Lost Weekend

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No, I didn't get blackout drunk this weekend, but I did lose a bunch of reviews due to a hardware failure on my host. All is well now, but I lost last Thursday's review, and any notes I took over the weekend. Also, some comments were lost, so sorry about that (for what it's worth, they were about the recent and awesome trend of non-sour beers aged in wine barrels and other fancy non-bourbon barrels).

But I've got a steel trap for a brain, so here are some thoughts on recent drinkery. I'll include ratings, but I'm sure the nerdiest among you will be wary of their reliability or something. I suppose there's something to such claims, but that's no fun and you should probably get over yourself, so here goes (in order of consumption):

  • Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale - Yeah, it's that season again. I know there are lots of folks that freakout about early availability of these brews, and in July, they might have a point, but it's mid-September at this point, so I think it's time to start easing into the seasonals. This is my favorite time of year, when it's socially acceptable to watch bad horror movies, mutilate pumpkins, and decorate your house with faux-corpses. Oh, and we start to get seasonal beers that are actually distinctive... like this beer. Unfortunately, I found it to be a lackluster example of the style. It's got the typical elements - pumpkin and assorted pumpkin pie spicing (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc...) - but it came off flabby and limp. It's a relatively low-ABV beer, which I think lent to the more watery feeling (not that low-ABV automatically means bad or anything - there are beers that do that well). It's not the worst beer ever or anything and I'd totally favor this over any macro offerings, but I found it disappointing. B- (Beer Nerd Details: 5.84% ABV bottled (12 oz.) Drank out of a tulip glass on 9/14/12.)
  • Dieu Du Ciel Équinoxe Du Printemps - Probably my favorite beer of the weekend, a Scotch Ale made by those wacky French Canadians at Dieu Du Ciel. I've previously enjoyed their pale ale, but this thing makes me want to stock up on everything of theirs I can find. It's a Spring seasonal and apparently not much makes its way down here, but I lucked into a bottle:

    Dieu Du Ciel Equinox Du Printemps

    Thick and chewy, with a burst of delicious fruity malts and rich, syrupy caramel. It's got a richness that I normally associate with barrel aged beers, though there's obviously no bourbon flavors or anything like that. Apparently this is made with Maple Syrup, which probably explains some things (maybe the syrup was oak aged?) A big, eye opening beer, but well balanced, complex flavors make it something to seek out, especially for malt lovers. Right up my alley, and a good way to follow up with that pumpkin beer. A- (Beer Nerd Details: 9.5% ABV bottled (11.5 oz twist off) Drank out of a snifter on 9/14/12.)
  • Great Lakes Oktoberfest - As near as I can tell, this is the best reviewed Oktoberfest beer on Beer Advocate (at least, of beers with more than 50 ratings), even beating out the Germans. It's not really my favorite style, but I always like to sample a few during the season, just to keep sharp. I actually really enjoyed this one. Not sure how close to authentic style it is, but whatever, it's really solid. Maybe a little sweeter than expected, but it's got that trademark toasty, nutty malt flavor, along with some atypical (to me, at least) caramel malts. It goes down quite smoothly, and I'd certainly put this towards the top of my rankings for the style (along with Live Oak and Ayinger). B+ (Beer Nerd Details: 6.5% ABV bottled (12 oz.) Drank out of a big ass mug on 9/15/12.)
  • Boulevard Brewing The Sixth Glass - I found myself relatively unimpressed with my previous exposure to Boulevard's celebrated Smokestack series, a double IPA that just wasn't doing it for me. Fortunately this one, a Belgian-style quadrupel, fared better. Perhaps not a top tier example of the style, but it's a respectable and welcome redemption for Boulevard. Lots of Belgian yeast, musty and spicy, along with some fruity malt character. Perhaps a little too much sweetness, leading to a slight stickiness that's not really characteristic of the best of the style. Still, this was a really nice beer, a fitting nightcap to a late Saturday night. B+ (Beer Nerd Details: 10.5% ABV bottled (12 oz.) Drank out of a goblet on 9/15/12.)
  • Emelisse Barley Wine Ale - Bonus review! I had actually written up and published a full blown post for this one, and it was witty and brilliant stuff, but it got lost in the ether. Fortunately, my tasting notes were still available, so you get more detail here: Pours a deep, cloudy amber brown color with minimal head. Smells of ripe fruit, caramel, and maybe some booze. Taste is filled with rich, fruity malts, caramel flavors, a little booze, a hint of bitterness in the finish. Full bodied, rich mouthfeel, minimal carbonation, very smooth, a little boozy warming going on, some slickness in the finish before it dries out. Overall, this is a very well crafted, if pretty straightforward English barleywine. B+ (Beer Nerd Details: 10.5% ABV bottled (11.2 oz.) Drank out of a snifter on 9/1/12.)
So there you have it. A solid weekend, and I'm excited to enter Halloween season. I've got a couple unusual pumpkin ales coming up, as well as an accidentally aged Autumn Maple that's just calling my name. Harvest beers are starting to show up too, though I get the impression that West Coasters benefit from such practices moreso than we do, though I'm sure I'll get my hands on some local harvest stuff from Victory and the like. Stay tuned...

