Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Best Beer Month of my Life

July? Who'd've thunk?

I don't know what happened, but between 2,000 miles and a handful of states, this turned out to be the best beer month ever. Through miracles of timing, USPS, and plain ol' dumb luck i tasted more rare, delicious, and all but mythical beers in this July that's marching out of town than any single month i can remember. Saison Session is still in season, but this goes far beyond any quest that i can just set in front of myself. This has to do with a lot of the rabid animals that i keep company with. I'll keep it to only one example of rabidity...one of the beers listed below was filled into a growler in Minnesota, mailed to Pennsylvania and enjoyed all within a matter of days. That's awesome.

I'm writing this from a BBQ shack just outside of Columbia, SC so you'll have to excuse the fact that the proper planning to prepare this in true editorial fashions has been forgone in pursuit of 'Q. (Note: Look up Carolina Hash, i literally just took my first forkfull ever.) (Note: I just took the second forkfull, this stuff is darn good.) I'd have loved to bring this to you beer by beer or session by session, but anything in list format is on the internet and the internet is back in my hotel room.

I can tell you where this trip began and i'm sitting here watching it draw to a close as i wonder if i can find a Green's or Total Wine they close. There's got to be one great beer left in this town before Time's grubby paws take July away for good.

July 1st - Holland, MI

On the first it was my second day. I'd been an employee of New Holland Brewing Company for just about 25 hours. I was due to meet Phil the Eventinator at the brewery for work and after watching him prep caustic (and thinking some just splashed on my hand) he sent me out into the brewery where 'far more interesting things' were happening.

A quick wander proved so so true. It turns out that barrel aging calls for a fair amount of quality control. Makes sense, i mean you can't see what's going on in there, you've gotta take a few tastes to make sure things are as they should be. I didn't get to stay too long before my duties took me elsewhere, but tasting Dragon's Milk straight from it's bourbon barrels was deeply amazing.

From there the rest of my time in Holland was spent learning and lapping up any Hatter Days leftovers i could get my hands on at the brewpub. From memory the Black Hatter, Rye Hatter, and Smoked Hatter are most prevalent. I also got in a few glasses of Golden Cap, our new saison and it is a real winner. I came home with a ridiculous amount of beer too. Marciacabo, a few from De Glazen, and the second batch of the Tomme Arthur/ De Proeuf collaboration. Plus some singles from Great Lakes, Dark Horse, Arbor, & Dragonmead.

I can't for the life of me remember what was going at Teresa's Next Door in July. The Allagash dinner was 7 days too early and...OH, wow, i actually just remembered what was going on there. Oof, yeah i can.

So somewhere not at Teresa's but somewhere at Teresa's there were some heavy duty raers coming out. The Calagione collaboration imperial pils, Beatification, effing La Folie. File under: right place, right time. Back at the bar, i loved the Middle Ages Anniversary beer that was on and Andy's fresh as fruit bottle of Fluxus (Bob's was tasting just as great...signed, Quality Control Team). Blob was on handpump under a neighborly pseudonym, so i did get my fill. If you haven't got yours yet check Suzanne's comment in the previous post for the Blob rundown.

Gambrinus hung on long enough for me to get a glass at TJ's Everyday. I got a well deserved bag of dirt from Scotty Borgata for not being around there nearly enough as i really should. I took note and went back a few days later for mac-and-cheese and a Southy Saison.

Ok, ok enough of this. You just want to see lists, i know. I'm stuffed full of pork and chicken and hushpuppies right now. I couldn't even finish my slaw. I've got to get out of here and find a bottle of beer to end the month on. I can say that the experience of some of the following tastings was easily as great as the beer being tasted. From the "No Love For Ryan Adams Sessions" to Monday Nights to Sweatin' With The Dark Lord it was just a month beyond belief. As many beers as i can remember not mentioned above are below, remember this all happened in the last 31 days and nights......

Christmas in July Pt. 2 (i missed the first) Big thanks to Dell for his lists.

