Brews Chews & Tunes

The threesome of craft beer, a tasteful bite and a deserving tune.

Just because there was a blizzard and no NOTB doesn’t mean we cannot get blackout on our own barrels

We bought our tickets months ago….


We see at 10PM on the @beeradvocate Twitter Account that they have an announcement about NOTB SHORTLY. We are still in Worcester at this point and know that if we drive into Boston we will be there for the storm.


AN HOUR goes by and we still have no announcement from the Bros. We decide to head into Boston.

Arrive in Boston and start drinking, sleep, wake up. Find out that NOTB was been postponed at 2 AM, really good timing Jason and Todd…


We say, FUCK IT. Let’s have our own NOTB for the entire weekend. Here is what we drank (some beers were never in Barrels, but fuck you.)

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Midnight Sun Berserker

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Cascade Figaro

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2010 Dark Lord

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Captain Lawrence Rosso e Marrone Batch IDK I WAS DRUNK

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Captain Lawrence Cuvee de Castleton Batch 3 and 4

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Arcadia Ales Vintage 2008 Cereal Killer (FUCK OFF NON BA HATERZ)

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2009-2011 KBS Vertical

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Allagash Coolship Resurgam

that’s all my drunk ass took pictures of but here is what else I can remember:

  • HF Arthur
  • Heady Topper
  • 2009 and 2012 Dissident
  • SOME SHITTY ASS WHITE BIRCH Drainpourzzzz
  • Cuvee De Tomme 2009 and 2010
  • Alaskan Smoked Porter (2008? IDK I WAS DRUNK, IT WAS OLD)

And these taps of all home brew!

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SO YEAH. We still got drunk. Fuck Todd, Fuck Jason, Fuck NOTB, and Fuck EBF. Rescheduled one is going to suck dick, just because I won’t be there.


-Evan

The Darker Side of Snacks

This night marked a bit of a revelation for me. I’ve never been able to appreciate dark chocolate in the past. In fact, if my chocolate didn’t contain peanut butter it was already at a disadvantage in my book. But I spent the night stalking, and my opinion changed pretty dramatically.

I was scared when I read the thread online about this batch having the aids. Having fucked up enough batches of home brew to know what a bad beer tastes like, I can assure myself that my bottle of Night Stalker has been using only the cleanest of needles. I wish I had tried this beer last year though to have something to compare it to. I would assume that the sheer amount of hops might have created what others would consider an “off flavor,” and it took me almost an entire pint of it before I realized that the biggest difference from a normal imperial stout was the huge amount of pine in the hop profile. Never seen something quite like it before. It almost comes off as artificial, and a little off-putting, but it might be exactly what they’re going for.

The smell of this beer is insane. I would call it a super roasty double black IPA, but what do I know? There’s barely any head, but some dark brown stage 5 clinging going on around the rim. The carbonation is very low, but that could be expected when you’re drinking a pine tree dissolved in Ovaltine. The beer pours like a fondue machine, and when it hits the glass I finally get hints of caramel and some more roasty notes in the undercarriage. The beer starts off fairly balanced, and there’s a lot of chocolate on the front end, but the finish is almost all hops, as one might expect. For such a thick beer, it definitely becomes more drinkable over time. At no point did it get boozey.

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Night Stalker - The label you were never meant to read

Milk Chocolate: This is delicious and I would melt it down and bathe in it. The milky sweetness matches up solidly with the chocolatey front of the Night Stalker. When having the beer right after munching a piece, the hops do a good job of sealing the deal. The sweetness almost becomes too much though, and overwhelms the more minute flavors of the beer, crossing over into that weird territory where you can’t decide if you like it or if you’ve just never had that much sugar in your mouth at one time.

Dark Chocolate: The headline here is bitterness all around. Obviously this isn’t even that dark from a percentage standpoint, but I’m taking baby steps, so friggg off. I’m usually a bitch when it comes chocolate that’s even remotely bitter, which is strange when I think about how hard I hunted for my first Dogfish Head 120 minute (whalez on whalez) a mere couple years ago. Either way, the combination here is nifty as shit. The chocolate tends to mute the roast and smoke, and it’s almost like I’m just sipping on a Goose IPA, which I can’t explain in the slightest. There’s also the chance that my palate was simply destroyed at this point, which is probably pretty valid. Either way, darker is better in this situation. I’ll be sure to give some more dark chocolate a try. Hit me up over at chocolate advocate dot com bros!!!1oneone1

Now I have mixed feelings about Bad Religion, which made it a perfect combination for this trifecta. On one hand, they have 3752841 records out, and have put out a whole lot of mediocre work. But on the other hand, this album, and song in particular are quite solid. It also expresses my endless frustration with politics as a whole, and is overall groovy with good harmonies.

- Brandon

The Abyss Vertical - One Gallon of BLACK

After a long day of sitting bitch in a car and touring the magical (wallet draining) woods of Vermont, everyone knows the only way to relieve your back and leg cramps is to drink the Hershey’s syrup of beers, and pass out in the nearest recliner in a drunken stupor. The number of ticks accumulated in this day greatly outnumbered the tocks, but this was the highlight of them all.

