Posts Tagged ‘bruery’

Well, in case you don’t remember the Alamo, it is located in downtown San Antonio and quite the boring tourist attraction. I have always been a mild war history nut but the Alamo itself was kind of a let down as far as a tourist attraction went….and they didn’t even serve craft beer (now you can see my disappointment).  The building that you see before you was actually the Chapel of the entire Alamo compound and there isn’t much more beyond that, other than a small courtyard and a gift shop (which must have been built by Davey Crockett himself).

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The Alamo…..(in the basement!)

So my wife wanted to go someplace on vacation that was a heck of a lot warmer than sunny Buffalo (like such a place exists) but wasn’t really interested in going back to Florida, so we decided on taking the kid to Sea World in San Antonio TX.  What we didn’t realize that we came down to San Antonio during Fiesta…which someone described to me as their version of Mardi Gras….except with a lot less boobs being shown and more Mexicans to go around.

Fiesta goes for 18 days straight and is now loosely based around the annual Battle of the Roses, which started as a dedication parade for those that fought at the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto back in 1890.  When we went downtown on Monday night, we visited the Market Square where there were streets lined with vendors and several stages providing various styles of music.  We also visited the famed San Antonio Riverwalk where there was a boat parade going on.  But, by Wednesday afternoon, we had noticed that downtown was becoming crazier with half the roads being closed, bleachers being set up all over the parade route, the cost of parking doubling and every corner being crazy busy…not exactly ideal when towing around a four year old with you.

One of the highest rated and most famous restaurants in San Antonio is Mi Tierra .  Located in the famed Market Square area of downtown San Antonio, this place is know for its great food and 24 hour bakery that never closes.  The food was decent, the atmosphere was great and my daughter is a huge fan of table side Mariachi bands.  Since I was in a Mexican restaurant, it was only fitting that I had to get a Mexican beer that I had never had before…

While we were watching the boat parade on the Riverwalk, I found a kiosk nearby that was serving finger food and serving local craft beer, so I got to drink something while we watched the boat parade…

Later on Monday evening, after the wife and daughter called No Mas!, it was time to meet up with my local trader at his local watering hole for a small bottle share…or so I thought, at Big Hops Growler Station.  We managed to keep the employees up past their bed times and we’re able to crush bottles until 1am (even though they closed at 10pm).

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Big Hops Growler Station now has three locations around the San Antonio area and is a local watering hole for my TX trading partner Chris.  He managed to swindle the employees to allow us to have a bottle share there that night, for my arrival….and here is what we crushed:

Jester King Brewing RU55 ~ American Wild Ale ~ 7.3% ABV
Dark Horse Brewing 3 Pairs of Legs Maple Porter ~ American Porter ~ 7.0% ABV
Prairie Artisan Beers Bible Belt ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 13.0% ABV
Grassroots Brewing Arctic Soiree ~ Saison / Farmhouse Ale ~ 6.0% ABV
Pisgah Brewing Hellbender ~ American Barleywine ~ 10.2% ABV
Bruery Griffon Bruxellois ~ American Wild Ale ~ 6.1% ABV
Bruery The Wanderer ~ American Wild Ale ~ 8.0% ABV
Freetail Brewing Ananke (2012) ~ American Wild Ale ~ 5.8% ABV
Freetail Brewing Ananke (2013) ~ American Wild Ale ~ 5.8% ABV
Lost Abbey Angel’s Share Brandy Barrel Aged (2008) ~ American Barleywine ~ 12.5% ABV
Karbach Brewing Series F.U.N. Series 008: Fra-Gee-Lay ~ Herbed / Spiced Beer ~ 8.0% ABV
Freetail Brewing La Muerta (2010) ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 10.2% ABV
Cascade Brewing Elderberry ~ American Wild Ale ~ 8.1% ABV
Crooked Stave Artisan Beers Batch #60 ~ American Wild Ale ~ ABV Unknown
Ithaca Brewing Luminous ~ American Wild Ale ~ 6.0% ABV
Darkside Fermentation Flanders Red ~ Flanders Red Ale ~ 7.0% ABV
Grassroots Brewing Arctic Saison ~ Saison / Farmhouse Ale ~ 6.0% ABV
(512) Brewing Whiskey Barrel Aged Double Pecan Porter ~ American Porter ~ 8.2% ABV
Harpoon Brewery 100 Barrel Series #49: Brown IPA ~ American IPA ~ 5.7% ABV
Brewdog Paradox Springbank ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 10.0% ABV
Buffalo Bayou Brewing Smoke on the Bayou ~ Scottish Ale ~ 9.0% ABV
Crooked Stave Artisan Beers Nightmare on Brett (aged in Leopold Bros Whiskey Barrels) ~ American Wild Ale ~ 9.67% ABV