Hair of the Dog Brewing Co – Doggie Claws
Pennsylvania Brewing Co – St Nicholaus Bock Bier
Brasserie a’ Vapeur – Vapeur en Folie
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales – Maracaibo Especial
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales – Noel de Calabaza - Blend 5
AleSmith Brewing Co – YuleSmith
Kiuchi Brewery – Commemorative Ale 2008
Parkerford Brewing (Tom Foley HB) – Saaz Lager #123
Hurlimann Brewery – Samichlaus Bier - vintages 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997
Brouwerij Westvleteren – Westy 6/Blonde - acquired from the café across the street from the abbey on 5/2008
Brouwerij Westvleteren – Westy 8 - acquired from the café across the street from the abbey on 5/2008
Brouwerij De Dolle Brouwers – Stille Nacht - vintage 2007 -
Brouwerij Huyghe – Delirium Noel - vintage 2002 and unknown vintage

No Love For Ryan Adams - Session #1 - Snacking on the Sack (of cheese)
Vick Wick Wit - West Chester Brewers Guild's 1st batch. Awesome Witbier.
Three Floyds 10th Anniversary
*more from this one next time i have my camera handy.


Sweatin' To The Darklord
- Bow Down To Planet Earth

Some blind, some not blind either way:

The Abyss - Deschutes Brewing Inc.
Kate The Great - Portsmouth Brewing Co.
Darklord 2008 - Three Floyds

Another Monday Night - Pre-pre Ommegang

Monday Night Blind Tasting

Brewery Ommegang – Ommegang (Abbey Ale)
North Coast Brewing – Brother Thelonious
The Lost Abbey - Lost & Found Abbey Ale

Similar vintages, similar temp, similar storage

And then...

Captain Lawrence Brewing Co – Xtra Gold Tripel -
Deep Pond Brewing (my HB) – Cuvee de Wormwood – dry wormwood-ed
Norrebro Bryghus – Old Odense Ale - collaboration with Sam from DFH
Dark Horse Brewing Co – Fore Smoked Stout
Trout River Brewing Co – Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
Deschutes Brewing Inc – The Abyss
Berkshire Brewing Co – Coffeehouse Porter
De Proef Brouwerij – Signature Ale/with Tomme Aurthur - batch 2
Dr Joel’s Beer Emporium (HB) – Rye IPA –
Thomas Hooker Ales – Imperial Porter
Brouwerij De Gouden Boom – Brugse Tripel
Heavyweight Brewing Co – Biere D’Art
Brouwerij Affligem – Affligem Noel - vintage 2003
De Proef Brouwerij – Flemish Primitive Wild Ale - “Surly Bird” - #3

No Love For Ryan Adams - Session #2 - The Sausage Fest

All over an awesome spread of cheese, nuts, bread, and great grilled sausage:

Surly Cynicale
Bell's Expedition
De Glazen Saison D'Erpe-Mere
Tyranena Scurvy
Tyranena Devil Over A Barrel
Minneapolis' Town Hall Brewery Masala Mama
North Coasr LeMerle
Peche Mortel
Surly Furious
Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout
Founders Breakfast Stout
Oskar Blues Gordon
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
Floosmoor Station's Vishnu's Vice IPA

I'll add more as i remember and check back into things. In case you were wondering i found a Total Wine in the pouring down rain about 10 mins from the hotel. I've been sipping away at a 2005 Thomas Hardy and as soon as i hop out of the shower i'll crack open a Rochefort 10 and say goodbye to a great July.

*If any of you folks had beer with me this month that i am obviously forgetting please add on.

1 comment:

Scott said...

That's quite a list there! From my failing memory, I know that No Love for Ryan Adams Session #1 also included the Tomme Arthur/De Proef collaboration.

And there was the pre-Ommegang Monday night tasting which included, among other things, Vertical Epic 05.05.05, some Crooked Tree stuff, DFH Immort Ale and some chunky guezes that Dell brought.

Finally, the afternoon playing the world's most expensive jukebox at Ron's ("Everything's a Dollar!"). Can't remember much but the Dragon's Milk was definitely a highlight.