So yesterday was one of those trips that started as a small, innocent beer run over to to Night Shift to pick up Elise’s Barrel Society bottles and the newly released Mainer Weisse (one of our absolute favorite beers of 2012). And then I said to myself “Well… Blue lobster still has bottles of their Berliner and and their Prairie collab on shelves, couldn’t hurt to swing up there while I’m at it”. It still didn’t seem too bad of a day at that point. But then the hits kept coming. Allagash decided to release a new Coolship beer. Jack’s Abby unleashes Baby Maker. And the the big one: Hill Farmstead was finally putting CD7 on the shelves. That was the one that threw me for the biggest loop since while the others were almost on the route back home from Allagash, Hill Farmstead was 3.5 hours out of the way. Still, I had to try to work it into my day.
Over the winter while we were up in Portland for Zwanze Day we got the chance to to hit up Allagash after Maine Beer Co. and nice visit at New England Distilling Co. Although Upstate NY doesn’t get much Allagash love, I’ve had plenty of their beer on my travels and they’ve been one of my favorite all around breweries for a long while, from the core lineup to their special releases.
Well, we survived the packing party (barely). Yesterday Team New England drove in from all parts of the Northeast to drink, pack, eat, and drink some more. George, long-time BA, owner of The Bier Abbey and Team New England member graciously hosted us in the private room and kept the goods coming all night. We were missing team members from NH, VT and NY but still got the job done. Continue Reading →
Another great get together with the crew, with some of our recent hauls, some beers Richard brought back from his trip to Seattle and Bill’s birthday beers. This was our first tasting since I finally cleaned up the basement enough to have some beers down there. I have a few stools, a nice 8 foot kitchen prep table I’m using as a makeshift “bar”. The beer cellar is repaired, we’ve got this nice water jug/dump bucket system going (although I really want to get a glass rinser but I don’t think that is in the cards for a while) and I should have a couple more glass racks installed in the ceiling by week’s end. Plus the card table, surround sound system, and the dart board that folds into the ceiling I’ve had for a while now. I’m pretty happy with how the man cave “tasting room” is shaping up.
So after a pretty successful night of running around with Mike, we went back to Chez Fuj and met up with the rest of the guys and a couple of friends of Bill’s from NJ. The lineup for the night:
- Tsunami Stout by The Pelican Pub & Brewery
- Madame Rose (2012) by Goose Island Beer Co.
- The Cowboy by Evil Twin Brewing – pretty much locks in my hatred of smoked beers
- Oude Tart by The Bruery – delish, like all Bruery sours
- Meadowlark IPA by Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project – absolutely fantastic. Glad Bill brought this one to share, been meaning to try it for a while/
- Curieux by Allagash Brewing Company – long time fave since first having it back in May. Richard hadn’t had it yet so I broke this one out from my Birthday Beers from Elise.
- Hop 15 Ale by Port Brewing Company
- Horny Devil by AleSmith Brewing Company – meh. Other than Speedway Stout and their IPAs not much has impressed me from AleSmith.
- Survival 7-Grain Stout by Hopworks Urban Brewery – very solid, just like the IPA goofybear sent me
- Sled Dog Trippelbock by Wagner Valley Brewing Company
- Beer Hop Breakfast by Mikkeller
- Black Hole Barrel Aged Bourbon by Mikkeller
- Femme Fatale Brett by Evil Twin Brewing – Can’t get enough of this beer, really. Evil twin is killing it.
- Rye Hopper Ale by French Broad Brewing Co.
- Declaration by Backlash Beer Company
- Fat Scotch Ale by Silver City Brewing Co. – Dave’s 500th unique Untappd beer
- Tripel Threat by Cambridge Brewing Co.
- Luscious by The Alchemist Pub & Brewery – my 500th unique Untappd beer
- Head Hunter IPA by Fat Head’s Brewery
- Winema Wit by The Pelican Pub & Brewery (Oregon)
- Gandhi-Bot by New England Brewing Co.
- Vampire Slayer by Clown Shoes
- Aphrodisiaque by Brasserie Dieu du Ciel
- Black Butte Porter by Deschutes Brewery
Other than Luscious, which we only incidentally opened because of Untappd, I don’t think any beer stood out as the clear “best beer of the night” or anything. A lot of really solid beers here, of all different types so it’s tough to compare. Fat Head’s never ceases to surprise me with that IPA, same with that Meadowlark. Black Butte was great, as was Curieux, Oude Tart and Madame Rose. No complaints here.
Richard acting a damn fool.
Dave showcasing pretty much how everyone felt by the end of the night morning.
