The closest place that I knew who had HT was Manchester Discount Beverage (it turns out that Bennington Beverage Outlet has it, too, but I didn’t find out about that until I got home last night and their inventory isn’t online like MDB, either). I sent them a quick FB message to make sure they had it in stock, and they assured me that they just picked up fresh Heady Topper on Thursday, and they even had some Celia Saison I’ve been meaning to give a shot.
Obviously I can’t go to a bottle shop and not grab some shit I haven’t had yet. So Me and The Mule set out after work yesterday to go stock up on whatever the hell else was worth picking up. The score:
The Alchemist Heady Topper x infinity – obv
The Alchemist Celia Saison x 2 – I think most gluten-free beers taste like assholes so maybe this one will change my mind
Founders Old Curmudgeon x 2 – never had, but it’s Founders. C’mon.
Founders Imperial Stout x 4 – both this and FOC will go well when I break open my CBS and do a Founders tasting night
Maine Moe – haven’t had yet but all of Maine’s beers are phenom
Maine Mean Old Tom – Elise should love this stout aged with vanilla beans
Stone Vertical Epic 10.10.10 – I have 11.11.11 so when 12.12.12 comes out I’ll at least have a three year vertical. Not much but better than nothin’, right?
Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon – Solid RIS that I just haven’t had yet
Allagash FOUR – I could have swore I picked this up but maybe I shelved it because it didn’t fit budget. I don’t see it in the pic, I’ll have to check back later. After drinking that Allagash Curieux I’m pretty much full-mast any time I see Allagash as long as it doesn’t have brettanomyces added, which make beers taste like full-blown AIDS.
The rest not listed here was Merc’s. After we were accosted by a stereotypical dirty Vermont Hippie (“Camping? You must mean car camping. That’s almost like real camping.”) we left there and headed to Madison Brewing Company for some pretty uneventful beers and pretty uneventful venison and bison burgers. Took a few pics there, maybe I’ll post them later. Maybe not.
All I can say is “WOW”. This place really impressed me. Even if Armsby Abbey didn’t have an incredible selection of stouts on tap I would have walked away with the same feeling. The stouts were just icing on the cake.
I couldn’t possible try all of the food and beers they had on tap for StoutFest but what I did try were impeccable. Here’s the skinny:
Breakfast Slate – Point and Ryes Blue and House Smoked Chevre from Crystal Brook Farm served with local Wildflower Honey from Honey, Etc., Housemade Breads, Cultured Butter from Vermont, House made Preserves and House Roasted Peanut Butter.
Hash – Adams Farm Braised Chuck, Carrots and Spring Ramps, Spring Onion, Soubise, 145 degree Local organic Eggs from Gibson’s Dairy Farm, Currant Gastrique
Bacon – Thick slices of our House Cured and Smoked Bacon made with Heritage Pork Belly from Adams Farm
Let’s get the beer out of the way: we didn’t have a bad beer here. I’m pretty sure all of them are rated 90 or above anyway, some creeping up to or at 100. I actually have all three of the Founders Breakfast Stouts in my cellar, I’ve just been waiting for the right day to crack them open and share with friends (need some more FBS and KBS before that happens). Since those beers are sitting in my cellar, I haven’t actually tried any of them and StoutFest was my first time enjoying them.
I’m not going to review every beer we had at StoutFest, but I will talk a little bit about the Founders beers as that was the main draw for me to travel to Worcester for the event. These beers are fantastic. FBS is your typical Imperial Coffee Stout. And by typical I mean awesome. Extremely drinkable with plenty of coffee and chocolate notes. KBS tastes like someone dumped a bottle of bourbon into a keg of FBS (some may think the bourbon flavor is too much, but I loved it). The CBS is very similar to KBS but with the bourbon flavor cut down a bit, a lot more creaminess and some molasses/vanilla sweetness picking up where the bourbon left off. Way more drinkable than the KBS in my opinion and the best beer of the day.
Now let’s talk about the food. We ate breakfast at a place called Mrs. Murphy’s in Southwick, MA as it was right around the corner from my latest Craiglist steal. (The Boston Cream doughnuts are on par with Balla Napoli.) Anyways, we weren’t that hungry but there was no way we weren’t going to grab some food at Armsby Abbey while we were all the way out there.
We waited until after we ordered our second flight to order something. Bacon was a must because seriously the cure and smoke it in house. How could I not order it? Elise wanted the cheese board, which when I saw the description looked pretty skimpy but when it came out I was impressed. Everything on the slate was delicious. The hash was definitely the fancy-pants-iest hash I’ve ever seen, and while I do generally like comfort food like hash un-fucked-with, the chef’s interpretation of this dish was great and it worked extremely well overall.
My experience at Armsby Abbey was pretty amazing. Food rocked. Beers were awesome. Place looks fantastic. Even has some outside dining we didn’t get a chance to take advantage of, but will. Please give me another excuse to drive all the way out to Worcester again and then take all of my money. Thank you.
Founders KBS hasn’t been the easiest to get, especially when it hit shelves while I was on vacation. This just means I’ll have to set up a few trades before I get the amount of KBS and FBS I want to do a Founders tasting, with the coup de grâce being the bomber of CBS, which I still haven’t tried. Good thing Heady Topper isn’t too hard to come by around here and makes for easy trades. Thanks to NoLeafClover44 for this beer mail!
PS. Armsby Abbey is having their annual Founders Breakfast and StoutFest this weekend. I’ve been assured that after the Founders Breakfast there will still be FBS, KBS, CBS, and Imperial Stout on tap, and they’re tapping another four kegs the following morning at 10AM.
@fujii13 yes all 4 will still be on.Then on Sunday I’m tapping another round of CBS,FBS,KBS & Imp Stout for 10am open