 

On Tuesday, we took a bus tour around downtown San Antonio, a RiverWalk boat tour, then lunch at a downtown brewpub called The Granary ‘Cue & Brew.

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The Granary

The Granary ‘Cue & Brew has been open for several years now and feature Farm to Table proteins from several farms in Texas.  They strive to feature fresh foods while using only the best local quality ingredients, nothing off the back of a distributors food truck.  From what I can gather, he Granary has been brewing their own beers now for a little over one year now, in keeping with the same standards of ingredients that they utilize with their food too, Farm to Tap.  The interesting thing about their location is that is located in the vicinity of the Pearl Brewing Complex, which has been defunct now for many years.  It was only until recently that a company came along, purchased the entire canning complex and repurposed the property for loft apartments and retail shops but still maintain the Pearl identity.  My wife got the Beef Brisket, my daughter has the chicken and I destroyed a Pastrami Rib crusted with a cracked pepper rub…all of the food was excellent and their BBQ sauce was decent with a nice mildly smoked flavor to it.  At the time we went, they had 4 in-house beers on tap, 2 in-house pops (yes, Pop not Soda) and several guest taps…but since I wanted local beers, I grabbed these selections:

After getting blasted by 95 degree heat all day, we decided to hit the hotel and relax for a little while…and thankfully the Embassy Suites by the airport had a bar inside, so I decided to grab a happy hour turd.

Since we were still very tired from the heat and long day, we decided to stay down for dinner that night and ended up at Freetail Brewing for some pizza and beers.

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Freetail Brewing Company

Freetail Brewing Company was started towards the end of 2008 and have since then grown very nicely with a goal of making quality beers, which they have done.  Some of their bottle selections have become some of the best beers made in TX in many different beer styles with options like La Muerta, Old Bat Rastard and Ananke.  Over the past 5 years, they have grown beyond their current locations capacity and are expanding to a new locations dubbed FT2, which will be their production brewery located in downtown San Antonio.  When we arrived, as if on queue, my daughter passed out in the car about 90 seconds before we arrived, so she was cranky and tired when we entered the place.  Unfortunately, I had enough time there to order a pizza, two quick pints and pay the bill…and all within 20 minutes.  The pizza was pretty good and the in-house beers were decent (tonight):

 

Wednesday morning rolled in and we were all still pretty tired from the previous day, plus my wife still had a touch of heat exhaustion.  We were kind of dragging our asses in the morning but had to power our way through the day because we had tickets for several things that we had to do.  After jumping back on the tour bus and looping almost all the way around downtown again, we stopped at the 750 foot Tower of the Americas.  The Tower of the Americas was the corner stone piece of the HemisFair Park, home of the 1968 World’s Fair, and it listed as the second highest free standing structure in the US, second only to the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

We decided to head back down to the RiverWalk and hit one of the highest rated restaurants in San Antonio, Boudro’s.   Set along the riverwalk, we were able to grab a table right on the riverwalk where my daughter was amused by the birds swimming the riverwalk and waving at all the boats passing by.  While Boudro’s was supposed to be known for their great food, my wife and I left both disappointed in our meals…maybe they are well known for their dinner food.  Anyways, I couldn’t come down to Texas without slamming one of these ‘craft beers’:

After lunch, we headed over to the San Antonio Children’s Museum for a couple of hours to burn some energy off then down the street to San Antonio’s famed Buckhorn Saloon & Museum.  The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum is listed as the oldest running saloon in Texas, dating back to 1881.  It was originally established as a trading post originally for all of the cowboys to blow off steam but then turned into a saloon and house of ill repute.  The interior is loaded with a ton of taxidermy and the largest collection of antlers ever assembled.  For a tourist trap, they actually had a nice tap list of local Texas beers, so I grabbed this one:

After returning to the hotel and the family passing out early on me, I had a little under two hours to get for a couple…and since I was only 10 minutes from Freetail Brewing, I decided to head back there again.

