Starting in April, I will be conducting Beer Discovery Nights and then posting results and comments right here on the Search Party blog. Details are still to be worked out but there will be 4 beers on the docket either from one style or one brewery plus the St. Bernard Find of the Night and some munchies that pair well with the beer. Space will be limited.
I went to a new wine and beer store today and found (2) beers that I have never seen before and piqued my beer interest. One is a Belgian called Sloeber. I have never heard of the brewery or their beer so this is uncharted territory. Second is another offering from Hitachino in Japan. XH matured in sake casks. Should be interesting.
These guys do some seriously great Belgian beer. I have had their Bam Bier and La Roja. Very good. Subtle too, which is good for a Belgian beer. They have many great special beers too. Newly out is one called Firefly. According to Beer Advocate they are the 8th best brewery in America.
I have heard some good things about this beer and I think this weekend I will have to give it a try. One reason that I haven’t yet is that it is in cans. I have this bias (slowly receding) against cans due to Pabst and Olympia. The second is that I am not a big porter fan. But some times you have to take a leap and try something new.
Special beer drinking occasions (like St. Patrick’s Day) can lead to staring at the store selection and going back and forth between the tried and true, Guinness, or something new. Here is my suggestion, do a stout/porter tasting. Start with Guinness then head off and try stouts from your local area. In California, try a Telegraph Stock Porter. On the East Coast try the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. In Oregon, Deschutes the Abyss is a monster and well worth the price. Or pick up a Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout. Avery has some great dark beers or you can try Bell’s Expedition Stout. Give little tasters of each and have a vote. See which is a fan favorite.
The label is a little too Easter trippy but this is a nice light Belgian ale with a taste of lavender. This is my favorite from The Bruery. It is a notch above the usual Belgian. This and Urthel’s Hop-It have been the best of the year for me so far.
These two books are musts for any beer library. You had better have a beer library or at least one book by Michael Jackson. Beer School is a great business accented account of how the Brooklyn Brewery was born and nurtured to where it is today. Very interesting on the intricacies of selling beer and creating a entreprenurial mind set.
To cover the beer and food pairing phenomenon, you have to read The Brewmaster’s Table. It is an excellent guide to food and beer. If you don’t learn something new, then you are the one true beer geek god.
If you are in Los Angeles and you venture to the east side, then you must visit the Verdugo Bar. Great, concentrated beer list. Exactly what I would have in a bar. The owner, Ryan knows beer, you can’t go wrong with his list. Corsendonk Apple. Pliny the Elder.
This is one of two breweries that I wish had beer here in Los Angeles. I have had the Belgian Red and the Raspberry Tart and both were beyond excellent. To give you an idea of the styles they have, here are their “unplugged” beers for 2009….Iced Barleywine, Imperial Saison, Eisbock and an Olde English Porter. Makes you want to go to Wisconsin.
1. Widmer Drifter – I generally like Widmer’s special releases better than the Drop Top and Hefe. But this Drifter is smooth with taste. To get the grapefruity taste that this has you usually have a lot of hops like Pliny the Elder but somehow Drifter gets both. Excellent summer beer.
2. Urthel Hop It – I had this on tap at the fabulous Lucky Baldwin’s and it has such a floral smell and taste. The bottled version doesn’t capture that magic as well but this is the best Belgian/Hop mash up around.
3. Brew Dog Punk IPA – I love the logo and the design but I must say this was dissapointing. Not very hoppy. It tastes like a generic British bitter and to me that is the most boring of styles. Give me a Belgian or American micro any day.