1. Port Brewing – Hot Rocks Lager
Nice and malty. I like the fact that it was a collaboration with Tonya Cornett at Bend Brewing and that they were trying a new brewing technique. Had a nice full flavor without losing that lager style completely. Would be really good with a hamburger or ribs.
2. New Belgium – Mighty Arrow Pale Ale
A slight but noticeable citrus tang. Beautiful color and carbonation. Like a cross between a pale and an IPA that captures the essence of both. This would be an excellent gateway beer for people who aren’t into big hoppy beers. Chicken or pork in a citrus glaze or rosemary would taste excellent with this.
3. Telegraph – Reserve Wheat
First taste is very sour then it settles down some. Made with lemon verbena which accounts for the pucker but not very refreshing and not as easy to drink as the Mighty Arrow or the Hot Rocks. I would have to say that this goes into the noble experiment category.
4. Ommegang – Ommegeddon
Very funky smell. Barnyardy to the max. Complex but still a little on the astringent side. The brettamyoces yeast doesn’t do it for me. Sort of like the Telegraph in that it is thin but not easy to drink. Because this beer has such an overpowering aroma and taste, I would hesitate to pair it with any food because it would compete against the food instead of complement.
5. La Baladin – Nora
When I opened this bottle, it erupted which is sad considering the cost. My first sip of this was all pepper. I didn’t taste other spices but still drinkable. Very complex. Alot of things going on with this beer. This is another beer that defies food pairing but I think it might work nicely with a Caesar salad.
My favorite was the New Belgium with the Hot Rocks lager taking the silver medal and the La Baladin the bronze.
Now that I have fully recovered from the awesome amount of Belgian beers (25 on tap, 117 total) Here are some photos and commentary….
As you can see, a beautiful day in Carslbad, California.
The first beer of the day! Craftsman’s La Luz. Great way to start. Light but with a punch of flavor. Really excellent beer for a sunny day.
The second beer was # 16 on the list. The infamous Lost Abbey, Cuvee de Tomme. A super sour beer that is still way drinkable. My first sip was way sour but it mellows and is just excellent. Top beer of the day for me.
I was back at the taps for beers 3 and 4. A Dubbel and a Quad. The Dubbel from Hollister in Santa Barbara was good. Strong taste. Made with raisin puree. The even stronger quad was the Russian River Mortification. 11% alcohol and really good. Both are excellent choices.
I was four for four. Then I chose the only boring beer I had. The Pizza Port Faceplant from the San Clemente location. Not bad but the description said coriander and orange zest. Didn’t taste it. The alcohol must have obliterated the spicing.
Onto beers 6 and 7. I left the draft list and for my last two beers chose European beers. First was Baladin’s Al-Ikser. Very complex. A sipping beer not a “guzzling” beer for sure. Had a great smell and almost too many flavors maybe due to the fact it was made with whiskey yeast. The final beer was Boon’s Marriage Parfait. A vintage gueze. The 2nd best beer of the day. Sour but delicate. Easy to drink which is saying something for gueze. This was the 2003 vintage.
So Cuvee de Tomme, Marriage Parfait and La Luz are the top 3 but there were so many I didn’t try. Among them the Saison de Lente from the Bruery, Cascade Sour Fruit Ale, Nogne Saison and Ommegang’s Chocolate Indulgence. There is always next year.
Very spendy but who could resist a beer made for and named for the brewer’s wife?