While I was there, I was bullshitting with a couple of guys and it turned out that one guy was opening his brewery sometime by the end of this year.  San Antonio Brewing Company coming soon..plus the guy was really cool about wanting to hear an out of towners perspective on the craft beer scene.  Overall, a really good place to visit with some really good pizza but the house beers were rather disappointing.

 

Thursday morning came and we decided that instead of dragging the four year old all over downtown San Antonio with the craziness of Fiesta, we opted for a two hour drive down to Corpus Christie so that we could hit the beach for the day.  When we got to the shores of North Beach, to my surprise was this fucking beauty…the USS Lexington.

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USS Lexington – Corpus Christi TX

After being at the beach for roughly an hour, the sun broke through the overcast and it was time for a beer, but the only shit that the nearby bar would allow me to leave with was this nasty gem…

During this time, my wife had the realization that her father had served on the Lexington.  As much as I would have loved to tour an air craft carrier, we were nasty from swimming in the Gulf (see BP Oil Rig Spill for more details…), we didn’t think that our daughter would want to take the tour…plus we had to meet some friend out for dinner later that night.

After getting back to out hotel for much needed showers and some quick relaxation time, we headed over to meet up with my Texas trading partner, Chris and his new bride Amanda, at a real San Antonio gem, The Cove.  This place has to be the most diversified business plan in the history of the world…maybe a close second place behind General Electric.  The Cove is comprised of the following entities on the property…a Self Serve Car Wash, Coin Operated Laundry, Ice Cream Parlor, a walk up Food Counter, a music bar, playground, dog park and 50 tap Texas Craft Beer Bar.   Yeah, it was interesting but such a cool set up…after we ate dinner in the front bar (indoors), we headed outside to let the daughter play with the other kids at the playground while the adults drank from the Texas Beer Bar.

 

On Friday, it was my daughters reason for pestering me for the past month…Sea World.  Of course, I had to grab a beer for my theme park tick on Untappd.

Every night between the hours of 5pm-730pm, the hotel we were staying offered up a free happy hour…which included PBR and Killians. Gross indeed, but the hotel bar also had some bottles (that I didnt realize until our last night there) so I decided to grab another Texas turd from the bar…

With the kid and wife passed out and our last night in San Antonio, I decided that I had to sneak back to The Cove for a couple more beers..

Airplane beer, courtesy of Southwest Airlines…

 

I have to say that when we booked this trip, I told the wife to not book anything other than the day to Sea World because I wouldn’t to do things on the fly…after everything was said and done, we did a shit ton of things…and I got to drink a shit ton of good beer.  San Antonio was fun to say the least and a nice craft beer town on the rise.

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Texas Whalez Bro…

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After spending an exhausting week in the craft beer tundra known as Newfoundland, it was nice to come home to some wonderful care packages from those that care.

Recently I have pulled the plus on trading because it was getting too expensive and people are a pain in the ass to deal with.  I have made some good friends during trades and have set up some nice pipelines to other parts of the country with people whom I can rely on and will take pretty much anything they can get.  The good thing about doing it this way, is that I know what they like, they know what I like and we just swap blind boxes back and forth.