Allagash Coolship Red Availability Announced
—According to Allagash’s Faceebook page, Coolship Red is now on their shelves. Man, you guys couldn’t wait until Zwanze Day weekend could you? Hopefully there are still some left when I get there on Friday. Or maybe one of you Maine beer nerds wanna hook me up??
This gallery contains 1 photo.
Allagash Black Nightcap After The Bier Abbey
— Hadn’t had this yet and I just narrowly missed it while at The Bier Abbey last night before the keg got kicked, so I decided to open up my bottle when I got home. Like everything that comes out of Allagash Brewing, it was exceptional.
Still got some stellar brews at the Abbey though including some La Grande 10 by Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles, Bellhop Porter by Evil Twin Brewing, Rosée d’Hibiscus by Brasserie Dieu du Ciel (thanks Jeremy), and Mad Dog by Evil Twin Brewing. Not to mention the best god damn house battered chicken tenders in the Capital District (ask for extra mustard, though). AND I got to avoid all of the Halloween bullshit. Pretty good night.
This gallery contains 1 photo.
Sour Beer Tasting with Merc
- After a failed attempt at disc golf due to weather and a few beers with grub over at The Bier Abbey, we decided to head back to Chez Fuj to open up a few gems that Merc had brought along to open since he was not gong to be around for the birthday shit show. (Jon showed up mid-tasting committing Merc’s most mortal sin: showing up with no beers at all. He’ll pay dearly for this in the future, I’m sure.)
I’m really just dipping my toes into sours right now (although I’m going to get a baptism by fire at Night of the Funk, I’m sure) so after telling him how much I enjoyed my first Duchesse De Bourgogne the prior weekend, he picked out a few sours from his cellar that would be fit to my liking.
- Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus
- The Lost Abbey Cuvee De Tomme
- The Lost Abbey Red Poppy Ale
- Allagash Old HLT
All of the beers were fantastic. To my sour-newb palate most were very similar, varying only slightly in appearance. As for taste, they all had tart cherries present. The Cuvee De Tomme was aged in bourbon-barrels, and while the bourbon added a flavor the differentiated it from the rest of the beers that night, it didn’t improve the beer for me. Actually, the bourbon kinda took away from the tartness experience a little bit and I preferred the other beers. The Cantillon was my fave, but I’ll admit I’m a bit of a Cantillon fanboy these days.
We cracked open a few other beers through the night including some Alchemist Heretic (this hasn’t aged well), Heady Topper and Chatham Bourbon Barrel Brown, a beer we didn’t get a chance to try from the last Doom Saloon tasting. Of the two BA beers from Chatham, the 8 Barrel is the clear winner.
This gallery contains 5 photos
This is without a doubt my favorite part of the BCTC experience. Belgian after Belgian after Belgian gets old pretty quick (for me) these days so it’s good to take a break from it all and start drinking something different. That plus walking around meeting new people who are willing to share a beer and food, dropping in on other friend’s camp sites, watching the movie and the fireworks all make for a really great night.
We started the night drinking some really great beers, eating a shit ton of brats in sauerkraut, and ended the morning around 6AM drinking pretty much anything that still had liquid in it (several times I was chugging a magnum of Jameson, ugh). Yes, we were “those guys” who were being complained to “take it down a notch”. Yeah, that didn’t really work out, and pretty much all of the other stragglers that were still up at any of the campsites within earshot (and further) came over to hang out and kinda just made things louder. Honestly this was the best time I’ve ever had at BCTC and I thank all who were there to hang out.
Thanks to Mike, Jon, Scott Jr., and Adam for sharing!
The lineup of the night:
- King Henry – Goose Island Beer Co.
- 2008 Bourbon County Brand Stout – Goose Island Beer Co.
- Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout – Goose Island Beer Co.
- Juliet – Goose Island Beer Co.
- Curieux - Allagash Brewing Company (not pictured)
- Imperial Milk Porter (Stranahan Whiskey Barrel Aged) – Cigar City Brewing
- Frangelic Mountain Brown – Founders Brewing Company
- Three Penny Especiale – Lawson’s Finest Liquids
- Bourbon Barrel Backburner - Southern Tier Brewing Company (not pictured growler)
This gallery contains 10 photos
Independence Day at The Prohibition Pig
The last time I’d walked into this building was late last year. The appearance and the emotions were a little different that day. Back then, it was still called “The Alchemist Pub & Brewery” but it was only a shell of its former self. Irene had taken her toll on both the pub and the suds in the basement. I was there to pick up bottles of their “Hell or High Water” beers, which were the only beers left of the former Alchemist. I grabbed my case of beers, a shirt and was on my way; the first and only time I’d ever been in “The Alchemist”. Today, it’s known as the Prohibition Pig and walking in the same door sets a completely different tone.
