2013 End of Summer Beer Extravaganza

Untappd says to “Drink Socially” and that is exactly what we did. Saturday, 14 September, was the 1st Annual End of Summer Beer Party at Paul and Sandi’s. The show got under way at 3:30. In attendance were Paul and Sandi, John and Sherri, Sara and I, and for a while Mike “Curly” White and his family dropped by. We drank a lot of beer, most of it aged for a year or as many as 7, ate good food and had a Mario Kart race off on the Wii. Um, I sucked at it, as was to be expected.

The beers and the order we drank them in are as follows:

Midnight Sun Berserker (2012) – was a bit smoother than last time we had it almost a year ago. Aged nicely.

Midnight Sun Berserker Russian Imperial Stout 2012

Midnight Sun Berserker Russian Imperial Stout 2012

10 Barrel Precursor Imperial Red (2011 Small Batch Series) Bottle 780 of 2600 – bourbon aroma and quite tasty.

10 Barrel Precursor Imperial Red

10 Barrel Precursor Imperial Red

McMenamins Red Rum Rum Barrel-Aged Amber Ale – from a large mason jar as growler. Tasty.

North Coast Old Rasputin XV – Quite good.

North Coast Old Rasputin XV Russian Imperial Stout

North Coast Old Rasputin XV Russian Imperial Stout

Full Sail Session Premium Lager – This was the go to for palate refreshing.

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale – Aroma was smoky with a hint of bacon and maple. Not near as bad as I expected (or had heard) but still not good.

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale – I could describe but do not waste your time on this beer. We all poured it out. Some had a few more sips than others but we all ended up pouring it in the yard.

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale

Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ale

Fire Cirkl Dragon’s Blood Braggot – This was also aged for a year and based on the couple of tastes we’ve had of fresh stuff over the last several months the aging helped it. Aroma of wild flower honey and a clear, deep garnet or ruby brown.

Jubelale 2007 – Interesting. Soft, woody, oaky. Pretty darn good for a six-year-old beer not meant to age.

Deschutes Jubelale 2007

Deschutes Jubelale 2007

Southern Tier Imperial Crème Brûlée Stout – Aroma of OMG; as in not good; artificial. Not as bad as the Rogue Voodoo Doughnuts but almost. Others (maybe most) quite liked it.

Oakshire Hellshire III – Mellower than 7 months ago. Quite tasty. Glad I have a few more bottles left.

Oakshire Hellshire III Stout

Oakshire Hellshire III Stout

Jubelale 2008 – Some almost off flavors and a bit musty. Did not age well. But, as Jon admitted, aging these was a crap shoot.

Deschutes Jubelale 2008

Deschutes Jubelale 2008

Jubelale 2009 – Pretty tasty. Not quite as good as the 2007 but certainly much better than 2008.

Deschutes Jubelale 2009

Deschutes Jubelale 2009

Rogue Big Ass Barrel Blackberry Ale – Definitely a Rogue. Blackberry, as the name implies. Quite drinkable but not great to me.

The Abyss (2006) – 1st year. Aroma of licorice and “softness.” Licorice, tobacco. OMG! This is what aged beer should taste like.

Deschutes The Abyss 2006

Deschutes The Abyss 2006

Fire Cirkl One-Eyed Ginger – I didn’t even try this one. There was very little I was going to put in my mouth after The Abyss.

[At this point Jon and Sherri left and eventually we slid in a few barley wines.]

Pelican Mother of All Storms (2012) – Quite tasty. I had heard that this was supposed to be quite hoppy but after a year or so it was fairly balanced.

Firestone Walker Sucaba (2012) – An excellent barley wine, as I already knew. The year it has been aging has changed it little. Thankfully we have another bottle just as old and will let it age another year or so.

Firestone Walker Sucaba 2012

Firestone Walker Sucaba 2012

See Jon’s post at The Brew Site blog for a slightly different take and more and better pictures.

We brought the Hellshire III and and the Sucaba. Next year we will have some better aged things to share. But seeing as we only started cellaring beers last September/October those weren’t bad choices. In fact, they are both damn fine beers. In the meantime, we have acquired a fair bit more and have found sources for more aged beers. I am definitely looking forward to next year’s end of summer party.

We had a great time and tasted many high quality beers and were exposed to a few we might not otherwise have been. For me, the 2006 The Abyss was definitely the highlight.

Thanks Sandi and Paul for such a fun day! Sorry we kept you up so late.