The first box to arrive was from my long time trading partner Matt in Southern California.  I started trading with Matt almost three years ago right before the birth of his son (yes Matt, it has been that long) and since then we have traded blind boxes for the whole duration.
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From Left to Right…

  • Bruery 6 Geese A Laying
  • Bootleggers Knuckle Sandwich DIPA
  • Almanac Brewing Valley of the Hearts Delight
  • Almanac Brewing Sourdough Wild Ale
  • Almanac Brewing Brandy Barrel Peche
  • Upright Brewing Gose

Then there is my newest trading partner from the lone star state of Texas.  Chris was kind of a trading newbie when he wanted to join up in one of my BIFs but is a spirited dude when it comes to craft beer.  We just started swapping our boxes and apparently he was stripped of his manhood when I sent my last box because he obviously is showing me how big his craft beer junk is with the size of his box(es).

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From Left to Right…

  • Naughty Brewing I Think She Hung The Moon
  • Five Stones Brewing Sleep Hollow
  • Five Stones Brewing Aloha Pina
  • Five Stones Brewing Rhubarb Cherrylicious
  • Five Stones Brewing Camo
  • Freetail Brewing Old Bat Rastard
  • Freetail Brewing Yo Soy Un Breliner
  • Freetail Brewing Pech’eus x2
  • Freetail Brewing La Muerta
  • NoDa Brewing Tart Attack
  • Jester King Brewing RU55

Oh, if that one wasn’t enough, then there was this box to pile on as well…

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From Left to Right…

  • La Cumbre Brewing Elevated IPA x4
  • Karbach Brewing Mother in Lager x4
  • Jester King Brewing Ol’ Oi
  • La Cumbre Brewing Project Dank
  • Karbach Brewing Yule Shoot Your Eye Out
  • Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Somewhere
  • Jester King Brewing Atrial Rubicite
  • Ranger Creek Brewing Small Batch Series No.6
  • Prairie Artisan Ales Bomb!
  • Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Noir

Apparently, this is a classic case of ‘He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not!’  Thanks Boys…Newfie Whales coming back to you.

Welcome to 2014…the year that I had to start paying for my craft beer trips….errrr, ‘work trips’.   Yes, I know that almost every post recently starts off with me getting laid off and being broke…blah blah blah.  Unfortunately, one thing with my new gig is that it requires a lot more travel in order to make money, so I made trips to Albany, Vermont and Long Island this month with more on the way.  I will skip to the meaty portion of our program and the soft beer porn starts.

Anyways, I have gotten several inquires from several people about why I don’t tick or trade….your answer is that I do.   Since I have officially abandoned that shitty website run by the dickhead Alstrom brothers, I took all of MY INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (yes, any posts, reviews or place reviews on BA are considered Intellectual Property of BA…fuck that.)   All of my intellectual property was posted up onto Ratebeer.com and deleted from BA.  Furthermore, I do have a decent sized trade history including BIFs too but my entire profile was deleted from the craft beer Nazis on BA and I haven’t posted them up on here yet (Im lazy…).   Currently, I am pretty much on a Trading Hiatus for several reasons….1) ISO forums are laughable these days as you can’t really make a trade without it being lopsided or including whales….2) I am sick of boxes getting lost en route….3) I am tired of douchebags who don’t know how to trade….4) I am really trying to scale back the cellar.     But from this disasterpiece of craft beer enlightenment comes the phoenix rising from the ashes as I have kept several trading relationships going with traders that I trust and am opening up the cellar to one and all.  Gone are the days of saving bottles for that special occasion that will never come….gone are the days of hoarding bottles to share with a specific person, whom I cant seem to get a tasting going with….beer sharing should be free and open…and without restraints.    Rant over…here is the purpose of this post…

Top 5 Beer Reviews for January (yes, I realize that there are 9 but that’s how it ended up):

The 5 Beer Reviews that made me regret the start of 2014 already:

  • Flying Bison Holiday Ale ~ Scotch Ale ~ 3.1 /5 Rating
  • Sam Adams Boston Lager ~ Amber / Vienna Lager~ 3.1 /5 Rating
  • Molson Rickards White Ale ~ Witbier ~ 2.7 /5 Rating
  • Flying Bison Rusty Chain ~ Amber Ale ~ 2.5  /5 Rating
  • Molson Rickards Red ~ Amber / Vienna Lager ~ 2.2 /5 Rating  (totally infected….)
  • And the beverage that made me regret going to Canada was Thornbury Village Premium Apple Cider  ~ Cider ~ 1.6 /5 Rating

Several things to note here….