I’m excited to finally have knocked this vertical off the list. This is mostly because I’ve been thinking about it ever since I got the first bottle, but also because of the ridiculous lengths I go to obtain things that come from barrels.

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Yep, even these guys

The lineup was 2007 through 2012, and I made sure to take decent notes, though I knew I would probably be writing in hieroglyphics by the time the whole shindig was over. Here’s what I’ve got.

2007 - Relatively low carbonation, and smooth as hell. Molasses was the more present than in other years. Less complex than newer vintages, but the mellow taste is more than welcomed. Overall I’d say it was just past it’s prime, though it’s amazing how well  5 years has treated this.

2008 - Lots of cherry in the nose. Reminiscent of parabola, though it definitely has that mellowness still. More oak character than the 2007, and I’d definitely say this was the peak age before things started drifting downhill a bit.

2009 - So sweet and delicious. So much chocolate and delicate malts. JUST KIDDING FUCKERS. This shit was sour as hell. If I hadn’t known what I was getting myself into I would have been upset, but in retrospect it probably acted like a great little palate cleanser. It wasn’t unbearable like other infected brews I’ve had (cough stone 2010 BA RIS), and I happily drank it. The sour masked the chocolate character pretty hard, but it was surprisingly balanced. If anyone else has one of these and doesn’t like sour beer, I’d invite you to send them all right over to me for further research.

2010 - Chocolate based flavor full of oak. The barrels were more present than in the ‘07 and ‘08.There was less vanilla than the ‘11 and ‘12 though, and the nose was less complex, but still sweet and strong. 

2011 - This is the best of all worlds in my opinion. There’s more oak presence than the ‘12 and ‘10 somehow, and just a touch of cherry. The sweetness of the vanilla is perfect, and the booze takes the back seat in this stretch Navigator.

2012 - Hot an boozy. The licorice was most present in this batch, mostly in the nose and front. Somehow I didn’t taste the barrels as much. Definitely a complex beer, but I don’t think it has the balance of the more aged bottles. 

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Overall, I’d say 2011 and 2008 were the best of show. All were enjoyable, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I still liked the infected batch. Great beer overall, and I’m jealous of the west coast folk that can just grab this beer off the shelf. 

No food with this post, unless you count the beer nuts, which, along with water were the only thing keeping my mouth from becoming stuck shut with jet black goop. A hardcore beer requires a harder core band though. This is one of the only albums from late 2012 that I was actually excited about, and Spotify has actually stopped making recommendations to me since they’ve realize this is the only thing I listen to anymore. That being said I present to you…Tegan and Sara. Merp.

Listen to the whole thing, and peep the awesome art. Seriously, what else do you have to do?

- Brandon

Whalez Truth
Credit to Ant880 or wherever he stole this from. 

Whalez Truth

Credit to Ant880 or wherever he stole this from. 

Got Beetus?

What constitutes a great pairing? If you pair cat food with rotten milk and the combination tastes better than either one alone, I’d say you have yourself a successful match. That was the case this time.

It has been a very long time since I’ve written a post here. That certainly isn’t because I haven’t been drinking beer, and it DEFINITELY isn’t because I’ve stopped eating food. My sincerest apologies. I am a slacker. Allow me to introduce Widmer Brothers’ Raspberry Imperial Stout.

While we’re on the subject of cat food, that’s what the cake smelled like. The label should have said “Brown Sponge Covered in Walnuts” but I’m pretty sure they made a typo and wrote “Rocky Road Pudding Cake” instead. Either way, you get what you pay for, and I assure you I didn’t pay for much. The beetus comes cheap these days.

On the beer side of things, I have been mentally debating brewing a big stout with a hint of raspberry flavoring, so I couldn’t resist giving this a shot. Needless to say, I don’t think I’ll be whipping up a batch of that any time soon. In defense of Widmer Brothers though, this wasn’t awful. It just didn’t live up to my expectations. 

It pours with a one finger head that hangs on a and bubbles a bit as it settles like a pancake when it’s almost ready to flip. The nose is pretty boring. A bit one dimensional with some malts and bitterness in the back seat. The raspberries must be busy rasping somewhere. 

There’s no alcohol in the taste at all. Hints of raisins and raspberry here finally, but nothing prominent at all. My only guess is that it got bored over time and left. The carbonation is fairly strong despite a fairly thin mouthfeel for the style. There’s a chocolatey finish with a sweetness that coats the back of my throat like those times in the kitchen I’d fill my mouth with milk and squirt chocolate syrup in it, then shake it all up. 

