If you followed me on social media last week you know it was pretty epic week of beer and food. Let’s break it down real quick:
Not really going to get into details here but it was pretty amazing to see like-minded beer geeks stretching from NYC, Buffalo, Northern VT, Portland and everywhere in between gather at Lord Hobo for just some incredible beer and their always awesome lineup of food. Extremely happy to have been apart of that.
The next day some friends in MA were getting together for a small Cigar City focused bottle share. I knew I was going to be in rough shape from the previous night’s celebration but I decided to hydrate, find some grub and join in on the share anyway. The guys had gone to Carl’s Oxford Diner earlier that day so I decided to follow suit. I was absolutely unprepared for what I was walking into.
I saw a few of the orders come out while I was deciding on what to get for breakfast and the portion sizes were absolutely overwhelming; I don’t think I saw a single person leave without a to go bag. I ordered a breakfast sandwich thinking it was going to be smaller than some of the other dishes I saw going out. This is what was put in front of me instead:
“Absurd” would be the best way to describe the sandwich. I cut off the ends and did some damage to the middle of the sandwich but there was no way I was finishing this beast. You would usually catch some flack from the chef for not finishing your meal, but I was given a pass when I said I had a long day of drinking ahead of me.
After breakfast I headed on over to the bottle share and while Cigar City was the reason for the get together it was hardly the star of the show. That title was easily stolen by Cantillon Loerik.
Loerik was interesting because it doesn’t drink like your typical vintage Cantillon. It was much lighter in carbonation, milder acidity, and tamer in signature Cantillon funk. The 2001 St. Lamvinus we had in comparison was much closer to what I’m used to in these older vintages, especially regarding that bright effervescence typical of the style. Still, Loerik was unique in it’s own right and to ever be able to experience the beer I am extremely grateful. Thank you Francois for the extreme generosity.
As I was on my way home and still had a couple of hours ahead of me (with a brief pit stop at Tree House) I was not sticking around the bottle share the whole day. I was however able to knock off a few more Cigar City beers I have been meaning to try while I was there and all were exceptional.
On our only night off together last week Elise and I decided to go out to one of our favorite date night spots, DP Brasserie. Some of you may know I debated on grabbing a glass of Pappy Van Winkle while I was there just to make the week even that more over the top, but after going back and forth a few times I decided to pass. We stuck with the specials that night for both appetizers and our mains, which were phenomenal and the service was impeccable as always.
Friday really should have been a rest day with Saturday being a travel day and StoutFest, but with an impromptu call to arms for Mike’s birthday we opened a few special bottles that afternoon. Norma, Peche N Brett, and Sahalie were drinking amazing as always, and I was extremely happy to get to try one of the last Sakolsky-era Blue Lobster Beers, Broke Ass Hobbie (even with the label controversy).
Stupidly, shortly after Mike’s birthday beers Brobro decided to come over and make something happen that we have been talking about for a while now: Double Barrel Night. Had this been on a night when I could stay up later, or we had more people, perhaps some variants of these beers would have been opened with them, but for two people the three beers were more than enough. Given that Double Barrel Jesus is a blend of rye and bourbon barrels, it’s no surprise it came in at third place for both of us. It’s tough to say which of the double barrel Hunahpu or Damon was better, given that Damon was much smoother, much more well balanced and drinkable of the two, but Hunahpu was so much more flavorful and over the top, almost to a fault. I think that’s where Hill Farmstead beer shine is that while they are producing beer like Double Barrel Damon, it’s never so overdone that you’d only want to drink a 4 oz pour of it, whereas with Double Barrel Hunahpu, we were both struggling to finish our 12 ounce glasses because it was so rich and decadent. Had we had these during a typical bottle share where most people only get 4 oz pours, I might lean towards Hunahpu being better of the two, but in perspective of how we drank it that night, I feel like I have to say I preferred Damon.
The last big event of the week was of course heading out to Armsby Abbey for the the Founders Breakfast and the StoutFest that follows. I’ve been doing StoutFest for a couple of years now (my first trip was back when I started this blog back in early 2012) but this was the first time I’ve been able to experience Founders Breakfast, and this is likely the last time we’ll see this breakfast in this incarnation unless Founders makes CBS again in 2015. Like most meals at Armsby, the dishes are always innovative, the beer is always the most sought after and the experiencing always amazing. The lamb belly was outstanding but the fatty, savory dessert really blew my mind. Nothing sweet about the whole dish and I absolutely loved it. Even before the courses came out we were able to get our first tastes of Alec’s newest venture, Crust Bakeshop, with samplings of their muffins, scones and incredible croissants (plus I was able to grab some of the last of the Trillium IPA bread before we headed home, as well).
Lastly we made another stop to Tree House, this time to for Elise to check out the new location and to fill up on Green, That’s What She Said and their newest beer, East Hill. (We cracked growlers of East Hill last night at The Bier Abbey, and I gotta say it’s an extremely light, refreshing hoppy pale that will be perfect for the upcoming warmer weather. I hope they make this again soon.) This was an absolutely beautiful way to end, in reference to my craft beer and food experiences, the Best Week Ever.