Posts Tagged ‘stone’

strong beer session #2

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

last weekend, the sequel to the first strong beer session went off without a hitch.

  • the plan was to sample brewery to brewery across california, then across the country, and then the rest of the globe.  however, so many breweries were represented that we didn’t even make it out of the state!
  • session brews included (with notes/* indicates a crowd favorite):
  • we also tried to pull off some food pairings as well, so in addition to the stilton and sharp cheddar we had mixed charcuterie including liverwurst, head cheese, and prosciutto, as well as smoked bacon-wrapped brats mopped with brown shugga and some spicy roasted chicken and potatoes.
  • the meal was topped off with desserts including AP’s cheesecake with a belgian date barleywine cream cheese topping and ML’s killer bourbon barrel-aged old rasputin imperial stout pecan pie with bourbon crust and malted whipping cream(!).  both were awesome and complemented the rest of the meal perfectly.
  • despite wrecked palates and tons of food, everyone persevered, and by the end of the night I’m pretty sure barleywines were a little better understood (albeit not on the top of anyone’s drinking list for the near future).

LA beer week kickoff at naja’s

Monday, October 18th, 2010

LA beer week has officially come to a close, and I’m sure many unique and tasty brews were poured and enjoyed.

  • the only event I was able to make was the stone kickoff party at naja’s place.  even though I saw ads for this event in celebrator and other beer publications, I thought that the event would be similar in size to their IPA festival.
  • my hopes for short lines was dashed, however, when AP and turned the corner on the pier and saw a line of people snaking out the door.  ML called from inside and confirmed the worst case scenario: the line was not for entry, but for getting a beer at the bar!
  • overwhelmed with enochlophobia, I staggered away, looking for an alternative.  KEGS, an oft overlooked bar a stone’s throw away, seemed like a decent choice.
  • KEGS would probably thrive in an average commercial environment – they have a solid tap selection and great service, although the place is a little cramped.  the only oversight the KEGS founders made was to set up a small space with a decent tap lineup and live music literally one hundred yards from one of the best beer bars with live music in the world.
  • this spot turned out to be a great place to wait out the crowd at naja’s, with favorites like racer 5 and gordon being poured.  after a couple hours, it was time to head home, but our group made the mistake of walking past naja’s, which was now at half capacity, on the way out.  AP saw the look of longing on my face and crumbled, so we stopped in for a quick peek.
  • darren, jay, and martin were all still in shock from the huge turnout, but luckily they were still pouring some rarities.  after sampling ’07 barrel-aged old guardian (or was it 07.07.07?) and their 9th anniversary ale, I cemented next morning’s headache and took off.
  • note to self – the beer scene has arrived in full in LA.  it was awesome to see so much socal support for a beer bar great.

north county SD trip/hop harvest round 2

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

last weekend AP and I headed down to north county san diego (carlsbad, oceanside, san marcos, etc.) for a quick visit that included quite a few brew-oriented visits.

  • when we first arrived, a trip to pizza port carlsbad was a no brainer.  we phoned in a pizza order and walked over, and by the time we got there the pizza was ready and there was only a small wait at the bar.
  • AP sampled the warm weather wheat and the carlsbad chronic, while I tried out atTENuation, poor man’s double IPA, and 547 haight.  my hands down favorite was poor man’s double – it must have been fresh out of the fermenter and had an overwhelming hop aroma that never stopped coming, and was also quite balanced for a double IPA.  this might be my favorite IPA at the moment…
  • the next day we headed over to port’s adjacent bottle shop to pick up some rarities, including some goodies from fantome, drie fonteinen, port, avery, dogfish head…
  • I even picked up a bottle of baird brewing’s rising sun pale, brewed by brewboard’s just-cj out in japan.
  • I hesitate to disseminate this information for fear of losing future selection to competition, but port’s bottle shop has some of the hardest to find bottles available for great prices.  if I remember correctly, bottles of fantome (all styles) go here for $12 or so, and individual 12ozs can be had for a pittance.  it’s hard to walk out of here without a box of choice brews under your arm…
  • later that day we cruised over to stone’s brewery/restaurant for more great beer selection and some good food.  stone’s layout is amazing – they have a killer indoor bar with their stainless brewery as the backdrop, and also have an outdoor bar overlooking their trail/ urban garden in the back.
  • AP and I grabbed some seats on the patio and enjoyed 4 oz. samplers of a large variety of brews, including terrapin/de proef’s monstre rouge (tasted like a malty/worty imperial red, no sourness detected), bockor’s cuvee des jacobins rouge (a classic, great sourness with good balance), and van honsebrouck’s bacchus, which was my favorite of the day with its smooth sourness and outstanding drinkability.
  • on the way back from stone, we dropped by texas wine and spirits, which claims to have the best beer and wine selection in the area.  well, port  bottle shop is right down the street, so I was a little skeptical, but when I was definitely impressed when I walked in and saw walls of craft bottles from all over.
  • they also had the largest selection of rogue beers I have ever seen, including ones I couldn’t find up in portland.  their selection complements port’s, and is now on my list of must-stops while in town.

on tuesday I managed to find some time to harvest the rest of my hops.

