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Friday, February 17, 2012


Earlier this month I wrote about ordering some beer from the BrewDog Brewery.  Although all of these beers were splendid, I was also in for a surprise.  One of the beers I had ordered was called Abstrakt: 08.  I researched the beer and found its website (Ok it is on the back label):

 According to the website the beer was supposed to be a deconstructed blond imperial stout.  “What?” I asked myself.  How can the words “blond” and “stout” be used in the same description?  As I read more, I was intrigued by the whole Abstract concept.  Each beer that they brew is a one-time-only production.  And, each is brewed in limited quantities.  What a great marketing scheme.  The labels are minimalist in design, with just enough information to make you want to search the Internet for more information.  

One side of my brain said: “Celler it and enjoy it later.  At 11.8% alcohol, it will age marvelously.”  The other side of my brain said, “I wonder what a blond imperial stout tastes like. Try it now.”  Well, it really was no contest—I opened it.  The beer is truly unique, with lots of interesting flavors: coffee, malt, chocolate, etc.  There was really nothing about it that said “stout” to me, but who cares?  The beer was a delight.  Now I’ve got figure out a way to try some of the other Abstrakt beers.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Kiuchi Brewey

I vividly remember turning on the news on the morning of March 11, 2011 and watching in shock as tsunami waves washed across villages in northern Japan.  The devastating tsunami was triggered by a megathrust earthquake that registered 9.0, one of the largest quakes on record. This natural disaster directly affected the lives of millions of people.  The quake also damaged the Kiuchi Brewery in Naka, Japan.  The brewery is located about 200 miles from the quake’s epicenter.

While many of us watched this historic natural disaster unfold, now we have a chance to experience a very small part of the event.  When the quake struck Naka, the Kiuchi brewery was in the middle of mashing grain for a Witbier.  The power was out for three days and during this time the partially mashed grains began a natural fermentation.  Once power was restored, the brewery decided to continue with the process and finish the beer.  This unique batch produced only 8,000 bottles of what they are calling Hitachino Nest 3 Days.  Although the beer is technically a wheat beer, I think the brewery should begin calling it an earthquake-style wheat.  The unique conditions produced by the natural disaster produced a surreptitiously unique beer.  Commemorate it!

I was lucky enough to find a couple of bottles of 3 Days.  I decided to cellar one of them (at 8% ABV it should age well) and drink the other.  The beer was slightly sweet with an undertone of sour and floral.  There were other complex flavors that I can’t describe well.  The label describes the history and circumstances of the beer.  I could not help but remember the tragedy of March 11, 2011 while I enjoyed the beer.  The irony was not lost on me.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bristol Brewing Company

We were very excited to travel from the Denver area to Colorado Springs in order to visit the Bristol Brewing Company.  In previous visits to Colorado I had tried their Laughing Lab (Scottish-ale) and Winter Warlock (stout) and liked them.

After the hour drive, we arrived at Bristol ready to experience what looked like a neighborhood-style taproom.  The place was packed, but after a few minutes a table opened up and we settled in.  The inside was small and decorated as one would expect: brewery paraphernalia; a beer-cap mosaic; and other assorted beer-related stuff.

The line for beer was long, as this was the day before the Superbowl and folks were getting growlers filled. A great sign that the beer would be yummy.  We got in line and waited.

When we finally reached the server, we asked for several samplers.  We had a large party and everyone wanted to sample the beers.  I was shocked and extremely disappointed when the serving girl gave us a look of disdain and started complaining about how much time it would take to fill the samplers...and look at the line behind us...and yadda, yadda, yadda.  Bad form Bristol Brewing and a loud "boo" to your serving staff.  Not an auspicious start to our day of brewpubing in Colorado Springs.  The serving "wench" finally agree to bring the samplers over to our table "when she got a chance to fill them."

The samplers arrived a while later and our pleasure of the visit increased immediately.  They taproom had several good beers and some were really quite good.  I particularly liked the Black Fox Diablo that was spiced with cayenne pepper.  Others in my party enjoyed the Black Fox Som and the Old #23 Barleywine.

