Pliny the Elder vs. Pure Hoppiness

Pliny & Pure Hoppiness
Pliny & Pure Hoppiness
These beers. Next to one another. Oh man.

So I happened upon a fresh bottle of Pure Hoppiness yesterday at the store and my wife happened upon a fresh bottle of Pliny today so… time for a side-by-side tasting, methinks!

I did the tasting solo, although my wife offered input by tasting a thimbleful of each beer. She correctly identified them from the glass, by the way, such a babe.

Pliny and Pure Hoppiness in the glass
Shortly after the initial pour – Pliny (on the left) is a little more bubbly than Pure Hoppiness (on the right)

Pliny the Elder is a little on the grassy, fresh cut flower side. Plenty of citrus and hop oil character with a light, crispy malt backdrop. Pliny finishes clean and brisk, with a tingling mouthfeel that smacks of orange chiffon.

Pure Hoppiness kicks things off with a little more heat, a bit boozier and more on the honey-sweet floral side than the grassy side. PH then segues rapidly into an herbal garden of hop sweetness and resinous tones. The mouthfeel is equally satisfying in the tingling sensation. Both of these beers are carbonated just right.

Bruce and Pliny
I offered Pliny to Bruce the cat and he was very intrigued
Bruce and Pure Hoppiness
I then offered Bruce Pure Hoppiness, but he recoiled. Apparently cats don’t dig hops as much as us humans do.

In the end, if I had to pick just one to drink for the rest of my life (a sad fate, indeed) I think I would stick with Pliny. However, they’re both world-class beers and I feel guilty that I am drinking them both at the same time. I know that there are starving children out there. Forgive me.

Stone Pour it Black 2014

Pour it Black
Pour it Black

Every autumn, Stone Brewing hosts a little festival devoted to the thickest, strongest, and gnarliest dark beers on the planet. They call this event, Pour It Black. On October 19, 2014, I attended for the very first time.

Thus begins my “live” blog of the intense, oily, dark, and downright delicious.

1. Amager/Mikkeller/Hr. Frederikson Væsel Brunch Barrel Aged – 10.7%

A barrel aged version of this collaboration between two Danish breweries (although Mikkeller technically isn’t a brewery) – A complex, espresso-centric brew

2. The Bruery/Beachwood BBQ Mrs Stoutfire – 9.5%

Thinner mouthfeel and heavier on the wood smoke flavor than Smoking Wood (what my wife affectionately refers to as the, “hotdog beer”) in my opinion

3. Avery Tweak – 16%

Like drinking cake and ice cream mixed with incredible, robust coffee beans. This beer used to be known alternatively as Mephaddict or Coffeestopheles.

4. Belching Beaver Horchata Imperial Milk Stout – 5.4%

Sweet and spiced, like a pleasant chai tea. A very enjoyable milk stout.

5. Firestone Walker Winter Wookey – 10%

Blended Black IPA and Barleywine yields a robust, sweet, caramelized flavor that’s unobtrusive and pleasant.

6. Stone Imperial Russian Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels – 11.5%

An immutable benchmark in the world of barrel-aged beers. Stone’s IRS is already something special, but they do a heckuva job aging it to boot.

7. Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels – 9.6%

This was perhaps the most special of the brews I was able to try (2001 IRS was gone by the time I got to the bar, alas). Stone’s 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout was and remains a fan favorite. Trying a variation of it aged in bourbon barrels was just an unexpected extra.

8. Stone Mikhail’s Odd (2013 Espresso Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels) -13.9%

My first time trying this one, which was released as a special 500ml bottle earlier in the year. The 2013 “Odd Year” release of Espresso Imperial Russian Stout is pitch-perfect. I cannot heap enough adulation upon the barrel aged version.

9. Midnight Sun Moscow Rye Russian Imperial Stout – 11%

A deceptively-strong oatmeal stout. Thin mouthfeel and roasted, burnt sugar flavors aplenty.

10. Bear Republic Cognac Barrel aged Old Baba Yaga – 11.5%

Aroma of cognac. Flavors redolent of cognac and peaty peat smoke. Overall not bad, just very full-frontal with the cognac.

11. Deschutes Black Butte XXV – 11%

Aroma like wholesome bran cereal, flavor like a potpourri dish of dried stone fruits. Tremendously gratifying.

