Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Great Lakes Brewing News Beer Maps

While I was exploring the Brewing News calendar site, I also stumbled upon the regional beer maps. There's a map of all the brewpubs/breweries, broken down by state. I've seen and used the Michigan version put out by the Michigan Brewers Guild, but didn't realize that there were similar maps for other states. Adding this link to the resources section of the page, also.

Brewing News Regional Calendars

I'm dismayed that I didn't discover the calendar feature of Brewing News earlier. I read the Great Lakes email updates regularly, so I generally have a good sense of the key beer events in the area, but didn't realize that Brewing News also aggregated the events into an online calendar. I've added the link to the resources section of this page. The link takes you to the Great Lakes region, but be sure to check out the other regional calendars, which are accessible at the same location.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Review: Bell's Porter in a cask at Boston's Bistro

On a fairly regular basis, Dave Boston of Boston's Bistro taps a firkin of some delicious cask-conditioned ale. This week, it was Bell's Porter. I've reviewed this beer before, and confessed it to be one of my favorites--one of the two or three beers I'd be happy to be stuck on a desert island with (you know, assuming an unlimited supply, refrigeration, etc). So I was pretty excited to get to try the cask version.
The first sip was not what I was expecting. In fact, the first pint was a huge let-down because of a lingering musty after-taste. I mentioned it to the bartender, who told the owner, and they swapped out the beer engine. Turns out the beer was fine; the beer engine needed a good bath.
After the wash-down, I ordered another pint, and this was the beer I had come for. I love the complexity of this beer, with some rich, roasty chocolate and coffee flavors. On CO2, there's always a bite at the end that I like, but in the cask, that edge is completely gone. In fact, I can't believe how smooth this beer is in a cask--it's like drinking a tall frothy glass of chocolate milk! I could have had this all night, and would have if I wasn't driving and hadn't promised to be home in time to tuck the kids into bed. Below are some notes I pounded out on my phone while tasting it, although they hardly do the beer justice.

A: black as William Blake's soul

S: roasted malt, light coffee, cocoa

T: chocolate and black patent malt, in a brilliant balance; less assertiveness than draft; there is a chocolate up-note that is usually a little harsher, like a dark, bitter chocolate; this is more smooth chocolate milk, with the kind of warm embrace of a heavy quilt on a cold winter's morning--wrap me up in a blanket of this and let me hibernate.

M: smooth, low carbonation, silky

D: this is an all night session beer; did I mention sssssmmmmmoooooooottttthhhhh?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Tactical Nuclear Penguin

Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog on Vimeo.

The BrewDog boys from Scotland launch a nuclear strike on beer drinkers, making what is essentially a barrel-aged ice beer and claiming the record for the world's strongest beer. Given Ohio's brew laws, I'm likely to never try this, which is a damn shame, given how enjoyable the video promo for the beer is. I also find it curious that the brewers are being bombarded with questions as to why they would brew something so strong. Why? Because they can. Can't imagine an American Brewer, with our taste for extreme beer, being asked the same thing.