Monday, August 24, 2009

Lucky 13

It might seem like it wasn't much of a beer festival if I can remember all 10 beers I drank, but that just wouldn't be true. This past Saturday was the Stone 13th Anniversary and Beer Celebration, and we were there along with about 30 other people we know in various ways, some of whom are regular commenters to this blog (Amy, of course, and Trekking Left, and the Queen, and Big Table/Patrick), so we had a sort of mini-festival within the festival too, and that's a lot of fest, and I've been to it 6 of the last 7 years so I know of what I drink. (Sad side note that luckily isn't even sadder than it is--one part of our group on its way out of the festival got rear-ended by a guy who of course got hauled away for DUI, and they are ok but not so their car, plus the years of life lost to the fear of getting DUIed themselves. People is crazy out there.)

Simply put, hot sun, lots of beer, ten tickets, go have fun. It was so good this year I skipped Russian River and Dogfish Head simply because I know their beers enough now, not that they aren't delicious. I wanted to hunt the unknown, and our merry band did just that, with sudsy abandon. It's good to have drinking friends, and I hope you all have them too (that is beyond those of you who are already my drinking friends on this blog, which might be everyone who reads it anyway. It's a small, besotted world. I love you all, and have only had one beer tonight.)

As for this year's trends, it seems brewers like this one now:
Imperial + anything that has deep roasted flavors + stout/porter

For instance there was the Pizza Port Carlsbad Night Rider Imperial Stout that one witty not-yet-that-tipsy person dubbed a "kitt" beer and then there was our last ticket, 20 seconds to last call shared beer, which was only fitting as the brewing of the beer was shared, a Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter. Sort of like a Hawaiian island in your mouth minus the dirt.

That said, my top 3 faves were:
1) Bear Republic Racer X
Yes, I'm a ridiculous hophead, but this double IPA is pungent while still wonderfully balanced. Not put on tap until halfway through the tasting, and they had a line the rest of the day. For very good reason.

2) Lost Abbey Angel's Share (Brandy Barrel 2009)
I like brandy. I like beer. Put them together you get this brandy-tasting beer, all oaky goodness with enough vanilla to source all the bakeries on the west coast, no doubt. Sure, you know the alcohol's there (12.5%), but you're only having a 4 oz. taster. Plus, angels would never kill you. Especially drunken angels, cause even if they tried, they'd miss. (Be sure to drink with someone expendable nearby, just in case.)

3) Craftsman Burly Barley Wine
I had to try this one as Craftsman is usually so good at the subtle stuff--their 1903 Lager got me to admit I like lager (well, their lager)-- that something with "burly" in the title intrigued. And while it might not have reached burly, it certainly was full-figured, rich in all that caramelly goodness I like in a barley wine.

If you want to see most of the list of beers, it's PDFed here. If you want ones to avoid, the stuff from Brew Dog didn't thrill, neither the Punk IPA (how could it live up to its name?) or the Paradox Isle of Arran, an imperial stout aged in whisky casks but nowhere as compelling as the Lost Abbey, say.

(2 of 31 in the drive to 2500)



Blogger Mike said...

I love Bear Republic's Red Rocket. I have to try the Racer X next time I see it.

4:06 AM  
Blogger Smitty said...

I love Racer X. Love it. Every time you send me some, I do a happy dance.

Sounds like a riot of a fest. Color me jealous.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Trekking Left said...

I lost track of what I was drinking after about beer 5 :)

9:02 AM  
Blogger Queen Whackamole said...

TL, give yourself some credit--it wasn't beer 5 out of 10, it was 7 out of 12. Plus sips. How will we tally the sips?

I haven't had anything to drink yet and I still love you guys, so it wasn't just the beer talking. That was a perfect Saturday.

9:51 AM  
Blogger George said...

Smitty, I send you Racer 5, not Racer X (the double). Alas, I have never ever had Racer X prior to Saturday. If you like 5, X will run you down (so to speak).

10:08 AM  
Blogger Smitty said...

Ah! Racer 5! the beer. I will then have to commandeer some Racer X.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

what about the orange julius of beers? that was pretty darn delightful!

10:55 AM  
Blogger Queen Whackamole said...

I keep thinking of the orange julius of beers, too. What brewery was that?

11:24 AM  
Blogger George said...

Was it the Orange Blossom Wheat Beer from Papago? I just sipped on that one, so don't feel responsible for it.

And I've heard there's even a Racer 15, but I don't think I'm highly enough evolved to try that yet.

11:27 AM  
Blogger Queen Whackamole said...

So, is Racer X "Racer 10" (twice Racer 5) or Racer Ex ("Go, Speed Racer, Go!")?

12:03 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

I was confused because the folks pouring the Racer X called it "Racer Ex" but if you think of the progression, it would be "Racer 10." Will someone get to the bottom of this?

and yes the orange julius beer was the Orange Blossom Wheat Beer from Papago.

When are we going to start our beer brewing collective? I thing we should hop to it!

WV: shakinic (is that a picnic with a shake?)

3:45 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

think that is...

3:46 PM  

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