Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Pearly Gates: Founders Visit

So, beer fans. It's high time that I report on my journey to one of America's greatest, Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Before things nearly went awry, my plans were to attend the festivities surrounding the release of Founders legendary Kentucky Breakfast Stout, its highly sought after, scrumptious, elite bourbon barreled stout. It's the bourbon barreled version of their outstanding Breakfast Stout, brewed with strong coffees. I almost didn't make it. Due to a security alarm problem on my Volkswagen, I was stranded on the Friday night before my journey, which was supposed to begin at around 5 a.m. to ensure that I could get there in time to join the line that would surely await the brewery's opening. After all, the hype surrounding this year's KBS release was out of control. Thanks to Hertz, I got a car by 7 a.m., even though I had to take the train to Chicago Midway Airport to pick up my Hyundai.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Get Stoned, Chicago

The worst kept secret is out. Stone Brewing is going to spread their amazing wares in Chicago, the Windy City, so named by a New York penman because of the city's history of big talk. What a perfect marriage, Stone and Chicago. Stone talks pretty big about their beers, and like the venerable Windy City, they always seem to back it up. I started at the top with Stone, first trying their boldest, bad ass Ruination IPA at the Hop Leaf, right here in tough talking Chicago. Yeah, they kinda sorta of snuck that keg into the establishment, but the evidence was quickly swallowed by me and other willing patrons. A love affair was born. I've written quite a bit at this site about my Stone experiences; unfortunately, most occurred outside of Chicago.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beerthday Tour of Portland! - Cascade brewing

Well it's been a while since I've posted up. There's been a bunch of things going on that I have to share with everyone!

In April Mark and I will be making a pilgrimage to Munster Indiana for Dark Lord Day at Three Floyds. I am looking forward to it buddy! Both of us are equipped with our golden tickets and will be figuring out exactly what the current limits of bootlegging laws allow. :)

This week my wonderful wife set up a mid-week overnight to Portland for a beer tasting tour! Isn't she just the best. :)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Founders Brewery (aka Heaven)

So, I thought I'd share with you that I finally had a chance to visit Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids Michigan. I went there on Saturday, March 13th, for the release of their legendary Kentucky Breakfast Stout. I plan on writing more on this in the coming days, including several specific beer reviews.

At this moment, I would like to thank the great folks at Founders who treated me exceptionally well during my visit. Your brew house is everything a great brewpub should be: warm and inviting, quaintly decorated, a huge chalkboard listing the latest offerings, and a friendly staff who all seemed proud of their employer's craft. The entire brewery smelled like a fresh herb garden. Above all, the beer was fantastic and was mountain snow fresh.

More to come later, but thank you Founders for the hospitality and for being so freaking awesome.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Old Friend, Victory Prima Pils

Recall that car you had when you just started college, the one that needed repairs here and there but seemed as if it would run forever? Or, how about that flannel shirt you'd rip out of the closet or dig out of the hamper when you were in a hurry to meet the fellas for a pint. Maybe it's that buddy of yours whom you haven't talked to in forever, and after a few minutes on the phone it's as if you just hung out yesterday. Little did you know, you were actually embracing the equivalent of Victory Prima Pils.

Bell's Batch 9000 - Black Gold, Texas Tea

Well, you're probably familiar with that quote, "black gold, Texas tea", from the Beverly Hillbillies introduction. That ballad was an ode to the slick substance that made ol' Jed a millionaire and prompted his proto-reality-TV-like move to America's ritziest zip code. What does this have to do with Bell's Batch 9000? This beer is not all that different from the fossil fuel that made t.v. characters like Jed and J.R. Ewing rich. Next time your car's check oil light turns on, considering pouring in a 12 ouncer of this baby.

Only, don't do it! Batch 9000 is far too beautiful a concoction for automotive use - it should be greasing your palate, not your engine. And at 12.5%, this barleywine should be as far removed from all things related to driving as possible.

From what I gather, Batch 9000 is part of a series of releases from legendary Bell's brewer Larry Bell. Every time he hits a millennial barrel of beer, at least among the last few thousand, he makes the batch with the triple zeros in its number sequence a special release. And is Batch 9000 ever special. It's a viscous, oily beer that has hints of everything imaginable - everything dark, and sweet and/or syrupy, that is. Think of licorice, Malbec, candied blackberries, rum, chocolate coffee honeydews. Stevie Wonder could write a rambling coda to one of his awful 80's songs about this beer's flavor profile. Batch 9000 is like wine. It pours no head and sits in the glass like a pool of tar. Its ABV gives many Zins and California Cabs a run for their money.

Sipping is required. Batch is so rich and thick, you'd gag trying to gulp it down. It takes only a few sips before you get a deep, enchanting buzz. While enjoyable, you realize that two or three of these beers in rapid succession would put you in detox for a couple of days. Slug a couple of these on a Sunday night before work and you'll be searching later that week.

HOLY WATER/DRINK/POUR DOWN THE SINK: This one's holy water. Your priest might literally pass out just from sniffing it too closely. Good luck finding this limited release. It will soon be gone forever except at beer trading sites as we await Batch 10,000, a beer that will probably be illegal in 38 states and New Brunswick.

* * * * * stars (exceptional, elite).