Deschutes beer tasting night at the Platypus Pub

I had a very bad afternoon yesterday (Thursday, 29th) and by 3:30 pm I was ready to start drinking some very dark, very strong beer. But I didn’t.

Then around 3:50 I saw this tweet from @DeschutesBeer

Meet the brewer & taste The Abyss ’11, ’12, BBXXIII, BBXXIV, & Jubelale on Nitro @platypuspubbend #inbend 2nite 6-8pm. See you there??

Sara and I decided to go since we had not yet had Black Butte Porter XXIII. We headed over around 5:15 to check out the bottled beers upstairs—looking for Midnight Sun Berserker Imperial Stout, in particular. Didn’t find any but there are several Midnight Suns and a few other things we’d like to try soon. Headed downstairs and got a table before the proceedings were to start. Turns out that they even had Black Butte Porter XXIII on tap so we got a 10 oz. snifter to share and some food.

Snifter of Black Butte Porter XXIII at The Platypus Pub

Snifter of Black Butte Porter XXIII at The Platypus Pub

This is what I put into Untappd when I checked this beer in:

Mmmm. Tobacco, figs, slight wine notes, pepper on sides. XXIV is better but this is darn fine.

The event started a bit early but we had our food and it was an ongoing thing for a couple hours so we chilled and ate. The brewer and some other folks were there and had some ingredients—brewer’s licorice, vanilla beans and cherry bark, and something else (I forget)—in jars for smelling and tastes of the beers.

While we were eating we saw that they had flights of the 5 beers so we ordered one. It came with the BBP XXIII & XXIV, The Abyss 2011 & 2012, and Jubelale on nitro. Then they told us there was a special 6th one which we would get from the brewer but a few minutes later a guy from the Platypus Pub came by with our 6th glass and said “Here’s your XXII.” Holy WTF, Batman! Black Butte Porter XXII. Sara immediately texted Stacey and Beth. Beth was able to come join us.  All of the beers were quite good but I wasn’t very good at making notes last night.

Flight of Deschutes beer at the Deschutes beer tasting night at the Platypus Pub

Deschutes flight: Back L –> R: BBPXXIII, BBPXXIV, Abyss 2011. Front L –> R: Abyss 2012, Jubelale 2012 (nitro), BBP XXII

BBP XXII was much smoother than the XXIII and XXIV and tasted more of vanilla and dark malts, with a very slight bourbon/whiskey taste. I think Sara and Beth like it the best of the three but I still like XXIV the most. Perhaps that is because I have had it more frequently and in more varied situations. Sure wish I could give the XXII that chance, too.

Black Butte Porter XXII carton at Deschutes beer tasting night at the Platypus Pub

Black Butte Porter case

These are amazing beers and I want to thank Bend for being the town that it is, Platypus Pub for hosting this evening, and to especially thank Deschutes for brewing so many outstanding libations and sharing them with us.

[This post, Deschutes beer tasting night at the Platypus Pub, originally appeared on habitually probing generalist on 1 December 2012. It was slightly modified in that I removed the initial disclaimer about it being tagged DigiWriMo.]

The Abyss 2012 Release Party, 15 November 2012

We did manage to get to The Abyss 2012 Release Party yesterday in time to get a flight of 2008-2012 The Abyss as I was mentioning in my Deschutes Brewery University: Barrel-Aged Beer event post. Our friend who was most interested said she could go after 12 noon so we packed up and headed down to the brew pub for lunch.

Placard for The Abyss at The Abyss 2012 Release Party

The Abyss 2008-12 tasters and quote from “Ten beers that will make you a man — if they don’t kill you first” at Denver Westword http://blogs.westword.com/cafesociety/2011/04/ten-beers-that-will-make-you-a-man.php?page=2

Before I get into my short tasting notes I want to give you the info they provided us for The Abyss 2012, which is the seventh release (2006-2012):

  • ABV: 11.0%  IBUs: 70
  • Malt: Pale, Black, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Wheat
  • Hops: Millennium, Nugget, Styrian, Northern Brewer
  • Brewed with: Blackstrap Molasses & Brewer’s Licorice
  • Dry-Hopped with: Vanilla Beans & Cherry Bark
  • Barrel-Aging: (28%) 6 months in Bourbon, Oregon Oak, and Pinot Noir
  • Tasting Notes: Best served at 50-55 degrees. Vanilla, Chocolate, Dark Fruit, Caramel, Toffe, and Espresso
  • Cellaring Notes: Store at 45 degrees in a dark place. Constant temperature is key to proper cellaring. Drink within 5 to 7 years.
  • Beer Advocate Rating: A+ World Class
  • Rate Beer Rating: 100 Overall
  • 2012 World Beer Awards: World’s Best Stout & Porter

