The second stop of the short month is to Livermore and Shadow Puppet Brewing Company from whom I received a Strong Beer Sampler Six-Pack. Two of whichever I have already tasted and have ranked higher than average especially for a brewery that I knew nothing about.
But let’s talk some of their lighter beers today…
Cinch Vanilla Cream Ale – “Very light with a smooth drinkability at the forefront w/ hint of vanilla on the finish.
Pipe Down German Pilsner – “Crisp & bright golden pilsner brewed with noble Hallertau hops. Floral undertones.”
Over the Rubicon Blonde Ale – “A light, refreshing & flavorful blonde ale with notes of citrus & melon.”
Our initial CA Craft Beer Week stop is in Berkeley and Gilman Brewing Company. Let’s virtually step inside and try these beer descriptions on for size…
Blackberry Barillet– “A medium bodied saison made with our house yeast strain. Fermented until it’s nice and dry, and then aged in oak barrels with blackberries. A secondary fermentation in the barrel allows for a wonderful, tart, dry finish. The aroma of oak and blackberries make this ruby hued offering perfect for anyone who loves wine as much as our craft beer.”
Belgian Quad – “This beer was brewed with all local malt from Admiral Maltings in Alameda. The grain bill included Admiral Pils, Admiral Caramel 35, and Admiral Red.”
Box of Fluffies – “A hazy, juicy glass of New Zealand’s finest Motueka hops. Smooth, cream body, soft malt notes with a massive tropical aroma and citrus notes of orange, lemon and lime.”
5W30 Stout – “Bourbon barrel-aged for one year at time of bottling. A monster imperial stout with a thick, creamy, inky black body and a brown creamy head. Rich aromas of vanilla, chocolate, coffee, toffee, bourbon, and dark roasted malt. Luxurious flavors of bittersweet chocolate, toffee, and round roasted malt; subtle notes of vanilla, oak, tannins, and bourbon from twelve months in bourbon barrels round it out for a silky smooth finish.”
Tying together GABF gold medal winner with NBA pre-season, I present Hoops Brewing from Duluth. They number their beers and it’s was 325 that won in the chili beer category.
Here are the lucky numbers I would choose when filling out a taster tray….
No. 704 Apple Ale – “This year, once again we’re using the delicious apples from Erickson Orchards. The flavor is slightly sweet/tart with some apple crisp character. Our Fall seasonal beer to bookmark Oktoberfest
No. 13 UK Pale Ale – “Our British style pale ale, sometimes called a bitter has a lower alcohol percentage and a beefed up malt character.”
No. 99 Wood Smoked Wheat – “A unique take on a traditional German style. Aromatics of beech wood & smoky phenolics dance with fruity esters offered from the top-fermenting yeast. Flavors of banana and clove give way to a more smoke driven finish.”
No. 39 Keller Pils – “Keller Pils is a German style lager. Kellerbier – “cellar beer” – contains more yeast and vitamins held in suspension. As a result, this beer is naturally cloudy. Our first lager brewed at Hoops, this beer has smooth, floral notes and a mellow citrus bitterness in flavor and finish.”
We head to Bend where Monkless Belgian Ales and the Gold Medal for Belgian Style Abbey Ale in 2020 resides.
Here is what I would add to an initial taster tray….
Peppercorn Imperial Wit – “It’s time to rethink your Wit! Belgian boldness is brimming in this big, yet light-bodied Wit. Citrusy freshness abounds with a clean peppery finish.”
Capitulation Dry-Hopped Tripel – “What do you do when customers say “I love hoppy beers”? Well, if you’re any other brewery you might brew 6 different IPA’s for them to choose from, but if you’re Monkless, you capitulate, and dry hop your classic Belgian Tripel. We took one of our favorite beers, The Trinity, and dry hopped it to add a blast of flowery, citrusy hop aroma.”
Pour Pour Pitiful Me Quadruple – “This girl has been through it! Aged and fermented over cherries to produce a ripe and full flavor profile, this brilliant Belgian-style quad is rich with deep, dark fruits and just sings in the glass.”