12. Avery Mephistopheles Stout – 15.43%

The penultimate beer! Only slightly-less booze-tastic than the Tweak. Every bit a towering Imp Stout.

13. Great Divide Belgian Yeti – 9.5%

Yeti is a great beer. Making a Belgian version of it = good. Not as awesome as Espresso Oak Aged, but solid through and through.

I still had two tasters left to go… however, time ran out and they closed down all of the stations 😦

The Line for Pour It Black 2014
The Line for Pour It Black 2014

2013 ~ The Yeer of Beer

Beer Judging Tasters

What a year.

I have tried more disparate varieties of beer this year than in any other year of my life on this planet. Perhaps I will outdo myself one day as a member of the Mars One crew, but until then, this year will have to stand as the greatest annum of potations in my tender, young lifetime.

IMG_4922 IMG_5046 IMG_4953 IMG_5023 IMG_5041 IMG_4421 IMG_4355 IMG_4212 IMG_4110

Great Divide Brewing Company Truck

Firstly, let’s have a fun, little, statistical rundown of the beers my liver processed this past year.

In all, I tasted 207 different brews in 2013. That’s an average of a little more than 1 new beer every other day.

My most-tried style, and also the most-popular style in San Diego was India Pale Ales ~ 51 kinds

My second-most tried style was all manner of Stouts ~ 45 kinds

My third-most tried style was various types of Belgians ~ 19 kinds

Not a single beer was below 4% and 64 of them were above 10%, including one that was 15% (!) ~ the highest percent ABV beer I have ever had.

In no particular order, these were my absolute favorite beers of 2013:

  1. Stone Imperial Russian Stout (2009 Release) – 10%
  2. Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale (American Strong Ale) – 9.6%
  3. The Bruery Bois (Old Ale) – 15%
  4. Firestone Walker 17th Anniversary Ale (American Strong Ale) – 13.3%
  5. Stone / Farking / Wheaton w00tstout (American Double / Imperial Stout) – 13%
  6. Lost Abbey Deliverance (American Strong Ale) – 14+%
  7. Great Divide 19th Anniversary Ale (Wood-Aged American Strong Ale) – 10.2%
  8. 10 Barrel / Stone / Bluejacket Suede Imperial Porter – 9.6%
  9. Modern Times Fortunate Islands with Grapefruit Zest (India Pale Ale) – 4.8%
  10. AleSmith Decadence 2012 Anniversary Ale (Quadrupel) – 12%
  11. Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale (Spiced Eisbock) – 9%
  12. Modern Times Neverwhere (Belgian IPA) – 7%
  13. Haandbryggeriet Norwegian Porter Aged in Akevitt Barrels -10%
  14. 2012 Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter aged in Ballast Point 3 Sheets Rum Barrels – 10%
  15. Goose Island Bourbon County Barleywine (English Barleywine) – 12.1%

There are plenty more beers listed further down the page, I have emboldened the names of all of my other favorites.

So, here is the detailed breakdown, kind-of sorted by style and in the order I tried them, as the year progressed:

AMBERS – 7

  • Brick Wall Brewing Amber Ale (12 oz bottle)
  • Karl Strauss Amber – ABV 4.5% (12 oz bottle)
  • Port Brewing Carlsbad Chronic (American Amber / Red Ale) – ABV 5.8% (on tap at PizzaPort Bressi Ranch)
  • Modern Times Blazing World Randalized with Mosaic Hops – ABV 6.8% (on tap at Modern Times tap room grand opening – 9/7/13)
  • Modern Times Rorima (100% Brett Amber) – ABV 6.5% (on tap at Modern Times tap room grand opening – 9/7/13)
  • Ninkasi Believer Double Red (American Amber / Red Ale) – ABV 6.9% 60 IBUs (on tap at Slater’s 50/50 Liberty Station 9/26/13)
  • AleSmith Evil Dead Red Ale (American Amber / Red Ale) – ABV 6.66% (22 oz bottle)

