Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lost Abbey crashes a beer tasting in STYLE

The Lost Abbey is an excellent went coast brewery known for their top shelf Belgian-style and sour beers. Their brews only became available in my neck of the woods within the last year or so, and based on what I've had so far they're well worth seeking out. Since hitting my state, I've been known to sip a fine Lost Abbey brew while engaging in some board gaming fun.

But no amount of board gaming is as cool as what happened to a group of beer geeks who had gotten together for a Lost Abbey tasting. As the host explained on Reddit, their goal was to gather some of the brewery's rare beers in one place so folks could get a chance to taste beers they otherwise might not have been able to get.

What they didn't expect was for Tomme Arthur, Lost Abbey's head brewer, to show up at their door with some of the brewery's most sought after beer in hand.

Check out the video by Lost Abbey:

The sound you hear is hardcore beer geeks weeping with envy. That is incredibly cool of the folks at Lost Abbey to do. Even just showing up would have been a treat -- brewers are fun people to talk to because they love talking about their craft -- but to bring those ultra-rare beers is just icing on the cake.

Makes me want to go get me some Lost Abbey beer.

From the Cellar: Dogfish Head Theobroma

Another entry into the From the Cellar series, this one showcases a bottle of Dogfish Head's Theobroma, a late spring seasonal beer that is part of their lineup of ancient ales. This rather unusual brew is made with cocoa powder and cocoa nibs, honey, chilies and annatto (fragrant tree seeds).

I happen to be a big fan of their forays into beer's past. They're offbeat and unusual, almost never what you expect from a beer, but they're almost always interesting enough to be worth a try.

One year isn't all that long to sit on a beer, especially one that boasts a big alcohol content and a hefty malt bill like this one, so I expected it would hold up fairly well. The first clue that it didn't was in the absolute lack of a nose. This beer was poured a bit cold, but not too cold, so the lack of aroma is surprising. There is some cocoa in the nose but it's faint. Not chocolatey at all. There are hints of dark berries here, too.


The taste is ... well, a year has done this beer no favors. Sure, it's a robust 9% ABV, so it's got the booze to stand up to time, but the delicate balance of chilies and cocoa and honey you get in a fresh bottle is gone. There is still a nice wash of honey there, dipped ever so slightly in cocoa, but the latter is too subtle to be of note. And the ancho chilies and annatto? Gone. Both are present when fresh, adding a hint of spice that rounds out an otherwise sweet brew, but they are nowhere to be found after a year. The primary taste is a silky honey. It's not at all unpleasant, but the complexity of the fresh bottle is gone. Also, as the beer warms the lack of spice contributes to an overly sweet character. Maybe, maybe that sweetness would turn into something nice with a few more years time, but it's doubtful it would top the interesting brew that this is when fresh.

Many Dogfish Head beers lay down pretty nicely. Beers like Word Wide Stout, 120 Minute IPA, and Burton Baton are known for aging wonderfully.

This one, alas, doesn't.

BEER: Dogfish Head Theobroma
TIME AGED: 1 year
NOTES: n/a

VERDICT: Do not cellar. This beer is best enjoyed fresh.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quick Sips: Telegraph Gypsy Ale

Right now, the trendy style among craft beer enthusiasts is sour, sour, sour. Here's one more for the list. This one is from Telegraph Brewing Company out of California ... and sadly, it's only available in California and Arizona. Gypsy Ale is brewed with rye, unmalted wheat, and locally grown plums, and is then fermented with Brettanomyces, which is a type of yeast commonly used in so-called wild ales.

Pour it and you can smell that it's a sour beer. Very funky, very sour nose. It's got a wild tang to the aroma. Take a sip and the 8% ABV isn't well hidden. There is some warming alcohol here, though it's not unpleasant. You can taste hints of light fruit cutting through the puckeringly sour of the beer. The beer is highly carbonated, maybe a little too much. Tickles its way through your mouth and diffusing some of the nice fruit hiding behind the tartness.

Overall, a nice beer that I'd like to have again. If I did ratings I'd probably call this one a 7/10. This beer is a seasonal typically available starting in the late summer.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Win one of my books!

If you follow my main blog then you know I'm not only a beer geek, I'm also an author. Well, I'm giving away a signed copy of a book I contributed to, Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture (Quirk Books 2011). This book has been a huge hit among fans of all things science-fiction, comic book, fantasy, and just plain cool.

And it's easy to win one. Do nothing more than surf over to Your Awesome Editor on Facebook and "like" the page.
That's it. It's that easy. If you are not on Facebook and don't want to be, instead share this link on Twitter and post a link in the comments of this post (and let me know about it on Twitter while you're at it). From all "likes" received on Facebook or confirmed Twitter shares between now and Midnight, July 15, a winner will be randomly selected and contacted via Facebook or Twitter. And then you get your signed book.

I told you it was easy, didn't I?

Oh yeah, and for full disclosure, not only am I one of the coauthors of Geek Wisdom, I am also the founder of Your Awesome Editor.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Bitches Brew is on its way

Dogfish Head's Bitches Brew, a Miles Davis-inspired beer that just might be my favorite offering from Dogfish Head, will be returning in September. According to a posting on their Facebook page:

We're brewing the three threads of imperial stout for Bitches Brew today. The fourth thread (a honey beer with gesho root) was brewed on Friday. The threads will be blended and the 2012 Bitches Brew will be hitting retailers in September!

This is fantastic news! Bitches Brew is a real treat. The honey beer (actually an Ethiopian honey wine called Tej) works wonderfully with the hefty imperial stout that forms of the base of this brew, giving you a roasty, rich beverage that leaves you with a pleasant honey sweetness on the tip of your tongue. Delicious stuff well worth seeking out -- but grab it fast, because this beer always flies right off the shelves. If you know your retailer well, as them to save a bottle for you, because this beer often sells out within 48 hours.

In the meantime, I have some bottles stashed away from each of the last two batches. I may have to break one out for my From The Cellar series, hmmm?