[See http://www.deschutesbrewery.com/brew/the-abyss for more awards]

A flight of The Abyss 2008-2012 at The Abyss 2012 Release Party

A flight of The Abyss 2008-2012 and a truffle

In the pictures: Back row – left 2008, mid 2009, right 2010; front row – left 2011, mid 2012, right truffle

  • 2008 Thick. Caramel. Roasted malt. Little change after truffle. Excellent!
  • 2009 thick. Tobacco and leather. Slight bourbon. After truffle a bit darker. Amazing!
  • 2010 Little aroma. Slight bourbon, strong wine flavor. After truffle a tad smoother.
  • 2011 Smells slightly smoky. Definite bourbon taste.
  • 2012 Thick.

As you can see, my words sometimes escape me. That is the order we tasted them in, oldest to youngest. By the time I got to the newer ones and having had some truffle already it made no sense to do “after truffle” tastings on them as I had truffle permeating my mouth. The only palate cleanser I had was water.

2008 and 2009 were my favorites by far. 2011 was also very good. 2010 was also very drinkable and given another year or three may become something very special. 2012 needs to age a few years. Don’t get me wrong, it is a tasty beer. Is it the best stout or porter in the world? Nope. Not at all.

I have revised my opinion of The Abyss upward a bit from the other night but I’m still going on record with the claim that Black Butte XXIV—also ‘fresh’ this year—is better and that Midnight Sun’s Berserker Imperial Stout is what The Abyss 2010 dreams of becoming in a few more years.

I did get myself a hoodie sweathshirt and two bombers for the Cellar. Our friend also took two bottles home.

One last thing. I want to give props to Deschutes Brewery and their social media coordinator, Gina. There was some confusion over the officially published times for the availability of the limited number of flights. We had made plans with assorted friends to try and make it together and then the time changed. Sara and I both tweeted Deschutes to ask what was up with the time and to register a bit of disappointment. We got a quick response apologizing for the confusion and contact info in case we were unable to get the flights we were hoping for. Yesterday, after our plans changed and we made it, I emailed Gina to thank her and let her know we had been successful. She again apologized for the confusion and offered me a token. I turned it down as it was never about getting something from a situation that can too easily arise in our busy and complex lives. I think Deschutes does a great job with their social media presence and website and we generally know when things are happening. So, just wanted to give a shout out to Gina and Deschutes. Thank you!

 

[This post, The Abyss 2012 Release Party, 15 November 2012, originally appeared on habitually probing generalist on 16 November 2012.]

Deschutes Brewery University: Barrel-Aged Beer event

On 6 Nov. we attended the Deschutes Brewery University: Barrel-Aged Beer event with 6 of ours friends. We got there a little early and Sara was able to grab a table so all 8 of us could sit together. The room was pretty full so I assume they had sold all 25 seats.

We tasted 8 different barrel-aged beers; four were from Deschutes, one was a collaboration between Deschutes and Hair of the Dog, and three were from other breweries. Hors d’oeuvres were served about midway through the beer sampling.

We also got a presentation from Jacob Harper, the barrel master at Deschutes. The beers were arranged in the order he figured was lightest to heaviest, but was slightly complicated by the fact that four were sours so they were placed at the back half.

We began with the Calabaza Blanca from Jolly Pumpkin (Traverse City, Ann Arbor and Dexter, Michigan). It is a light wheat/white ale hybrid that was slightly sweet and slightly sour. I thought it was fairly tasty but would not want to drink it in quantity or frequently. ~5% ABV. I gave it 4 stars.

Next was Ale D’or Fort from Deschutes, which I had never heard of. Turns out it was brewed for a special Oregon beer festival (missed the name) last year where all the brewers took a particular Brettanomyces yeast strain from Unibroue and competed with what they produced from it. It was light, almost wine-like, a strong gold which had been aged in French Pinot barrels. No carbonation. It tasted a lot like Ashton’s Fresh Hop London Strong Gold without the fresh hops, which is to say, amazing. 9%+ ABV. 5 stars.

