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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 273 Drink: Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye

If you are going to make beer in the middle of California wine country, it had better be good. Bear Republic Brewery in Healdsburg makes some pretty good brew. The company was named 2006 small brewery of the year at the Great American Beer Festival.

Bear Republic Hop Rod Rye is an 8 percent alcohol by volume brew that uses 18 percent rye in its grain bill. The beer pours a bright cherry wood color with a creamy thick tan head. Plenty of pine hop in the nose. The flavor is a solid 90 IBU IPA hop bomb. Good amounts of spice and a malt base that actually comes in at mid-palate to balance the brew. A big beer that is very drinkable.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 272 Drink: Blaugies Biere Darbyste

This brew arrived as part of the current Rare Beer of the Month Club offering. Brasserie de Blaugies is a husband, wife and son team of brewers. Darbyste is named for the Rev. John Darby, a temperance leader, whose church members were often seen consuming a fig juice mixture that some suspected might not be fruit juice.

Blaugies Biere Darbyste is an ale brewed with fig juice. The 5.8 percent alcohol by volume beer pours an orange amber color with a thick tall foam head. The flavor is tart in the opening, but quickly goes to a Champagne-like slightly dry finish. The fig is only slightly present in the finish.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 271 Drink: Russian River Supplication

In 1997, Russian River Brewing Company was founded by Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville, Calif. Vinnie Cilurzo was hired as the brewmaster and at the 1999 Great American Beer Festival the brewery was named Small Brewing Company of the Year. In 2002, Korbel decided to leave the beer business and sold the brewery to Cilurzo and his wife, Natalie. The brewery is now located in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Russian River Supplication is a 7 percent alcohol by volume ale that has several layers of flavor. The Brown Ale is aged in French oak Pinot Noir barrels with strains of Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus yeast and aged with sour cherries. The aroma has clear hints of cherries, which also are a primary component of the flavor. The beer has a nice citrus and sour base, with a bit of earthiness in the tart finish.

Monday, September 27, 2010

BeerTrips.com Partners with Pints for Prostates to Offer Beer Lover’s Dream Trip to European Beer Capitals

BeerTrips.com, which has been providing unique beer travel experiences to European and North American destinations since 1998, has put together a special trip from Sept. 9-19, 2011, to the Czech Republic and Germany that will benefit the Pints for Prostates campaign.

The nine night beer lover’s dream trip includes brewery tours, escorted pub crawls, guided city tours, special meals and more in Prague, Bamberg and Munich. The trip will include special tours of famous breweries along the way, such as Pilsner Urquell, home of the original pilsner beer, and the Andechs Monastery Brewery in Germany. The tour will arrive in Munich in time to enjoy Oktoberfest 2011.

BeerTrips.com is offering this special Pints for Prostates group tour to Europe on a limited basis. A total of 14 slots will be sold for this tour at $2,895, plus air. The trip includes nine nights lodging in centrally located hotels; breakfast daily, four beer dinners and three beer lunches; and train and coach transportation. A portion of the trip price will be donated to the fight against prostate cancer. This BeerTrips.com itinerary was included in The National Geographic Society's book, The 100 Best Worldwide Vacations to Enrich Your Life. Details on this trip can be found at www.BeerTrips.com.

“The Prague, Bamberg and Munich tour is one of the favorite itineraries that BeerTrips.com has offered over the years,” said Mike Saxton, founder of BeerTrips.com. “We offer small groups an intimate experience with the chance for insider tours of some the most famous breweries in the world. If you love beer and love to travel, this gives you the chance to experience some of the beer capitals of Europe, enjoying history, culture, food and beer along the way.”

The tour will be hosted by Pints for Prostates founder and beer journalist Rick Lyke. Lyke has been writing about beer, wine and spirits for 30 years and has previously visited each of the cities on the tour. Pints for Prostates is a 501(c)3 charity that reaches men through the universal language of beer with an important health message.

“BeerTrips.com has put together a fantastic trip to some of the world’s best beer destinations,” said Lyke. “We are thrilled they have decided to partner with Pints for Prostates to help us raise funds and spread the word to men about the importance of regular prostate health screenings and early detection.”

As part of the BeerTrips.com and Pints for Prostates partnership, Pints for Prostates will raffle a trip for two for the special trip. For a $10 donation for a single ticket, $25 donation for three tickets or $50 for seven tickets, consumers will be entered to win the trip that includes:

• The BeerTrips.com Prague, Bamberg and Munich trip for two Sept. 9-19, 2011
• Roundtrip Airfare for Two from the Continental United States
• Nine Nights in Fine Centrally Located Hotels
• Brewery Tours
• Oktoberfest 2011
• Escorted Pub Crawls
• Guided City Tours
• Breakfasts Daily/4 Beer Dinners/3 Beer Lunches
• Train & Private Coach Transportation

The total value of the trip for two is estimated at $7,500. The drawing will be held on July 31, 2011. The prize is non-transferable. No cash substitute will be offered. The winner and their guest are responsible for obtaining passports and all trip related costs not outlined above. You must be 21 years old to enter.

About BeerTrips.com
Beer Trips.com was founded in 1998 to offer serious beer people the opportunity to travel to the world's best beer destinations with other people who love great beer. Beer and travel, travel and beer -- these are two of our favorite things. Both, in our estimation, are worth a fair amount of life's energy. Our goal, and our very reason for existing, is to take our travelers the best beer destinations, drink, taste and enjoy the best beers, meet the beer-loving people of the countries we visit, and explore the history, culture, art and architecture of the interesting places where beer "grew up". To do this we stay in nice, well-located hotels, eat at great restaurants that emphasize beer in their fare, and visit breweries, brew pubs, cafes, and museums that enhance our understanding and appreciation of beer and its rich history and culture.

