Thursday, July 28, 2011

Quenchers Chicago: IPA Festival

Quenchers Saloon in Chicago is having an IPA festival on August 3rd and 17th, 2011.  What's interesting is that each night they plan on having the IPA's face off against each other according to region.  On August 3rd, the West Coast will tangle with the Upper Midwest, and on the 17th, it's the East Coast vs. the Mountains and Plains.  Vegas has the West Coast opening at 5-2 odds as the overall favorite. 

The lineup will feature stalwarts such as Stone IPA, Port Wipeout IPA, Lagunitas IPA, and also Alpha King, Dark Horse Crooked Tree (mistakenly, I believe, listed as Double Crooked Tree), and Tyranena Bitter Woman.  The only real DIPA on the list is Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, so they're keeping the lineup on the lighter side to promote broader sampling. 

Fans of hops should get some kicks out of this. (That's me.) 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Port Brewing Older Viscosity

Anyone who regularly reads this blog (I think Google Analytics identified 5 of you in the last year: thank you) knows that I have a deep, deep, deep, deep, deep love of Port Brewing.  This San Diego brewer, which I visited last Labor Day weekend, is one of the most unabashed hoppers of beer on the planet.  They don't care.  They just hop everything.  They have four incredibly hoppy, tropical IPA's, all terrific, which are the Wipe Out, Hop-15 double, Mongo, and High Tide.  Their Shark Attack is a brutal hop affair of the red ale variety.  Even their Anniversary Ale is an uncanny hop punishment. Port's love of humulus lupulus knows no bounds.  I should also mention that I dug the folks out there, their carefree attitude, and their low key brewery and pizza saloon in Solana Beach

Yet, for all of their hop appreciation, they can show delicate touch when it comes to brewing as well (not that IPA's don't require some nuance, but hopping beers to that level can cover up for some mistakes, if any).  Of course, there's The Lost Abbey lineup of beers which are acclaimed Belgian-styled brews.  But often overlooked in favor of the Angel's Share is Port's Old Viscosity couplet, which includes Old Viscosity and it's fully bourbon brother, Older Viscosity.  Do not ignore these beers.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Finch's Beer Company Expands Their Roster

I wrote about Finch's Beer Co. here, the small Chicago brewer that recently started offering their beers in cans and on tap around town.  They started with the Golden Wing, a surprisingly hoppy blonde ale, and the Cut Throat Pale Ale, an exceedingly brutal hop affair that remains satisfying.

The good news is that they have started expanding their beer lineup, as two other Finch's brews are listed at Beermenus.com as being on tap at various Chicago public houses.  A beer called the Sapsucker, true to Finch's bird motif, and an IPA called the Seamless are offered on draft.  I believe that Sheffield's has the Sapsucker and Bangers & Lace offers the Seamless.  Given the incredible hoppiness of their blonde and pale ales, I'm exceedingly curious about what Finch's thinks an IPA should taste like.  I don't have ABV or IBU information for the beers.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Stone Imperial Russian Stout: Drink and Hold

Stone Imperial Russian Stout has been one of my favorites since I first tried it sometime in 2009.  I was amazed by it, not only on its own merits, which we'll get to in a second, but because a brewery whose passion is in heavily hopping beers should not be so well-abled at crafting such a rich, opulent stout as this.  Stone, of course, is no ordinary brewery, as they are one of the few that excels at the dark colored and light colored ends of the beermaking spectrum.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bear Republic Brewing Article

My friend Charles Bockway at Wine Country Beer did a nice writeup on Bear Republic Brewing, a brewery located in Healdsburg, California, in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country.  I have been wine tasting in Russian River Valley, the part of Sonoma vitacultural area centered by Healdsburg, on a mission to find great Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.  At the time I was there I did not realize Bear Republic was crafting delicious beers right underneath my nose.  Thankfully, they are available here in Chicago in substantial quantities, although not as frequently as two or so years ago.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Green Flash Imperial India Pale Ale - Review

My favorite types of beers to drink right now are imperial IPA's, a style which San Diego does best.  San Diegoans are as proud of their hop-dominant beers as they are of their local brewery and perfecter of the style, Green Flash Brewing.  You have to love the fact that Green Flash makes a beer called West Coast IPA that is perhaps the most ruggedly hopped herbaceous beer on the planet.  It took me a while to work up a taste for it, and now I enjoy it when I'm in the mood for a punch-me-in-the-face hop attack.  I had heard rumors about Green Flash's imperial IPA but had never been able to try it until a month or so ago, and the other day was the first time I tried it on a clean palate.  How would it stack up?

Great Lakes Brewing Dortmunder Gold

Hello, beer fans.  Over at Chicago Foodies I did a write up of one of the most underrated beers in the U.S., Great Lakes Brewing's Dortmunder Gold lager, a brilliant lager made on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio.  You can read the full post here.  Sadly, lagers are overlooked as a serious beer making style by the craft beer community, which is understandable because 90 percent of the beer made in the U.S. is of this variety and it's dreck.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Coronado Brewing and The Beauty of Growlers

A friend of mine sent me a growler from the west coast from Coronado Brewing, a superb beermaker on an island in the Pacific off of San Diego.  I wrote it up at Chicago Foodies so please check out this rather lengthy post on the beer, a delicious pale ale called Four Brothers, and the wonderful potential to be tapped, if you will, from growlers.  Happy reading.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Three Floyds Brewing Dreadnaught

One of the great benefits of living in Chicago is being close to Three Floyds Brewing, a world class brewer just across the border in Indiana.  They are most famously makers of Dark Lord, a Russian Imperial stout so deliciously complex that it invites an annual festival celebrating its release.  Dark Lord certainly makes a serious attempt at justifying its hype.  Yet the Three Floyds beer I generally crave the most is their imperial IPA, the Dreadnaught.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Deschutes Black Butte XXIII - Not just an Anniversary Ale

Each spring some of my favorite beers are bottled. Bourbon Porters. I've been looking forward to this years anniversary beer from Deschutes. Their Black Butte XXXIII. Deschutes folks have been stringing us along and teasing us with their twitter updates. It's their bourbon barrel aged Imperial Porter. This years has Spanish Seville oranges, cacao nibs and 25% bourbon barrel aged Black Butte. That sounds like a recipe for success (or a chocolate bar) to me.