Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Firkin Beer Festival - April 24, 2010 at Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley

Firkin Beer!  It's thicker, less carbonated, and more syrupy than usual.  I find this delicious.

Triple Rock had a great beer festival - only $20 for 6 samples, but the "sample" was actually almost a half-pint.  This meant that the Lumberjack and I were able to share samples and thereby taste a LOT of beer.  Perfect!

Lagunitas Little Sumpin Wild (Belgian Ale, 8.5%ABV): this was one of my favourites.  It smelled like flowers, and the hops were just subtle enough to be delicious and not overpowering.

Iron Springs The Malice (Barleywine, 10% ABV): this one was way too much for me.  It's aged in french oak, and smelled very strongly of wood.  I thought the oak flavour was far too strong and overpowered the beer.  I compared it to being slapped in the face with an oak panel.  The Lumberjack viewed it more as getting one's mouth washed out with a 2x4, but apparently he thought that was a good thing.  Duly noted.

Green Flash Le Freak (Belgian IPA, 9.2% ABV): one of my favourite beers from the bottle or tap, so I was super excited to try it Firkin-style.  The hops were more subtle, and it was more syrupy.  Had a sweet, pineapple/clove aftertaste.  Delicious, as expected.

Ale Industries Ryed Piper (Red Ale, 5.8% ABV): no thanks.  It was bitter, and the alcohol flavour was too strong.  The malt wasn't toasty enough for me, and it almost tasted like buttery tobacco.

Drake's Expedition (American Strong Ale, 6.8% ABV): it's been hopped with Horizon, Cascade and Chinook, and at first the strong hop smell turned me off a bit.  But the flavour was actually really nice - it was syrupy and had a sweet/bitter combination - grass/flowery with a hint of peach and honey.  It's one of those beers that has a second, stronger flavour after you swallow and give it a second.  Overall I really enjoyed the sample, but think the hops are a little too strong for me to drink a lot of it.

Blue Frog Arf & Arf (Red Ale IPA, 7.6% ABV): a lovely blend of IPA and Red Ale - the Lumberjack called it "the best of both worlds."  I called it a wine cooler, but I meant it in the best way!  I love wine coolers!  It's sugary, and smells like bubblegum.  I know the Librarian will mock me for this description, but it's true - it smelled like double bubble or bazooka, that hard pink bubblegum from the 80's (do they still exist?).

Speakeasy Payback Porter (Porter, 7.6% ABV): delicious!  A good, smooth, coffee stout.  A little lighter than Speedway Stout, with a hint of raisin and bourbon.  Kind of mapley.  Very drinkable.

Ballast Point Sea Monster (Imperial Stout, 10% ABV): good god.  That 10% is nothing to scoff at.  I found it bitter, and the alcohol was way too intense for me.  Shocker: the Lumberjack loved it.  He said it had a nice caramel/toffee scent, and that he could "taste the whiskey" to which I said I KNOW.

Pizza Port Ernest Silky Smoove (Sweet Stout, 5.6% ABV): oatmeal stout!  oatmeal stout!  I love oatmeal stout!  This beer smells AWESOME.  It has a nice "mouthfeel" and so delicious and syrupy.  Oatmeal stouts are amazing, and this one is one of the best.  The end.

Half Moon Bay Moonglow (Barleywine, 9.8% ABV): so tasty!  We had seconds of this one.  It was sweet and mild, and tasted like pineapple.  It was amber, malty, and "light & sparkly" according to my notes - since this came after tasting a number of other beers, take that description with a grain of sparkly salt.

Marin Brass Knuckle (Double IPA, 10.2% ABV): I wrote "sweet, honey, smooth, hops are gentle, I am tipsy."  The end.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Speakeasy Scarface Stout

At Rosamunde with Prius. We both got the Speakeasy Scarface Stout (Imperial Stout, 10.5% ABV), which we both found delicious. I exclaimed "wow, this is so good!" and she responded by throwing hers on the floor. Oops.

It had a delicious, deep roasted malt flavour.  Subtle on the coffee, like Speedway Stout - it's there, but it doesn't feel like you've got espresso grounds at the bottom of your glass.  This beer is very rich, and very smooth.  If it wasn't quite so high in ABV I would want to drink it all the time!  ...okay, who am I kidding - I want to drink it all the time regardless.  It's pretty damn good.  Luckily the bartender was very sweet and gave Prius another glass due to her excited accident.

It's only a special/seasonal release, so try it while you can!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

15 Romolo

Happy Hour with the Lumberjack and the DMV. But they're late, so I can blog on my phone!