Stone Saison du BUFF

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Back in 2003, the beer brewing trio of Sam Caligone (of Dogfish Head fame), Bill Covaleski (of Victory Brewing fame) and Greg Koch (of Stone Brewing fame), got together and formed some crazy organization called BUFF, which stands for Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor. It sounded like PR fluff, and naturally, nearly no one showed up to their press release. So Brewdog these guys are not, but that's part of their charm! Back in 2010, they finally realized that they could garner some attention for BUFF by brewing a collaboration beer. So they developed a saison recipe that was spiced with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (I see what they did there), each went back to their respective breweries, and made up a batch.

During that initial release, I managed to get my hands on Victory and Dogfish Head versions of the beer, but I missed out on the Stone version. Such is the way of collaboration beers, and I thought this would have been lost to the annals of time, but lo and behold, Victory, Stone, and Dogfish Head rebrewed the same beer this year. Score. I've had a couple of the Victory brewed batch (in non-notes-taking social mode, sorry!) this year, but I also managed to find the Stone version to complete the trifecta. Kinda. I mean, I'm trying them over two years, so I'm sure some nerds think that doesn't count, but who can ever satisfy those people? They all tasted pretty comparable to me.

On the other hand, despite the fact that they're ostensibly using the same recipes, the Stone version clocks in at 7.7% ABV, while both the Victory and Dogfish Head beers are a mere 6.8%. As such, I'd expect this to be significantly dryer than than the other versions, but it still felt comparable. In short, they're all good, and despite the suspicious difference here, this one is no exception:

Stone Saison du Buff

Stone Saison du Buff - Pours a light golden yellow color with a finger of white head. Smells strongly of aromatic herbs and spices, partly from the actual spicing, but also from the yeast. The taste starts sweet, with those herbs and spices coming into play again, drying out a bit in the finish, which also has a slight bitter note. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, medium bodied, a little spicy bite. Overall, a solid, interesting take on the saison. It's distinct from the other varieties I've had, but just as good. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 7.7% ABV bottled (12 oz.) Drank out of a goblet on 9/1/12.

I think this may be the first time I've ever seen a craft beer collaboration beer brewed again (unless you count Mikkeller, but I don't think that counts due to his Gypsy ways), so perhaps they'll do it again, and I can save up three bottles and try them next to one another and see the differences close up. Could be interesting...

In other news, my server has apparently been acting up lately, so things have been a little futzy of late. All is well right now, but apparently my hosting service is replacing hardware and whatnot, so there may be some more downtime later this week. I actually wrote this entry last night, but couldn't publish until now. I'm actually doing pretty well with the backlog of reviews at this point - I only drank this, like, a week and a half ago. Score.