About Pints for Prostates
Pints for Prostates, is a 501(c)3 a campaign that uses the universal language of beer to encourage men to take charge of their health, was founded by prostate cancer survivor and beer writer Rick Lyke in 2008. The grassroots effort raises awareness among men of the importance of regular health screenings and PSA testing by making appearances at beer festivals, social networking and pro bono advertising. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 218,000 new prostate cancer cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, which is 25,000 more than the number of expected new cases of breast cancer. Sadly, more than 32,000 American men will die from the disease this year. More information is available at www.pintsforprostates.org. Pints for Prostates also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter (@pints4prostates).

Day 270 Drink: Klinker Brick Lodi Farrah Syrah 2007

Steve and Lori Felten are fifth generation grape growers in California's Lodi region. The family has gown many things on the land over the decades, including watermelons. For years grapes grown on the estate were shipped around the country for use by home winemakers.

Klinker Brick Lodi Farrah Syrah 2007 displays rich plum and a hint of cigar smoke in the aroma. The wine has a good cedar base with berries, dark skin fruit and a smooth range of tannins.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 269 Drink: Russian Standard Vodka

Russian Standard Vodka dominates the premium segment in Russia with a 60 percent market share. The company sells more than 1.9 million cases per year in Russia and over 50 export markets across Europe, the U.S. and Asia. Russian Standard was introduced in 1998 and conforms to the formula for vodka established in 1894 by Russian scientist Dimitri Mendeleev.

Russian Standard Vodka is an 80 proof vodka with a slightly sweet nose. Distilled in St. Petersburg, the vodka is smooth with just a hint of licorice in its flavor profile.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 268 Drink: Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout

Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout is a 9.2 percent alcohol by volume brew that is brewed with Sebastopol's Hardcore Coffee.

Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout is a brown black brew with a tan head. The beer has a sweet coffee drink aroma. The flavor profile is a light coffee, with some chocolate notes. The hops come forward late to balance the beer.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 267 Drink: The Bruery Black Tuesday

One of the frustrations of organizing an event like the Denver Rare Beer Tasting is realizing that there is no chance that you will get to enjoy all of the great beers that are being poured. All you can hope for is a taste of a fraction of the beers on hand.

This year we had 26 hard to find brews from some of the most notable American craft brewers. This was just our second year, but we wanted to make sure the event was still different from the first DRBT. We brought back some of the fan favorite breweries from last year, but we also made sure at least half of those pouring beer had not been at the first event. There is enough variety in America's small breweries to give exposure to new brewers each year.

When the doors opened to the Denver Rare Beer Tasting II the 500 beer fans that had been in line outside the Wynkoop Brewery in Denver plowed into the upstairs pool hall and a traffic jam soon formed in one corner of the big room. It is hard to figure out why this happened, since there was great beer spread around the entire space, but the result was that these brewers were the first to run out of beer. In a couple of cases it happened fairly quickly, a little over an hour into the event. This meant that one of the beers on my personal list as a "must try" -- The Bruery Mélange #3 -- was gone before I had the chance.

I did find a consolation prize. The Bruery's spot on the floor of the Great American Beer Festival was in a row right behind the Pints for Prostates booth. I managed to make a couple of trips back and was rewarded with some Black Tuesday. It was one of the best beers I had during the entire trip to Denver.

The Bruery Black Tuesday is a 19.5 percent alcohol by volume imperial stout that is aged in an ex-Bourbon barrel for one year. The result is a black beer with a mocha colored head that has viscosity. The beer is rich, thick and chewy. Plenty of vanilla and toffee in the nose. These notes carry over in the flavor profile, joined by hints of wood, roasted grains and black cherry in the finish.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 266 Drink: Weyerbacher 2005 Decadence

Weyerbacher Brewing was founded in 1995 in Easton, Pa., by former homebrewer Dan Weirback. To celebrate the company's 10th anniversary the company produced a brew called Decadence by in 2005. The brewers used honey, cardamom and gentian, relying on these and the malt, with just a small amount of hops for flavoring.

At the Denver Rare Beer Tasting some of the few remaining bottles of this beer were served.

Weyerbacher 2005 Decadence poured a dark copper color with a thin head. The beer has a bit of a sweet nose. With a 17 IBU rating you might expect the beer to also be sweet, but it is balanced thanks to the bitterness of the gentian. It is always difficult with vintages beers to know when is the right time to pull them out to drink. This one tasted pretty good at 5 years old and should still hold together if stored properly for at least another couple of years.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 265 Drink: Three Floyds Dark Lord

I did not get to Indiana this year for “Dark Lord Day,” the mini one day beer festival where Three Floyds Brewery releases Dark Lord. That's OK, since the hugely popular Russian imperial stout was poured last week at the Denver Rare Beer Tasting.

Three Floyds Dark Lord is a thick, black brew. The aroma has hints of molasses and milk chocolate. The flavor comes at you from several directions. There is fruit, raisins, whiskey and a hit of cocoa. A truly huge beer that has earned its reputation.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 264 Drink: Sierra Nevada Brandy Barrel-Aged Belgian Trippel

Belgian-style ale is not the first thing that comes to my mind when I think of Sierra Nevada Brewing. Perhaps it should.

Sierra Nevada Brandy Barrel-Aged Belgian Trippel is aged for five months in California brandy barrels. A Belgian yeast strain is used to introduce authentic fruity notes to the flavor.

Sierra Nevada Brandy Barrel-Aged Belgian Trippel is a cloudy golden colored and light-bodied ale. The malt gives the brew a slightly biscuity flavor and the beer has a bright floral, fruit and spice body. Refreshing and inviting.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 263 Drink: Brooklyn Reinschweinsgebot

Garrett Oliver is a creative brewer who has redefined the way most of us think of Brooklyn Brewery in recent years. The brewery has always had my respect, turning out some very well made lagers and ales, with Brooklyn Monster being a cult favorite. But Oliver has stretched our perceptions of Brooklyn with brands like Local 1 and Local 2.

