has a funny taste... this was the first I did like... maybe, the others I have had were served on dirty lines? or I became accustomed to that flavor of the gas? I don't even know if that makes sense... I thought the gas was flavorless??? What do I know... Lets go with the dirty lines things...

I guess now that I have had a porter and stout they feel that my palate has been cleansed they are going back into the amber ale. I thought I picked up some green apples in this one but not too sure. I may have been losing it because I also got bananas... interesting for sure. The maibock was pretty hoppy and grassy. Just ok. The last beer to taste was the Cherry Blonde. I got maraschino cherries when I was drinking this one. They were all over the nose and into the taste. Cherry cordials is predominately what I thought of when drinking this. The chocolate, the cherries... I think the idea of the blonde was lost completely. It was funny because it was light bodied but still syrupy. I wondered how they brewed this one.

Now that I am at the end of this selection I guess I would say that this place has some damn good food. No doubt about that. I guess I only had one meal so I can't be too quick to judge on that but it was pretty fancy establishment as well. The beer did not really stand out to me. I mean, I did not find much that was very bad. Everything was drinkable. There were a few standouts like the IPA but I am not big on take the IPA every time. I like to experience other beers and that lead me to my decision on the Blonde to take home.

My first local brewery trip, though it was not what I would consider a typical brewery. I will get to some more soon and report back on those as well... but you already knew that.