1)   Funky Buddha was on top for the second straight month

2)   Even though I have pulled a 180 0n Bruery and now think they can suck it, two of their beers made the Top 5 list this month (okay…top 9 again)

3)   Bruery Bois comes in 4 versions, the base and three different barrel aged versions.  I happened to bring the 3 barreled versions for a side by side and Brandy was the best but Ratebeer will only list one version for some reason.  Dumb!  They have three different UPC codes for gods sake.

4)   Flying Bison and Rickards both had two beers each on the Bottom 5 (err….6) this month…but I am sure they make a fine beer.   (muhahahahahaha)

…with that said, more travelling in store for February, more bottles to be cracked, more pints to be drained.  Peace.

So it seems that I start off almost every one of my posts lately about getting laid off and now working as an independent contractor…blah blah blah.   So I took two days worth of in Vermont for a fair price but really formed it around specific areas of Vermont…those containing good beer.

After leaving my house at 4am in the morning, driving all the way across New York State in a snowstorm and arriving in Southern Vermont, I had to stop for gas and stretch the legs.  At the small town gas station that I went to, it was the typical ‘Vermont Products Sold Here’ place like every other tourist place in Vermont.  As I went inside to pay for gas (because the pump didn’t take credit cards…yup, rustic), I noticed that the display case had baked goods and one thing caught my eye…the ever so popular Cronut.  Oh Yes, the Cronut…the cross of the Croissant and the Donut.   When I asked for one, the woman had to remind me that it was 4.50 each.   Okay…Ill bite.   Let me tell you about this money suck creation…it basically looked like some smashed 10 croissants on top of each other, carved out the inside hole to make it look like a donut then drizzled it with maple icing.  Fucking Rip Off.

After working all day, the quest was on…the hunt for Heady Topper.  Before Hurricane Sandy rolled through and remodeled the Northeast, Heady Topper was easily available all over the state of Vermont, including distro in the southern part of the state about 45 minutes outside of Albany NY.  After Sandy, distro was shut down and limited to only the northern part of the state.  My goal was to find two places where I could scoop up a case from each.  Thankfully, my last stop for work of the day was on the exact same road as one of the places that got cases of it on Mondays.

After a 15 minute ride up into South Burlington, I made a stop Route 7 Liquors for a hopeful case of Heady Topper.  When I arrived, I asked the guy at the counter if they had Heady and what was the case limit.   Unfortunately, it was only a one case per person limit.   Well, after some solid Merc charm (yup, I am known for my charm), I was able to work in a second case for purchase.  🙂

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After a quick stop at the hotel to drop off said beer, I then made the 25 mile drive down into Waterbury VT for ‘dinner’.  First stop of the night was at Prohibition Pig.  It was my understanding that the location where Prohibition Pig currently resides use to be the former home of The Alchemist, maker of Heady Topper.   After Hurricane Sandy came in and ravaged the town of Waterbury, the Alchemist was forced to move because the building was heavily damaged.

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Prohibition Pig

Upon the arrival to Pro Pig, I grabbed a seat in the middle of the bar.  The place itself is a little tight but has a solid long bar made of nice wood.  The side wall has a solid collection of various whisky from all over the world that ranges from the cheap stuff to the most expensive.   For dinner, I decided to go with the pulled pork sandwich with a side of potato salad.  Unfortunately, for the 12.50 that I spent on it, the sandwich was no bigger than a McDonalds Cheeseburger but the potato salad was pretty solid.  Also, the nice thing about visiting in Northern Vermont was that there is plenty of ‘local’ beer on tap…and imbibe I did.