Then there are the side projects that Oliver makes, usually for brewery workers or close friends. Brooklyn Reinschweinsgebot is one of those beers. Only 20 cases of this beer were ever made. A brown ale aged for nine months in Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels, then “fat-washed” with rendered Benton’s Country Smokehouse Bacon. It was one of the more interesting brews at the Denver Rare Beer Tasting.

Brooklyn Reinschweinsgebot has a pronounced smoked malt aroma and flavor profile. As a fan of beers from Bamberg, this was a bit of a departure. The bacon is clearly present, but so is the influence of the Woodford Reserve. It is the kind of beer experiment you might expect from a homebrewer, but shows the freedom Oliver has at Brooklyn to stretch our perceptions of what beer should be.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pints for Prostates GABF Trip Winners Experience

Pints for Prostates offered the chance for donors to win a trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. The winner traveled this weekend to the Mile High City for the event.

The lucky winner was Dan Dopp of Lexington, Kentucky, who, along with his guest Marty Likowski, spent three nights in Denver enjoying the craft beer experience.

In addition to tickets to the GABF donated by the Brewers Association, tickets to the Denver Rare Beer Tasting, meals at Wynkoop Brewery and Pints Pub, visits to Great Divide Brewing, Breckenridge Brewing, Rock Bottom Brewery and Falling Rock Tap House, the pair were hosted at the Samuel Adams Longshot Brunch for beer writers. There they had the chance to meet Boston Beer's Jim Koch and taste a number of the company's great beers.

Day 262 Drink: Pike Tripel Kriek

In 2009, Pike Pub and Brewery celebrated its 20th anniversary. The brewery, located at the Pike Public Market in Seattle is a great spot for lunch or dinner and usually has some interesting brews on draught. The place is more of beer museum than a pub, so leave some time to wander and look at the collection of beer history.

Pike Tripel Kriek was brewed to celebrate the anniversary and the last keg of the beer available found its way to the Denver Rare Beer Tasting. The beer is a blend of Pike Monks Uncle Tripel and 60 pounds of organic Washington grown Bing cherries. The ale is re-fermented with the addition of Brettanomyces in two used Bordeaux blend French oak wine barrels from the Mark Ryan Winery and aged for one year.

Pike Tripel Kriek poured a cloudy amber red color with a thin pink head. Fruit is clearly present in the aroma. The beer offered up a direct cherry notes, with an attractive sour base. This is not a sweet fizzy kriek, instead it is a serious Brett beer with plenty of depth.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 261 Drink: Big Sky Barrel-Aged Ivan the Terrible

Living in North Carolina, it is not often we get to taste beer from Montana. Big Sky Brewery was one of the brewers pouring at the Denver Rare Beer Tasting that was not on the floor at the Great American Beer Festival, making this a special treat.

Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout is brewed using English hops and American malt. The beer is 8.75 percent alcohol by volume brew with a ton of flavor.

Big Sky Barrel-Aged Ivan the Terrible pours a dark black color with a thick head. The beer has aromas that hint at dried raisins and figs. The flavor profile is rich and thick, with vanilla notes from the barrel aging, roasted mocha and traces of dark sweet fruits.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thanks to Everyone Who Made the Denver Rare Beer Tasting II a Success

The Denver Rare Beer Tasting II is now history. A total of 500 lucky guests got the chance to sample 26 rare and exotic brews from some of the best craft brewers in the country.

The event, presented by All About Beer Magazine, is held at Wynkoop Brewery in Denver on the Friday afternoon of Great American Beer Festival weekend. The event raises funds for the Pints for Prostates campaign. We appreciate the donations of beer from the private stocks made by the 26 brewers and the support of 30 volunteers who made the event possible.

During the afternoon Pints for Prostates had the chance to present awards to Rogue Ales, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Pike Pub & Brewery and All About Beer Magazine for the help they provided during 2010 to reach men through the universal language of beer.

Day 260 Drink: Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Goord

The Denver Rare Beer Tasting was my first chance to taste a creation by Ron Jeffries from Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales that fights prostate cancer. No, no one is making a health claim about the beer -- even though it is brewed with a number of ingredients recognized to be rich in compounds that fight prostate cancer. Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Goord, is a limited edition brew raises awareness and funds for the Pints for Prostates campaign.

Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Goord is a saison brewed with kale, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin and green tea. It is extremely limited edition beer was made to mark National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September. Besides the Denver Rare Beer Tasting, the only way to taste this beer is to order it through The Rare Beer of the Month Club or visit one of the Jolly Pumpkin locations in Michigan. You can check out our original post about the project here.

Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Goord was aged in oak and bottle conditioned. The beer has a thin tan head and an aroma that has citrus notes. Brettanomyces is clearly present. The beer has a nice tart opening palate, but then some other flavors start to emerge. Fruit, some earthiness and a slightly wine-like finish round out the experience. A great brew, for a great cause.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 259 Drink: Great Divide Rumble Oak-Aged IPA

The de facto kick-off event for media and trade at the Great American Beer Festival has become the reception Great Divide Brewery hosts during Thursday afternoon before the first public session. It has the feel of a class reunion, except you will not run across any old girlfriends or the guy you really thought was total jerk in 10th grade. At least I didn't.

At just about every turn I bumped into a writer I had not seen in a while or a brewer that produces beer I really enjoy. Great Divide brewer Taylor Rees was on hand and if you followed him back to the brewery's cold storage area a few special treats awaited. But you did not have to reach the inner sanctum of the brewery to taste one of my favorites during the event: Great Divide Rumble.

Great Divide Rumble is an oak-aged IPA that pours a tarnished copper color with a healthy tan head. There is a healthy amount of piny hop character to this brew, but just as the hops start to dominate, the vanilla and caramel notes from the wood emerge to balance the brew and lengthen the flavor profile.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 258 Drink: Deschuttes Mirror Mirror

Today we headed to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival and the Denver Rare Beer Tasting, arriving in town early enough to make sure that preparations for the Friday fundraising event for Pints for Prostates were well under control.