Red Thunder Is Coming

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So I don't normally resort to press release bloggery, but this one interests me:

Victory Brewing Company is known for melding traditional styles and unique concepts to produce the highest quality, full flavored beers. Red Thunder does just that. By aging their popular Baltic Thunder in once-used red wine barrels from Wente Vineyards, Victory Brewing Company created Red Thunder. The burnished cocoa creaminess of the Baltic-style porter is accented by the tannic dryness of the wood to produce a rich, fruity final product.

Yessss. It looks like this one will be taking the pre-Thanksgiving release-day slot that was previously owned by Dark Intrigue. That became known as "Dark Wednesday", so I don't know what this will be... "Red Wednesday" or "Wednesday Thunder" or perhaps just "Cattle Call". In all seriousness, I don't know that I'll be attending. They say the beer will get a limited distribution in the Northeast (and, uh, Illinois), so I'm sure I'll be able to get my hands on a few bottles in any case (at least, if other Victory rarities are any indication). But who knows. I think I've already established that I'm a weak, weak man when it comes to stuff like this.

Victory Red Thunder Logo

Anywho, kudos to Victory for actually announcing this, rather than just letting a few of them slip into distribution without telling anyone the way they did with Otto in Oak (though I managed to pick up a few extras of that, thankfully). I'm not all that familiar with red wine barrel aging (at least, with respect to non-sour beer, and this one doesn't sound like it would be swimming with wild bacteria or anything), so I'm really curious to see how this turns out.

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales Seizoen Bretta

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Not content with being the least coherent style in the history of beer, it appears that there are also multiple ways to spell "saison". This is unsurprising though, owing to the fact that "saison" is just French for "season". Now, why Logsdon went with the Dutch spelling is a bit of a mystery, but who cares? This is an awesome beer - the biggest surprise of the year so far. Not that I was expecting it to be "bad" or anything. This was yet another in the cross-country trade with Jay, and he gave this thing a stellar writeup on his blog, so I had high hopes... but as saisons go, this is one of the funky variety, dosed with Brettanomyces. I haven't had a ton of this particular sub-style of saison, but I've had some supposed world-beaters like Saison Rue, and while I've enjoyed them, I've never been really been blown away by one. Until now:

Logsdon Seizoen Bretta

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales Seizoen Bretta - Pours a cloudy orange color with a couple fingers of fluffy white head. Smells wonderful, lots of light fruity aromas along with some spiciness (both presumably due to some sort of Belgian yeast) and a well balanced, earthy Brett funk. Tastes amazing too! Starts off sweet and spicy, a little juicy fruitiness in the middle (maybe a hint of wild yeast twang there), and earthy Brett funk in the dry finish. Definitely not sour, but maybe a really light tartness (which I may be attributing more to fruitiness than tartness, but whatever). Mouthfeel is highly carbonated and effervescent, but not harsh or overpoweringly so (the way a lot of yeasty Belgian style brews can be). Medium bodied with a beautiful, dry finish. Overall, utterly fantastic saison, probably my favorite "funky" saison ever. Superb. A

Beer Nerd Details: 8% ABV bottled (750 ml capped and beeswax dipped). Drank out of a tulip glass on 8/24/12. Bottle No. SB 12517. Best by: 05/2017. Bottle sez: Certified Organic.

Logsdon Farmhouse Ales is apparently the brainchild of David Logsdon, who made his way into the craft beer world by founding Full Sail Brewing way back when, but if this new brewery is any indication, I can't wait to see what they do. Heck, this single beer is pretty darn spectacular, I'd be happy if they just started distributing out East! In the meantime, I'll just have to see if I can get my hands on another of these things. I think there's a pretty good chance this thing could garner the vaunted Kaedrin A+ rating, but I don't hand them out lightly, and usually force myself to have at least a few separate tastings before giving them out.

