Written by: Eric Talve
After getting through my busy season at work I'm finally back in the swing of things. This week I was able to have some pretty great beer. Here's the recap:
On Monday I was invited to attend a special beer and cheese pairing dinner at Murray's Cheese Bar on Bleecker St. Before the dinner I popped into the Blind Tiger, just across the street from Murray's. I was glad I did when I found their Monday "VSK," very special keg, to be Dogfish Head's Miles Davis Bitches Brew. This was the first time I had this particular imperial stout. It was definitely good with dark chocolate and coffee notes tucked into an abv that you notice. I'd get it again but not over other stouts I enjoy more. The cheese dinner featured dishes based around cheeses from Vermont's Jasper Hill Farm paired with various Vermont beers. Each of the courses were great, all of the pairings spot on. Some of the beers included Wolavers Alta Gracia Coffee Porter and Wolavers Pumpkin Ale. All were solid beers but the star of the show was undoubtedly the cuisine and the cheese. The dessert course, a blue cheese filled caramel apple paired with the pumpkin ale, was amazing.
On Tuesday I met up with my friend Mike P., who's yet to make his blogging debut but has promised Scott it's coming and will be well worth it, to knock back a few on Veterans Day. We started with Oskar Blues Ten FIDY, another imperial stout, this one clocking in at, you guessed it, 10.5 abv. As with other Oskar Blues brews, Ten FIDY comes in a can. I was a little concerned by that, I had actually passed up buying a 4 pack of it recently because I've never had good results from a canned stout. I can now say that notion goes out the window. Ten FIDY was near a ten in my book. Creamy, coffee notes, reasonable amount of bitterness. Mike described it as KBS without the bourbon barrel aging. I'd say that's pretty accurate and is well deserved high praise. I'd definitely have this again, and special thanks to Mike for gifting me two cans. It will definitely go to good use soon! We also had a Dogfish Head 75 minute IPA. A blend of their 60 and 90 minutes, this one hits the right balance, especially for me, someone who doesn't love overly hoppy IPA's.
I stayed in Wednesday night and made dinner for my wife and I, a chicken sausage and peppers baked ziti which was amazing. With dinner I drank a Founders Porter. I like to have a few easy drinking beers in my fridge at all times and this is the current occupant in the dark beer category. It's a very respectable porter, smooth and tasty. It's not my favorite porter, I prefer Bells, but good none the less.
Thursday night I went out with my coworkers to celebrate our busy season coming to a close. We went to 3 Monkeys, a few blocks from my office. It's your typical midtown after work spot, with your typical unappealing beer selection. Luckily, the beer selection was better than it typically has been, there were a few solid choices on the tap list. I went with two Founders brews. First up I had their Backwoods Bastard. It's a scotch ale aged in bourbon barrels. I don't typically enjoy ales or barelywines aged in barrels, but this was a very tasty beer. The bourbon notes of oak and vanilla were very present but not overpowering. After that I had a Founders Breakfast Stout. One of my favorite stouts, with great coffee flavor and smooth mouth feel. The 2014 offering wasn't as good as what I've had in years past but was still very good. This was the first time I've had it this year and there's a good chance the next time I have it it will be better.
Friday Night I was traveling to Florida to visit my wife's family and friends. No beer, I had a Woodford Reserve on the plane.
Saturday in Florida proved to be a great beer cap to the weekend. I found a new place here in Coral Springs called the Brass Tap. It's apparently a small chain based out of the south that prides itself on having impressive beer lists featuring local breweries. I was really psyched to check it out and was hoping for some good offerings from Cigar City out of Tampa and Funky Buddha from right here in the Oakland Park area of Ft. Lauderdale. I was not disappointed. There were so many good beers I opted for a flight of four five ounce pours. The following reviews are in order of least enjoyed to most enjoyed. From Cigar City, I went with their Dark Woods porter. It was the only one of the four I tried I didn't enjoy. From the descriptions I could find it's an imperial porter with strong chocolate and orange notes. I picked up no orange but plenty of apricot to go along with the chocolate. I found it to be a strange mix. Next was the Stone Coffee Milk Stout. A nice, light and sweet stout with good coffee flavor. That's actually an apt way to compare it to the Founders Breakfast Stout, light and sweet, compared to bold and robust. Then I had the Ten FIDY. This was the first time I've seen on draft and was eager to try it. Every bit as good as it was from the can earlier in the week. And finally, from Funky Buddha I had their Sweet Potato Casserole fall seasonal special beer. Amazing flavor profile of sweet potato and marshmallows! The marshmallow notes were delicious, a perfect compliment to the sweet potato flavor. An impressive piece of brewing, I thoroughly enjoyed this and look forward to trying other offerings from Funky Buddha when I come to Florida next.
Written by: Eric Talve
This section is comprised of a whole team of tasters, including: