Halloween 666

Pre-Halloween

Monday, 28 October, my wife noticed that I was only a few unique beer check ins away from 666 on Untapped. She said, “I should try to reach 666 on Halloween and wouldn’t it be fun if it was something a little devilish.” I replied that “That would be easy seeing as we have bottles of Duvel and of Midnight Sun Fallen Angel to drink.”

Halloween

Here we are today at Halloween and I now am at 663 uniques, although I swear it should have been 664. Not sure what happened there. Nonetheless, the goal is to have the Duvel as unique check in 666 on Halloween and the Fallen Angel as unique check in 667 on All Saints Day.
[all of above written on Halloween.]

Bottle and glass of Duvel. Unique check in #666 on Halloween

Bottle and glass of Duvel. Unique check in #666 on Halloween

Post-Halloween wrap-up:

We met our friend Miles and his parents at The Platypus Pub on Halloween for
dinner and drinks. I was still at 664 so I had a taster of Bridge 99 Bull Trout Stout. Bridge 99 was there doing a tasting of four of their beers. Then the wife and I shared a glass of Bend Brewing’s Big Bad Russian Imperial Stout. Miles had brought a couple things he wanted to share so, despite a bottle of Duvel sitting at home in the fridge, I went upstairs to The Brew Shop and grabbed a bottle of Duvel to share around the table. Unique check in 666 on Halloween.

For those who aren’t aware, “duvel” is devil in a Flemish dialect. The standard Flemish is “duivel.” [See Wikipedia for some details. If Google Translate is to be believed, I find it interesting that: “duivel” means “devil,” “demon,” “fiend,” etc. while “Duivel” means “Satan,” “Lucifer,” “Belial,” Jericho,” “the Tempter,” “Old Nick,” and “Old Scratch.” I find it interesting that there is a difference. We do do something almost similar with “devil” vs “the Devil.” I wonder, though, if there is a definite article present also in Flemish. There’s still the difference between “the devil” and a specific singularly named referent. Or is it simply the lowercase vs uppercase “d” doing all the work? Anyone know enough Flemish?]

Fallen Angel I had hoped to make 667 but it slipped to 671. Nonetheless, I did have it on All Saints Day so I’m claiming some version of the original plan was met. Miles had a small group bottle share on the 1st and we consumed, amongst other things, a Midnight Sun Monk’s Mistress as my unique #675, also on All Saints Day.

Maybe that as a connection is reaching but I prefer to think of a monk’s mistress as an angel—fallen or otherwise—and as perhaps a saint. That is, if I were going to believe in either.

Midnight Sun’s description of this wonderful beer:

ABV: 11.5%
IBU: 22

The inspiration for this beer’s name—previously, La Maitresse du Moine—is the beer itself. Its deep, intense flavors inspired the concept of a monk that seeks solace and satisfaction from the sensory pleasure and mind-provoking effects of this liquid temptress.

Mesmerizing Monk’s Mistress seduces your senses at first sip. Its daunting beauty and intriguing flavor fully captivate your attention. Belgian yeast adds character and complexity. We invite you to give in to this little bit of “heaven on earth”.

While Monk’s Mistress Special Dark Ale accompanies a wide variety of dishes, it is also a lovely and engaging beer to keep you company.

Submit. Surrender. Succumb.

Fallen Angel description:

ABV: 8.0%
IBU: 35

Fallen Angel Golden Ale, first brewed on 6-6-6 [JUN 6, 2006], is named in the tradition of Belgian golden strong ales–after the devil himself. We call this beer our “original sin” because it spawned our 2007 Deadly Sin beer series.

Midnight Sun’s Fallen Angel Golden Ale is a traditional Belgian-style golden strong ale–deep gold in color with tiny, conniving bubbles forming a very thick, meticulous head. Effervescent and crisp, this delicious ale tempts the palate with apple, pear and a little earthy mustiness. Its beauty and brightness is angel-like in appearance but the devil in is its strength.

With its introduction in 2006 and its immediate cult following, Fallen Angel was brewed and released about once a year. Beginning in JAN 2012, Fallen Angel was added to our year-round line-up.

How far will you fall?

Based on that description maybe I should have made the Fallen Angel unique 666 but then I would have had to left my friends to go home since there is none available at the Brew Shop.

Oblivion Brewing Co. debut

Saturday night Oblivion Brewing Co. made its debut at Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café in Bend. And what a debut it was!