Brother’s Bier Belgian Single – “If you know Monkless, you know we’re not known for brewing small beers – that said, we wanted a clean sessionable beer to share as the warm summer months approached us. We were inspired by the Trappist tradition of the Belgian Single. Brother’s Bier is a SMaSH beer brewed from Pilsen malt and Sterling hops, and fermented to a nice dry finish with our traditional Trappist yeast strain. A late hop addition of Sterling adds a bit of spicy, citrusy hop aroma and flavor to the quintessential fruity-spicy yeast character of a classic Belgian Single.”
Only two months left in this dreadful year and maybe the twin holidays of a Thanksgiving and Christmas will raise the spirits. Speaking of the latter, as per BSP tradition, I will begin posting Christmas beer labels after Turkey Day. Have a great month!
~ e-visits to (3) breweries from GABF medal winning breweries
~ special featured reviews of the (3) Black Tuesday variants in their virtual tasting box.
~Heads-Up on Los Angeles Beer Events (Far in the future events)
~ Three suggested beers to buy this month. One light, one medium and one dark
~ A Book & A Beer reads The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
~ A Podcast & A Beer listens to You’re Wrong About
~ Great Beer names and Best Beers of the Month
~ I will tap the Firkin and give my no holds barred opinion on the craft beer world.
Our final stop of October is in St. Petersburg and the Knightberg Brewery.
Let’s see what’s beers that I would sample here…
Scary Pumpkin Ale – “The most autumnal type of beer, brewed in a limited edition together with the concert agency Infinity Concert especially for the “Scariest Halloween” festival.”
Pilsner – “Classic single malt pilsner, which is the base beer for our famous Zhigulevsky.”
Cherry Ale – “A light, refreshing variety with fruity sourness, malt-berry sweetness and cherry stone tartness. The original flavor and aroma comes from a special strain of ale yeast used for the production of lambics and screams.”
Baltic Porter – “For many years the Baltic porter has been the pride and hallmark of our brewery. Created long before the craft boom, ahead of its time, it still remains the standard of style for many. Bright, full grain flavor from roasted malt, light sweetness, moderate bitterness and wine notes in the palate create the perfect bouquet for connoisseurs of dense dark beers.”
Off to St. Petersburg and our second stop in Russia, AF Brew. If you looked at their list of beers, you would think some hip US brewer was manning the kettles. Hazies and sours and imperial stouts abound.
Here is what I would put into a first taster tray…
Black IPA with Warrior and Chinook hops, Bus 22 Czech Pilsner, Double Chocolate Banana Cake Imperial Stout, Hangover Sap NE IPA and then to round it out, Sour Diesel Therapy a fruit and field beer.
First NJ flight is in Denville at the excellently named Fort Nonsense Brewing Company. The name derives from part of the Morristown HQ for George Washington that included “Continental Store”, Fort Nonsense and Camp Jockey Hollow.
Let’s dive into what I might choose for a taster tray…
Benedict Amber Traitor Ale – “Malt forward and moderate hop profile.”
In Full Effect IPA – “Brewed and DDH with Simcoe, Amarillo, and Citra hops.”
Arnold’s Tavern Porter – “A roasty brew with chocolate notes.”
Project Lola Pilsner – “This crisp, 5.4% lager has a strong malt character with a citrus finish.”
Next stop is New Jersey to e-visit Axe & Arrow.
Let’s dive into a possible taster tray…
Meat Sweats Chile Beer – “collab brew conjured up with a little help from our friends at Three 3’s, Cross Keys, and Core 3. Chili spices and peppers were added to pack just a little heat ”
Frostbite White IPA – “This hybrid beer style combines a Belgian wit beer with a floral , tropical IPA. The Mosaic and Amarillo hops combined with the yeast really produce a unique and highly crushable beer.”
The Axe DIPA – “Lighter body and maltiness with pronounce citrus notes in aroma and flavor. Moderately high bitterness from beginning to end with a clean finish.”
The Arrow IPA – “Medium body with a slightly higher maltiness subdued by a strong but not overpowering bitterness with lots of earthy and piney notes. Strong initial bitterness that gently fades.”
First up in our three part trip around the US is the Civilian Brewing Corps from Spencer, Indiana.
Not a lot of pun filled or fancy names and refreshing to see some older, less seen on tap styles.
Here are my initial taster tray choices: Dry Hopped Wit, then the Noble Red made with Noble hops, Belgian IPA, Altbier and then finish it off with a hearty Weizenbock.