Thursday, October 9, 2014
Camping to me is sleeping in a tent, chillin' by a raging fire, reading a good book, hanging with best friends, and . . . you got it! . . . drinking beer.
Traditionally, we bring a cooler full of easy drinking, slam-backable brew. This year it was Road Jam by Two Roads Brewery. However, I also always bring along a few special brews to sip and savor.
The first beer of these year's camping trip was a special brew, indeed.
XV Reserve Ale was brewed by Ommegang to celebrate 15 years of beer making awesomeness.
XV (15th Anniversary Ale (9.6% ABV) is a Quadrupel.
It pours deep and dense with a tease of red. It is capped with a small but thick tan head that dissipates into a halo of foam that lingers around the edge of the glass.
The aroma is wow-rrific! It smells of rich dried fruits, dark sugars, yeast, warm spices.
The taste is intense and complex. Dark sweet malts are the base for dried fruit like prunes and raisins, burnt sugary molasses, spices like cocoa, clove, and pepper, bready yeast, toast and crackers. All this and it works wonderfully well. The alcohol? It's in there for sure. The beer tastes strong but it's not boozy. The finish is sweet but not sticky.
The mouthfeel is full and creamy and smooth.
Overall: very good.
Monday, October 6, 2014
Craft beer makers from all over Connecticut were represented and offering samples.
I tasted 35 individual beers and the ones I especially liked I tasted again. And again.
It was fantastic to have the opportunity to chat with the brewers of some of the best beer our state has to offer. We are truly blessed with a great number of good brewers and breweries. And the number keeps going and going up.
All of the beers were good. There were so many different styles and flavors. Is it possible to pick a favorite? At the risk of offending, yes there was one beer that stood out among all the others. To me, at least.
It was actually two beers all mixed up into fabulous deliciousness called Pumpkin Cannoli Black and Tan by Shebeen Brewing.
Both beers are great on their own. I've already reviewed the cannoli beer (click here). The pumpkin was somewhat unique among pumpkin beer in that it wasn't a spiced pumpkin, just straight up beer brewed with natural pumpkin. Fresh and yummy. Together they were fantasmic.
Like I said there were lots of tasty brews on tap. And the competition to win over my taste buds was tight.
Surprising to me was that my second favorite brew was from New England Brewing Company. I know that NEBCO as a very loyal somewhat rabid following and I'll probably piss off someone for saying this, but I kind of have a love/dislike relationship with them. The beer they make that I love I really really love and the ones I don't like I simply don't like. Anyhoo . . . I flippin' love love LOVED the Weiss Trash Culture. Oooooo baby that is one good Berliner Weiss! Holy shmokes! I absolutely love a good tart Berliner Weiss! YUM!
Other brewers in attendance were:
Back East - BAR - Beer’d – Black Hog - Broad Brook - Cambridge House - Charter Oak - City Steam - Cotrell - DuVig - Firefly Hollow - GW Beer - Half Full - Hooker - New England Brewing - Olde Burnside - Overshores - Relic - SBC - Shebeen - Stony Creek - Thimble Island - Two Roads - Weed - Willimantic
Thanks to CT Beer Trail for putting on such a fun beer filled event. And thanks to Two Roads Brewery for providing the perfect location.
Check out all my photos from the event click here.
Saturday, October 4, 2014
When I bought my tickets for Smoke in the Valley beer and chili festival I had never anticipated that it would be pouring rain the whole farking day. Whatever. It is what it is. And it is beer! And chili.
We got shuttled to the festival on a school bus. Funny, but I seem to remember the seats being much much biggerer. Funny how that is.
When we got dropped off I was impressed by the size of the crowd. Beer drinkers will not be deterred! Not by drizzle, rain, nor deluge! That was very evident.
Those good folks running the festival were well prepared for the weather. There were tents set up over every pouring station and chili/food vendor. One couldn’t avoid the raindrops but there was respite from the wetness.
Beer. Holy cow. I sampled 104 brews! Seriously! That’s a lot of beer and I didn’t even try them all.
And food? The focus was on chili and there were some yummy ones. My favorite was from Spud Stud but Uncle Willie’s was a close second.
There were bands playing and thankfully no one got electrocuted! Whew.
Despite being a soggy mess, overall it was a great day.
Check out my photo album on Facebook for more photos.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
Two Roads Brewery held their 2nd annual version of the wildly popular beerfest this past weekend. Popular in its own right, Ok2berfest completely sold out on Saturday and was well attended on Sunday.
Flowing from the taps were two special Ok2berfest brews - Ein and Zwei. Early in the day Sunday, the Zwei taps ran dry! Good thing I got my taste before that travesty occurred.
Not to worry, there was still plenty of Ein. Plus, Road Jam, No Limits and Ol'Factory Pils.
Pocket Full of Soul was jammin' out the tunes. They played all day and were rockin'! It wasn't exactly traditional German music but it was still good fun. They even inspired a little bit of dancing.
Spud Stud and the bratwurst and potato pancakes from Brats on a Bun, Oooooh! And the cupcakes made with Two Roads beer from Hardcore Sweet Cupcake truck. Mmmm, mmmm, yummly!
There were games like Corn Hole and High Striker. And the ever popular photo op!
But what made this day perfect for me was sharing it with my hubby and bestest of buds! Nothing is finer than sharing good times with good friends.
Ok2berfest was fantastic. I can't wait for next year. Well done Two Roads!
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
I remember the last time I had Yuengling on tap. It was in Pennsylvania many years ago at a little neighborhood dive bar in Lancaster County that served up ice cold Yuengling and the rockin'est ribeye!
Flash forward 15 years and here I sit in my favorite little neighborhood bar - Porky's Cafe - once again drinking Yuengling on tap and nomming a wicked good ribeye steak!
Serendipity is what it is!!
Sunday, September 21, 2014
I was in New Orleans for a conference with a couple days tacked on for sightseeing and booze-drinking. I dragged hubby along for carousing purposes.
It was our last night and we were in our hotel lounge lamenting that would be leaving behind the French Quarter and - more importantly - hurricanes (the beverage, not the weather phenomena). I know it's not beer, but DAMN have you ever had one. Wowsers!
When suddenly before us appeared a man bearing a tray of beer samples. Free beer! That made me feel slightly better. Not about leaving NOLA, just better in general.
Better yet new-to-me beer from a new-to-me brewery! Weeeeeee!
David - I think his name was David. I asked him, like, three times but after a few hurricanes the details get fuzzy - was a representative of Covington Brewhouse distributing samples of Pontchartrain Pilsner. Just look at those hairy arms!! He let me have multiple samples . . . for research.
Pontchartrain Pilsner (5% ABV) is a clear, pale yellow with a smallish white head.
The aroma is gently malty.
The taste is fresh and clean. Lightly malty with a smidgen of hoppy bitterness. The finish is crisp.
The mouthfeel was light and pleasantly effervescent.
Pontchartrain Pilsner is a perfectly quaffable, easy drinking brew. It goes down cool and easy. I like it!