Darin and Meghann of Oblivion had done a little extra decorating to set the scene and had some friends helping out with the pouring and selling Oblivion merchandise. It started at 5 pm and lasted to just past 7 pm. We got there a few minutes early and it was already beginning to hop. As time went on, it got truly crowded. That was one of the busiest brewery tastings I have seen at Broken Top.

Not a great photo but a shot of part of the room and the tasting station.

Not a great photo but a shot of part of the room and the tasting station to give some idea of the crowd.

They started with three beers: Polar Star Pale Ale, Backside Oblivion IPA, and Knock Out Stout (if I recorded the names correctly, and from different sources). I began with the pale. Sara said she was going straight for the stout but upon having a sip of my pale she grabbed one of those to start. From there I moved to the IPA.

I asked Jason of BTBS if I had a current tap list as I didn’t see any Oblivions on the list. He checked in with Darin and they quickly had the pale on tap so I grabbed a pint of that to have with dinner.

Somewhere in there I grabbed the stout as did Sara. By this point our friend Miles had arrived and we proceeded to compare notes.

Keep in mind, except for my pint of pale, all of my tastes were from taster glasses, although I did have a couple of the stout.

Polar Star Pale Ale is an unfiltered pale which gives it a bit more body. It had a slightly dank hop aroma that tasted far mellower than the aroma suggested. It was a damn fine pale ale in my opinion and one of the best that I have had in a long time. I could easily drink a few pints of Polar Star Pale.

Backside Oblivion IPA had, to me, a slight floral and fruity aroma. I suspect it is also unfiltered, although it was a fair bit more clear than the pale and a bit more toward the orange end of yellow in color. It was quite creamy with a medium-low bitter finish. This was an exceptional IPA, at least if one is a fan of the more English-style than the bold-and-in-your-face PNW kind. I like a big bold Pliny the Elder on occasion but if I am going to consider an IPA as a general drinking beer then I want one just like the Backside Oblivion.

Knock Out Stout had a nice roasty aroma and was dark brown with a nice tan head. It too was nicely creamy. This is an excellent every day drinking stout. I don’t have the ABV on it (or its siblings) but I am betting this would be quite sessionable, even if it may perhaps sit a bit above the top end of the session range. I truly enjoyed my pint of the pale but Sara and I are both anticipating when we can actually savor a pint (or two) of this stout to truly get a feel for how it works as a beer.

I have to say that I was truly impressed with these first beers from Oblivion Brewing. Great job, Darin and Meghann! You are off to a amazing start!

But that’s not all. As a couple kegs each of the above beers began to blow Darin brought out his Darin’s Special Bitter (DSB) which I failed to take even minimal notes on (except name and rating). But let me say that it is another keeper. I have a growing affinity for, and interest in, the range of bitters and this is a darn fine one. I had a couple tasters of it too.

Then we got served a special version of the stout—for which I don’t even have a name, other than Darin called it a NW stout. It is basically the Knock Out but using a different yeast than the standard Irish Stout yeast used in Knock Out, and it is dry hopped with Cascades hops. This was very much like a thick, roasty Cascadian Dark. In other words, it was delicious! A couple of tasters of this too confirmed that opinion.

I checked the first three beers into Untappd as someone else had added them before I tried. I am glad they did as I would not have since I had so little info to add. If I don’t have the bare minimum of name, brewery, ABV (and hopefully IBU) then I won’t add a beer. The last two did not get checked in.

Darin and Meghann, I know you folks are busy but please consider claiming your brewery on Untappd and then claiming your beers so they display with your logo and not simply some generic one. If you would like a hand getting that done I’d be happy to help.

Folks, be sure to check out Oblivion Brewing Co.’s offerings wherever you can find them. Broken Top Bottle Shop & Ale Café is a distinct probability [daily tap list here – pdf][Today’s BTBS list shows Darin’s ESB on right now!], and I understand some of the other early possibilities are Growler Guys [tap lists], Brother Jon’s and I’m blanking on anyone else. Darin or Meghann, feel free to comment and let us know where your beer can be purchased.

These are damn fine drinking beers, people. I am impressed!

 

Response to Beer Nerd Rant in Chicagoist

Lorna Juett, in the Chicagoist, wrote a post entitled Beer Nerd Rant: How To Appropriately Use a Beer App in response to a c|net video review of beer apps. The post is clearly from the perspective of a server and/or bartender and, despite my being neither, I can’t agree more!