AMERICAN STRONG ALES – 8

  • Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-Down Ale (American Strong Ale) – ABV 9.6% 66.6 IBUs (12 oz bottle)
  • Lost Abbey Deliverance (American Strong Ale) – ABV 14+% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 8/13/13)
  • Great Divide 19th Anniversary Wood-Aged American Strong Ale – 10.2% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 8/28/13)
  • Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale (American Strong Ale aged with American oak wood chips) – 7.2% (12 oz bottle)
  • Lagunitas Brown Shugga’ (American Strong Ale) – 9.9% 51.1 IBUs O.G. 1.100 (12 oz bottle)
  • Stone Double Bastard 2013 (American Strong Ale) – 11.2% (22 oz bottle)
  • Firestone Walker 17th Anniversary Ale (Blended Barrel Aged Beer – Blended from 8/200+ Barrels: 30% Bravo Barrel-Aged Imperial Brown Ale
    25% Stickee Monkey Barrel-Aged English Barley Wine
    15% Velvet Merkin Barrel-Aged Oatmeal Stout
    15% Parabola Barrel-Aged Imperial Russian Oatmeal Stout
    8% Double Double Barrel Ale
    4% Helldorado Barrel-Aged Blonde Barley Wine
    3% Wookey Jack Black Rye India Pale Ale) – 13.3% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/4/13)
  • Weins Crowded Anniversary Ale (American Strong Ale) – 10.8% (on tap at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens 12/9/13)

BARLEY WINES – 3

  • Rogue Old Crustacean (Barley Wine) – ABV 11.5% 110 IBUs (tapped keg at Beer-Con 2013)
  • Uinta Cockeyed Cooper (Barrel-Aged Barleywine) – 11.1%  (on tap for Sublime Ale House’s 3rd Anniversary 10/25/13)
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Barleywine (English Barleywine) – 12.1% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/18/13 & 12/26/13)

BELGIANS – 19

  • AleSmith Grand Cru (Belgian Strong Dark Ale) – ABV 10.5% (750 ml bottle)
  • AleSmith Decadence 2012 Anniversary Ale – Belgian-Style Quadruple Ale – ABV 12% (750 ml bottle)
  • AleSmith Horny Devil Belgian-Style Ale with Coriander – ABV 10% (750 ml bottle)
  • Straffe Hendrik Bruges Quadruple Ale – ABV 11% (750 ml bottle) De Halve Maan Brewery – Bruges, Belgium – Anno 1856
  • Chimay Tripel – ABV 8% (on tap at The Yardhouse)
  • New Belgium Trippel Ale Brewed with Coriander – ABV 7.8% (12 oz bottle)
  • North Coast Grand Cru Aged in Oak Bourbon Barrels – ABV 12.5% (beer judging session at Beer Con 2013)
  • North Coast Brother Thelonious Belgian Style Abbey Ale – ABV 9.4% 32 IBUs (tapped keg at Beer-Con 2013)
  • Craftsman French Toast (Belgian Strong Dark Ale) – ABV 10.1% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 8/7/13)
  • North Coast Pranqster Belgian Style Gold Ale – ABV 7.6% 20 IBUs (on tap at Granville Cafe in Glendale, CA)
  • Allagash Victor Belgian Strong Ale Brewed with Cabernet Franc Grapes – ABV 9% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 9/18/13)
  • The Bruery Mischief Belgian-Style Golden Ale – ABV 8.5% (750 ml bottle)
  • Cigar City / De Proefbrouwerij (bvba Andelot) Tropical Tripel – 9.5% (on tap for Sublime Ale House’s 3rd Anniversary 10/25/13)
  • Scaldis Noel (Belgian Strong Dark Ale) – 12% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 10/30/13)
  • St. Bernardus Christmas Ale (Belgian Quadrupel) – 10% (on tap at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens 12/9/13)
  • Mad River 24th Anniversary Belgian-style Quadrupel – 11.4% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/18/13)
  • Brasserie d’Achouffe N’Ice Chouffe (Beglian Dark w/ Thyme & Curaco) – 10% (on tap at Blind Lady Ale House on 12/31/13)
  • Brouwerij Het Anker Lucifer (Belgian Golden Strong Ale) – 8% (on tap at Blind Lady Ale House on 12/31/13)
  • The Bruery 6 Geese A-Laying (Belgian Dark Strong Ale) – 11.5% (750 ml bottle)

BLONDES – 2

  • Saint Archer Blonde – ABV 4.8% 22 IBUs (on tap at Hubcap)
  • Brick Wall Brewing Centennial Blonde (12 oz bottle)

