Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sourcopia Beer Dinner

Two Roads Brewery recently hosted their second beer dinner. The first was awesome with excellent beer and food pairings (read about it here).

This one was even better. Admittedly, I was one the fence about paying the $90 per person price tag. But, since the first dinner was so great, I sucked it up and bought the tickets.

I'm so glad I did! It was worth it.

The Sourcopia Beer Dinner was an amazing experience. The beers were (of course) delicious and the food was fabulous.

This beer dinner featured pre-release tastings of four new Two Roads brews - three sours and Roadsmary's Other Baby - plus a course featuring the newly release Unorthodox Ale.

The food was prepared by Chef Plum (Kristopher Plummer). Each course was inspired by the beers he was pairing the course with and, in some dishes, the beer was used in the recipe.

As each beer was being served, brewmastter Phil Markowski discussed the brew and answered questions. Then Chef Plum would describe each course and why he paired the beer with it. Each dish went wonderfully well with the beer served with it.

My dining companions? Well, they were just delightful. We chatted and laughed and shared the experience. I finally got to meet Dan and Kristien ‏of  fellow bloggers OmNomCT. And got the chance to chat with Chef Plum. Of course, there were photo-ops with old friends and new friends.

Kriek (5.2% ABV) is a cherry infused lambic.

It is a hazy coppery orange color with a thin but clingy froth.

The aroma was mouthwateringly tart with the subtlest breath of fruit.

The taste, hmmm, not at all what I expected. My prior experience is that lambics are typically overly sweet and often syrupy. This was neither of these things and oh-so good. It was lip-smackingly tart and nary a bit sweet with whisper of cherries. The finish is dry and leaves you salivating.

The mouthfeel is light and tingly.

Overall: very good.

Gueuze (5.2% ABV) is a blend of young and older lambics.

It has a hazy honey appearance with a smallish white head.

The aroma tart and a wee bit funky.

The taste is wicked tart with a touch of Belgian funk. It very much reminded me of Krazy Pucker - Two Road's Berliner Weisse. Except it was so much more. More sour, more flavor. The finish is dry and crisp.

The mouthfeel is medium-light with loads of happy bubbles.

Overall: very good

Philsamic is an American wild ale brewed with aged balsamic vinegar.

It is a dark burnt orange color with a huge root-beer like head.

The aroma is difficult to describe. There is a definite undercurrent of balsamic.

The taste, indeed, has a balsamic quality without being vinegary. However, it wasn't nearly as balsamic-y as I had expected, Again, hard to describe as I have no basis for comparison. It has a kind of earthiness but not in a hoppy way. In fact, it's not bitter nor is it sweet nor particularly sour. It is truly unique. Definitely worth a try if you can get your hands on some.

Overall: interesting

Unorthodox (9.2% ABV) is a Russian imperial stout. It is Igor's Dream without the barrel aging will become a year-round offering.

It is as dark as pitch with a mocha colored head.

The aroma is roasty malts, dark cocoa, coffee, and a hint of hops.

The taste is true to the style - dark malts, bitter chocolate, roasted coffee, and dark dried fruit. There is some sweetness and a surprising bit of hoppiness. The finish is mildly bitter.

The mouthfeel is full and warm.

Overall: very good

Roadsmary's Other Baby (6.8% ABV) is a pumpkin beer. It is uncut and aged two months longer than the original Roadsmary's Baby.

It is a reddish orange with a loose lingering head.

The aroma . . . holy cow. You can literally drink in the smell and taste the beer. Pumpkin, spices, and awesomeness.

The taste is similar to Roadsmary's Baby but it is smoother, less spicy, and more fresh pumpkin. I like it so much better and that's saying something since I like Roadsmary's Baby so flippin' much. Crazy! Get this one while you can. Extremely limited release.

Overall: awesome.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Ommegang XV

There are few things that I find as relaxing and rejuvenating as camping. That is why, no matter what is going on in my life, I make the time to go camping at least once a year.

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.
I bought this extremely limited brew two years ago and have been cellaring it for a special occasion. Since our annual camping trip also coincides with our wedding anniversary, I think it was about time to bust it out.

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

Connecticut Brewers Fest

The Connecticut Brewers Fest was hosted by CT Beer Trail and presented by Two Roads Brewing

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

Smoke in the Valley

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.