Chalk-board art and even some news articles alluding to it’s past adorn the walls of The Pig. The bar on the right and the dining area are separated by a wall that greets you on your left. Like usual, we sat at the bar to chat up the bartender and get our fill of stories from the locals.
The bar, while dark, was beautiful. The taps (serving an impeccable tap list, by the way) were saddled by two huge bookshelves complete with a library ladder featuring all of the spirits used to make their impressive cocktail list. This was my first time seeing Heady Topper on tap and I couldn’t help myself but to do a Hill Farmstead Abner versus The Alchemist Heady Topper versus Lawson’s Finest Liquids comparison (pictured from left to right).
As much love as I have for Heady Topper, I gotta hand the win to Hill Farmstead. (I ended doing this same comparison with three other Hill Farmstead DIPAs later on this week again Heady Topper and Double Sunshine with a similar outcome. More on that to come.)
The problem with going to restaurants on trips like this is that I never have any idea when the next time I’m going to be back. (Sure I might be back in the area, but do I go back here or do I try another place like Hen of the Wood? Who knows.) Which leads to the question, do we get large main dishes or a bunch of small ones? Lately, it’s been the latter and I’m happier for it, since I get to try a larger array of dishes from the chef. Sometimes I get burned by this and don’t get to try something that only comes in a main dish, like the BBQ here at The Prohibition Pig. Oh well, the other dishes more than made up for it:
- Pork Cracklins - dusted with house spice blend
- Pretzel Knots - with Heady Topper mustard (yes Heady Topper mustard. You read that right)
- Panko Fried Pimento Cheese - with chili pepper jam
- Jumbo Crawfish Cake – with caper dill remoulade, field greens and diced peppers
- Vermont Cuban – with smoked pork shoulder, house Canadian bacon, shoulder bacon, Heady Topper mustard aioli, sliced pickles, and Vermont swiss
Let that lineup sink marinate in your head a little bit. It’s pretty impressive. They really knocked the food out of the park on this one. I absolutely LOVED the VT Cuban, and for only $11 it was worth every penny. Sadly, it started pouring rain and not knowing the situation with our campsite, our dinner ended rather rapidly. Well, not before sneaking in one last beer, a James Bean.
I’d never seen the beer before (only three other people had checked into it on Untappd at the time) and I assumed it was a leftover from a recent Allagash event. I LOVED Curieux the last time I had it and a coffee aged version definitely piqued my interest. It was a little strange getting so much coffee out of such a light colored beer. It was definitely a different beast than Curieux, and I suggest you try it if you ever get your hands on it. Some of the beer’s flavors are lost due to coffee overpowering them, but it’s a strangeness you just need to experience. (And the weirdness is done in a fashion where I’d drink this again, by the way, unlike some of the completely out their Dogfish Head beers.)
Plenty of beverage centers no longer carry Heady Topper due to shortages and their inability to pick up from The Cannery any longer. (I commented about this here.) This means those of us who used to only travel to Manchester or Bennington for their Heady Topper fix are now making our way to Waterbury instead. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t hesitate making a stop at the Prohibition Pig. Not only are you going to be able to get some Heady and some other great Vermont DIPAs on tap, the food here kicks ass (and is making salivate here writing this and looking at the pictures of this post). Go here!
This gallery contains 6 photos
Wow. Right before I cracked this bottle of Allagash Curieux someone told me the beer was “life changing” … and I tend to agree. It’s been awhile since Belgians have really excited me, given me a reason to want to rush right out and buy another. I feel like I probably overdid it with Belgian Tripels and Quads when I first started getting into craft beer (especially with Ommegang and their beer fest at my fingertips). So for me to crack out a tripel that not only do I genuinely enjoy, but totally floors me the way that today only the hoppiest DIPAs and biggest barrel-aged imperial stouts do is even more impressive.
The first thing you notice when you crack open the bottle is the huge bourbon/vanilla nose the beer gets from it’s aging process in Jim Beam barrels. This combo carries through to the flavor of the beer with some oak added and some fruity sweetness along with the usual character Belgian yeast adds to a beer. Like most Tripels, the drinkability of this 11% beer categorizes this as a ninja beer for me, because it’s going to sneak up you and knock you out.
I picked this up on our stop at Table & Vine on our way back from StoutFest and I couldn’t be happier that I did. This is an outstanding Tripel that’s restored my faith in Belgian-style ales, and merits a brewery visit the next time I’m in Maine.
This gallery contains 1 photo.