Jun 30 2008 12:16 pm
A strong cold front came through on Friday night and blew the lights out at the Sushi Bar where Amy and I were enjoying deep fried sushi, deep fried egg plant, and some sushi that wasn’t deep fried. ‘twas a wicked storm. But it also blew the dank continental air to the east allowing Canadian climes to settle in lightly over Indiana. It made for a good few days to sit around in the out of doors and drink beer. And eat red meat. And get fat.
Mr. BJCP Certified Grand Poobah himself picked up a 5L keg of Schlenkerla Marzen in Cincinnati at the American Homebrewer’s Conference last week and was kind enough to share it with some friends. Around this little keg gathered other beers. And ground meat. And eight hours of drinking.
We started things off with some Berliner Weisse that the Grand Poobah had also picked up recently. We tried it straight up and with raspberry and woodruff syrup. Straight up it was dry and tart and sour. The raspberry syrup made it taste like Lindeman’s Framboise. The woodruff syrup made it taste good. Reminded me a bit of almond extract, anise extract, and pitzel cookies generally.
We had three Schlenkerla’s: helles, marzen, and bock. The helles is a fine, delicate beer with just a whisper of smoke to give it some heft. The marzen seemed to me to be the smokiest of them all, like caramelized ham but more drinkable. The bock is truly an excellent beer whose deep, thick, malty foundation is infused with languorous woodsmoke. A beer with serious gravitas.
Ommegang’s Ommegeddon reminded me of Orval but not as dry and spicy. The musty, funky character was there, as was a decent dose of hops. I thought it was pretty good.
Oaken Barrel's Saison from many years past also made an appearance. This beer wasn't so hot when it first came out. Beautiful nose of cotton candy and fruit but sharp and astringent in the finish. So the Grand Poobah squirreled one away in his The Ultimate in Beer Serving Glory to see if age could mellow it out. It did mellow it out some, but it still wasn't so great.
Yesterday the consumption continued when Y to the Niv came over bearing gifts mostly from his homeland of Michigan. Jeryl of Farm fame also stopped by.
Jolly Pumpkin’s Biere de Mars was a tasty opener. Quite sour and funky but with a noticeable malt foundation. Went well with big starchy hunks of bread and cut through the fatty butter.
3Floyd’s Blackheart English IPA (website blows) is $10 a 22oz bottle. Why is beer so expensive? The first sip betrayed it’s Munster Indiana origins. It had 3Floyd’s distinctive, clean, almost over the top sweetness standing tall against an unreasonable dose of hops. The hops here aren’t 3Floyd’s typical citrusy American hops. These are much closer to lemon than say orange or grapefruit with a much sharper herbal edge. This beer was a little too sweet for Yaniv.
Schmaltz Rejewvenator is brewed with fig juice. It’s hard to tell. Pretty straightforward beer for everything that went in it: three kinds of yeast, the fig juice, four malts, and five hops.
New Holland’s Blue Sunday (website also blows) is another attempt at a sour “wild” beer. Why are these things so damn popular? This beer was ok. Way too carbonated. I imagine a lot of the funky beasties do their work in the bottle thus producing a lot of gas. Tasted like sweet and sour soup. Very sweet and very sour.
Lost Abbey’s Angel Share (named for the portion of spirit lost to evaporation during aging) was probably my favorite beer of the night. At 12.5% it’s a bruiser and the people at Lost Abbey were sensible enough to put it in a 12.5oz bottle. This beer spoke to me of walnuts and pecans smothered in caramel and stewed in bourbon. Great after dinner sipper.
Finally we sampled Short’s Imperial Black Cherry Porter which is an impressively made beer. A reasonable mouthfeel and finishing gravity. Not too sweet. Lots of fat, tart cherries in the nose and on the palate that stood up well against the hefty dark malt profile. Surprisingly clean and drinkable.