Third was Deschutes’ Black Butte XXIV, which we have had a fair bit of and of which neither of us would tire of ever having. I have three bottles in the Cellar. It is an Imperial porter with dates, figs, chicory and other bits for flavor. 20% was aged in bourbon barrels. We were told that next year they plan on aging 50% of the batch in bourbon barrels, which will up the ABV a few %. I think everyone present let out a loud and appreciative “Oooohhh” at that. 10.8% ABV. 5 stars+

Fourth, and the last non-sour, was Deschutes’ The Abyss (2011). I have been really wanting to try this as this year’s version is being released today. It is an Imperial stout that used licorice and molasses in the kettle. It was 28% barrel-aged (11% Pinot noir, 15% bourbon, 2% raw Oregon oak barrels). It is relatively the same each year. My first reaction was a thoughtful “Hmmm.” I didn’t want to be hasty but I was definitely underwhelmed. It has a chocolate taste late in the mouth. It is tasty but I have to say it is no Black Butte Porter XXIV. 11% ABV. I gave it 4 stars and am hopeful for this year’s batch. It won World’s Best Stout & Porter at the 2012 World Beer Awards, which in my humble opinion it does not deserve. A damn fine beer it is but Black Butte XXIV Porter is better and Midnight Suns’ Berserker Imperial Stout blows them both away.

With any luck we will be one of the lucky few at the release party today to get in on the vertical tasting of 2008-2012 batches of The Abyss. Perhaps I’ll revise my opinion then. [Turns out they have moved up the time when the limited flights will be available and it isn’t looking good. We both questioned this on Twitter—mostly as to what time they really were being served—and got an interesting reply back so we’ll see.]

Fifth, and the first sour, was Tart of Darkness from The Bruery (Orange County, California). It was a sour stout made with cherries and aged in oak barrels. It tasted much lighter than it looked. 5.6% ABV. 4 stars.

Next was The Dissident from Deschutes, which we have also had recently and of which I have 2 bottles in the Cellar. It is made every other year and uses a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces. Currently made in batches of 200 barrels they are aiming to begin producing it every year. 11.4% ABV. 5 stars. This won World’s Best Oud Bruin and Americas Best Oud Bruin at the 2012 World Beer Awards. World’s Best? I don’t know but it is certainly one of the finest sours produced outside of Belgium.

Next to last was Sang Noir from Cascade Brewing (Portland). Pretty darn sour. Light and thin but very sour. Cherries. Aged in French oak and bourbon barrels. 9.5% ABV. I gave it 4/3 stars. For me it was a 3 but I wondered if I were judging it too harshly since it had pushed past my acceptability for sourness.

Last was The Collage, also from Deschutes. We have also tasted this since being here and have a bottle in the Cellar. It comes from a collaboration with Hair of the Dog (Portland) and is a blend of Deschutes’ The Dissident (but unsoured) and The Stoic (a quad we are still waiting to try) and Hair of the Dog’s Fred  (10% ABV Golden Strong ale) and Adam (10% ABV; their 1st beer). It is 100% barrel-aged in 6 different types of barrels. Hair of the Dog uses a peat malt. It is tasty, no doubt, but it seems all the work is over much for the end result. 11.6% ABV. 4 stars.

I must say, though, that I am definitely looking forward to tasting Fred and Adam and other Hair of the Dog beers some day.

After the tasting we were still hungry so we moved downstairs for some dinner. Sara and I shared an Ashton’s Fresh Hop Strong London Gold which was excellent but perhaps not the best idea after all those other strong beers. And I had even been finishing a couple of Sara’s that she did not. I really felt it the next day!

It was, of course, election night and some of those at our table had been (::grumble:: understandably ::grumble::) refreshing their phones all evening as returns came in. During dinner we learned of a couple states’ equal marriage bills passing, Colorado’s passing of their marijuana bill, and of the reelection of Obama. Many people in the pub seemed genuinely happy at much of this but there were definitely groups of assorted sizes who were not. “Sorry if our reasonably joyous celebrations were disturbing you.” No, honestly, I’m not. Deschutes County is a lot more red than I ever might have imagined before moving here. I can see it now but I still find it hard to believe.

All in all, it was a tasty and enjoyable evening.

One of my favorite lines from Barrel Master Jacob Harper was one of the reasons why one might want to barrel-age a beer: “To add mystique to an already good beer.” I’ll raise my glass to a little mystique!

 

[This post, Deschutes Brewery University: Barrel-Aged Beer event, originally appeared on habitually probing generalist on 15 November 2012.]