Beer Blogroll Call

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Back in the day, that list of blogs you put on the side-navigation of your own blog was called a blogroll. Since those halcyon days of bloggery, many such fanciful terms have fallen by the wayside in favor of a more prosaic approach. Plus, there's lots of other ways to stumble upon new and exciting blogs (or beers, for that matter), what with Twitter and Facebook and all manner of social networking. On the other hand, in that torrent of bite-sized information, one struggles to keep their head above water and much gets lost in the fray. One of the things I like about blogs is that there's a little more longevity to the things that are posted, and even if you wait a few days or a month or whatever, there's still probably a pretty easy way to find what you're looking for (I double-dog dare you to try and find something you remember seeing on twitter a month ago - not a simple task). None of that will come as a shock to anyone who's ever looked at my category structure over there on the right, but in any case, here are some blog posts worth reading:

  • Imperial Stout Night: The Reckoning - Jay and a couple of his buddies bit the bullet, downed three bombers of face-melting imperial stout goodness, and survived to tell the tale. This was one serious night: Victory Dark Intrigue, Fifty Fifty Barrel Aged Eclipse, and Big Black Voodoo Daddy. I'm happy to have contributed two of those beers for this reckoning via that bi-coastal trade I keep talking about. Anywho, if you're not reading Beer Samizdat, get yourself over there. One of the best beer blogs in existence, and Jay's been posting like crazy lately.
  • Beer Round Up - The Beer Rover and I seem to be on the same wavelength of late, as a lot of his recently drank beers will show up on my blog in the next week or so, including two of these beers: Ommegang's Biere D'Hougoumont (on tap here at Kaedrin HQ for this weekend), Arrogant Bastard on cask (I should be so lucky), and Stone's version of Saison Du BUFF (which I just had a few days ago and will probably be posting about next week).He also managed to get his hand on Russian River's sublime Row 2/Hill 56 (which we're pretty big fans of too, you know).
  • The Bruery Fruet - Warning. Contains Alcohol. - Scott over at Beerbecue recently cracked open this barrel-aged monster. He doesn't mention it, but I suspect he experienced a Highlander-style quickening as he finished the bottle. In all seriousness, Beerbecue is a great blog, always worth reading. Another recent highlight: Death, Taxes, and Schlafly's Pumpkin Ale.
  • Dark Horse Monster29, Two Liters Of 20% Abv Double Barleywine To The Dome Piece - Did I say Jay and Scott were drinking monster face-melters? Well they were, but dontdrinkbeer takes the cake by downing two liters of 20% ABV barleywine and then posting a recap from beyond the grave (in his trademark hilarious style).
  • Crafting a Better Beer Story (see what I did there?) - The Dogs of Beer is a new addition to the blogroll, but a worthy one, as this amusing post attests. Apparently we share a mutual friend, so I think it's probably only a matter of time before we down a few beers together and realize that we both have blogs and devise a plan to rule the worl... I've said to much, haven't I?
  • The Aleheads Podcast: Greg Koch, Stone Brewing - The Aleheads are always worth reading, or in this case, listening to. Their podcast has slowed a bit, but they often feature lengthy interviews with big names (and even not-so-big names) in the brewing industry... I haven't listened to this one yet, but I'm downloading now and will probably give it a listen tonight.
Well, I think that's enough for now, as I think I'm going to need to embark on a short beer hunt for some barrel-aged Stillwater beers that I've heard are starting to filter out into bottleshops lately.

Hanssens Oude Kriek

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My flirtation with sour beers continues unabated. I haven't quite reached the sad level where I'm so addicted to acetic flavors that I'm rubbing vinegar on my gums in my spare time, but I like to think that I've gained something of an appreciation for well crafted sour beers. Most recently, I've been blown away by the likes of Rodenbach Grand Cru, Russian River Supplication (a beer I'd had before, but which really blew me away upon revisiting), and Marrón Acidifié. That being said, I still find sours to be a bit of a mixed bag for me... I'm guessing that as time goes on, I will gain even more affinity for the various sour styles, but for now, I'm still stuck in that experimental stage.

