I'll admit it, this beer was sitting in my fridge for quite a while. There aren't a whole lot of foods I like to pair with pale ales and given that this is a Double IPA I just didn't know what to do with it. Well, I've finally opened it up and I'm absolutely amazed at the flavors in this beer. Great Divide brewed this as their 15th anniversary so it comes with all of the typical commemorative perks like a special label and oak aging. The label is a bit of snoozer, not that I base my beer purchases off of looks but it just doesn't scream "special release" to me. Honestly though, it's all uphill from there. Everything else about this beer is absolutely amazing. This beer has many great aspects, you could almost call them contradictions. Contradictions of what the established India Pale Ale style is.
My previous experience with Boulevard's Bourbon Barrel Quad is pretty limited... Last year I waited a couple days too long to start looking for bottles around town because it seemed that everyone had just run out. A friend of mine was kind enough to bring a bottle over last winter so I was able to at least have a glass, but that was it... Here we are a year later and I made a point to check the local liquor stores early and often. About $50 later and I've got a quad of Bourbon Barrel Quads all to myself...
Everyone I've ever talked to about Bell's beers has nothing but nice things to say about them. Their beers have been hit or miss with me... I've not has a beer from Kalamazoo that I've hated but there are been plenty which have been forgettable. When I first hear about the Batch 9000 I was intrigued. First because this beer was a limited release to commemorate the 9,000 batches of beer brewed at Bell's, but also because it was brewed with molasses and licorice... that's something you don't drink every day.
There's a name that keeps popping up whenever Imperial Stouts are mentioned. Bourbon County. Goose Island is a brewery I got off on the wrong foot with years ago and I haven't really gone back to their beers until very recently. When I first heard of Bourbon County a couple years ago I decided to check it out. One look at the price tag changed my mind. At $20 for a 4 pack or $15 for a bomber, I balked... I missed out on the Bourbon County last year in part because I was really burnt out on barrel aged Imperial Stouts. 2010 is a new year and I've really gotten into the other Goose Island specialty beers recently so I figured I'd finally give the Bourbon County Stout a try, President Jackson be damned.
Dogfish Head's 60 Minute IPA may be their best selling beer but I've always regarded 90 Minute as the beer that took them to the next level. 60 Minute is a solid beer and back when it was first brewed, it may have been revolutionary... but now, it's just another continuously hopped IPA. It's a good beer, which is why it sells in such huge quantities, but it's not what I'd call World Class. 90 Minute is a different story, it was more than just 1.5x the beer 60 Minute was.
Lost Abbey has a reputation for brewing great beer. I've only been lucky enough to try a few of their beers while on vacation. What few Lost Abbey beers I've had, I've enjoyed quite a bit but I haven't bothered to bring any bottles home with me until recently. I would've loved to bring one bottle of each Lost Abbey beer home but I didn't feel like sleeping on the couch for a month, so I narrowed my prospects down and picked up a bottle of Angel's Share. It is a limited release beer and carried a premium price but I was told it was worth it.
Like every other beer drinker who owned a television set in the Fall of 2010, I really wanted to try Bitches Brew. This was the inaugural beer of the Brewmasters show, brewed for Savor to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Miles Davis album of the same name. Living 10 hours from the nearest Dogfish distributor meant I completely missed out on this beer. I recently moved to Delaware and was able to find several bottles of Bitches Brew sitting on the self at the Dogfish Head brewery, so I brought a few home to commemorate my move to The First State.
I have a thing for the Weizenbock style, and I've been hearing a lot about the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp offerings this year, so when I saw bottles of Beer Camp Weizenbock at my local liquor store I didn't think twice about picking one up. The Beer Camp program is a sort of invitational Pro-Am event that takes place at Sierra Nevada in Chico. The group collaborates on a couple styles of beer and, if they turn out pretty decent, Sierra Nevada will bottle and release the beers to retail. It's a cool program, I'm anxious to see how the beer turned out.
A great Rauchbier has been my white whale after leaving Bamberg about five years ago. Bamberg Rauchbier is a great, roasty, bacony, dark style of beer that is smoky but not burnt or incredibly intense. Over the past five years I've been trying various American style Smoke Beers and Rauchbiers, trying to find something comparable to the Bamberg Rauchs. I've found that nearly all of the American Smoke Beers are much more dark, burnt and bitter than the German style. The comparison I use to explain this to others is that American Smoke Beer tastes like a campfire while Bamberg Rauchbier tastes like dark chocolate covered bacon. I've heard good things about a Rauchbier from Quebec that is similar in style to what I'm looking for. I was finally able to find a bottle and I can't wait to try it.
Stillwater Artisanal and De Struise are two brewers I've had very little from. In the past year I've seen a lot of Stillwater beers pop up on shelves at different liquor stores everywhere I've traveled. It turns out Stillwater, like Mikkeller, doesn't have a brewery of their own, so their beers are all collaborations that are brewed at a someone else's brewery. De Struise is a Belgian craft brewer that I've heard a lot of great things about but I've only had one of two beers that have carried their label. I'm excited to try this beer, but I'm not entirely sure what to expect... after all, the bottle just says it's a 10% ABV Belgian ale that was brewed with barley, oats, wheat, rye, hops, sugar and yeast. So, a lot of stuff, but nothing crazy.