The dog theme was present throughout the brewery, with pretzels were served in dog bowls and tasting instructions that were dog training commands. I like when breweries have themes like this.

After we finished our samplers, we decided not to linger.  I hate to admit it, but the poor (and rude) service turned me off to this brewery.  Although I realize that one server does not represent the entire brewery, she was my first contact with it and first impressions are hard to change.  I, for one, will never go back and I cannot recommend this taproom.  There are too many other great breweries in the area to waste your time with this one.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Trinity Brewing Company

One of the best things about Denver, Colorado and the surrounding areas is the high concentration of microbreweries that produce some really great craft beer.  Last weekend I had the pleasure of traveling to Colorado Springs, which is about a 60 minute drive from Denver.  As part of this trip, we visited the Trinity Brewing Company, located on Garden of the Gods Road.

The front of the Trinity Brewing Company
What a fun little brewery (although they are expanding into the space next door!).  They offered a great selection of their own beer as well as a impressive collection of craft beers from around the country, including one that is brewed about ten miles from my home (Jolly Pumpkin).

A few of the "guest" beers at Trinity
Trinity's selection of beers for the day.
The decor was what I would call "brewpub rustic," with lots of unfinished wood and granite troughs serving as sinks in the bathroom.  The wait staff were superb--friendly, knowledgeable, and accommodating. The atmosphere was very casual and conducive to enjoying some great beer and appetizers.  We could watch the brewing process while we drank and at one point a brewer carried some hoses through the brewpub en route to a different part of the brewery.  The back room had couches and stacks of oak barrels that were aging beers. I really felt like I was visiting a brewery rather than a restaurant.  I consider this a big plus.

Oak barrels aging beer.
Trinity brewpub
We had several appetizers with our samples of beer: Sweet potato fries (with several dipping sauces; Buffalo chicken; and Bacon with maple syrup for dipping.  OK, not that healthy, but it went well with the beers.  Trinity also had a full menu that looked good.
Samplers and appetizers.
They also sold several unique limited release "boomer-sized" bottles.  I purchased an "old Growth Wild Ale, but haven't tried it yet.  The label showed that it was a blend of three oak casks.  Sounded very interesting to me.

Old Growth Wild Ale label.
 I highly recommend this brewpub to anyone who likes craft beer.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

BrewDog brewery

It will, no doubt, come as no surprise that I consider myself a devotee of craft beer.  I'm always on the lookout for something new and interesting.  A few months back, I was researching some specialty beers and I came across the website for BrewDog brewery in Scotland. They claim to brew beer for punks.  "Ok," I thought and I wished I could try some of their products.  I went to their "shop" portion of the website and found that they sell their beer over the Internet.  Hmm...would they ship to the USA?  I ordered a selection of beers including two that were high gravity beers.  I completed the order form, expecting that the order would be canceled once I typed in my USA address.  To my surprise, they accepted the order.  I got a call from my credit card company a few days later asking if my credit card had been compromised, because there was a charge on it from Scotland.  Cool, I thought, maybe they will actually send me the beer.

About two months passed, and I had nearly forgot about the order.  Then, one Saturday afternoon the doorbell rang and it was the postman with a abhorrent-looking package wrapped in plastic.  He apologetically explained that this was how he got it and I needed to sign on the dotted line.  The package was from Scotland.

I brought the sorry looking bundle into my home and quickly realized that the bundle was a cardboard box and at least one beer bottle had broken destroying the cardboard on one side.  As I carefully undid the package I was pleasantly surprised to find that only two of the 16 beers I had ordered were broken and these two were from 4-packs.  Other than that, the rest of the beers were fine.  Some of the beers were amazing.  I'll talk about that in another post.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Beer Bottle Labels: Attractive Women

Attractive women are used to sell almost anything, including beer.  Here are a few of my favorite labels from my collection that feature the fairer sex.