Hanssens seems to have a reasonably good reputation, though I get the impression from reading folks like Beerbecue that they tend towards the sweeter, more puckering, acidic side of things. Let's see how this Oude Kriek (beer with cherries that's spontaneously fermented and "matured for over three years") fares:

Hanssens Oude Kriek

Hanssens Oude Kriek - Pours a bright red color with a couple fingers of pink head. The smell features that trademark sour twang, some earthy funk, and maybe some of that oak character. The taste starts very sweet and very sour, lots of fruitiness (cherries, obviously) and funk, mellowing out a little as the taste evolves. Mouthfeel is well carbonated but appropriate. The sourness packs an acidic, funky punch; it's certainly an eye opener. Overall, a solid beer, but not something that transcends my typical thoughts on kriek beers (certainly better than the easily found Lindemans Kriek, but that's not saying much)... B

Beer Nerd Details: 6% ABV bottled (375 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a tulip glass on 8/31/12. Label sez: Lot nr: G.

Can't say as though I'm all fired up to try more Hanssens beers, but this was certainly a cromulent entry in the sour experiment. Still, I'd rather seek out some of the better regarded Belgian sours (or even american Maestros like the folks up at Cascade, if I can ever get a line on those).

Beer Hop Breakfast

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Apparently weasel poo is not involved with this beer at all. Not that it normally would be a key ingredient, but the last beer I had in Mikkeller's Beer Geek series of imperial stouts did have that improbable ingredient... and it was spectacular. This time around, in place of poo, we've got hops. Unfortunately, I think my bottle had been sitting around for quite while when I bought it, and thus I suspect the hop profile was somewhat diminished:

mikkeller-beerhopbreakfast.jpg

Mikkeller Beer Hop Breakfast - Pours a thick black in color with a couple fingers of light brown head. Smells of light roast, caramel and chocolate, with some piney hops apparent (but not quite as prominently as I was expecting). The roastiness comes out much more in the flavor, along with some coffee and bitter dark chocolate in the finish (the additional hops may also have been a contributor to the bitter finish). Not quite as much hop flavor as I was expecting, but it's clearly more of a hoppy beer than the Brunch Weasel. Mouthfeel is definitely less full than the Brunch Weasel, thinner, but not watery or anything, with a dry finish. Overall, it's a nice beer, but I wish I had a fresher bottle. I'll give it a provisional B, but it could go either way.

Beer Nerd Details: 7.5% ABV bottled (500 ml). Drank out of a tulip glass on 8/31/12.

Mikkeller remains one of my favorite breweries, so I'm sure you'll see some more of their stuff popping up here soon. I think I have a red wine barrel aged stout from them somewhere in my cellar, which I'll probably bring out to play when it gets a little colder out...

Almanac Winter Wit

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Meet Almanac Beer Company, a tiny Northern California brewery specializing in seasonal ales brewed with local ingredients. Up until recently1, this meant the brewery produced only one-off beers, one per season. In a world where it seems most breweries boast a portfolio of 50+ beers, it's kinda refreshing to see a brewery that makes one beer per season, period. They're apparently contract brewers, but their reputation seems more like that of a gypsy brewer. In other words, they have a pretty darn good reputation.

Of course, being a local-obsessed brewery has its drawbacks, namely that it's only really available locally... but thanks to the magic of beer trades, I got my greedy little hands on their 2012 offerings. So a tip of the hat to Jay from Beer Samizdat, who I must admit, is the one who got me interested in this brewery and their awesome, classy labels long before the trade ever came up. This particular beer is their Winter offering, a Belgian style Wit brewed with three varieties of early-season oranges and a helping of ginger root. Now, one doesn't typically think of this style when talking about Winter beers, but on the other hand, at 7% ABV, it's certainly heftier than most examples of the style (without going overboard).

Also, what the hell, it was August when I ended up drinking it, so it fit in quite nicely as I fired up the home theater system for some action packed adventure in the form of The Raid. I should mention that I'm almost always watching a movie whilst drinking2, but the pairings don't always strike me enough that I want to post about it. In this case, the light, refreshing Wit contrasted rather sharply with the bombastic action, making it a memorable combo. So let's get to it, shall we?

