Tuesday, December 22, 2009

hey stranger

It's been entirely too long since I've updated this blog. Since my last post, there was Holiday Ale Fest, several beers buys, and new tries, and several trips to pubs.

I'll start with Holiday Ale Fest. I went on a weeknight with Pat and Bryan. I tried a lot of beers for the first time and revisited a couple others.

Hair of the Dog Jim 2009 wasn't what I was expecting. It was tasty, but I felt the blue-dot really over-powered the blend. The other beers didn't stand a chance to all those hops.

From Cascade, I tried an aged baltic porter that was pretty good, and MULTIPLE Drie Zwarte Pieten Sang Noir's. The Sang Noir was by far, my favorite beer of the festival. The blending for this beer couldn't be any more perfect. Plenty of sour, hints of bourbon, tart fruits, oak, etc... and an amazingly well masked 10% abv. If this ever makes it to bottles, I'll buy everything I can afford.

I was somewhat dissappointed by Widmer's Babuska's Secret. The idea of a black berry russian imperial stout was tantilizing, but there was just too much berry, and not much else. Tasty for sure, but really one dimensional.

I loved Bear Republic's Barrel Aged Baba Yaga. This was probably my second favorite pick.

I revisited a "lost barrels" version of Mirror Mirror. The lost barrels mirror mirror is a 100% barrel aged version of mirror mirror, as opposed to the blended version that makes it bottles. The extra oak is great in this beer, and the aging really mellowed and soften this beer up nicely. Beyond the traditional barley wine flavors present, the barrels brought in hints of green apple and vanilla.

There were plenty of other beers tried, but these were the ones that stood out for me.

Since the alefest, I drove out to Cascade/Raccoon lodge for my first time on my birthday. I was dissappointed to find that although nightfall was on their chalk board, it was no longer available by the time I arrived. Infact, no sour's were on tap, but I was able to grab a 750 bottle of their kriek to enjoy with my lunch. The kriek was definitely more american wild ale than kriek, which was good, because I prefer AWA to kriek any day. For lunch, I got a spicy big bite burger special, which was pretty epic. 1/2 pound burger topped with spicy sausage and bbq'd pulled pork. It was worth the trip. The raccoon lodge left a lot to be desired over-all. Despite their growing reputation as a brewer of some really amazing styles of beer, the restaurant clearly caters to the beaverton suburb family set. The atmosphere is more restaurant than pub, and the taplist and menu are toned down for the average patron - which leaves the beer geek feeling like this place is cascade-light. I'm very excited about the opening of the cascade barrel house. It sounds like this is going to be beer-geek heaven. It doesn't hurt that it's a few blocks from my business, and much closer than the raccoon lodge location.

Somewhere in the past couple of weeks, I picked up a boulevard saison brett, which was fantastic. I also opened my 08 bottle of roots epic ale, which was just that. I had this along side a midnight sun berserker, so it was a good night, to say the least.

Last night, I had a lot of great, and one exceptionally exciting beers on tap. Starting at the green dragon, I had a ten fidy, a ft. george North III, and a rogue charlie.

Then we swung over to the horsebrass, where I spotted an amazing find: Hair of the Dog ADAM FROM THE WOOD. The description indicated that this batch had spent over 7 YEARS in bourbon barrels. My first Adam from the Wood, and an epic vintage to boot! After having the adam from the wood, I grabbed a consecration before heading out for the night. Talk about a great night!

The Ten Fidy was as good as ever, the Ft. George North III was very good, although maybe not what I was expecting. The description indicates that North III is brewed with maple syrup and sugar plums, and that the base recipe is a belgian tripel. Although distinctly different from any tripel I've had to date, the additional flavors I was expecting were rather subdued. In retrospect, this was probably for the best. Maple syrup can over-power a beer in the wrong quantity. The Charlie was a Charlie. In true rogue style, it hinted at what it should be, but the pacman yeast and over-hopping (for the style) made this taste more like an imperial ipa than a true american strong ale.

Now, the Adam from the Wood. The seven years REALLY mellows an Adam. So soft and smooth. Wonderful mouthfeel. I wanted to love this beer, and I did, although some of the traits I like best about fresh Adam had really fallen off this vintage. Still, I count the chance to have had this beer as a stand-out moment in beer history for me.

Finishing off with a consecration was a great way to end the tastings for the night.

Interesting side story: Today I posted on beeradvocate about the adam from the wood, and Alan (the brewer at hair of the dog) responded saying that it was a keg of regular adam, not adam from the wood, and that it wasn't an aged version!

I know it tasted a lot different from bottle conditioned adams I've had in the past, so I asked him for more info on the mix-up. I guess he'd know best, but I still have a hard time believing this wasn't an aged or "from the wood" version. We'll see what he has to say.

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