  • the vojvodinas were looking a little sun burnt, so I knew the clock was ticking to get them down and dried.  between the vojvodinas, zeus, and chinooks I harvested, I am guessing another 4-5ozs of dried hops went into my lineup.
  • the zeus were amazingly fragrant – I couldn’t stop taking whiffs of the bowl as I was picking them.  hopefully they will all get to meet some hot wort in the near future – I am thinking a homegrown pale…

alpine village, great BBQ, and sweat equity

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

last thursday night, AP and I went over to alpine village for some legit german food and brews.

  • ever since I dropped by AV a little while back, I was eagerly anticipating our return.  I knew it was going to be a great night right when we walked in the door, and were seated immediately and given a healthy serving of liverwurst and rye.
  • thursday was swing night, and there was a full band in attendance along with an impressive singer.  we were definitely the youngest in the crowd by a few decades, but it didn’t keep us from cutting a rug in between courses and beers.
  • ah, the beers – AP got one of her staples, hangar 24’s altbier, and I had weihenstephaner’s kristall weissbier.  well, I ordered it, and ended up with an unfiltered wheat instead, so who knows what I put down.  later AP chatted up the bartender and tried the kristall weiss after the fact, which was definitely tasty and probably the variety of the style that I would pursue ifwhen I brew another wheat.
  • on sunday AP and I rang in the 4th with some heavy BBQ and great beers.  I’m talking a 10lb pork shoulder, 8lb brisket and two dozen brats in the smoker with all the fixins – it was definitely a good time.
  • unfortunately, I was out of homebrew for the occasion, but the food was very well complemented with some firestone walker variety packs and a sixer of stone’s IPA, which was better than I remembered.
  • I also snuck down to the basement for some bottles, including stone’s 14th anniversary empirial IPA (uncomfortably bitter with not enough aroma to balance it out, probably due to the hop selection), lagunitas’ hairy eyeball (killer as always, malty and delicious), and new belgium’s eric’s ale (definitely one of my favorites, the most drinkable sour I have come across).
  • on saturday and sunday JF helped me out with some “brewery expansion construction”: using an angle grinder and some bootleg jig I threw together based off a modification of this idea from homebrewtalk, we cut the tops off of a couple of kegs that will soon enjoy long lives as an HLT and mash tun.  we also installed some weldless ball valves, thermometers, and sightglasses.  once the third keg makes an appearance and all my quick disconnects and other fittings come in, the setup will be revealed, but until then the project will remain shrouded in mystery.

maui brewing coconut porter

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

coconut porter in the glass

AP’s go-to beer these days has been maui brewing co.’s coconut porter.

  • we first tried this brew while on oahu a while back and she has been hooked ever since.
  • in AP’s own words, the beer has a smoky, nutty aroma and is chocolately, rich and creamy with a subtle coconut flavor.
  • I only wish I had grabbed her a bottle of aloha plenty, a collab between maui brew co and stone. in fact, I had a chance once at a liquor store in redondo beach, but for some reason the cashier refused to sell it to me.  go figure.

coconut porter can

coconut porter

church key

Monday, October 26th, 2009

wallpaper at church key

last week DH, AF and I rolled by church key in north beach for a round.

  • DH had three philosophers from ommegang, which was on draft (see review of this quad here).
  • AF and I each had one of stone’s sublimely self-righteous ales, which is a remake of their 11th anniversary beer.
  • sublimely self-righteous is classified as an american strong on beeradvocate, but stone calls it a “black double IPA.
  • despite my previous ranting about the terminology of black IPAs, I definitely enjoy this brew – the strong hop aroma matched the roasted malts, and some residual sweetness tied it all together.
  • this beer won’t necessarily be a go-to beer for me, but it was well-balanced and is a good representative of this new style.  now if only stone will remake their 13th anniversary brew next year…
  • as for church key, the bartender was friendly and they had a pretty decent selection of beers on tap.
  • although their bottle list did contain some winners, the selection seemed a little slimmed down from the last time I was there.
  • my only gripe was the pricing – $8 for a pour of a stone brew?  that’s a little steep, especially with so many options available in the area.  their bottle list was pricey too, which dissuaded me from any experimenting.

stone sublimely and ommegang three philosophers at church key

the bar at church key

tied house menage a singe

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

menage a singe in the glass

I recently picked up a bottle of menage a singe black IPA while on a bevmo run and cracked it open last weekend.