HARD CIDER (not technically Beer, I know…) – 1

  • Red Branch Cider Company Hard Black Cherry – ABV 6.9% (22 oz bottle)

HEFEWEIZENS – 2

  • Black Market Brewing Company Bavarian-Style Hefeweizen Wheat Ale – ABV 5% (22oz bottle)
  • Lightning Thunderweizen Ale – ABV 5.5% (tapped keg at Beer-Con 2013)

INDIA PALE ALES – 51

  • Coronado Brewing Company Islander IPA – ABV 7% 75 IBUs (22 oz bottle)
  • Port Brewing Wipeout IPA – ABV 7% (22 oz bottle)
  • Stone Brewery Enjoy By 02.15.13 IPA – ABV 9.4% (22 oz bottle)
  • Avery Brewing Company Dugana India Pale Ale – ABV 8.5% 93 IBUs (22 oz bottle)
  • Aleman / Stone / Two Brothers Dayman Coffee IPA – ABV 8.7% (12 oz bottle)
  • Stone Brewing Cali-Belgique IPA – ABV 6.9% (22 oz bottle)
  • Green Flash Hop Head Red (Red IPA) – ABV 7% (on tap at The Yardhouse)
  • Sierra Nevada 2013 Ruthless Rye IPA – ABV 6.6% (12 oz bottle)
  • Mother Earth Brewing Company Hop Diggity Double IPA – ABV 8.1% 90 IBUs (22 oz bottle)
  • Saint Archer IPA – ABV 6.8% 66 IBUs (12 oz bottle)
  • Avery 20th Anniversary Imperial IPA – ABV 9.7% (on tap at The Linkery 6/5/13)
  • Aztec Brewing Company Chipotle IPA – ABV 6.6% (22 oz bottle)
  • Maui Brewing Company Big Swell IPA – ABV 6.8% (12 oz can)
  • Coronado Idiot IPA – ABV 8.5% 90 IBUs
  • Manzanita Brewing Chaotic Double IPA – ABV 10.1% 93 IBUs
  • Lagunitas Hop Stoopid Ale (Imperial IPA) – ABV 8% 102 IBUs (22 oz bottle)
  • Coronado Brewing Company Frog’s Breath India Pale Ale Brewed with Spices – ABV 6.6% (22oz bottle)
  • Stone Brewing RuinTen (Imperial IPA) – ABV 10.8% (22oz bottle)
  • AleSmith Brewing IPA (on tap at PizzaPort Bressi Ranch)
  • Green Flash West Coast IPA – 7.3% (on tap at The Old Spaghetti Factory 7/21/13 after Comic-Con)
  • New Belgium Rampant Imperial IPA – ABV 8.5% (12 oz bottle)
  • Firestone Walker Wookey Jack (Proprietor’s Reserve Series) Black Rye IPA – 8.3% (22oz bottle)
  • Robert & Ryan / Stone / Rip Current R&R Coconut IPA – ABV 7.7% (22oz bottle)
  • Iron Fist Uprising Belgian Style Trippel IPA – ABV 12% (tapped keg at Beer-Con 2013)
  • Lightning Double Strike (American Double / Imperial IPA) – ABV 9% (tapped keg at Beer-Con 2013)
  • Ballast Point Habañero Sculpin (IPA) – ABV 7+% (tapped keg at Beer-Con 2013)
  • Stone Brewing 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA – ABV 9.5% 102 IBUs (22oz bottle)
  • Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA – ABV 9% 90 IBUs (on tap at Slater’s 50/50 Pasadena 8/17/13)
  • Stone Brewing 15th Anniversary Escondidan Black IPA Aged in Scotch Whiskey Barrels – ABV 12+% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 8/21/13)
  • Flying Dog Pumpernickel IPA – ABV 7% (on tap at Pizza Port Bressi Ranch 8/23/13)
  • Modern Times Neverwhere (Belgian IPA) – ABV 7% (on tap at Pizza Port Bressi Ranch 8/23/13)
  • Uinta Brewing Hop Notch IPA – ABV 7.3% (12 oz bottle)
  • Ballast Point Dorado Double IPA – ABV 9.6% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 8/28/13)
  • Great Divide Rumble Oak Aged IPA – ABV 7.1% (12 oz bottle)
  • Modern Times City of the Sun IPA (draft, not cask) – ABV 7.5% (on tap at Modern Times tap room grand opening – 9/7/13)
  • Modern Times Neverwhere Double Dry Hopped with Citra Hops – ABV 7% (on tap at Modern Times tap room grand opening – 9/7/13)
  • Modern Times Homebrew Winner – Andy’s IPA – ABV 7% (on tap at Modern Times tap room grand opening – 9/7/13)
  • Modern Times Neverwhere 100% Brett IPA – ABV 7% (on tap at Modern Times tap room grand opening – 9/7/13)
  • New Belgium Ranger IPA – ABV 6.5% (12 oz bottle)
  • Hess Deceptio Cascadian Dark Ale (Black IPA) – ABV 8.8% 85 IBUs (on tap at Slater’s 50/50 Liberty Station 9/26/13)
  • Allagash Hugh Malone (Belgian IPA) – ABV 10% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 10/9/13)
  • Lagunitas A Little Sumpin’ Wild Ale (Belgian IPA) – ABV 8.8% 72.5 IBUs O.G. 1.079 (12 oz bottle)
  • Coronado Idiot (Imperial IPA) – 8.5% (on tap for Sublime Ale House’s 3rd Anniversary 10/25/13)
  • Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Alimony Ale (IPA) – 6.8% (12 oz bottle)
  • Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh Hop Ale (American IPA) – 6.8% (12 oz bottle)
  • Samuel Adams Juniper IPA – 5.8% (12 oz bottle)
  • Port Brewing High Tide Fresh Hop IPA – 6.5% (22oz bottle)
  • BJ’s Brewer’s Reserve Double IPA – (on tap at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse)
  • Societe The Apprentice (IPA) – 7.5% (on tap at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens 12/9/13)
  • Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. Piraat Ale (Belgian IPA) – 10.5% (on tap at Blind Lady Ale House on 12/31/13)
  • Knee-Deep Brewing Co. Simtra Triple IPA (American Double / Imperial IPA) – 11.3% 131 IBUs (22 oz bottle)

