Last night’s beer tasting turned out very well and we (Tibor, Chris, Dennis, and me) tasted some really good beers. Lori, made some great appetizers consisting of a good selection of cheeses, olives, salami, and pumpkin bars. Nicole, Tibor’s wife, made a surprise stop with some pizza that occurred at just the right time for one of the beers and the combination (pizza and beer) was very good. I supplied a few different types of beer and everyone brought beer – we had an interesting combination and the list below is in the order of tasting. I would say that none of these beers were bad and some were truly outstanding.
Paulaner - Wiesn Bier – a German Oktoberfest beer that now is in a 1 litre can available in the U.S. – Wiesn means meadow and this beer was brewed to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest. The ABV is 5.8% and this bright beer poured with a nice head and was a great way to kick-off the evening.
Avery – Ellie’s Brown Ale – Nice beer and this went very well with the cheese and the smoked almonds. When I poured everyone was concerned that this dark beer was going to be a smack your face dark beer – all were surprised by the drinkability of this beer. Avery never disappoints and this brown ale comes in at ABV - 5.5% and IBU – 17.
Left Hand Brewing Co – Oxymoron (A Teutonic India Pale Lager) – this is a collaboration beer with Terrapin (Athens, GA) and is described as a American style IPA using 3 different German malts, 6 German hop varieties and a lager yeast strain coming in at ABV – 7.2% and IBU -65. This is a smooth and balanced beer even with the high IBU. Nice work by Left Hand and Terrapin and this is Series 3 of the Midnight Brewing Project.
Avery – 17 – Dry Hopped Black Lager (A Study in German Hops) – ABV – 7.69% pours dark with a nice frothy head. WOW – this is a great beer and I will buy another one of these before they are gone. This may be my favorite from Avery; however, everything I have had from Avery is very good.
Left Hand Brewing Co – Milk Stout – this is a sweet stout coming in at ABV – 6% and IBU – 25. This is a dark one with a nice bubbly head. When I first tasted this I was expecting a sweeter taste and my first impression was “coffee” – this beer would go great with breakfast. This beer went very well with the pumpkin bars.
Sierra Nevada – 30th Anniversary – Charlie, Fred and Ken’s Imperial Helles Bock with an ABV – 8.3% and IBU – 41 and pours with a large head. At first, I was disappointed with this as I had very high hopes for it. I am not sure if it was the order of the tasting and I did not like it as much after the Milk Stout or if it did not resonate with my palate. Then the pizza came and Tibor said to try the beer with the pizza. I tried it with a slice of mushroom and sausage pizza and the combination was great. I was really glad to try this pairing because I would have panned the beer. This was a good lesson for me that a good pairing will make a beer shine.
Cuvee Van De Keizer Blauw (Blue) – 2009 – Belgian Strong Ale at ABV 11%. Wow, those Belgians know how to brew and this was my favorite of the evening. This is an amber / brown colored beer that pours with a lacey head. There is a lot going on here and you taste fruit immediately and the alcohol at the end. The second taste was evening better and I did not notice the alcohol at the end. This is a very complex beer and I say to add this to your list – you will not be disappointed. Caution – this one is dangerous is a very good way – sip it and enjoy.
Moosbacher – Kellerbier – is a German beer meaning “cellar beer” with an ABV – 5.5% that pours with little head that quickly disappears. This is a “grainy” tasting beer that can be consumed quickly – it is described as a good representation of this style.
Left Hand Brewing – 400-Pound Monkey – IPA with ABV – 6.8% and IBU – 60 that pours golden brown with a light head. This is a well-balanced IPA and is not a hopped up one. 400-Pound Monkey is more earthy and herbal compared to the citrus / resin IPAs. Left Hand has a different twist on the American IPA and I would like to try this one again and compare / contrast against other IPAs.
In conclusion, the evening was great – good food – good beer – good camaraderie. It is hard to beat a nice evening with friends tasting different beers. All of these beers were good with my favorite three being the Paulaner, Avery 17 and the Cuvee Van De Keizer Blauw. I would say to obtain these if you can because they will be gone soon.