Hill Farmstead Motueka Single Hop Pale Ale ~ American Pale Ale ~ 5.2% ABV

The Alchemist Oursboros ~ American / Imperial IPA ~ 8.8% ABV

Lost Nation Brewing Gose ~ Gose  ~ 4.5% ABV

The Alchemist El Jefe – Black IPA – 7.0% ABV

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Interior of Prohibition Pig

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Blackback Pub

From there it was just a short walk over to Blackback Pub, which is a solid little basement bar.  The bar area is split into two small rooms with a full wrap around wood bar, as you can see in the picture below.  The town was pretty dead that night as it was extremely cold that evening, so the bar itself was almost empty except for the bartender and a single patron.  Something interesting happened while I was there, after bullshitting with the bartender for about 10 minutes, another patron walked into the bar.  He sat down right next to me (weird…) and started bullshitting with the two of us.  Upon learning that I was from the Buffalo area, the other patron informed the bartender to get me a Heady Topper on him…gee, thanks Mister.   But, as with everything…it came with a catch…I wasn’t allowed to check in on Untappd.   I have zero ideas why this had happened or why I wasn’t allowed to tick it but got the impression that the guy was an employee or someone important from The Alchemist.  Don’t know why the secrecy given the fact that it was on tap Heady Topper so I did the only thing I know most people would do…drink it and tick it.  Along with these beers too…

Grassroots/Mikkeller Limoncello IPA ~ American IPA ~ 9.0% ABV

Hill Farmstead Edward ~ American Pale Ale ~ 5.2% ABV

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Interior of Blackback Pub

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The Reservoir

Finally, just hopped across the street to the Reservoir.  Again, another dead place in the freezing cold of a Monday night too.  The Reservoir was a nice wide open space with high ceilings but a very small bar that only fit 5 patrons.  It had much more of a pub fitting to it rather than a bar.  One thing that I noticed between all three places was that there was a lot of carryover of the same beers on tap from place to place.  I know…poor me to go to three places with Heady Topper, Ourosboros and HF Edward on tap…was simply pointing out a fact.  Here is what I slugged down before I made my trip back to my hotel.

Bruery Humulus Lager ~ Imperial Lager ~7.2% ABV

Lawsons Finest Liquids Red Spruce Bitter ~ Spiced/Herb Beer ~ 4.9% ABV

Mystic Brewing Vinland Two ~ Saison / Farmhouse Ale ~ 7.3% ABV

It was kind of funny to me that the second time that I ever got to have a Bruery beer on tap was in a small town in Northern Vermont.  For the record, the first time was Bruery Bois (5th Anniversary beer) in Manhattan about 6 months earlier.

Overall, it was a pretty solid trip even though this time, it was on my own dime as opposed to a company credit card (damn, I miss those days…)  Another thing was that it was actually a smart decision on my part to bring my beer purchases into my hotel room that night…normally I would just leave the shit in my car overnight and never worry about it but it started to get very cold when I returned back to my hotel room.  When I woke up in the morning to warm up my car, it was -14 degrees outside and for the thirty seconds I was outside, the hair on my head froze.

…if you read the title and kept reading this thread, well then that is on you.  You’ve been warned!!!

A quick recap for myself in the craft beer genre

As all of my friends know that I am a craft beer ticker.  A ticker is someone who rates every beer that they have tried as they go, regardless of style, preference or quality.  A rating can be anything from a quick 1 to 5 score (5 being the highest) up to a full review with full descriptions of appearance, nose, taste and mouthfeel.  Unfortunately, I do not have a total for beer reviews for 2013 because I dumped all my information from Beer Advocate to Rate Beer then blew up my BA account.  If I were to take an educated guess, it would have to be upwards over 700 different reviews and with that being said, lets check out the best of the best from last year.

The Merc Top 20 of 2013:

20.   Deschutes Brewery Black Butte XXIV ~ American Porter ~ 4.44 /5 Rating

19.    Bruery Sour in the Rye with Kumquats ~ American Wild Ale ~ 4.44 /5 Rating

18.    Upright Brewing Four Play ~ Saison / Farmhouse Ale ~ 4.45 /5 Rating

17.    Trappistes Rochefort 8 ~ Belgian Strong Dark Ale ~ 4.46 /5 Rating

16.    Almanac Beer Co. Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine ~ 4.46 /5 Rating

15.    Founders CBS Imperial Stout ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 4.48 /5 Rating

14.    Hoppin’ Frog Bairille Aois BORIS ~ Russian Imperial Stout ~ 4.48 /5 Rating

13.    Cantillon Fou Foune ~ Lambic – Fruit ~ 4.48 /5 Rating

12.    Cigar City Hunahpu Imperial Stout ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 4.49 /5 Rating

11.    Fat Heads Brewing IBUsive ~ American Double / Imperial IPA ~ 4.49 /5 Rating

10.   The Ale Apothacary Sahati ~ Sahti ~ 4.50 /5 Rating

9.     Live Oak Brewing Hefeweizen ~ Hefeweizen ~ 4.50 /5 Rating   (thanks Chris)

8.     Bruery Preservation Series: Or Xata ~ American Blonde Ale ~ 4.50 /5 Rating

7.     Bruery Oude Tart with Cherries ~ American Wild Ale ~ 4.50 /5 Rating

6.     Lost Abbey Duck Duck Gooze (batch 1) ~ American Wild Ale ~ 4.54 /5 Rating   (thanks Nate)

5.     Cascade Brewing Vlad the Imp Ale ~ American Wild Ale ~ 4.60 /5 Rating

4.     Funky Buddha Veruca Snozzberry Gose ~ Gose ~ 4.60 /5 Rating   (thanks Miami Mike)

3.     VooDoo Brewing Black Magick Pappy Van Winkle ~ American Double / Imperial Stout ~ 4.61 /5 Rating  (thanks Tom)

2.     Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek (2003) ~ Lambic – Fruit ~ 4.70 /5 Rating   (thanks Tom?)

and the Top Rated Merc Beer for 2013 was….Trappistes Rochefort 10 ~ Quadruple ~ 4.75 /Rating

Honorable Mention: Funky Buddha Passion Fruit Berliner

You will notice some names next to some of the beers listed above, that is just an appreciation to the people that shared or gathered those beers.  One great thing about the craft beer community is that most people will get really outstanding or rare beers not only to try them but to also share them with other people.  It is not all about a bunch of guys getting together to get drunk and make fools of themselves, its more of a profound brotherhood.

Now it is time for the 2nd annual installment of “The Merc-y Awards” (pronounced Merk-ee)

Favorite New Breweries Visited in 2013:

  1. Crooked Stave Artisan Beers ~ Denver Colorado
  2. Hoppin’ Frog Brewery ~ Akron Ohio
  3. New Belgium Brewing ~ Boulder Colorado

Honorable Mention: Voodoo Brewing Company ~ Meadville Pennsylvania

Favorite New Brewpubs Visited in 2013:

  1. NoDa Brewing Company ~ Charlotte North Carolina
  2. Tired Hands Brewing Brewing ~ Ardmore Pennsylvania
  3. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery ~ Charlotte North Carolina

Honorable Mention: Market Garden Brewing ~ Cleveland Ohio

Favorite Beers of 2013 (regardless of review or rating, this is more of preference):

  1. Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek
  2. DESTIHL Saint Dekkera Reserve Sour Raspberry/Strawberry Ale
  3. Funky Buddha Veruca Snozzberry Gose

Honorable Mention: Bruery Oude Tart with Cherries

Biggest Surprises of 2013 (regardless of review or rating, more of a surprise because I usually don’t like the style):

  1. Bruery Or Xata
  2. New Glarus Strawberry Rhubarb
  3. Perennial Barrel Aged Abraxas

Honorable Mention: Buffalo Bayou Gingerbread Stout

Here is to a healthy and great drinking 2014 (hopefully, I get a real job soon…).  Prost!

One of the guys in my tasting group has his house up for sale and had asked the group to come over and help him ’empty’ out his cellar, so that he wouldn’t have to move as much beer.  Well, one of the cool things about the tasting group is no one ever shows up empty handed (even when instructed to).  One thing leads to another, then showing up empty handed turned into ‘Let’s have a Loon (Cantillon) Tasting’.

Cantillon Brewery is a family owned operation going back to the very early 1900’s, who is well known for their lambic style beers.  I personally feel that they are the best lambic maker in the world and would be hard pressed to find anyone who can really argue against that point.  Unfortunately, Cantillon beers (or if you prefer the slang term Loons) do not get mass produced and sent to the states in huge shipments, so finding them is a bit of a task and almost never make an appearance here in WNY ever.