There are always plenty of things to worry about with an event like the Denver Rare Beer Tasting. Even with doing a ton of preparations up front and working with Daniel Bradford, the publisher of All About Beer Magazine, and a veteran of running beer events large and small, there are so many things that can go wrong. Did the programs and signage arrive? Is the glassware in good shape? How do the t-shirts look? Are all the volunteers confirmed? And, most importantly, what is the status of the beer? The 26 rare brews coming to the event were reaching Denver through various means and there is always the chance for a keg to be “misdirected” along the way. And, since the event only happens once a year, you cannot really fix most of problems until next year. On top of it, we also have a booth at all four GABF sessions and we are taking part in the Collaborating Collaborators Cosmic Confederation & Counsel of Consciousness event organized by All About Beer at Falling Rock Tap House on Friday night.

After arriving in Denver and confirming that most of the things we could control were in good shape, it was time to head over to Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery on 16th Street with the folks from All About Beer Magazine for a welcome to GABF meal. The cask IPA was a good beer to have with the superb double-rib pork chop.

After dinner we made our way over to the Hyatt Regency for a reception hosted Deschutes Brewery. The brewery was pouring several of its beers, including The Dissident and and Mirror Mirror. It was great to taste beer with Deschutes brewers and staff, including Gary Fish.

Mirror Mirror is an oak aged barley wine. The time on wood really brings out some nuances in the ale. Mirror Mirror is a dark red color with a thin head. The aroma is sweet with not only the barley wine notes, but also elements of the barrel aging coming through. Hints of raisins, figs and vanilla in the finish of this brew.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 257 Drink: Three Philosophers

Brewery Ommegang sits in the countryside near the village of Cooperstown, N.Y. But you might as well be in a small town outside of Ghent. The brewery is a magical place with the capacity to transport visitors to Belgium.

Three Philosophers is a Belgian-style quadruppel. It pours a ruby red with a nice tan head. The aroma gives off plenty of malt character, with some sweet fruits and a touch of vanilla. The beer is flavored by the addition of some kriek and the cherry lambic assists in creating the beer's color and flavor base. The 9.8 percent alcohol by volume beer is smoother than you would expect. There are raisin and dark cherry notes laced through the flavor profile.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 256 Drink: Rowan's Creek Bourbon

Rowan's Creek Bourbon is a 100.1 proof whiskey produced by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers. The brand takes its name from the creek that runs through the distillery property, which is named for John Rowan, a judge and politician in the Bardstown area in the 1700s.

Rowan's Creek Bourbon is a bright amber color and has a slightly spicy aroma. The initial flavor is full of wood, but as the whiskey opens you get nice citrus and pear flavors. There is just a hint of toffee in the finish.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 255 Drink: Old Forester 2010 Birthday Bourbon

Brown-Forman created Old Forester Birthday Bourbon eight years ago to mark the birthday of George Garvin Brown, the founder of the Louisville-based distiller and the Old Forester brand.

Unlike the standard Old Forester, which is made from Bourbon distilled during several different years, Birthday Bourbon is vintage-dated and selected by by Master Distiller Chris Morris from one specific day's production. The 2010 edition of Birthday Bourbon is bottled at 95 proof and was created from a 72-barrel batch that was put into barrels on October 24, 1997.

Old Forester 2010 Birthday Bourbon is a light amber gold color and has a pronounced sweet caramel and vanilla nose. The whiskey delivers a nice wood and almond character up front. Nice spice notes emerge and the Bourbon finishes with a pleasant maple note.

Denver Rare Beer Tasting II Tickets are Sold Out

Tickets for the Denver Rare Beer Tasting II, which takes place Friday, are officially sold out.

The event, presented by All About Beer Magazine, brings together 26 of America's top craft brewers. Each brewery is providing a rare beer for the tasting, some of which are not available to the public or are vintage-aged brews no longer for sale. The event at the Wynkoop Brewery raises funds to support the mission of the Pints for Prostates campaign. A total of 500 tickets were available for the event, which is designed to be an intimate affair allowing guests to taste exotic beers in a casual atmosphere and talk with the men and women who brewed them.

Here is information about the beers that will be poured at the event.

Alaskan 2009 Barrel-Aged Smoked Porter: Eight months of aging in Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey oak barrels mellows the alder smoke characters of our award-winning Alaskan Smoked Porter to create Alaskan Barrel-Aged Smoked Porter where oak, smoke and whiskey mingle seamlessly. Barrel aging adds new flavors – caramel, toffee and dark fruit – to the roasted coffee and smoke characters of the original porter creating an incredible brew found only in the Alaskan Brewing Rough Draft series.

Avery Quinquepartite: Latin for “consisting of five parts,” Quinquepartite is a Barrel-Aged Sour Ale blended from beers aged in five of the best oak barrels in the Avery cellars: two Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, along with one each of Port, Chardonnay and Zinfandel barrels. The beer achieves a pungent balance, mingling the exotic aromas and flavors of Brettanomyces wild yeast with a citric acid-like tartness.

Bell’s 2004 Eccentric Ale: Bell’s Eccentric Ale is a specialty spiced strong ale brewed yearly in honor of Eccentric Day, a wild party held at the brewery in the beginning of December. Each year the recipe changes a bit and this 2004 incarnation of the brew is the only one of its kind. Eleven different malts make up the base of this beer and are balanced by the spiciness of a hefty addition of coriander, juniper berries and caraway seeds. The beer is rounded out with an earthiness that comes from roasted pumpkins and sweet potatoes.

Big Sky Barrel-Aged Ivan the Terrible: Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout is brewed in the traditional style using English hops and the finest American malt. Its aroma and flavor balances well between esters of dried fruit and roasted cocoa, with a slight Bourbon presence. This brew is barrel aged and bottle conditioned.

