Monday, October 17, 2011

The Thinning of the Cellar

So I have this "cold box" I keep the bulk of my beer in (check it out  if you don't know what I'm referring to). I have mentioned a few times that I need to drink some of the beer in there to make room... for more beer to take up space, which then needs to be consumed to make room for more beer... ad infinitum.Well, I finally have been ::ahem:: working on that over the past several weeks. Since I haven't had "The Guys" over much to help me out with this laborious endeavor, I have had to tackle this beast of a "task" mostly on my own. Let me tell you, the going has been slow... but here's what I've enjoyed over the past few solitary (or shared with my brother) beer:30 sessions;
  • Ballast Point -- Indra Kunindra (India-Style Export Stout): This stout is brewed with curry spices, coconut, kaffir lime leaves, cayenne, and cumin. Damn! I had to go back to Holiday Wine Cellar to buy a few more bottles. I took a couple to share with the crew at The Bruery, but the rest are for the cellar. It's really good now, but let's see how this one ages! Maybe I'll have to get a few more to drink fresh. Yeah. That's it, fill that cellar back up!
  • Coronado Brewing Co. -- Barrel Aged Barley Wine Ale (Ale brewed with honey and aged in oak brandy barrels): Yeah, it's like that. This beer snuck up on me. Usually I prefer bourbon barrel aged barley wine ales, but this one said "Dude, respect this" and, well, I had to. It's a pretty good beer that exhibits the charactistics of its history; barley wine, brandy, oak... yep, they're in there. I had to go buy a couple more to have around in case of "emergency" situations.
  • Deschutes Brewery -- Fresh Hop Mirror Pond Pale Ale: Well, I think I was expecting a bit much from this beer. For some reason I was thinking "wet hop IPA" but instead I got "fresh hop pale" which was a little underwhelming. No biggie. I enjoy their "Hop in the Dark Cascadian Dark Ale" periodically.
  • Deschutes Brewery -- The Stoic (A Prized Potent Belgian-Styled Quad of Stirring Depth and Complexity): A wax sealed bottle. I find this intriguing... I'm going to have to find a couple more bottles of this to really help me with my assessment of this beer. The label says "[...] malt beverage brewed with pomegranite with 16.5% being aged in oak wine barrels and 16.5% being aged oak rye whiskey barrels." This demands more "investigation".
  • Port Brewing Co. -- High Tide Fresh Hop IPA: Nice... yeah, nice. Great fresh hop aroma and flavor. I wish this could be concentrated a bit more and bottled... wait, there are a few breweries that do this. :)
  • Port Brewing Co. (Carlsbad) -- Plant to Pint: Another "fresh hop" IPA. This beer was great, especally with the bright flavors in my veggie pizza in their Carlsbad location. Man, I miss getting out there to sample the fresh local brews.
  • Shipyard Brewing Co. -- Imperial Porter (Pugsley's Signature Series): For some reason, I thought this beer was better than it tasted this time. Last year I had a few bottles and I really enjoyed it, but this year... meh. Perhaps I'm simply jaded by the vast ocean of superb craft beers in the near vicinity. 
  • Stillwater Artisinal/Mikkeller -- Our Side (A Collaborative Gypsy Ale): Nice. To be honest, the memory of this beer is a bit "fuzzed" by the beers before and after on the Saturday night I had this, but I remember nice hops, balanced flavors... overall, a great impression. I still have one in the cellar and will have to drink it before it is past its prime.
  • TJ Brewing Co. -- Cerveza Bufadora (Premium Lager Beer): Okay, so I don't like lagers for the most part. This lager I like. There. I said it. TJ Brewing Co., you can quote me on that. Congrats on bringing me back around to craft-brewed lagers!
  • Uinta Brewing Co. -- Cockeyed Cooper (Bourbon Barrel Barley Wine Ale - Crooked Line Series): To be honest, I was hoping for a bit more bourbon, but this beer was still good. Malts are balanced by the hops with a touch of bourbon sneaking into the flavor. I have one more in the cellar that will be busted out during Thanksgiving... to share with my brother... yeah... it's gonna go good with the whole "cooking the bird" process I undertake every year.
