Sunday, July 15, 2007

Weekend Review

Well, I have originally intended to review the Stone Pale Ale, but realized that my palate was a bit off and didn't think it'd do the beer justice. Then I realized something - I had a fantastic weekend, why not tell you all about that?

Friday after work I met some friends at our local brewery, Beermann's, in Roseville California. They recently started contract brewing for a large and established craft brewery and the mood was high. In addition, their Assistant Brewer (Tim) had just released a belgian inspired beer - and for the life of me I cannot remember the name - that was a blend of beers with a 60 pound addition of honey and use of belgian yeast. I don't think any brewer at Beermann's has attempted a Belgian beer before and this was certainly great start.

As an aside. I firmly believe that Tim at Beermann's is one of the most talented and passionate brewers in the region. And I say this with nothing but respect for all the brewers I have had the pleasure sharing beer with. Tim has "it", if "it" could ever be seen. I have nothing but admiration for the guy and hope if you make it out to Beermann's you'll be able to have a pint of something he's crafted.

Saturday I headed over to a friends place, he was hosting a dinner party for his wine enthusiast club. I had been asked to prepare a list of beers to compliment the meal, and I think I did OK judging by the conversations. My list included a whole lot of variety (I think 12 different beers in all) and in the end I concluded two things (bare in mind, this is not a beer loving crowd):
  • Affligem Tripel is that good. After laboring in my talking up of the pilsners, saisons, porters, and IPA this was the beer that needed no introduction and no geeky commentary. I knew the beer was good, but I have never considered THIS to be a 'training wheel' beer... until now.
  • Dark beers are really really misunderstood. I poured a bit of SN Porter and spent more time explaining that the beer wasn't "thick like Guiness". Yes, dark, roasty, toasty and yummy - but neither the porter or the dry stout are 'thick'. This must be the most misunderstood thing about beer - after the fact that Cold isn't a flavor.
  • A good German Pilsner is a good thing. One of the menu items was scallop fritters (yum), using chopped scallops, corn meal and onions. This paired with the pilsner beautifully.
  • Racer 5 is also that good. Another one of the beers that needed little introduction and a hit for all - once I said the word "Grapefruit" those in attendance were duely impressed.
  • I brought a couple fruited lambics thinking they'd be 'training wheel' beers for wine fans... and they looked forward to trying it. However, these were miserable failures. I brought a sweet peach lambic and a sour cherry lambic (Boon Aude Kriek). I laid in on the history of the style and how the beers are made, all good conversation pieces - but the beers simply did nothing for those there.
  • Vintage beers is also something largely misunderstood. I brought a bottle of the 2007 & 2001 Bigfoot and the side by side comparison was indeed impressive.
The event was fun and at the end of the night I was writing lists for beers to look for (Affligem & Aventinus Doppelbock seemed to top the list).

Sunday was a pretty tame day in contrast to Saturday's event, I really only wanted to get one beer in my system - the BRAVO IPA at Rubicon. If you're not familiar with the Bravo project, brewers all over Northern California are brewing a single hopped beer using the new "Bravo" hops. Jay at Brookston Beer Bulletin did a great job covering the hop and the main event, if you're interested.

So, onto the Bravo. Big grapefruit through and through with a significant bittering quality. I don't know what the hopping schedule was for the Rubicon creation, but the beer had a lot of flavor from the hop and an incredibly long lingering bitterness. The beer was great - my only ding for it was that intense lingering bitterness. In fact the beer was of such a quality I think I need to find another reason to go downtown this week.
Finally, beer is good on its own, but best with friends.