Samuel Adams Kosmic Mother Funk: Kosmic Mother Funk has been aged for 12 months in oak barrels at the Samuel Adams Boston Brewery. The ale was originally fermented with Belgian yeast, which undergoes a secondary fermentation in wooden tuns (130 bbls). Wild yeast and different bacteria in the barrels contribute a unique spicy, fruity, tart character to the fermentation. The porous character of the oak also allows air to slowly seep into the beer during aging, smoothing out any harsh flavors in the beer.

Brooklyn Reinschweinsgebot: This is a brown ale aged for nine months in Woodford Reserve Bourbon barrels. This beer has then been “fat-washed” with fat rendered from Benton’s Country Smokehouse Bacon. Allan Benton also produced a smoked malt for this beer and a special strong ale was brewed from it. The fat-washed/barrel-aged beer was blended with the bacon-smoked beer and the blend was re-fermented in the bottle with Champagne yeast. Only 20 cases were ever made. This beer has only been publically served at special dinners at Thomas Keller’s Per Se and Tom Colicchio’s Craft New York and Craft Atlanta.

The Bruery Mélange #3: Meaning “mixture number 3,” Mélange #3 is a very special, equal blend of three Bourbon barrel-aged beers: Black Tuesday Imperial Stout, our anniversary ale, and White Oak Wheat Wine. Extended barrel-aging lends notes of vanilla, spice and rich caramel to a background of chocolate and dark fruit. Rich in mouthfeel, huge in flavor, yet surprisingly drinkable. The perfect finish to an evening.

Cascade Noyeaux Sour Ale: Cascade Noyeaux is a white Port barrel sour aged strong blond ale. It is cellared on raspberries and noyeaux, the roasted nut of the apricot pit. Cascade Brewing made its first sour fruit beers in 2007, when it produced ales from blackberries, cherries and apricots. The company recently expanded to keep up with demand for its sour ales, opening a barrel house that will hold 500 barrels of beer as they age.

Cigar City White Oak-Aged Jai Alai India Pale Ale: White Oak IPA is an American IPA with big notes of macaroon, vanilla, navel oranges, southern pine and apricots in the aroma and flavor profile. Dark copper in color, it starts out dry with citrus and pine, then hints of balancing caramel sweetness and moderate notes of macaroon and vanilla intervene briefly. The beer closes with slightly acidic apricot notes with lingering notes of dry citrus and peach with a suggestion of dill in the finish.

Deschutes Double Black Butte Porter XXII: First brewed to celebrate Deschute’s 20th anniversary, this extreme cousin of Black Butte Porter is back for a second encore performance. Generation XXII melds Theo’s cocoa nibs, whiskey barrel aging and other flights of brewer whimsy into a masterpiece 22 years in the making.

Dogfish Head Namaste: Namaste is a Belgian-style white made with dried organic orange slices, fresh cut lemongrass and a bit of coriander. Namaste was originally brewed at our brewpub with our friend Leo from Birra del Borgo in Italy.

Foothills 2009 Sexual Chocolate: A cocoa infused imperial stout. Opaque black in color with a dark brown head. Big chocolate aroma with notes of espresso, blackstrap molasses, dark sweet toffee and dark fruit. Smooth dark chocolate backbone with complex notes of coffee, dark toffee and dark fruit.

Founders Nemesis 2010: A dark barley wine that pours black with a
subtle mahogany hue. Brewed with five malts and no shortage of hops for a pleasantly bitter booming flavor. Roasty and toasty with a multitude of tastes that melt on your tongue.

Goose Island Bourbon Barrel Coffee Stout: Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout is made with coffee from Goose Island’s neighbor, Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea. The addition of their Black Cat Espresso to Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout adds yet another layer of complexity to the charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke flavors already present in the beer.

Great Divide Flanders Red: Great Divide’s Flemish Style Red is meant to be a sessionable, yet complex sour ale, inspired by the Flemish brewing tradition. The primary fermentation is 100% “wild” utilizing Brettanomyces yeast and various souring bacteria. What emerges after spending months in an oak barrel is a nuanced beer bursting with aromatic notes of dark fruit and spicy “wild” character. The beer finishes with an acetic character and a pleasant tartness.

Jolly Pumpkin Biere de Goord: Biere de Goord, a saison brewed with kale, pumpkin seeds, pumpkin and green tea, was created by Jolly Pumpkin to help raise awareness about prostate cancer and generate funds for the Pints for Prostates campaign. The beer was aged in oak and bottle conditioned. This is an extremely limited edition beer brewed to mark National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September. Besides the Denver Rare Beer Tasting, the only way to taste this beer is to order it through The Rare Beer of the Month Club or visit one of the Jolly Pumpkin locations in Michigan.

New Belgium Tart Lychee: Felix, New Belgium’s light base beer, is acidified for more than 2 years in oak barrels. Then 95% of Felix with 300 crushed Ceylon cinnamon sticks and 5 percent Lychee Fruit (think apple, banana and peeled grapes all together!) are blended for a week. Pours a very cloudy orangey-pink haze, with a whisper of foam. The aroma is very citric, lemonade, grapes, bananas and lychee. The flavor is both prickly sour, somewhat sweet and finishes tart and dry.
This is just the second small test batch made of this beer.

Pike Tripel Kriek: Pike Tripel Kriek is a blend of Pike Monks
Uncle Tripel and 60 pounds of organic Washington grown Bing cherries. The ale is re-fermented with the addition of Brettanomyces in two used Bordeaux blend French oak wine barrels from the Mark Ryan Winery and aged for one year. Tripel Kriek was first brewed for the 20th Anniversary celebration of the Pike Brewing Co. in October 2009. This is the last keg of this celebration beer.

