Thursday, August 12, 2010

BA Gathering

Last night I attended a Beer Advocate gathering at Andre's house. Now, this isn't a high tech gathering, just a bunch of Beer Advocate people drinking some beer and actually getting to know each other a bit better.

About 15 people showed up, each bringing their own craft beer(s) they have procured somehow. I brought three craft beers:  Avery's Quinquepartite, Avery's 13th Anniversary, and Tallgrass' Oasis.
The Quinquepartite is a Wild Ale, or sour beer, and the fourth part of Avery's Barrel Series. The final product here combined beer aged in two different Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, a chardonnay, a Zinfendel and a port barrel...hence the 'Quin' (five). I'm not one for sour or wild ales, but this was nice. Nothing over the top, but complex enough to enjoy. The different wines played off one another nicely and the port brought out the pear-ish flavor of the beer. Very nice.

The 13 from Avery was an experiment on my part. I had found it several years ago in Kansas, when Colorado stores had ran out a year before. It's a Weizenbock beer...a strong bock/wheat beer. And it was fantastic. A caramel and chocolate aroma, with sweetbread and roasty, spicy flavors.

Oasis is from Tallgrass, a Manhattan, KS brewery. It's an ESB style that tasted more like a Pale ale. I should say, though, that the feel was more pale ale-ish. Some nutty and caramel notes, the bite and dryness was more than expected. A good beer, from a can too.

There were plenty of fantastic brews on display, we didn't get to them all.  It was a great time and look forward to the next installment.  But first, the Great American Beer Festival!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Unintended A+

Sometimes things just do go according to plan. Expectations are not met, perhaps fall flat on their faces. Depending on how you take it, this can ruin your day.  Other times, the plan goes to crap but unexpected goodness comes to save the day.  Take last Friday; my plan was to drive up to Boulder for Avery's release party of Quinquepartite (part of their barrel aged series), buy a bottle or three, drive back to Denver to hit up Great Divide's release party for their Baltic Smoked Porter and Rumble IPA. Sounds easy, right?  Well, at 2:30pm I start my drive to Boulder thinking it'll be early enough to miss traffic.  WRONG!  I don't make it two exits and I pull off of I-25 and head downtown.  I decided to cut my losses and hit Falling Rock Tap House to get a Blackened Chicken Club, watch some Tee-Vee, and see what they have on tap. I parked at Great Divide ($2 parking on non-game days) and walk to Falling Rock, then walk back to GD for their releases. 

I decided to go with a nice pilsner with my sammich, but one with some kick. I spotted Avery's Avery Joe's American Pilsner and ordered it. Never had it, and I think they will start canning this one soon, so what the heck.  Zowey!  That was a great pilsner.  It's a bit different than the Czech and German Pilsners, almost like a cross between them. Floral, citrus, light grass and a nice soft-sweet malt backbone. Went very well with the spicy chicken sammy. At under 5% abv this is a quaffer. Quite an outstanding beer. 

It's uncommon, perhaps rare, to see a micro brewery produce a lager; ales are their thing. But this one is hands down the best lager I've had. It ranks at #10 on my list (although 7 are tied at #3).  I will have this one again. 

So, it worked out that I-25 was a parking lot that day. And Great Divide's party was not too shabby either.