OLD ALES – 3

  • Hair of the Dog Brewing Company Adam Hearty Old World Ale – ABV 10% (330 ml bottle)
  • The Bruery Bois (Old Ale) – 15% (on tap for Sublime Ale House’s 3rd Anniversary 10/25/13)
  • North Coast Old Stock Ale (Old Ale / Barleywine) – 11.9% (on tap at Sublime 11/13/13)

PALE ALES – 14

  • Saint Archer Pale Ale – ABV 5.2% 40 IBUs (22 oz bottle)
  • Oskar Blues Brewery Dale’s Pale Ale (Rocky Mountain Pale Ale) – ABV 6.5% (12 oz can)
  • Brick Wall Brewing Pale Ale (12 oz bottle)
  • AleSmith Brewing X (Extra Pale Ale) – 5.5% (on tap at Hubcap 7/20/13 during Comic-Con)
  • Modern Times Fortunate Islands (American Pale Wheat Ale) – ABV 4.8% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 8/13/13)
  • Modern Times Fortunate Islands with Grapefruit Zest – ABV 4.8% (on tap at Modern Times tap room grand opening – 9/7/13)
  • Modern Times Oneida Dry Hopped Pale Ale – ABV 5.2% (on tap at Modern Times tap room grand opening – 9/7/13)
  • Cerveseria Cuahtemoc Moctezuma Carta Blanca (12 oz bottle)
  • Stone Pale Ale with Spanish Cedar Spirals and Szechuan Peppercorns – ABV 5.4% (on special Brewer’s cask at Stone Brewing World Bistro and Gardens on 9/27/13)
  • Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA – ABV 6.2% (12 oz bottle)
  • Modern Times Fortunate Islands – 4.8% (pint can)
  • Uinta Wyld Extra Pale Ale (American Pale Ale – APA) – 4% (12 oz can)
  • BJ’s Piranha Pale Ale (APA) – 5.7% (on tap at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse)
  • Green Flash Rayon Vert (Belgian Pale Ale) – 7% (12 oz bottle)