Rogue 21 Ale: Rogue Brewmaster John Maier has brewed 21 different beers for the last 21 years of the Oregon Brewers Festival. To honor the OBF and John’s “21er,” Maier brewed a one-time batch of an Olde Ale, called 21 Ale. The ale is brewed with 14 ingredients: 2 Row, Briess Amber, C-40, Wyermann Carafa and Rogue Farms Risk Malt; Willamette, U.S. Goldings and Rogue Farms Revolution Hops; Simpsons Golden Naked Oats; Franco-Belges Carawheat; Molasses, Brewer’s Licorice, Wyeast Old Ale Blend Yeast; and Free Range Coastal Water.

Russian River Temptation: Aged in French oak wine barrels for 12
months with distinct characteristics of fruit and subtle oak. Temptation is a blonde ale aged in French oak chardonnay barrels with Brettanomyces. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout its aging. Temptation is re-fermented in the bottle to create its carbonation – a process commonly used to make fine Champagne and sparkling wine. Spent yeast forms a thin layer of sediment to remain in the bottle.

Sierra Nevada Brandy Barrel-Aged Belgian Trippel: Sierra Nevada Brandy Barrel-Aged Belgian Trippel is a Belgian-style trippel aged for five months in California brandy barrels. Made with an authentic abbey-style yeast strain, the beer is full of flavor, but surprisingly light-bodied and drinkable. A balanced beer with a mild, bready character from the malt, combined with subtle floral flavors from the use of European hops. The Belgian yeast strain produces a complex bouquet of spicy and fruity flavors and aromas. The brief barrel aging adds to the beer’s flavor and complexity with subtle notes of vanilla, wine and a touch of a toffee finish.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout GK’s Mad Man Mix: Stone Imperial Russian Stout GK’s Mad Man Mix was made for the 10th Anniversary of Stone Imperial Russian Stout. A special blend of vintages from the last ten years, along with a Bourbon barrel aged version of the 2008 vintage. The resulting mixture of this ominous black nectar was then hijacked by a musically-minded maniac who infused it with chipotle and sage, along with a portion of Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale. The resulting mash-up is a devastatingly complex, slightly spicy, hugely flavorful 10.5% cuvee de GK. There are only a few kegs of this beer mix-tape in existence.

Three Floyds Dark Lord: Dark Lord is Three Floyds Brewing version of a Russian imperial stout. It is intense, fanatical and “not normal” for the style. Dark Lord’s appearance is similar to motor oil with a brown head, the finished beer itself is viscous and opaque, a black hole in color. Aroma has been described as dark cocoa, molasses, vanilla, while the Dark Lord’s mouth feel is thick and creamy that coats your palate. Demonic tastes of chocolate fudge brownies,
raspberries, blue berries, raisins, figs with a slight alcohol Bourbon presence in the finish but not overbearing in any way whatsoever. Dark Lord was originally made in 2003 and is painstakingly brewed with American/Canadian base malt, English specialty malt, American hops, Intelligentsia coffee, Mexican vanilla, and molasses. Dark Lord is only available 1 day a year, “Dark Lord Day,” a beer festival which occurs at Three Floyds Brewery & Brewpub.

Upstream Farmhouse Surprise: Farmhouse Surprise is a unique blend of Upstream Brewing’s 2008 Gueuze, 2008 Flanders Red and 2009 Framboise de Brune. All of the blended beers were aged in French oak cabernet barrels. You will discover that the aroma displays the big earth character with a variety of wild Belgian micro flora, which are responsible for the sour character in this beer with a touch of sweet raspberry. However, there is more to be found than just sourness; sweet malt, citrus, and even a touch of honey are the backbone of this untamed beer. Once you try it, you just might love it. Once you love it, there’s no going back; you’ll be hooked! But hold on to the memory because this beer will never happen again.

Weyerbacher 2005 Decadence: Weyerbacher Decadence is a very limited production spiced amber ale, brewed only once in 2005 to celebrate the brewery’s 10th Anniversary. Decadence was brewed with honey, cardamom and gentian. Very little hops were used contributing to a barely perceptible 17 IBU. Even though those IBU have since faded somewhat, the beer remains quite balanced with the powerful bitterness of the gentian still shining through. Time has allowed the honey to really come forward.

Wynkoop Orville.33: Orville.33, a Brettanomycess fermented golden ale, is one of the three beers Wynkoop head brewer Andy Brown has blended to create Orville, a new barrel-aged sour beer that will be served at the brewpub during GABF week in Denver. This is the only keg in existence of Orville.33.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 254 Drink: Bluegrass Brewing Bourbon Barrel Stout

Bluegrass Brewing Co. has three locations in the Louisville area. The company was established in 1993.

Bluegrass Bourbon Barrel Stout is part of the brewery's Clay Street Series. The company first made this beer in 2005, aging the stout in Bourbon barrels for approximately 60 days. The beer is a dark brown black color with a thin tan head. There is a pleasant vanilla Bourbon aroma to the beer. The flavor has a nice chocolate malt base. Good hints of the Bourbon barrel aging throughout. The beer finishes with a slightly sweet note.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 253 Drink: Noah's Mill Bourbon

Kentucky Bourbon Distillers in Bardstown is in the process of renovating the former Willet Distilling Co., which had been out of use since the 1980s. The company has a number of labels and will be interesting to watch in the coming years.

Noah's Mill Bourbon is a small batch Bourbon bottled at 114.3 proof. There is plenty wood in the flavor of this whiskey, which was said to be a 15 year old. Very nice vanilla in mid-palate, hints of hazelnut and a sweet praline finish.

GABF After Party: Collaborating Collaborators Cosmic Confederation & Counsel of Consciousness Raises Funds to Fight Prostate Cancer

Where is the GABF after party on Sept. 17? Head to the basement of the Falling Rock Tap House for Collaborating Collaborators. Organized by All About Beer Magazine, this is a small gathering of beer fans and brewers featuring some amazing brews.

