One of my favorite beers of 2010 was Bell's Batch 9000. It was a beer that tasted like nothing I'd had before. It was extremely rich, sweet and strong. I only had one six pack of the Batch 9000 and those bottles didn't last very long between sharing and my own gluttony, so it seemed like the 9,000 was gone before I got to fully appreciate it. I wanted more, but there simply wasn't any... Here we are, 8 months later, and Bell's final batch series beer is out on shelves. I jumped at the chance to get two six packs of the Batch 10,000 before it too was gone forever.
Deschutes is a name that comes up quite often when we talk about breweries that don't sell their beers in our state. Deschutes has a reputation of making very desirable beers, none of which I've been able to obtain before a couple months ago. Since then I've had a Mirror Pond, Hop in the Dark and Inversion IPA. I've been trying to keep an open mind about Deschutes but they seem to be a one trick brewery who's brewing philosophy seems to be, "PUT MORE HOPS IN IT!" In fairness, I haven't had a Deschutes beer that was too hoppy, but there's a common thread in all the beers I've had from Bend, Oregon...
Stouts are great. I often find that my one complaint with Stouts are that they are a little too dark, too roasted and just too bitter for my tastes. What I like about the Cream Stout and Milk Stout styles are is the added lactose sugar really mellows out the big harsh malts. Bell's Double Cream Stout sounds like it could be the best idea since Left Hand Milk Stout if it really is twice as sweet or twice as creamy as some of the other Cream Stouts I've had before. I'm a little apprehensive because it is possible to have too much of a good thing, I'm not looking for a dark chocolate beer... I still want there to be plenty of Stout in this Double Cream Stout.
I had a serious amount of trepidation about picking up a bottle of Dogfish Sah'tea. I've never had anything with Gin or juniper berries before that I've actually liked. I beer with juniper berries as a main ingredient is a tough sell for me. Sah'tea is also brewed with black chai, which is something I really like quite a lot, so I figured to take a gamble and buy a bottle. Actually, I bought two... you know, just in case. This wasn't the smartest bet I'd ever made but I was hoping maybe this would be the first juniper brewed beer that I'd actually enjoy.
Old Chub. It just sounds familiar, not to mention hilarious... Oskar Blues is yet another brewery that doesn't distribute to my neck of the woods. I had to make a trip out to Longmont a couple months ago in order to get my hands on their beer. I've heard a lot of good things about Oskar Blues and I was really looking forward to picking up some of their beers. I'd heard a few people say Oskar Blues' beer is pretty pricey so I planned on only picking up a few of their more highly regarded beers. The first Oskar Blues I bought on this trip was a case of Old Chub.
Bell's brews some pretty great beer. I can't think of anything from Bell's that I genuinely didn't enjoy. Then again, Bell's brews some expensive beer as well. So there are a lot of beers from Kalamazoo that just don't make it into my fridge. Each time I drink a pint of Bell's I think to myself, "I need to drink more of this, it's really quite good." For some reason though, I never follow through on it. This bottle of Consecrator Doppelbock, for example, has been sitting in the basement for a year. I haven't been waiting for a special occasion or anything, I've just been busy with other beers. Other beers that aren't as good as what I've had from Bell's.
I've been looking forward to this beer for longer than I care to admit. Infinium is the product of a collaboration between Sam Adams and Weihenstephaner. When I first read that these two breweries were going to collaborate on a beer I was intrigued to say the least. I'm not crazy about many of the Sam Adams beers but they do make solid beer that occasionally tickles my fancy. Weihenstephaner on the other hand, they make what may just be the best Weissbier in the world. Hearing that they were going to brew an entirely new style of beer is what really made it interesting...
Storm King has a reputation that other brewers would kill for. Before I knew who Victory was I'd heard of a great Imperial Stout named Storm King. Victory doesn't distribute to my part of the country so I remained in the dark until recently. After returning from a trip to a far away beer market I found myself in possession of six Storm King bottles. The Stout family of beers has certainly grown on me over the past few years and I've eagerly awaited a cold wintery night to open up this 9.1% alcohol Imperial Stout. The Storm King's bottle says it is a seasonal release and there is a remarkable amount of hops packed into this beer. Suddenly, I'm a bit less excited...
This first time I had Raison D'Être was in Vegas. I've been to Vegas twice, the trips were a decade apart. After the end of the first day back in Vegas I thought to myself, "Alright, I've had enough of Vegas for another ten years..." There's something very temporary about Vegas, probably all the fake architecture or fake parties. I did my best to find decent craft beer on the strip but it was harder than you'd expect. The macro brew over-saturation was disappointing but not nearly as bad as Sin City Brewing. It says a lot about your craft brewery when you offer four styles and one is a Light... We finally found a couple quality beer places by the second day and the first decent beer I had in Vegas was Dogfish's Raison D'Être.
Stone is one brewer who's beers I was just not in a hurry to try. They're beers seem too gimmicky to me. Each one is hoppier and more bitter than the last. Arrogance just doesn't appeal to me, especially when it comes to be. I've only had a handful of Stone beers before because they don't distribute to this part of the country and I haven't really went out of my way to procure any more than those few. What I've had wasn't bad, but it wasn't something I'd drink regularly if it were readily available. I did enjoy Stone's collaboration with Nøgne Ø and Jolly Pumpkin but didn't expect to find much of that beer in the rest of the Stone line up because it was Christmas seasonal collaboration. Nonetheless, I'm keeping an open mind and hoping for something a little less arrogant as I pour myself a glass of Cali-Belgique.