Wednesday, September 29, 2010

West Coast Beer Tour - Series Intro

This year my wife and I took our summer vacation out to the West Coast for a break from the Midwestern heat, to enjoy long distance friends and family, and of course drink our way up the coast. Contrary to my beliefs, this was not supposed to be a beer tour but seven breweries and over 100 samples later, one could extrapolate the trip to be just that, a West Coast Beer Tour. So for our purposes, that’s what it was.

I will be posting a four part series on the trip that will cover San Francisco to Seattle with multiple stops in between. Russian River was the must see on the trip and it did not fail to impress. I have to admit that I did swing by a couple wineries while going through Sonoma. So for all of you double duty drinkers out there, I will be doing a spot on the Sonoma Wine scene.

Here is a list of the stops on the trip that will be featured in the West Coast Beer Tour Series:

San Francisco: Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery and Social Kitchen & Brewery
Santa Rosa: Russian River Brewing Co. Brewpub
Sonoma: Benziger Family Winery, and Imagery Winery
Boonville: Anderson Valley Brewing Co.
Eureka: Lost Coast Brewery
Portland: Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB)
Seattle: Mac & Jacks Brewing Co. and Hale’s Ales Brewery & Pub

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Great American Beer Festival 2010!

09.09.09 Vs. 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale's
We just returned from Denver for the 2010 Great American Beer Festival this last Sunday. It was our second year and was just as amazing as the first. The same four went as last year; the three writers and our friend Rob from Austin who we wrote a post on detailing his first homebrewing experience!

This year was the 29th annual festival. There was over 2,200 beers served in the main convention center hall which was the biggest variety served at any beer festival, ever! There were 462 breweries serving over 36,000 gallons of beer to over 49,000 attendees. This year there were four new categories: American Style India Black Ale, Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Stout, Pumpkin Beer, Field Beer.

We went to the Friday night session and the Saturday afternoon session. We salute those who attend all four sessions as it truly is an impressive feat!

Sam's Number 3
Before our session on Friday, we went to the Falling Rock Taphouse which is a GREAT beer bar. We were able to meet Dean, one of the brewers from Pike Brewing in Seattle, WA. He was nice enough to entertain about three hours of questions regarding commercial brewing and was a great guy to hang out with. Their beers were great at the festival. At the taphouse we imbibed Russian River Consecration and Redemption, Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale and 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale, 2010 Sierra Nevada Estate Ale, among others. They actually set a record for fastest keg poured non-stop with the Sierra Nevada keg. They were all amazing beers. This hampered our ability to go hardcore at the first session and we ended up trying about 110 different beers. The second session on Saturday we were able to try about 175 or so.

Some highlights:
New Glarus - Rasberry Tart
Russian River - great stuff
Cascade Brewing - all of their sour beers are great!
Jolly Pumpkin - all were great, Biere De Mars especially
Lost Abbey - Angel's Share and their Framboise
Pike Brewing - meeting Dean
The pizza by our hotel!

The beers we returned with!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Lower Manhattan Beer Bar

I just happen to be in New York this summer and swung by the Blind Tiger Beer Bar. If you are in New York and have time to grab a beer, try this fine local establishment that caters to the craft beer aficionados. The Blind Tiger is a favorite of many as a great place to grab a beer while visiting Lower Manhattan. Touted by the New York Times as being “One of New York’s best beer bars,” they are sure to fulfill your need for quality beer.

Unless of course you want a large selection of summer style beers and happen to show up during Christmas in July! Unfortunately for me, and fortunately for the locals, Blind Tiger was running their annual summer special featuring a large lineup of winter seasonals. So rather than getting my much anticipated Festina PĂȘche by Dogfish Head, I was presented with Bad Elf, Mad Elf, and a multitude of Winter Ales. Lucky for me on day that was pushing 90 degrees they had one of my favorites Allagash White and for my business partner Graham a Brooklyn Wheat. Both beers were poured to perfection and tasted their prime during the hot summer day.

Blind Tiger has 28 beers on tap, 3 on cask, and an excellent selection of over 60 bottle beers, of which almost half are on the ‘Vintage” list. With a selection like thAlign Centeris you are in the right place to try beers that are few and far between, and some you might not ever get to try again depending on the depth of your local bar’s cellar roster. So from the guys at KC Hop Heaven, cheers to the Blind Tiger!

Blind Tiger Ale House
281 Bleecker Street, New York NY