A collection of collaboration brews that have brought together some of the world’s best brewers will be served. Collaborating Collaborators Cosmic Confederation & Counsel of Consciousness will raise funds to support the mission of the Pints for Prostates campaign. The men and women behind these brews are expected to be on hand.

Here are the beers scheduled to be poured:

Three Floyds Brewing Co & Mikkeller of Denmark 2009 Oatgoop Oat Wine
Three Floyds Brewing Co & Mikkeller of Denmark 2010 Ruggoop Rye Wine
Allagash Hugh Malone
Allagash Fluxus 2010
Lost Abbey & Bend Brewing Hot Rocks
Lost Abbey & Hildegaard Ne Goein Saison
Dogfish Head Namaste
Dogfish Head My Antonia
Russian River Brewing Collaboration Not Litigation
Avery Brewing Collaboration Not Litigation
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Charlie, Fred & Ken's Bock (Imperial Helles Lager)
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Jack & Ken's Ale (American Barleywine)

Tickets are extremely limited for this special tasting. They can be purchased in advance for $30 at: https://www.etix.com/ticket/servlet/onlineSale?action=selectPerformance&performance_id=1327419

A limited number of tickets may be available at the door.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Day 252 Drink: Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Tasting

Today is one of those days when 30 years of beverage writing for magazines and keeping a regular blog about beer, wine and spirits pays off. I joined a group of drinks journalists for a 13 hour tour of the Brown-Forman Cooperage in Louisville and the Woodford Reserve Distillery.

It was a long day, but a good day. The event was well organized by Svend Jansen of Brown-Forman, packed with plenty of information and interesting events. Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris gave an extensive tour of both facilities and overview of the Bourbon making process. Woodford's chef in residence Ouita Michel walked us through a food and whiskey pairing and Brown-Forman's Chief Entertaining Officer Tim Laird presented a mixology session.

The Woodford Reserve site was first used for a distillery in 1812 by Elijah Pepper. The facility changed hands several times before it became the Labrot & Graham Distillery. Brown-Forman acquired that company and in 1973, during a long slide in Bourbon sales, the company ended up abandoning the distillery. It was not until the 1990s, when Bourbon sales had rebounded and Brown-Forman was looking for a location to house a new premium spirits brand, that the property was re-acquired. The first Bourbon started flowing at the site in 1996. On an annual basis more than 100,000 tourists visit the Woodford County location, which is about an hour outside of Louisville in the midst of major thoroughbred horse farms.

A highlight of the day was a tasting that Morris conducted of the Woodford Reserve Master's Collection, including the new Maple Wood Finish that will not be released publicly until Nov. 1. Brown-Forman decided to expand the Woodford Reserve brand franchise back in 2005 with the release of Four Grain. Since then, the distillery has released Sonoma-Cutrer Finish in 2007, Sweet Mash in 2008 and Seasoned Oak in 2009. The session was a rare opportunity to taste these five whiskeys alongside Woodford Reserve.

Woodford Reserve: This is the base whiskey for four out of the five members of the Master’s Collection and lightest in color. The whiskey has some toffee and fruit aromas. The flavor displays apple, spice from the rye and hints of caramel in the finish.

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Four Grain: Morris came up with the idea for this whiskey after going through a defunct distillery and finding a 1903 recipe card. In addition to corn, rye and barley malt, wheat is added to the mash bill. The flavor of this whiskey is a bit grainy and nutty. It has a nice vanilla note in the finish.

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Sonoma-Cutrer Finish: The distillery aged this whiskey in 66 former chardonnay barrels that had been seasoned with five vintages in California. The nose is mellowed on this one. The flavor starts off slightly sweet, but the oak comes forward in the middle and it finishes very full and round.

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Sweet Mash: Morris did not add the 6 percent sour mash that is used in making Woodford Reserve at the start of the Bourbon. He said the yeast struggled a bit in the making of this whiskey and they lost a couple of fermentors as a result. There are dark chocolate notes in the base flavor of this whiskey. Hints of berries and some pepper emerge, before the drink finishes dry.

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Seasoned Oak: Working with the Brown-Forman Cooperage, a supply of 5 year old seasoned oak was found in sufficient quantity to build 70 barrels. This is the darkest of the Master’s Collection. There is a nice hit of molasses in the nose of the Bourbon. The flavor is big, but pretty smooth with notes of cinnamon and the oak showing through.

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Maple Wood Finish: The distillery tested several potential native woods before having the cooperage build the sugar maple barrels that were used to finish this whiskey. The liquid spent between three and 12 months in the maple casks. The whiskey is slightly more amber in color than the other members of the line and has a fruit note in the aroma. You will not get any type of maple syrup experience from this whiskey, instead you will find the maple wood has pulled out some of the acidity, making this a smooth drink with some floral notes and a hint of caramel in the finish.

Morris said the distillery has new members of the Master’s Collection in the pipeline through 2018. For next year, Woodford Reserve will release a rye whiskey as part of the series.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Day 251 Drink: Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon

I am in Louisville on a press junket and went with a couple of fellow beverage writers to Proof on Main to check out the Bourbon selection and view some of the amazing art collected by the owners of the attached hotel.

One of the Bourbons I had not tried that came highly recommended was Wathen's, made by the Charles Medley Distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky. The distillery traces its roots back eight generations.

Wathen's Kentucky Bourbon is a 94 proof single barrel bourbon that has a lovely bright color. There is plenty of oak in the nose and the initial sip is very nutty. As the Bourbon opens, hints of fruit emerge. Introducing a couple of cubes of ice changes the drink almost immediately. The nose gives off a pleasant vanilla aroma and the flavor becomes much fuller and rich. The oak is still very present and there is a hint of orange peel and dark skin fruits.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Day 250 Drink: Kostritzer Schwarzbier

Kostritzer Brewery traces its back to the 1400s. The brewery was located in the former East Germany, which kept it running, but mired behind the times. After reunification, Bitburger acquired the company and spent money to update the brewhouse.