“Here’s my one and only rule for using a beer app: If a server or bartender approaches you and speaks to you, PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE.”

The video [which is also embedded in the post] and the response discuss Untappd, Beer Buddy, and the BJCP Styles (Beer Judge Certification Program). I am a user of Untappd and I have the BJCP Styles on my devices but I almost never consult it when out and about. There are vastly different philosophies on whether it is appropriate to consult the beer judging style guidelines when tasting beer outside of formal judging events. I also just downloaded the Beer Buddy app [it is currently $0.99 and not $3.99 as mentioned in the video] but have yet to use it.

As a user of Untappd I don’t check in every beer I have although I do try to check in all of my unique beers; that is, beers I have for the first time. Sometimes though it is hard to get even all unique beers entered. This brings me to my reason for responding to the post by Juett.

Juett writes:

“If you’re a dedicated user of Untappd, you’ve probably seen people who appear to try upwards of 15 beers a night. Of course it’s possible, but It’s more likely that these people are “tickers,” mooching tastes off of a bartender, and checking off the beers one by one, without buying them and seeing how their aromas and flavors change as they warm up, and the way your general impression changes about a beverage once you’re halfway into it. It’s braggadocious and annoying behavior, especially for the bartender. No matter how cool you think you look, you’re not making many friends by being a “ticker.””

First, I fully agree that mooching multiple tastes from your server is crass behavior; at best. And while Juett does write “upwards of 15 beers a night,” I did want to add that there are perfectly acceptable reasons for adding what might seem like an excessive number of beers in a sitting.

Many bars and brewpubs offer flights of beers. Usually these are 4-5, sometimes up to 8-10, 3-5 oz. pours of different beers available on tap. My wife and I frequently get flights on at least two sorts of occasions: there are simply too many good sounding things to choose from at the moment at a bar, or on visiting a brewpub for the first time so we can get a good overview of a brewer’s (current) output.

While I agree that there is something to be said for drinking a whole glass of beer and, as Juett writes, “seeing how their aromas and flavors change as they warm up, and the way your general impression changes about a beverage once you’re halfway into it,” I also don’t believe that it is the only valid way to experience beer. Admittedly, most of my beer drinking is exactly like that and I wouldn’t have it any other way! But that in no way implies it is the only way.

Another equally valid way is at assorted tasting events, be they organized tasting events or bottle swaps. We have attended several tasting events since coming to Bend which involve varying amounts of 4 to 8 beers in an evening. We have also been to an IPA tasting and one of ciders and meads. The first included 9 beers and the second 8 ciders and meads. Later this week we’re going to our first bottle swap, which will include 15 people. Thus, I may well have the potential to check in “15 beers [in] a night.”

Now, it’s not likely I will check all of them in. To qualify for the assorted badges, Untappd enforces a 10 minute limit between check ins. I make my tasting notes in my paper notebook first anyway and then when I have a couple entered there I enter the first in Untappd. Once I make the first check in I set the timer on my phone for 10 minutes and go on with my tasting, and enjoying, as that is the point. When the alarm goes off I enter the second beer, and so on.

Seeing as how social many of these events are adds another problem dimension to trying to check in large numbers of beers. Sometimes check in has to wait until I get home. But seeing as I want them entered as close as possible to when they were consumed the next day is off limits for me [and for the spirit of the app]. Thus, even at perfect 10 minute entries it would take a span of over 2.5 hours to enter 15 beers if one wants every one of them to count for badges in Untappd. That is a long time, whether at the bar or at home afterwords.

Bottom line, when someone, especially a server, is talking to you, PUT DOWN THE DAMN PHONE. On that note I fully agree with Juett. And bumming lots of free tastes from a server is also off limits, whether or not it is for entering in some tracking mechanisms as having had that beer. That is unethical! Let me clarify, the entering is only adding insult to the unethical behavior. Free samples are only for the purpose of deciding which beer you want to actually order (and pay for).

There are, though, perfectly valid reasons for entering numerous beers into Untappd or some other tracking system in a sitting. There may well be others I haven’t touched on; in fact, I have no doubt there are. Perhaps Juett would agree as nothing explicitly otherwise was written in the article. My concern was that it made it seem like any reason for checking in many beers in a sitting was equivalently egregious. Maybe I just read into what was said without meaning to. I do like a bit of nuance though.

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.]