This is a beer I've wanted to try ever since I had my first sour ale. Rodenbach was a name that always came up when sour beers were discussed, so of course I wanted to get my hands on a bottle. Until recently I wasn't able to find Rodenbach anywhere, it was always out of stock or it just wasn't distributed to the area. All I really knew about this beer before I drank it was that it was held in very high regard by many people. It's name came up when talking about Flemish beers like Dutchess De Bourgogne but I wasn't sure just how similar they would be. I really enjoyed the Dutchess and I was hoping these two beers would be quite similar.
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.
This bottle of Three Floyds' Alpha King was actually a left over bottle from an afternoon beer gathering I attended a few weeks back. One of the guys had recently been in Chicago and brought back a couple bottles of Alpha King to share with the unfortunate masses here who aren't able to buy Three Floyds' right off the shelves. This was the fourth of about a dozen beers we had that after noon and I remember it being quite good. Hoppy but very very flavorful in a way that didn't rely on hoppy bitterness to get your attention. I've been holding off on opening this last bottle of Alpha King for some time, thinking that it wouldn't live up to what I remembered. Well, I've drank my way through about 3/4 of this bottle and I'm just going to put this right out there... Three Floyds' Alpha King is the best Pale Ale I've ever had.
My first experience with Ten Fidy was... different. Last fall I took a trip out to Denver, Longmont, Fort Collins, etc. I was making my way around north central Colorado, stopping at as many breweries as I could, when it came to my attention that Oskar Blues has a Firkin Friday even each week. Since I was in Longmont and it was Friday, I figured I should at least stop by and see what the big deal was. This week it was a blended barrel of Oskar Blues' Dale's Pale Ale and their Ten Fidy Imperial Stout. Interesting, a Pale Ale blended with an Imperial Stout? Sure, I'll try that at least once...
Weizenbocks always surprise me. This is a style that has everything one would look for in a Doppelbock; big malty flavor, rich sweetness and a higher alcohol content. Doppelbocks have all of that without being too heavy or too grainy. Wheat adds a nice full texture and a nice Weizen-like yeast component that, I think, really takes Weizenbocks to the next level. But, what about the NEXT next level? This bottle of Aventinus is a Doppel Weizenbock, so it should be twice as great as all those other Weizenbocks I've had, right? Oh, I hope so...
The long awaited return of Boulevard's Imperial Stout is nearly upon us (unless you live outside of Kansas City, in which case you can probably already find it at your local liquor store). The last batch of Imperial Stout was bottled in January 2008. It's a popular beer, one that people have been asking about it's return for three years now. I don't know what the reason was for the hiatus, I'm just glad it's over. The last time I had a glass of Imperial Stout was in December of 2008 and I remember liking it a little too much... It was at the end of a night where a lot of good beer was being passed around, so I definitely wanted to revisit it. Three years later, I've finally got my chance.
Today is my last day in Kansas City and I'm finishing off the last few beers that are still in the cellar. I've been holding on to this bottle of Russian River Consecration for a while now and I figure it's finally time to open it up. I picked up this bottle in Denver about six months ago and judging by the date code on the bottle, it had been sitting on the shelf for quite some time. This bottle is from batch 004X4, meaning it was brewed over two years ago and it's been bottled for 16 months now. I'm not worried about the freshness, I'm more excited for the complexity and depth the aging has hopefully added to this sour Wild Ale.
Ever since I had my first 90 Minute it's been the beer I compare all other IPAs to. That doesn't mean 90 Minute is my favorite IPA, but I think it's one of the best brewed IPAs out there. I happen to like Hopslam a little better, but 90 Minute will never be a disappointment. 90 Minute has a great rich maltiness that really balances out the huge hop content. Then, along came Burton Baton. I'd only heard the name of this beer a few times before moving to Delaware, I'd certainly never tried it. From what I'm told, it's basically a oak aged 90 Minute with a bit more alcohol and lots of vanilla flavor. Awesome.
North Coast's Grand Cru is a new limited release version of the brewery's 20th anniversary ale from 2008. This beer, like the rest of North Coast's offerings, has deceptively boring packaging. It comes in a corked and caged 500ml bottle that looks like a slimmed down Champagne bottle. I wouldn't have given this beer a second thought in the liquor store if I hadn't known it was 12.9% alcohol and brewed with agave nectar. North Coast does some pretty interesting stuff with their limit release beers, it just seems like they don't want anyone to know about it...
Rauchbiers and Smoked beers aren't my favorite style. Unless it's the dead of winter and I have a hankering for pork, I generally don't think to myself, "Hey, why not have a couple smoke beers?" That being said, I am quite partial to beers from Bamberg, Germany. I spent the better part of 2006 studying in Bamberg and became well acquainted with the local beers. Rauchbier is Bamberg's local delicacy so I can't help but appreciate it for what it is, a unique style of beer and a bit of an acquired taste. You know the saying about doing as the Romans while in Rome? Well, in Bamberg you do as the Bambergers do and that means drinking a Rauchbier.