You know that the night is getting out of hand when this happens…

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Cuvee de Cantillon

Here was the bottle list for the sharing that evening…

  • Drie Fonteinen Oude Geuze
  • Cantillon Vigeronne 2012
  • Cantillon Vigeronne 2004
  • Goose Island King Henry
  • Drie Fonteinen Doesjel 2006
  • Jester King Atrial Rubicite
  • (homebrew from DontDrinkBeer) Pediobear (Persimmon Lambic)
  • Cantillon 50 Degrees N – 4 Degrees E
  • Ale Apothecary Sahati
  • Hardywood 2nd Anniversary Ale
  • Jester King El Cedro
  • Borg Brugghus Ulfur IPA No.3
  • Cantillon Blabaer 2012
  • Cantillon Lou Pepe Gueuze 2000
  • Cantillon Loe Pepe Gueuze 2009
  • Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek 2008
  • Cantillon Lou Pepe Framboise 2010
  • Hair of the Dog Adam from the Wood
  • Three Floyds Cognac Barrel Aged Moloko
  • Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic Bio 2013
  • Cantillon Saint Lamvinus 2006
  • Cantillon Iris 2012
  • Cantillon Cuvee Saint-Gilloise 2012
  • Cantillon Grand Cru Bruocsella 2009
  • Bruery Black Tuesday
  • De Cam Cuvee de Kriek 2009
  • Alesmith Rye Barrel Aged Old Numskull
  • Bellwoods Bring Out Your Dead – Cognac Barrel Aged
  • Hill Farmstead Damon

 

October was a great beer drinking month and kind of bittersweet in a way too.  On a high note, October means my return back to Colorado for the GABF and on a down note, I found out that I am getting laid off at the end of the year.   When one door closes, most of the time, another one opens…lets just see if that holds true in January.

You may notice a change in the scores this month too.  Since I am in the process of transferring my beer reviews from Beer Advocate over to Rate Beer, the scoring changes with the different website where the score is more rounded and less accurate.

Anyways, here were the monthly reviews…

Top 5 Beer Reviews for October (yes, I realize that there 7):

The 5 Beer Reviews that made me consider staying poor so that I can’t buy beer anymore:

  • Fat Heads Autumn Weisse ~ Hefeweizen ~ 3.3 /5 Rating
  • Breckenridge Brewing Peachtree Pale ~ American Pale Ale ~ 3.3 /5 Rating
  • New Belgium Fresh Hop India Pale Ale ~ American IPA ~ 3.2 /5 Rating
  • Equinox Brewing Space Ghost IPA ~ American IPA ~ 3.2 /5 Rating
  • And the beer that made me regret trying out a new brewery was Antietam Brewing Ottos Orchard Raspberry ~ Fruit / Vegetable Beer ~ 2.8 /5 Rating

I find it kind of funny that I went out to Colorado for two days of great beer and only one of them made the Top 5 (7) meanwhile three selections made my bottom 5 of this month.  I swear, it really was a good trip…

Anyways, as I had stated earlier, I found out that I am getting laid off at the end of the year.  The night that I had found out this wonderful news, I decided that the only thing that could cheer me up was to rescue my prior beer purchases from EtreGourmet.be and bring them home (or course with some extra bottles too).   One reason why I like Etregourmet.be is that you can get some really great Belgian beers at a decent price but the shipping will kill you.  Thankfully, once you pay for shipping, the website is pretty quick to get your box packed up and across the ocean in 10 business days.  Here was my haul…

image

From Left to Right…

  • Cuvee De Ranke
  • Kriek De Ranke
  • Drie Fonteinen Doesjel
  • 2x Cantillon Mamouche
  • 3x Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus
  • Oude Gueze De Cam
  • Framboise Lambiek De Cam
  • Kriek Lambiek De Cam
  • Lambiek Special De Cam
  • Oude Lambiek De Cam

Yup, I feel better….