  • Jason Fields & Kevin Sheppard, Troegs, Stone Brewing Co. -- Cherry Chocolate Stout: I'm gonna be honest here... I like this beer, but I was hoping for something more viscous, like our Imperial Russian Stout. I know that the collaboration beers are just that, beers that the brewers contribute their expertise to brew.In this case Jason and Kevin contributed a great Cherry Chocolate Stout during our Homebrewer's Rally, and then we meshed it with our "Stone style" and one other brewery, namely Troegs. Ah, long story short, I have one more left and will see how it tastes in six to twelve months.
  • Stone Brewing Co. -- 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA: I had this one in various incarnations... dry-hopped, cask, draft, and from the bottle. Holy crap! I love this beer. I'll do what I can to get this beer on the regular brewing cycle, but I don't know how much my vote will count for.
  • Stone Brewing Co. -- 2009 Imperial Russian Stout: Um, see the next entry, but substitute IRS or OG. yeah, this is my second favorite beer that Stone produces.
  • Stone Brewing Co. -- 2009 Old Guardian Barley Wine-Style Ale: What's a growler fill among friends... er... among worthy beer peers? It's nice to work for Stone and get a chance to compare Archive beers to what I have in my cellar. Sometimes I take the time to pop open a bottle from my collection if I doubt the storage conditions my bottles have endured. Usually, however, I consider the growler fill a progress report, a status update to let me know how my beer is aging. "OG" is my favorite among the Stone beers I can get throughout the year, but I only can buy a case each winter. Hmm... the dilemma... how many can I drink before I sequester the remaining bottles deeper into my beer archive? Four? Six? Eight?! Often times, the count is eight. I force one into the "permanent" archive" and keep the rest in the "drinking shelf"
  • Stone Brewing Co. -- Lukcy Basartd: Another progress report. I've always thought of this beer as OAKED 1.5 Bastard, as irreverent as that sounds. Alas, this beer was not intended to age, and that is starting to really show. I don't think it's bad, but it seems to be a bit past it's prime. I only have a bottle or two left, so they will probably disappear during the holidays.
  • Stone Brewing Co. -- Arrogant Bastard Ale: A sixth barrel on tap at home. Please see the IPA keg entry below...
  • Stone Brewing Co. -- IPA: this is a sixth barrel (5.16 gallons) I have on tap at home. I would have to say that this is my favorite IPA. Working at Stone has provided me the rare opportunity to sample a countless number of IPAs over the years... and I keep coming back to Stone IPA. It's just that good. I'd probably say the same thing if I didn't work there and have a nigh endless supply readily available.
  • There are probably others, but my son and I have actually made a run to the local recycler to exchange the bottles for $$$ he is applying toward his personal college fund. Hey, gotta teach 'em young, or they may never appreciate the value of it!
 Not counting the small multitude of beers that I had to select from during the Volunteer Appreciation Party
  • The Bruery -- Tart of Darkness
  • Ska Brewing Co. -- Steel Toe
  • Stone Brewing Co. -- 13th Anniversary Ale
  • ... and seven others which I don't recall immediately... but will update this blog if I remember and have the time.
While I am at it, here are a few beers I tasted while at the tasting room at The Bruery in Anaheim this past Saturday, all of them damn fine:
  • Oude Tart
  • Humulus Wet
  • Birra Basta
  • Autumn Maple
  • and a pair of Belgian-style golden ales (one spicy) that I can't remember the somewhat goofy name of and aren't in RateBeer's list! That's the spirit of craft beer.
All in all, it's a tragic situation I find myself in, isn't it? ::snicker:: Okay, so I am enjoying it, but I really think my beer is for sharing! Friends across the globe, you know who you are, I emplore you, visit and let's pare down the number of bottles in the larder together!

...and yet I have neglected this blog for five months. ::sigh:: I presume you're used to it by now. We'll see each other again soon enough. Cheers!