PILSNER – 3

  • Oskar Blues Mama’s Little Yella Pils (Czech Pilsener) – ABV 5.3% (12 oz can)
  • Firestone Walker Pivo Hoppy Pils – ABV 5.3% 40 IBUs
  • North Coast Scrimshaw (German Pilsener) – 4.4% (12 oz bottle)

PORTERS – 11

  • Haandbryggeriet Norwegian Porter Aged in Akevitt Barrels – ABV 10% 32 IBUs (330 ml bottle)
  • Deschutes Brewery Black Butte Porter – ABV 5.2% (12 oz bottle)
  • Port Brewing Deez Nutz Coconut Porter – 6.5% (on tap at PizzaPort Bressi Ranch)
  • Latitude 33° Vanilla’s Porter on nitro – 32 IBUs, ABV 6.5% (on nitro at Sublime Ale House 9/18/13)
  • 10 Barrel / Stone / Bluejacket Suede Imperial Porter – ABV 9.6% (22 oz bottle)
  • 2013 Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter w/Devil’s Share Whiskey Oak on Cask – 10% (cask at Urge Gastropub on 11/2/13)
  • 2011 Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter w/Mole – 10% (on tap at Urge Gastropub on 11/2/13)
  • 2012 Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Porter aged in Ballast Point 3 Sheets Rum Barrels – 10% (on tap at Urge Gastropub on 11/2/13)
  • Aztec Cacao Chocolate Porter – 6.4% (22oz bottle)
  • Uinta Crooked Line Sea Legs Baltic Porter – 8% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/12/13)
  • Stone Smoked Porter with Vanilla Bean (Limited Winter 2013 Release) – 5.9% (22 oz bottle)

SAISONS / FARMHOUSE ALES – 3

  • Green Flash Saison Diego – 4.2% 20 IBUs
  • Lost Abbey Red Barn (Saison / Farmhouse Ale) – 6.7% (on tap at Hubcap 7/20/13 during Comic-Con)
  • Modern Times Pilot Batch #2 Dark Saison – ABV 5% (on tap at Modern Times tap room grand opening – 9/7/13)

SCOTCH ALES – 1

  • Port Brewing Way Heavy Scotch Ale – ABV 8.6% (on tap at PizzaPort Bressi Ranch)

SPECIALITY ALES / ETC – 17

  • Mother Earth Brewing Company Cali Creamin’ (Cream Ale) – ABV 5.2% (22 oz bottle)
  • Brick Wall Brewing Honey Ale (12 oz bottle)
  • New Belgium Rolle Bolle Ale (Fruit / Vegetable Beer) – ABV 5.5% (12 oz bottle)
  • AleSmith Brewing Nautical Nut Brown (English Brown Ale) – ABV 5% (22oz bottle)
  • Hess Grazias (Cream Ale) – 5.5% (on tap at The Local 7/21/13 during Comic-Con)
  • Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ (American Pale Wheat Ale) – ABV 7.5% 64.20 IBUs OG 1.076 (12 oz bottle)
  • Port Brewing Board Meeting (American Brown Ale) – ABV 8.5% (22oz bottle)
  • Sam Adam’s Imperial Series Double Bock (Doppelbock) – ABV 9.5% (12 oz bottle)
  • New Belgium Pumpkick (Pumpkin Ale) – ABV 6% (12 oz bottle)
  • Iron Fist Dubbel-Fisted w/Coffee Liqueur-soaked Cocoa Nibs (Dubbel) – ABV 8.1% (on CASK at Sublime Ale House 10/2/13)
  • The Bruery White Oak (Barrel-Aged Wheat Wine) – 11.5% (on tap for Sublime Ale House’s 3rd Anniversary 10/25/13)
  • Stone 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale aged in Cabernet Barrels (Chile Beer) – 10% (on tap at Sublime 11/6/13)
  • Haandbryggeriet Bestefar Norwegian Winter Ale (Winter Warmer) – 9% (500 ml bottle)
  • BJ’s Nutty Brewnette (American Brown Ale) – 5.9% (on tap at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse)
  • Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest Commemorative Ale (Spiced Eisbock) – 9% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/18/13)
  • Samuel Adams Winter Lager (Bock) – 5.6% (12 oz bottle)
  • Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale (Winter Warmer) – 5.9% (12 oz bottle)

