Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Beer #262-301 / Day #50-52: Beers, Babes, Beards, Bellys, and a Birthday

Beer 'n' Babe
So, my BDay is coming up in a few days.  I'll be in Seattle this coming weekend, so last Saturday my Wife put together an advance birthday party for me... a beer tasting session.  Officially, it was four hours, like most sessions you buy tickets for... except with this party you stayed as long as you wanted, and you didn't have to buy tickets... you just had to bring beer, and preferably a selection of braus you've never tried.  The objective is that we open them all, and everybody tastes as many as possible while they can still stand.  From a standpoint of hanging out with friends, it was one of my favorite parties in years.  I had the best time sippin' suds with my favorite buds.  And although 90% of my friends are not "beer people", per se, they did an outstanding job of selecting a broad variety of brews.  Some of them knew what they were doing, others took a random stab in the dark at selecting bottles that sounded different.  Most surprising, a good 60% or so were beers I'd never tasted, and there were only about 4 that I had already claimed in my 2014 Big Year, so it was bounty of beers, perfect for racking up high numbers in one fell swoop.
Official Brew Dog

Since it was my birthday party, there were a few very special bottles that I squirreled away for a private tasting.  Let's be honest, most peeps aren't bothering with "tasting notes" or subtleties when they get past their 15th beer sample, so as the evening wore on, I didn't feel so guilty stashing a couple gems to open later on my actual BDay.  And yes, while I'm at it, I'll brag that I sampled 36 new beers for my Big Year, as well as a couple repeats that were too good not to drink again, such as Coronado Idiot IPA and Stone Brewing Matt's Burning Rosids.

It was a successful session in many ways.  I racked up some good one-day numbers for The Big Year.  I had a great time.  My friends had a great time.  "Pros" and novices alike learned a lot about different styles, resulting in untold surprises, revelations, and discussions: 
Smoked beer?
Why does this beer taste like peanut butter?
Why does this beer taste like meat and cheese?
How do they make a lager that's dark?
13%? Is that true?

It's all fun & games til Domino shows up with Fireball
We handed out tasting cards, and the notes left behind were hilarious, and still proved everyone had a solid opinion, preference, and palate, even if they weren't beer drinkers in the least:
"IPA? Barf."
"Super light. Like an angel farted in my mouth."
"Me like."
"Aging nicely in the oak bourbon barrel of my stomach."

Eight hours later, the cane finally appeared from the wings of Stage Right, and ushered out the last of the party stragglers. For the first time at one of our parties, ALL of our food was gone.  And the vast majority of the fine beer that was brought was actually opened and consumed, which was the entire point of this gathering.  It's definitely happening again, and soon.

The Big Year tally continues:

...and Victory Hop Ranch, already claimed in Baltimore 1/18.
Thursday 2/20, scoping out some Eastern bounty from Mr. Witte:

Friday 2/21, taking it slow, in preparation for the coming storm: 
*STONE BREWING MATT'S BURNING ROSIDS - Beer #265, unique smoked saison, not as smoky as the typical rauchbier, subtle and damn tasty.

Saturday 2/22, BD-Day, let the bombing commence: 
*ANHEUSER-BUSCH NATURAL LIGHT - Beer #266, used by The Wife to boil some of our sausages, I had to take a sip in order to claim it.  Thanks for leaving this in our fridge last year, Grandpa Bob.
*FIGUEROA MOUNTAIN BREWING DAVY BROWN ALE - Beer #267, one of the better Fig Mtn outputs, thanks Ryan Harkins, even though you couldn't make it.
*BRASSERIE GRAN D'ORGE BELZEBUTH - Beer #268, Satanic, heavily alcoholic, love it, thanks Val Verde peeps
*NOBLE ALE WORKS PISTOL WHIP'D PILS - Beer #269, great brewery, thanks Sean Casey
*DOGFISH HEAD MIDAS TOUCH - Beer #270, one of many finely balanced Ancient Ales from this stalwart of adventurous brewing
*SIERRA NEVADA SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE HARVEST - Beer #271, still a killer hoptopic effort, one from my stash
*BROUWERIJ HAACHT RINCE COCHON - Beer #272, my pal Chase brought this solely because he liked the pig on the label, and yet this tripel was delicious on it's own, swine or no.
It beckons.
*MENDOCINO BREWING ANNIVERSARY ALE PALE ALE - Beer #274, Seen this lurking at Sprouts Market for a while, glad to finally taste it, a winner
*ALLAGASH BLACK - Beer #275, Dark ale, not really a stout, not overly rich, damn good though
*EAGLE ROCK BREWERY WHITE RABBIT 4TH ANNIVERSARY IMPERIAL WITBIER- Beer #276, I've cultivated a recent affinity for this local outfit, I'm a huge fan.  Thanks Cynthia.
*MISSION BREWERY BLONDE ALE - Beer #277, easy drinking, good one Sean.
*ALLAGASH CURIEUX - Beer #278, yum
*BRASSERIE DE SILLY BARREL AGED SCOTCH ALE SILLY - Beer #279, crazy sweet, cloying like many barleywines, but still a good one in small doses
*RODENBACH - Beer #280, mildly sour, even more mildly sweet
*BRASSERIE DE BRUNEHART ABBAYE DE ST. MARTIN BRUNE - Beer #281, oh baby, that's a good 'un
*PAULANER ORIGINAL MUNCHNER PREMIUM LAGER - Beer #282, honestly, I'm a German beer novice, so thanks for shoving me out of my comfort zone, Mr & Mrs Emery.
*STONE BREWING CALI-BELGIQUE IPA - Beer #283, never a bad choice, thanks Mr. Trammell
*UNIBROUE LA FIN DU MONDE - Beer #284, found in every store everywhere, but damn is it a consistently great beer
*BROUWERIJ PALM ESTAMINET PREMIUM PILS - Beer #285, from the brewery that has been at it for centuries!
*ABITA BREWING TURBODOG - Beer #286, one of the better Abita's around
*HANGAR 24 ORANGE WHEAT - Beer #287, summer beer
*BLUE MOON GOLDEN KNOT - Beer #288, oddball beer and wine blend, can't say it's amazing, but I'm glad I got to check it out. Thanks Ms. Lee.
*BROUWERIJ STERKENS ST SEBASTIAAN DARK - Beer #289, good choice Brrroh!
*MOTHER EARTH SIN TAX IMPERIAL STOUT - Beer #290, peanut butter and chocolate in a stout
*KNEE DEEP BATCH NO 138 IPA - Beer #291, one of my favorites of the evening, Knee Deep is impressive across the board.
*UINTA BREWING LABYRINTH BLACK ALE - Beer #293, another favorite of the evening, I forgot how much I love this
*HANGAR 24 ALT-BIER ALE - Beer #294, not bad, good brewery
*HANGAR 24 CALIFORNIA SPRING BEER- Beer #295, good summertime beer
*WELLS BANANA BREAD BEER - Beer #296, Um, yeah, bananas
*BALLAST POINT SEA MONSTER IMPERIAL STOUT - Beer #297, excellent stout, although I think this bottle I've been holding onto wasn't as fresh as it should have been
*BROUWERIJ PALM STEENBRUGGE TRIPEL - Beer #298, good one from this ancient brewer
*AECHT SCHLENKERLA RAUCHBIER - MARZEN - Beer #299, dubbed this one the "Hickory Farms Beer", smoked meat & cheese platter in liquid form
*ALESMITH BREWING OLD NUMBSKULL BARLEYWINE - Beer #300, good choice from the Infest cohorts, Alesmith doesn't make a bad beer

Complete and utter carnage: The morning after
I feel like there was something after this, but I have no recollection.  It was either more "repeat" beers already claimed earlier in my Big Year, or it was just that last round of Fireball... the real reason I wasn't having such a Pleasant Sun Valley Sunday in the AM.

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