Two funky aliens and gingerbread? You have my curiosity...
Things go bump in the night... like people after a few beers and some classic games
Singleminded focus brings about inovation
Depth, complexity, and nuance are on the menu this month
A pairing that hearkens back to my days of youth
A bit of a stretch but go with me on this...
Why? Why did I do this?
Additions that make perfect sense
Perception VS Reality
A revival of classics with a new twist
When nothing else will do...
Pliny the Elder and FF7... perhaps you've heard of them?
Pliny the Elder has been consistently voted as one of the top, if not the very top, beers brewed in America basically since its debut. Made by Russian River Brewing Company, it is brewed in relatively limited batches and shipped quickly. It is, as the label states, meant to be consumed fresh. Pliny is not a beer for aging. Being a double IPA, the hops are the star. Those hops, Amarillo/Centennial/CTZ/Simcoe, give Pliny an absolutely incredible aroma and flavor. If you have never had the pleasure of drinking a fresh Pliny, and many have not as Russian River's distro footprint is very small hitting California, Colorado, and Philadelphia only, you are missing out on a near perfect blend of floral/citrus/piney hop aroma and flavor and malt sweetness.
Flipping the script
Ballast Point Brewing Company is known for producing high-quality craft beers (with really, really good artwork). One of their more popular offerings is Victory at Sea, an Imperial Porter with cold brew coffee and vanilla added. It's a seasonal release from October to December that many people look forward to. Victory at Sea strikes a truly wonderful balance between the roasty, chocolate flavors of the porter base and the coffee and vanilla additions. No matter where you look, Victory at Sea is very highly rated. So, it was with trepidation that I approached Calm Before the Storm. See, I love Victory at Sea.
L'Chaim or to life, is the way Shmaltz runs their business. Originally a contract brewer, someone who comes up with a recipe but then hires someone or someplace else to brew said recipe, founder Jeremy Cowan opened a fully functional brewing facility in Clifton Park, NY in 2013. Shmaltz is known for their tongue-in-cheek approach to marketing and it shows in perhaps no greater detail in this beer. I mean, look at that label. It is glorious in every respect.
Unexpected pairings producing greatness
IPA’s, India Pale Ales, are not my favorite style of beer. Not my least favorite, but outside my top ten for sure. There are a few that I love but they are not something I usually take a chance on. The recent trend, started in part by the brewer of the beer we are about to discuss, of obliterating the drinker’s palette with hop bitterness for the sake of hop bitterness never really sat well with me. (thankfully, like all trends, it seems to be dying somewhat) It turned me off to Stone as a general rule. But then, they started to do some things a bit differently.
The simple answer is time.
Bourbon County Brand Stout is my favorite beer. It is a beer that I look forward to every Black Friday and one that I cherish every sip of. That being said, it is not a beer that I can drink every day. It is not a "fridge beer. " Bourbon County is an every now and again thing. It was originally brewed as a celebration of the 1000th batch of beer produced at the Goose Island Clybourn brewpub in Chicago, IL. This was in 1992 and barrel aged beers were the definition of novelty. No one was aging their beer (no, Budweiser beachwood doesn't count).
A perfectly balanced fighter for a perfectly balanced beer
A better kind of bomb to keep around the house
Bomb! is an absolutely stellar beer. It’s a super dark and roasty stout with a bunch of malty goodness. The aging it goes through on vanilla beans, cacao nibs, coffee, and ancho peppers gives the base beer a ton of subtleties and complexity. Every sip is something new and really quite wonderful.