Thursday, May 16, 2013

American Craft Beer Week at Plan B

One of the best places I can think of to celebrate American Craft Beer Week is Plan B Burger Bar.  The "B" in Plan B stands for more than just burger - and their burgers kick ass - they have a fantastic bourbon menu and an amazing selection of craft beer.  

They're wait staff is also great, too.  We were served by Damien and his trainee side-kick Emily.  Damien was amusing, attentive and knowledgeable and Emily was doing her darndest to keep up with him and learn the ropes.

Since it is also Connecticut Beer Week I decided to start out with a local brew.

Hop Meadow IPA (6.4% ABV) by Hooker Beer.  Served in a shaker pint, it was a hazy amber with the remnants of a thick head.  The lacing on this brew is incredible! Layer after layer clings to the glass to the very last sip.  The mildly hoppy aroma belies the bigger hop presence.  There is a decent amount of malt to balance out the bitterness, but the sharpness of the hops pull through to the finish leaving a lingering bitterness.  A hop lovers beer, for sure.  The mouth feel is creamy with very little carbonation.   Over all: very good.

Matilda (7.0% ABV) is from the vintage line of beers by Goose Island and can be aged up to 5 years.  Served in a shaker pint, it was a hazy amber with a thick foam over the top that left behind moderate lacing.  The aroma is fruity with a grainy presence. The taste is overall fairly sweet and fruity.  It is also very heavy on the rye. The mouthfeel was medium with lively carbonation.  The finish was dry with a subtle bitterness.  Overall: good.

Lest you think we were drinking on an empty stomach we had an order of hot wings to carry us over to our burgers.  Plan B's wings are big, meaty and very tasty. Personally, I think they could be hotter, but that's me.

Midas Touch (9.00% ABV) is from the line of ancient ales by Dogfish Head.  This was my favorite beer of the evening.  It was served in a pint bottle with an accompanying weissen style glass.  It is a clear pale gold with a thin head and loads of bubbles.  The aroma is fruity, sweet, and a little spicy.  It is described as both sweet and dry, I can totally go along with that.  There is the sweetness of honey and grapes and also the crispness of a chardonney.  Very tasty.  I am totally buying a six-pack of these bad boys!  Overall: very good.

Old Yankee Ale (5.00% ABV) is an old ale by Cottrell Brewing - also a Connecticut brewery.  Served in a shaker pint, is a hazy reddish gold with a big poof of white foam.  The aroma? Decidedly odd.  I thought it smelled like lettuce, I kid you not. The taste was better than the smell although somewhat light in flavor.  Juicy fruits and malt prevail with an underlying grapefruit and resinous hops to balance out the sweetness.  The finish is sweet but mildly bitter.  The mouth feel was light with good carbonation.  A good beer but nothing special.  Overall: good.

For dinner I got burger special - Hawaiian Crush: Beef patty with grilled pineapple, sesame aioli, ham streak, fried egg, teriyaki honey glaze & jack cheese.  I was somewhat dubious about this burger but it was intriguing enough to try.  It was awesome! I was pleasantly surprised at how well all the components worked together. A very tasty burger!  Hubby got the pretzel burger; his favorite. 

Censored (6.75% ABV) is a copper ale by Lagunitas.  You cannot go wrong with a Lagunatas beer.   It was served in a pint bottle with an accompanying weissen style glass.  It pours a deep copper color with a bubbly head.  The aroma is sweet, malty and spicy.  Enticing! The flavor is malty with the tang of cloves and other spices.  There's a nice bite of hops that brings everything together nicely.  The finish is smooth.  A very nice drinkable ale, not too sweet and not too hoppy, just right.  Overall: very good.

Bigfoot (9.6% ABV) by Sierra Nevada well deserves it name.  This beer is categorized as a barleywine, which is why I saved it for last.  Served in a chalice it is a deep copper color. I expected something rich, sweet and malty.  The aroma is huge, malty and hoppy; very much like an imperial IPA.  The taste?  Like a really big big imperial IPA.  Grapefruity hops, very bitter.  Some caramel malt but very understated. The alcohol can be tasted as well as felt, but that's not unexpected.   This is unlike any barlerywine I've ever had and I have a hard time classifying it as such.  I thought it was odd for a barleywine but great as a double IPA.  It's meant to be aged so I plan to get a couple bottles and aged them and see how the brew changes with time.  Over: very good.

But wait!  There's more!  A visit to Plan B wouldn't be complete without a finger or three of bourbon.  And they have a mighty fine selection.  I asked for a finger of 14 year old vintage from Jefferson's; a small batch bourbon distiller in Kentucky, a craft distiller as it were.  Not so unfortunately, they were out of the 14 year old bourbon.  What they had was a 21 year old vintage - Jefferson's Presidential Select (47% ABV).  Not realizing it was $18 for that nip of bourbon, I went for it.  That may seem like a lot of money for so little, and it is, but considering an extremely limited edition bottle is $120 I guess that's not so bad.  This bourbon is nothing short of remarkable.  Smooth and flavorful.  The aroma is rich with notes of vanilla, caramel, toffee. The flavor is very much the same; very deep, rich, and nuanced.  If you like bourbon then you must try this if you can.

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