Green Flash (brewer of some of my favourites, like Le Freak) Hop Head Red (Amber Ale, 6.3% ABV). A little too hoppy for me at first sip, but once swallowed it's very sweet and mellows out instantly. Kind of like a science experiment in my mouth. Fun for tasting, but I don't think I would order it on a regular basis. But this is definitely a good beer, just not to my ideal taste.

Okay, time for my boys to show up.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday afternoon at Rosamunde

For a Friday afternoon treat, the Lumberjack and I headed over to Rosamunde for sausages and beer.  This is the best way to my heart.

I had Lost Abbey Red Barn Ale (Saison, 6.% ABV) which was quite delicious.  It was really pretty in the glass - a rich, honey colour with nice lacy foam left on the glass.  The flavour was much fuller than saisons usually have (in my opinion) so it had a nice weight to it.  There was a distinct lemon aftertaste.  Very smooth, no bitterness.

Basically, it's the perfect beer to drink on a warm spring early evening with breeze coming in the open windows at a restaurant, when it's still light outside.  I like matching my beer with the weather, and this pairing was a perfect 10.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beer Revolution: Impromptu Stout Fest 2010

Stout stout stout.  My favourite kind of beer.  Last night Beer Revolution had a Stout Fest, and sadly the Lumberjack was unable to attend with me.  Luckily my new friend Prius who I met at Beer Revolution two weeks prior was going to be there, so I had a date after all!  Let's go drink stout.

The first time I met Prius, I was a little drunker.
Also!  I recently discovered the Hipstamatic iphone app, which photoshops my phone pictures into vintage-y looking images.  Doesn't my beer look so much classier now?
Shown in the brandy glass: my first stout was Haandbryggeriet (that's right) Dark Force (Imperial Stout, 8.5% ABV), Prius' was Port Brewing Hot Rocks Lager (Dunkel, 6.5% ABV).  Dark Force smelled like whiskey, with a smokey aftertaste.  It had a slight bite to it, and it numbed my tongue slightly for a second or two after each sip.  It was very thick and syrupy - when I swirled it in the glass, it created a film on the sides.  It was a little too soy saucey after awhile - while it was good for sipping at first, I found myself losing interest near the end.  The Hot Rocks had a spicey bite to it that I liked, and was a really pretty ruby colour.
I tasted the Allagash Black (Foreign Stout, 7.5% ABV) but was unimpressed - it tasted too wheaty, and was too light (for me).  I like a heavier stout.  I also tasted the Bison Chocolate Stout (Stout, 6.1% ABV), which I had tried to get when I was there two weeks ago, but the keg was kicked and all I had was tasty foam.  This time Prius had a full glass, so I was able to try it for real.  The chocolate flavour is very subtle.  Overall it's very toasty and malty, and I thought it was pretty good.

My second order was the North Coast Old #38 (Dry Stout, 5.6% ABV).  At first I thought there wasn't enough flavour to it, but after awhile it picked up.  I was drinking it with my cheeseburger (burgers go SO WELL with stout!), and it warmed up a bit.  It's very drinkable - if I didn't have my eye on something else, I could definitely have had another.

However, it was time for...Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz & Ken Ale (Imperial Stout, 9.5% ABV) aka Holy Shit This Beer is Delicious.  I mean, seriously.  Holy shit, this beer is DELICIOUS.  The Lumberjack and I had it a few weeks ago and my brain nearly exploded it made me so happy, so I was especially thrilled to try it on tap.  As I learn more about beer, I notice that it tastes so different on tap vs. in the bottle.  It's fresher and a little more exciting on tap.  This beer tastes great in both situations, but it was fun to notice the subtle difference.  You should try this beer!  It has more carbonation than most stouts, which really livens it up.  It's syrupy, without being too thick.  It smells dry, then fills your whole mouth with rich, coffee-like flavour.  Slightly chocolatey, awesome roasted malt.  I love this beer.

While perusing the bottle selection, I noticed two bottles of The Bruery Papier (Old Ale, 14.5% ABV) available.  You may remember that the Lumberjack loves this beer - the last time we were at Beer Revolution, they had a few bottles for sale, and since this is a limited release and not widely available, we bought them all.  I quickly texted the Lumberjack to see if he wanted me to grab these two bottles, to which he of course responded "YES," but a few minutes later I noticed someone at the barrel/table next to me drinking it.  Oops.  Only one bottle left.  I grabbed it quick, and now it's ours.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Barrel-Aged Jupiter & Triple Rock: Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I meant to type up these notes, and it never happened.  So instead, here are photos of beer I had and loved, burgers I had and loved, and a Lumberjack who I...you know.