  • as noted by jay brooks in his article on the black IPA style, this beer is “a special release by the recent San Jose venture between the Tied House and Jeff Moses, former GM of Coast Range Brewery.”
  • upon popping the cork, it was clear that this beer was very overcarbed.  it took a minute or two to get a decent pour, which was slightly annoying.
  • the use of black patent or some other dark roasted malt dominated the flavor and aroma of the beer and overwhelmed any dry hop aroma that might have been present.
  • in my opinion, calling a beer a “black IPA” doesn’t make sense.  how can a pale ale be black?  I think “dry-hopped porter” is more appropriate.
  • overall, the beer was definitely interesting, but I wouldn’t buy it again.  if you are gung-ho on this “black IPA” kick, I would recommend something more like stone’s sublimely self-righteous ale.

menage a singe bottle

menage a singe closeup

dry hopped st. rogue red

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

dry hopped st. rogue red in the glass

I spied a bomber of rogue’s dry hopped st. rogue red on the shelf last week at bevmo while on a staple beer run (i.e., grabbing as many bombers of stone 13th and lagunitas little sumpin’ extra I could get my mitts on), so I figured I’d give it a shot.

  • the brew had a great rocky head that lasted for quite some time, along with a strong ruby color.
  • however, it had a mild, grassy hop aroma and flavor and a mediocre malt backbone (although the pacman yeast kept the overall beer pretty clean).
  • I have a strong hunch this beer had been sitting around for quite some time before I got my hands on it.  I mean, a dry hopped beer with little hop aroma??
  • I’ll have to try this guy again.  it was on draft at their pub last time I was there

dry hopped st. rogue red bottle

pint of dry hopped st. rogue red

amsterdam café

Friday, October 9th, 2009

coolers behind the bar at amsterdam cafe

I had recently heard about a new place called amsterdam cafe in the tenderloin, so last night CB and I rolled by to check it out.

  • I like the layout of this place – there is a covered outdoor patio area up front and a bar immediately behind it, with a few tables opposite the bar.
  • the owners and bartenders were very friendly, as was everyone else in the bar.  the place has an honest, neighborhood feel to it.  prices are a little steep though.
  • there were 14 or so beers on tap and quite a few bottles available – mostly the usual suspects, but there was a solid dogfish head showing and they carried quite a few belgians.
  • I started the night off with stone’s oaked arrogant bastard on draft.  this beer had a great creamy mouthfeel and seemed to be much more drinkable than other oaked bastards I have had in the past.
  • I them moved on to ommegang’s three philosophers.  the mouthfeel/body seemed a little light for a quad (probably due to the kriek addition), but it hides its alcohol very well, clocking in at close to 10% abv.
  • I closed the night out with a bruegel amber ale from brouwerij van steenberge.  it was very drinkable, and I definitely liked the yeast profile, but it has to be the lightest amber I have ever seen and at 7 or 8 bucks a bottle here, there are plenty of other options available.
  • CB picked up an oaked bastard as well as a gulden draak, again from brouwerij van steenberge.  gulden draak is a belgian strong that seemed a little too sweet to me – take away some sweetness (and toss in a little brett) and I would order this up in a heartbeat.
  • note: I had grabbed a burger from pearl’s to take over there, but when I arrived I discovered that they had started cooking up sausages themselves, so keep that in mind if you want to grab a bite as well.
  • overall, amsterdam cafe is a breath of fresh air in the area.  swapping out a couple of the usual taps and bottles for some more niche brews (e.g., a geuze, lambic, some russian river, or better yet, dutch beers to run with the namesake, etc.) would make this place exceptional.

tap lineup at amsterdam cafe

oaked bastard

left side of the covered front

right side of the covered front

three philosophers

brugel amber

gulden draak

pivovarský klub prague

Monday, September 28th, 2009

a great house pilsener at pivovarsky klub

this post is a continuation of the brew highlights from last year’s european adventure.

after a long trek out to holesovice and pivni galerie (review soon!) in the czech republic, AP and I were in desperate need of refreshment.  pivovarský klub definitely came through nicely.

  • this place had a great bottle selection (200+ bottles) that included many american/west coast offerings.  it was pretty amazing to see some local bottles from places like stone brewing so far from home.
  • the downstairs bar was amazing too – bottles lined the walls and the modest tap selection was top notch.  the traditional food was great too.
  • I tried out the dum stepan from their house brewery, pivovarsky dum – it was a great czech pils that I wish I could get more often.
  • I also had a svijany maz from svijany brewery – this beer doesnt seem to get much love on beeradvocate, but I remember it as hiding its 11%abv well and being quite drinkable and refreshing.
  • AP had the lipan from these guys in drazic (I think).  she also had her now-favorite beer, the pivo svetly lezak from opat aka pivovar broumov, a brewery whose offerings have been impossible to find here in the states (much to AP’s disappointment).
  • overall, this place was comfortable, relaxing, and had great service.  I will definitely make a point to stop by again the next time I am in the area.

planning out the rest of our route with opat at the klub

another great high-gravity czech pilsener