Happy International Stout Day, 8 November 2012

I was informed by Untapped via twitter (@Untappd) a day or two ago, that today is International Stout Day. (@StoutDay)

Now that’s a holiday made-to-order for Bend!

OK, our stout scene is a little weak here in the Pacific Northwest what with the overemphasis (thankfully, tapering I believe) on IPAs. But. Weak or not, we do have some amazing stouts around. Most are special issues and more seasonal issues but there are a few very good stouts available year-round.

I will most definitely be participating this evening by: 1) enjoying a delicious stout (or two), and 2) checking into Untappd to get my Stout Day badge, and 3) writing this post.

Which stout(s) will I drink? Let me check my cellar and fridge.

I could always have an Obsidian Stout from Deschutes but I only have it in 12 oz. bottles and, honestly, even though I really like Obsidian it tastes like crap out of a 12 oz. bottle. I also have bombers (22 oz. bottles) of the following: Widmer Bros. Series 924 Milk Stout, Elysian Dragonstooth Stout, Oakshire Overcast Espresso Stout, and HUB (Hopworks Urban Brewery)Organic Survival 7-Grain Stout. I have previously had both the Dragonstooth and the Overcast and they are pretty good in my opinion. I have yet to taste the Widmer Bros. or the HUB.

I think I’ll go with the Survival 7-Grain seeing as tomorrow I’m participating in Twitter vs. Zombies for DigiWriMo. Seems like fueling up on some serious grains might be useful. 😉

I truly wish we had a Midnight Sun Berserker Imperial Stout. We had it off tap at Broken Top Bottle Shop, down the street from us, and it is better than any beer has a right to be! Seriously. We are trying to get our hands on a bottle or three and we are hoping Broken Top will get it again, and they are trying. Even Sara wants to give the Berserker 6 or more stars on a 5 star rating. It truly is that damn good on draft. Then again, I simply could not drink beer that amazing (or strong 12.7%) on a routine basis.

I have now mentioned Untappd and Broken Top Bottle Shop and I want to talk about them some more.

Untappd: Drink Socially is a website and an app (multiple platforms. I believe) that my friend Jenny turned me onto a couple months back. You can use it for keeping track of the beers you drink, keep a wish list, follows breweries, check into the locations you drink at, rate & describe the beers, upload photos of your beers, friend people, and so on. Of course, one earns badges for assorted beer drinking activities. I like it.

Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café is our neighborhood drinking and eating establishment. It is the closest to us at the other end of our street; a nice healthy ~20 min. hilly walk each way. They have excellent vegan and vegetarian food (says the meat eater in the family) and lots of tasty meat-based food, also. They have 10-12 taps from all over which rotate frequently and they have hundreds of beers and a good handful of ciders in bottles that you can consume there or take home. Sadly, their bottles seem to be way overpriced, unlike the rest of their offerings, but they usually have at least one tasty to very tasty thing on tap. They also have wine. They host events and have lots of live music and often these things are free. It is a great and friendly place and we go there more than anywhere else.

Back on October 13th we got ourselves a Trumer Pils. When I checked this beer in on Untappd I got a Trumer Bike & Beer badge and a notification that I was entered to win a Trumer branded beach cruiser bike.

On 3 Nov. I got an email from the CEO of Untappd saying I was the winner! I emailed him back my contact info and am now waiting on Trumer’s marketing folks to contact me. Hard to tell from the picture but it looks like I will soon have a decent bike for around town here. And I needed a bike, too, to become a proper Bendite. What better than a beer branded bike?

So a big thanks to Jenny, Untappd, Broken Top Bottle Shop and Trumer! Social drinking pays off!

I decided to go with the HUB Organic Survival 7-Grain Stout, which has cold-pressed Stumptown Organic Holler Mountain coffee in it. It is pretty tasty but kind of medium bodied for a stout. The coffee is mild in both the nose and flavor.

HUB Organic Survival 7-Grain Stout bottle and glass, which I had for International Stout Day, 8 November 2012

HUB Survival 7-Grain Stout for International Stout Day 2012

Checking this beer into Untappd I, of course, got the International Stout Day (2012) badge but I also got a New Brew Thursday (Level 2) badge for drinking a new beer on three Thursdays in a 30 day period.

I raise my glass to all my readers and wish you a very Happy International Stout Day 2012.

[This post originally appeared on habitually probing generalist on 8 November 2012.]