Almanac 2012 Winter Wit

Almanac 2012 Winter Wit - Pours a cloudy straw yellow color with a finger of bubbly head. Nose is filled with wheat and spice, some orange peel or other citrus character. Taste has a moderated sweetness along with all of those spices from the nose (apparently ginger, but I also get the typical Wit notes of coriander and clove) and a well integrated citrus component. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, just a hint of spicy bite, and a relatively light body. This thing doesn't drink like a 7% ABV beer, it reads much lighter to me. This is a good thing, as the other "big" wheat beers I've had get to be overbearing - completely overwhelming the delicate wheat flavors. Overall, this is a well crafted, tasty take on a style that often feels muted. Right up there with my favorite Wit beers...B+

Beer Nerd Details: 7% ABV bottled (750 ml capped). Drank out of tulip glass on 8/18/12. Label sez: 5973 (presumably bottle number), 12.29.2011.

I've also got a bottle of Almanac's Spring 2012 Bière de Mars, which I'll probably be cracking open sometime in September, as the weather starts to chill up a bit.


1 - They've just released their year-round California Table Beers (a saison and pale ale), but I think the focus continues to be on their limited seasonal wonders...

2 - I used to talk about this more often than I do now, with the notable exception of Double Feature posts... which, come to think of it, have been pretty sparse of late. I shall have to rectify that, but at the same time, this is a beer blog, not a movie blog, so I expect that side of things to continue to fall by the wayside, with occasional mentions like the one in this post.

Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black

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I'm not that big of a fan of Allagash Black, a Belgian-style stout that sorta mashes up stouts with Belgian Strong Darks... and makes me wish I had one or the other. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine beer, but not one of head-exploding glory like I expect from a brewer of Allagash's caliber. The solution to this conundrum? Put it in old Jim Beam bourbon barrels, of course! Alas, that treatment doesn't seem to have done much to improve my feelings on the beer:

Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black

Allagash Bourbon Barrel Black - Apologies for the craptacular picture (It was dark!) Pours a black color with a couple fingers of light brown head that puffed up higher than the lips of the glass. Not picking up a ton in the nose (stupid overflowing glass), but a little musty roast and a hint of bourbon are there. Taste has lots of those roasted malts and plenty of boozy bourbon. There's some complexities emerging as I drink, but it all feels a little sloppy. Mouthfeel is less carbonated than regular black; a little richer and creamier, but also much boozier. This isn't quite as balanced as I'd like. I'd gladly drink more of this, but it's a little disappointing and messy. B

Beer Nerd Details: 10% ABV on tap. Drank out of a snifter on 8/17/12.

Well, I guess they can't all be winners (in terms of both Allagash and bourbon barrel beers), but it's not like this one was horrible either. I'm always looking forward to new Allagash specialties and lord knows I can't resist bourbon barrel aged beers...

Russian River Row 2/Hill 56

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One of the driving forces behind this blog is the wanton violation of the Constitution of the United States. Don't get me wrong, I'm overall a pretty big fan of that document, but Amendment XXI, Section 2 can kiss my ass. It says you can't transport "intoxicating liquors" across state lines. Given the PLCB's ridiculous stance on single bottle sales in PA (i.e. you have to buy full cases1), it's pretty much required for a beer nerd in my area to become a scofflaw. In addition to this, I giddily smuggled beer back to PA on a flight back from Texas last year.

And now I've added another felony to my repertoire: the vaunted beer trade. Jay, from the most excellent Beer Samizdat blog2, proposed a swap of ungettables from the opposite coast. And thus I came into the possession of West Coast rarities the likes of which us East Coasters drool over3. Er, sorry, don't mean to rub it in, but it was exciting. And I'm not sharing.

As it was my first time, I was a little nervous about shipping mishaps4, but fortunately, I had plenty of bubble wrap securely fastened around all the bottles I sent, so no bottle explosions in transit or knocks at the front door by the FBI (I can just picture them now, in their black suits, holding a dripping box, frowning... saying "Is this yours?" while their partner pulls out the hand cuffs). Jay, being more experienced on this front, sent his in a fortress of seemingly indestructible styrofoam. Anywho, this is all by way of saying that you're going to see some reviews of West Coast mind blowers in the near future.