Kostritzer Schwarzbier pours a dark brown with a slightly red hue. The head is a moderate tan. The aroma has hints of roasted malt with a sweet edge. The flavor is a combination of chocolate, coffee and roasted grains. It has a fairly light body for a dark brew.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Day 249 Drink: Baltika 6

The Baltika brand was launched in 1992, following the privatisation of the state-owned Baltika Brewery in St Petersburg. The collapse of communism brought with it plans to market beyond the former Soviet Union, so brands like Admiralteiskoye and Zhigulevskoye took a back seat to the Baltika brand and its simple system of numbered beers.

Baltika 6 is a porter the company launched in 1994. It pours a jet black color with a thin, but steady tan head. The beer has a roasted nose and the flavor continues this theme. Hints of chocolate and a bit of toffee. The 7 percent alcohol by volume is felt in a slightly fruity finish to the beer.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Day 248 Drink: Cointreau

In 1849, Adolphe Cointreau set up a distillery and started making a cherry liqueur. It was not until 1875 that the orange flavored Cointreau was first produced. The brand is now sold in 150 countries around the world.

Cointreau can be consumed neat, but it is one element of a top shelf Margarita that makes a true difference in my mind. When it is present, the taste comes through.

Cointreau is a clear 80 proof liqueur that delivers an extremely fresh orange experience. The nose is a slightly sweet orange zest. The flavor of Cointreau will remind you of a fresh tangerine. Plenty of sweet orange all around.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Day 247 Drink: Whitehall Lane 2006 Belmuscato

Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyards is located in St. Helena in the heart of Napa Valley. Whitehall Lane was founded in 1979 and in 1993 the Leonardini Family of San Francisco took control of the estate.

Whitehall Lane 2006 Belmuscato is a dessert wine with a lovely citrus and peach aroma. The flavor is light and sweet. Orange zest, melon and fresh grape roll across your tongue. An affordable luxury.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Day 246 Drink: Tequila Cazadores Blanco

Tequila Cazadores uses 100 percent blue agave in making its Tequila. The distillery was founded in 1922 by Jose Maria.

Tequila Cazadores Blanco is a silver Tequila that has a bright grassy nose. The flavor is smooth, with a peppery edge. There is a light lemon note in the aftertaste. A solid Tequila for any cocktail application.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Day 245 Drink: Tequila Avion Silver

Tequila Avion plays a prominent part in the plot of the current season of the HBO series Entourage. While Turtle is able to use Hollywood star power to create demand that outstrips the television distillery's capacity, in real life the brand was founded by Ken Austin, whose background includes stints with E&J Gallo and The Seagram Beverage Co.

Tequila Avion Silver has a herbal, earthy nose. The flavor is smooth, with hints of spice, a touch of grass, a hit of citrus and fresh herbs. There is just a slight smoke note to the aftertaste. A very nice silver.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Day 244 Drink: Buccia Agawam

Buccia Vineyard is located in Conneaut, Ohio, about an hour east of Cleveland. The region along Lake Erie produce a climate that allows vineyards to thrive in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.

Agawam is a rare grape made from a hybrid of the Carter and Black Hamburg. The rustic Buccia Vineyard is the only one that I have found that produces an Agawam varietal. Buccia also operates a bed and breakfast.

Buccia Agawam is a honey orange color with a grape aroma. The wine has a sweet body that features honeysuckle, citrus and mango flavor notes. A fun wine for a casual summer evening.

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. As a prostate cancer survivor, I'm urging all men to know the facts about this disease because visiting your doctor for an annual health screening and a simple PSA blood test can save your life.

Did You Know…
• The National Cancer Institute predicts 218,000 American men will hear the words “you have prostate cancer” during 2010 – that’s more than 4,000 per week.
• There are 25,000 more cases of prostate cancer diagnosed annually in the U.S. than new breast cancer cases, yet prostate cancer is rarely talked about.
• More than 32,000 American men will die from prostate cancer this year. These are our fathers, sons, brothers, husbands, friends, colleagues and neighbors.
• One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime.
• Dennis Hopper, Jerry Orbach, Timothy Leary, Bill Bixby, Frank Zappa, Merv Griffin, Telly Savalas, Dan Fogelberg and Johnny Ramone all died from prostate cancer.
• Harry Belafonte, Sen. Robert Dole, Arnold Palmer, Rudy Giuliani, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Roger Moore, Nelson Mandela, Colin Powell, Joe Torre, John Kerry, Norman Schwarzkopf and Robert DeNiro are all prostate cancer survivors.
• African American males and men with a family history of prostate cancer are more likely to contract the disease.
• The Blue Ribbon is the symbol of prostate cancer awareness and the desire to find a cure for this deadly disease.
• America’s prostate cancer organizations recommend that men in high risk groups start annual prostate health screenings and PSA testing at 35 years old and suggest all men start getting tested at age 40.
• Annual prostate health screenings and the use of the PSA (prostate specific antigen) Test, along with improved treatments, have reduced the death rate from prostate cancer by approximately 40 percent in the past 15 years.

Since 2008, Pints for Prostates has been reaching men through the universal language of beer. We have events planned around the country during September and more are being added. Check out www.pintsforprostates.org for a complete calendar listing.

If you cannot get out to one of the events, there are two other ways to get involved with Pints for Prostates. In conjunction with LD Carlson, we have launched the Brewer’s Best PSA IPA homebrew ingredient kit. In cooperation with the Rare Beer of the Month Club and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, a very limited release beer has been created to raise awareness, Jolly Pumpkin Biere De Goord. Both of these efforts raise funds to fight prostate cancer. More importantly, these projects are aimed at getting men think about their health and schedule a check up.

Tell all the guys you know over 40 years old that it is just this simple: 1. Get tested. 2. Live longer. 3. Drink more beer.