I've had this beer once before, and it cost me $40... Well, I think the check actually got split at the end of the night, but there was definitely a charge on there for one (1) $40 bottle of The Bruery's Autumn Maple on there somewhere. It was after a long drive from Kansas City to Denver, followed by more than a couple rounds of beers at Falling Rock and then another round or two at Euclid Hall... so my recollection is a little hazy, but I remember thinking this was the best fall beer I'd ever had. That was a year ago, almost to the day. This bottle of Autumn Maple has been in my basement for a couple weeks now and I've been eagerly awaiting a 60 degree fall day so I'd have a good reason to crack it open.
I like a good Berliner Weisse, but my options in the middle of the US are quite limited. I had my first Berliner Weisse in Berlin back in 2006 when I was living in Germany. It wasn't my favorite style at first, I tended to stick with Wiezens and really despised Radler, but Berliner Weisses grew on me. When I moved back to the states the closest thing I could find locally a summer seasonal Shandy, and I'm really not that keen on ginger... A friend of mine from Berlin recently came to visit and brought a bottle of Berliner Kindl with him. I was elated to say the least.
There are very few reasons I would every willingly go to Wisconsin. The winters are cold there, they eat a lot cheese there and I always get the state confused with Minnesota for some reason. Wisconsin just isn't high on my list of places to see before I'm dead. That's the way it was... before I had some of the great beers from New Glarus. I've had just about every year round beer from New Glarus, and plenty of one offs as well, but I was never able to get a bottle of Wisconsin Belgian Red all to myself until now. I've had this beer once before, in a very tiny tasting glass and I swore it was the best beer I'd ever had.
I don't bring many Unibroue beers home with me. In fact, I've only written about one other Unibroue beer and that was over two years ago. I hold Unibroue is pretty high regard and often order a Unibroue when I'm out at a restaurant with a decent selection. For some reason though I tend to glance over the Quebec section when I'm at the liquor store. This bottle of Quelque Chose caught my eye yesterday, probably because it looked unfamiliar. I don't think I've ever heard of this beer before and the bottle text convinced me it was worth taking home. The Quelque Chose is a Dark Ale and Brown Ale blend brewed with cherries.
I stumbled upon this bottle of Dogfish Head Red & White a couple weeks ago while visiting Colorado. I wasn't really seeking this beer out, and never thought I'd have an opportunity to try it. So, I really knew nothing about this beer going in to it... The label says this is an ale brewed with coriander, orange peel and Pinot Noir juice. Sounds interesting enough, like a Witbier with red wine grapes added. At 10% alcohol by volume, the Red & White will definitely be the strongest Witbier I've ever had and with the Pinot Noir juice & barrel aging, this has got to be the most complex as well.
Oops. It's been about seven months since I brought this beer home. I didn't intend to "age" it... I just kind of forgot about it. It was tucked away in the basement behind some 750ml bottles that won't mind sitting around for a while. A Prickly Pear Braggot though, that's not really the kind of beer you should keep waiting for too long. I'm hoping the past few months have been kind to this beer, but I'll understand if it has grown a little tired of waiting on me. Sorry about that...
Schlafly's Raspberry Coffee Stout was released this past summer, an odd time of year to release a dark Coffee Stout. Not being a fan of coffee flavored beer during any season, I didn't pay too much attention to it, at least not until I got to sample a glass of this limited release at a fall beer festival. This beer was surprisingly light, it's only 7% alcohol, and there wasn't an overly bitter coffee flavor to it. This was the kind of coffee beer I could get behind. I tried to get my hands on a full bottle but the first run was pretty limited and it seemed to sell out really fast, so I was surprised on Christmas morning when I tore through my presents to find a bottle of Schlafly Raspberry Coffee Stout.
Dogfish Head makes a lot of interesting beers. Unfortunately, not a single one of their beers, interesting or otherwise, makes it to my neck of the woods. Dogfish Head Fort is a big beer that I'd only heard of in passing and certainly wasn't expecting to ever procure a bottle of it, but here we are... I picked up a couple bottles of Fort in Denver a few weeks back and decided to open one up this afternoon. Having known virtually nothing about this beer ahead of time, I didn't really plan ahead. All I knew is that this beer was brewed with raspberries, that's it... the bottle doesn't really give any other specifics. As I sat down with my glass of Fort I started doing the usual research and found out that this beer has a Belgian base at its heart and is considered the world's strongest fruit beer at 18% ...yup, 18% alcohol. I'm definitely surprised, but I'm not deterred...
The way I heard the story behind this beer is that Eric was a lowly junior brewer at New Belgium and this was his Longshot moment (a la Sam Adams). This was relayed to me by someone who claims to have heard it first hand while on tour in Fort Collins, so make of that what you will. What I do know for a fact is that this beer is an ale aged on wood for "up to three years" and fermented with peach juice. All of that sounds great... but not all of that comes through in the end.
I debated whether or not to include this as one of this year's Jingle Beers because there isn't anything terribly festive about an Oatmeal Stout that's been spiked with blueberries. Since Buffalo Bill's Brewery only releases this during the winter months I figured I'd go ahead and include it anyways. Oatmeal Stouts are great, hearty beers with thick textures and dark flavors... so I'm not sure exactly how the addition of tart blueberries would work here. When I was pouring this beer I just about forgot that what was so special about it. This beer looks like a plain stout, it's black with a thin off-white head. When I went in closer I could smell those blueberries rolling out of the pint glass.