Like this beer, from one of our nation's most amazing breweries, Russian River. It's the first in a line of beers they're calling "The Hop Grower's Tribute Series", and in this case, they're honoring the three farms that grow Simcoe hops. It's named after the location in the experimental hop yard where Simcoe was born, and is it just me, or should there be more than 3 farms growing these prized hops? If the prices for Simcoe at the homebrew shop are any indication, I think there are some farmers that could stand to make a pretty penny by stepping up production.

I've never actually seen a bottle of Pliny or even Blind Pig, but it looks like the label's got the trademark Russian River disclaimers pleading with you to drink the beer as soon as possible, least the hop character fade (as they tend to do with time). "This beer is not meant to be aged! Age your cheese, not the beer inside this bottle! Keep cold, drink fresh, do not age! Consume Fresh, or not at all! Respect hops, consume this beer fresh! Keep away from heat! This beer does not get better with age! Please do not age me!" They won't shut up about it, but then, they're probably right. And in any case, Russian River beers tend not to last long in my house. This stuff was gone just a few short days after I received it:

Russian River Row 2 Hill 56

Russian River Row 2/Hill 56 - Pours a bright golden color with a finger of quickly disappearing, fluffy head. Smells of bright grapefruit and a little bit of pine, pure Simcoe gold. The taste is less sweet than I'd expect, with a bracing bitterness that hits quite quickly and intensifies through the taste. Pine comes out more as a flavor here than in the nose, along with a sorta herbalness I associate with Cascades (which makes sense, since Simcoe is descended from Cascade). Mouthfeel is light, smooth, quaffable, but with a pleasant hoppy bite and a nice dry finish. Man, this thing goes down easy. A fantastic summer beer, perfect for quenching thirst after a long day/week in the office. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 5.8% ABV bottled (510 ml). Drank out of a tulip glass on 8/17/12. Bottled on 6/26/12.

At this point, I think I've had everything Russian River has made available in PA (including the likes of Pliny the Younger and a bunch of their mildly rare sours), but it's nice to know that I may be able to get my hands on stuff like this in the future. Thanks Jay!

1 - There is a loophole to the case law that says that restaurants (or some sort of eating establishments) can sell singles, so the case law isn't as annoying as it used to be. I was surprised when I recently walked into a new local place that's purely a bottle shop - I asked the guy working there how he got around the case law, and he pointed to the back of the place. Tucked away in the corner was one of them hot dog machines that rolls the hot dogs. I suspect they don't sell many of those things. Even grocery stores are getting into the act these days, and one local beer distributer seems to just be throwing caution to the wind and selling singles illegally. I say good on them!

2 - I suspect most of my readers are already familiar with Beer Samizdat, but it's an excellent blog and Jay's been posting up a storm of late, so be sure to check it out.

3 - Jay seems pleased with his haul too. I won't spoil the trade, but I'm sure you'll see a few of them show up on his blog in the near future too (like this one)

4 - Definitely illegal to ship via USPS, so third parties it was. Thanks to my lazy habit of never throwing out boxes, I had plenty of bubble wrap laying around (I used at least 3 or 4 different varieties), and did my best. Still, I was a little nervous, but as it turns out, bottles aren't that fragile.

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Hi, my name is Mark, and I like beer.

You might also want to check out my generalist blog, where I blather on about lots of things, but mostly movies, books, and technology.

Email me at mciocco at gmail dot com.

Recent Comments

  • Mark: That's what I figured after the last release (which was read more
  • rich.on.beer: Also, freaking Lansdale is only kind of sort of a read more
  • rich.on.beer: I wouldn't expect a Philly release of bottles this time. read more
  • Mark: Yeah, that's a big leap in ABV, but it's still read more
  • beerbecue: Nice. I was shocked when I saw the ABV. It's read more
  • Mark: I shouldn't complain, as I suspect my homebrewed barleywine will read more
  • rich.on.beer: Carbonation issues are pretty common with Hair of the Dog. read more
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