James’ 30th Birthday Beers

Totally forgot to post these bad boys. Pretty epic lineup of bottles for James’ 30th birthday. Check it:

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Lost Abbey / Port Brewing and Sours at Lord Hobo


Lord Hobo was unfortunately a much quicker stop than I intended. I wish I had more time there to have a few sours but I just didn’t have time before heading to the Night of the Funk. I was happy they opened up early that day and I was able to stop by at all.

As you can see there was a pretty killer selection of sours there and if I had the chance and was there to split the bottles with friends I would have tried them all. As it turns out, the previous night was their The Lost Abbey / Port Brewing tap takeover and there were plenty of beers I would probably never see again on draft in my lifetime. I had a tough decision to make: sours or Lost Abbey.

As the sours they intended to have on draft that afternoon weren’t on yet, and the ones they had in bottles I figured I might be able to find again (maybe the next time I’m at Lord Hobo, even) I went with some Lost Abbey Deliverance; it sounded too nuts not to:

A blend of bourbon barrel-aged Serpent’s Stout and brandy barrel-aged Angels Share, Deliverance is the epic battle being waged between heaven and hell for the souls of mortal men… and your enjoyment in a glass.

Let’s face it, there was no way for this beer to go other than exceptional. There’s tons of stuff going on with this beer: Dark fruits are very apparent with a bit of chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and caramel. It’s all over the place really, but it works very well. I’m definitely happy with my choice of the one beer I was able to have while I was there.

Before I even ordered a beer I noticed a few friendly faces from Hill Farmstead and Great South Bay. I already showed you guys Sean’s tattoo (although I did find out he has moved on from Great South Bay), and Shaun Hill and his crew were there having a few beers before heading over to the Cyclorama. I stopped over to BS with Shaun for a bit, and we got talking about what my potential options were for the Hill Farmstead Harvest Weekend.

Since we were going up to VT the night before the festival, we had a few different things we could do that night. Blackback Pub was definitely on my list, as they often times have more Hill Farmstead on tap than the brewery does, and it would be nice to check off a few beers that we weren’t going to get at the festival. Obviously, Prohibition Pig is right across the street from Blackback and was in the running as well, considering how great of an experience I had there last time. I’ve also seen some really great reviews of Hen of the Wood, which while not a beer bar, does have some great stuff from Hill Farmstead and other Shelton Brothers beers. Lastly, The Beer and Cheese Maven (Ruth Miller) offered to put together a tasting if we stayed at a bed and breakfast or lodge with suitable space to hold the group. It was a tough decision for me to make, but when I put them up to Shaun he was adamant that Hen of the Wood needed to happen. He was insistent that I go and make the reservation that second. Who was I to say no? (Hint: it ended up being one of the best, if not the best dinner I’ve ever been to.)

I had a tough time pulling myself away from Lord Hobo. I finished my Deliverence, said goodbye to friends and made my way to Night of the Funk. So far, the weekend was going much better than I could have ever expected…

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.

StoutFest at Armsby Abbey

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:

The Brews:

The Eats:

  • 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.