STOUTS – 45

  • Haandbryggeriet Dark Force Imperial Double Wheat Stout – 9% ABV  (330 ml bottle)
  • The Lost Abbey Serpent’s Stout (January 2013 Release) – ABV 11% (22 oz bottle)
  • MOA Brewing Company New Zealand Imperial Stout Aged in Pinot Noir Barrels – ABV 10.2% (500 ml bottle)
  • Stone Brewing Imperial Russian Stout – 2013 Release – ABV 10.6% (22 oz bottle)
  • Stone Brewing Espresso Imperial Russian Stout – 2013 Odd Year Release – ABV 11% (22 oz bottle)
  • Maui Brewing Company Aloha B’ak’tun Belgian Stout brewed with Chocolate and Spices – ABV 7% (12oz aluminum can)
  • Victory Storm King Imperial Stout – ABV 9.1% (12 oz bottle)
  • Port Brewing Old Viscosity Ale Aged in Oak Barrels – ABV 10% (22 oz bottle)
  • Mad River Brewing Steelhead Stout – ABV 6.5% (12oz bottle)
  • Brouwerij De Molen Kopi Loewak – ABV 11.2% 23.7° Plato EBC 266 85 EBU (330 ml bottle)
  • Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout – Ale Brewed with Pecans, Wheat & Rye, With One Quarter Aged in Bourbon Barrels – ABV 13% (22oz bottle)
  • Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout – 13% (on tap at The Local 7/21/13 during Comic-Con)
  • North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels 12 years – ABV 12+% (beer judging at Beer Con 2013)
  • Port Brewing Santa’s Little Helper Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels – ABV 10% (beer judging session at Beer Con 2013)
  • North Coast Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels 10 years – ABV 12+% (beer judging session at Beer Con 2013)
  • Eel River Raven’s Eye Imperial Stout – ABV 9.5% (22oz bottle)
  • Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout – ABV 5% (550 ml bottle)
  • Modern Times  Black House Coffee Stout – ABV 5.8% (on tap at Modern Times tap room grand opening – 9/7/13)
  • Iron Fist Rubus Vigoratus – Stout Brewed with Cardamom & Raspberries – ABV 8% (750 ml bottle)
  • Hess Ex Umbris Rye Imperial Stout – 22.5° Plato, 75 IBUs, ABV 10.2% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 9/18/13)
  • Aztec Brewing Company Noche de los Muertos Imperial Stout – ABV 10.2% (22 oz bottle)
  • Sierra Nevada Narwhal Imperial Stout 2013 Release – ABV 10% (12 oz bottle)
  • Port Brewing Older Viscosity Wood-Aged Beer (American Double / Imperial Stout) – 12.1% (on tap for Sublime Ale House’s 3rd Anniversary 10/25/13)
  • Clown Shoes Porcine Unidragon (Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout) – 12.5% (on tap for Sublime Ale House’s 3rd Anniversary 10/25/13)
  • Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Whiskey Barrel Aged – 10.5% (on tap for Sublime Ale House’s 3rd Anniversary 10/25/13)
  • Firestone Walker Parabola (Russian Imperial Stout) – 13% (on tap for Sublime Ale House’s 3rd Anniversary 10/25/13)
  • Port Brewing Barrel-Aged Santa’s Lil’ Helper – 10% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 10/30/13)
  • Brewery Ommegang Game of Thrones Take the Black Stout – 7% (750 ml bottle)
  • Hess Cucurbita (Pumpkin Stout) – 8% (on tap at Sublime 11/13/13)
  • Mendocino Imperial Stout – 10% (12 oz bottle)
  • Stone Imperial Russian Stout (2009 Release) – 10% (22 oz bottle)
  • Avery Czar Imperial Russian Stout – 10.5% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/4/13)
  • Latitude 33° Murder By Death Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout – 13% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/6/13)
  • Belching Beaver Ol’ Dirty Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout – 10.5% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/6/13)
  • BJ’s Tatonka Stout (Russian Imperial Stout) – 8.5% (on tap at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse)
  • Lagunitas Imperial Stout – 9.9% 72.45 IBUs O.G. 1.092 (22 oz bottle)
  • AleSmith Speedway Stout (Imperial Stout) – 12% (on tap at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens 12/9/13)
  • Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti 2012 (Russian Imperial Stout) – 9.5% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/12/13)
  • Coronado Blue Bridge Coffee Stout with Vanilla Beans on CASK – 6.2% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/18/13)
  • Uinta Labrynth Imperial Stout – 13.2% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/18/13)
  • Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Imperial Stout (2013 Release) – 14.2% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/18/13)
  • Belching Beaver Peanut Butter Milk Stout – 5.3% (22 oz bottle)
  • Nectar Ales Black Xantus (Russian Imperial Stout) – 11% (on tap at Sublime Ale House 12/26/13)
  • Mother Earth Sin Tax Imperial Stout – 8.1% (22 oz bottle)
  • Karl Strauss Wreck Alley Imperial Stout 2013 – 9.5% (growler)