The cake is dry and boring, but the beer does manage to liven it up a bit. The walnuts take over the taste of the pair a bit, but the sweetness of the frosting and the tartness of the fruit hints combine pretty well. If I could do this whole thing all over again I would have poured the beer all over the cake and eaten it like a chocolate chowder. Maybe if this had been the fifth beer of my night rather than the first…

If this had been a more interesting combo I would have taken this an entirely different musical route, but instead I’ll put something in here that I like quite a bit, though it probably won’t have you jacked up and dancing. It’s from Trent Reznor’s latest project How To Destroy Angels, which features his wife’s vocals and solid, mellow electronics throughout. Their newest EP is very well put together, and it would probably make a lot more sense if you listened to the whole thing, since you can stream it for free at their site. 

Peche Mortel and Soundgarden

Some coffee and noise.

 American vs. Canada

Let’s get dammed. Freakin’ Belgians

RR Damnation. 

No Kiwifruit or Kiwi birds were used in the production of this beer.

Jack’s Abby Kiwi Rising Double IPL

It was better on tap, but the amount of New Zealand Hops in this bottle is crazy, especially for a lager. 

Skipped dinner and had a Lunch.

Maine Beer Company Lunch that is. 

Filling.

Shit Just Got Weird

Amidst the madness that was the Hill Farmstead dinner at The Armsby Abbey a few nights back, I managed to get some notes written down about one of the 9 (yes, nine) courses in the meal/event/extravanganza/circus-act. This night was one to remember, and luckily I do. I tried foods that I didn’t even know were edible (lamb brain ravioli anyone?) and checked some delicious beers off my endless bucket list. 

Some highlights on the beer side: Walden, E., Art, Civil Disobedience 4, S&S4, Anna, and obviously Edward.

Sorry, there seems to be some beer missing from this photo.

On the food side: Pork belly fried in duck fat, lamb shoulder, head cheese (look it up), rabbit terrine, smoked beef tongue (delicious too), and some charred octopus. All of the food was amazing, but I pretty much listed the ones that deliver the most shock value. 

My favorite course of the night was the fourth one. The plate was described as “veal sweetbreads, squash puree, sweet corn, foraged muchrooms, cultured goat butter, parmigiano reggiano, lemon, espelette” with a glass of Hill Farmstead’s Art. 

Arthur was the brother of Edward in the Hill ancestry, and Art is the BA version of Arthur. The saying goes something like “If you love someone, put them in a barrel,” right? It was brewed by aging Arthur, then taking some out of the barrel after 8 months to a year and putting a fresh batch back into the barrels to ferment again. It is then blended back with the aged batch afterwards. Because this is the 2nd batch of Art that has been brewed, I am told it was a bit more acidic than the first batch due to the older barrels. All of this knowledge is based off the (awesome) introduction that was made for each beer and course before they were served. Much appreciated.

I got a heavy pour of this goodness. The beer is strong as hell when it hits the tongue, but stays strangely delicate. The wine barrel aspect of it gives this beer huge depth. The smell is most certainly that of a saison, but its funkiness is floral in nature, which doesn’t leave me gasping for gasoline to wash my mouth out with as some saisons do. The color is pale and golden, and the lacing makes me want to lick the inside of the glass. I’ve learned that bartenders don’t usually like to see that though. My notes describe the taste as “orange tartness in a way that isn’t puckery,” and that’s exactly how I remember it. Art is a bit bready, but again the funk isn’t overwhelming. Hints of oak too, but they definitely compliment the mixture. Wish I had the chance to try the first batch and compare.

I had no idea what to expect with the sweetbreads, but they were awesome. They were made from the thymus of a calf, which I am told sells for about $15 a pound these days. Crunchy texture that was soft at the same time - mind blowing. The parmigiano on the top of it added a delicate sharpness to the flavor, but the flavor of the sweetbread is earthy, and pretty mild. It takes a back seat to the beer, but it’s as if it’s saying “my texture is so crazy that I think I’ll just let my buddy Art take it from here.”

The corn and squash make a great combo, adding even more sweetness to the whole situation. This sweetness mellows out the tartness of the beer. This course was the first time in my entire life that I’ve enjoyed eating mushrooms. They mixed perfectly with the lemon bits, and the texture was actually something pleasant, rather than the slimy sponge that I imagine when tasting regular mushrooms. 

Though the whole ordeal was a bit shocking at first I think this was the course that came together the best, at least for me. Even if saisons aren’t my cup of tea right now, you have to be lacking a tongue if you fail to appreciate the complete package of rich tastes here.

I don’t think I could think of a better song for this than the one that came on right as I was finishing the course. Dramamine by Modest Mouse is my pick. I love all parts of this song. The aggressive yet flowing lyrics. The delicately plucked guitar backing. The slightly eccentric drum track. It makes me feel like I don’t have shit to do, and don’t have a care in the world. That was exactly the atmosphere when I was enjoying this too. I guess when you spend 6 consecutive hours eating and drinking, you really don’t have much else going on, huh?

I have to thank Chef Alec and the awesome people at the Abbey for yet another amazing night. This was my first actual beer dinner event there, but it won’t be my last. Shaun Hill brought the goods too, as always. 

weird

- Brandon