SOURS – 4

  • Brouwerij Bockor Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge Aged in Oak Foudres (Flanders Red Ale) – ABV 5.5% (beer judging session at Beer Con 2013)
  • Brouwerij Bavik Petrus Aged Pale Ale (Flanders Oud Bruin) – 7.3% (on tap at Blind Lady Ale House on 12/31/13)
  • Brouwerij Bockor Cuvée des Jacobins Rouge (Flanders Red Ale) – ABV 5.5% (on tap at Blind Lady Ale House on 12/31/13)
  • Brouwerij Van Honsebrouck St. Louis Gueuze Fond Tradition (Gueuze) – 5% (on tap at Blind Lady Ale House on 12/31/13)

WITBIER – 4

  • Dogfish Head Red & White (Witbier) – ABV 10% 35 IBUs (on tap at Slater’s 50/50 Pasadena 8/17/13)
  • Sam Adam’s Imperial White (Witbier) – ABV 10.3% (12 oz bottle)
  • Ian’s Homebrew Belgian Wit (Witbier) – ABV 3-4% (22 oz bottle)
  • Samuel Adams White Christmas Ale (Witbier) – 5.8% (12 oz bottle)

It was indeed, THE YEER OF BEER.

Beer Diary #1

Medley of Beers
Some of my recent tries.

One of my hobbies over the years has been tasting new craft beers. This was a sometime indulgence of mine, where I would make a trip up to The Anderson’s (arguably the best place to discover and acquire fine beers and wines in Ohio) and see what there was to see. A visit to other local watering holes might yield a few brews from Stone, Sierra Nevada, or Bell’s. The state of Ohio’s premier craft brewery was, and still is, the Great Lakes Brewing Company, based out of Cleveland. They have a number of memorable brews, bearing names like Dortmunder Gold, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, and Holy Moses White Ale.

When I became a married fellow, I moved down to Texas, itself a haven for home brewers and some upstart craft breweries (The Foam Rangers and Jester King, for example). However, my fortunes were cut short by the cold, hard fact that the area of the Lone Star State into which I had relocated was peppered with ‘dry’ counties. This meant that there were no places to legally purchase alcoholic beverages to take home. There were plenty of restaurants with bars, but none of them served anything remotely unique. Budweiser, anyone? Best of all, many grocery stores carried non-alcoholic ‘brews’. Any Bavarian purist acquainted with the Reinheitsgebot would scoff at any such beverage’s existence.

What really kicked my hobby into high gear was our subsequent move out west, beyond El Paso, beyond the Rockies, beyond the Mojave, to southern California. San Diego, to be more precise. Imagine my surprise upon arriving and inadvertently discovering that the one and only Stone Brewery was situated just a few miles across town from where I now live, in Escondido, CA. I visited and went on a free guided tour of the brewery, followed by a flight of free tasters. Our tour was conducted by none other than Ken Wright, the self-described Minister of Evangelism and Indoctrination at Stone. He described, in no uncertain terms, the many reasons why San Diego is among the most vibrant and exciting craft-brewing hotspots in the entire world.

And lo, I was baptized into the richly abundant culture of home brewers, nano-breweries, micros and macros and local pubs with flowing taps, dispensing some of the tastiest, hoppiest, and most-decidedly different beers. Leave it up to Californians to be as contrarian as possible when it comes to the status quo (we’ll leave out the miserably-failed state budget plan).

And so begins, in a way, my beer diary. I will update biweekly to describe the most recent brews I have had the pleasure of tasting. Below is a minor accounting of some delicious libations I tried over the course of May and June, 2012.