Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Belated Beer Week Post

San Diego Beer Week was two weeks ago.  I did not hit too many events.  I went to three venues, but only one could be considered an event, and that was The Bruery's tasting at Ocean Beach's Olive Tree Market Place.  The Bruery brought down eight bottled beers and a keg of Humulus Gold, for nine total tasters.  The tasting started with Trade Winds Tripel and ended at Black Tuesday.  I did not taste all nine beers, but as best I can remember the following are my recollections.  Trade Winds and Saison de Lente are great.  Saison Rue is an acquired taste and I haven't yet acquired it.  Rugbrod is unique, not my favorite, but better than I was expecting.  It was a malty beer that, like Saison Rue, would take some time to build familiarity.

I skipped the Autumn Maple and the Three French Hens (I had just had this beer the previous weekend), and went straight to Coton, The Burery's second anniversary beer.  This is a big, sweet, dark beer.  It's difficult to get a beer's full measure with just a taste, but Coton's big syrupy, alcohol-laden profile was tough for me to appreciate.  Under different circumstances - four hours to kill on a quiet night - my opinion would probably be different, but in a crowded tasting room under time constraints, Coton's  complexities were lost on me

I can safely say I will never be part of the frenzy that is the Black Tuesday release party.  When I arrived at the tasting, I overheard someone say that Black Tuesday was amazing and he couldn't even taste the alcohol.  Black Tuesdays' alcohol is all I tasted - it's a whopping 19.5% abv.  I appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into creating a beer like Black Tuesday, and I get the appeal of this type of beer to the BeerAdvocate crowd. I just don't enjoy that much booze in my beer.  The aficionados can talk about subtleties and nuances, but really, with a 19.5% abv beer they are drinking to get drunk, fast.

The star of the show, hands down, running away, slam dunk and any other cliche you can add, was Humulus Gold.  It is a Belgian IPA that I thought amazing.  It kind of reminded my of Alpine's Nelson IPA, although it's not made with the same hops as Nelson, nor there is any similarity in ingredients.  Nonetheless, the comparison to Nelson is a huge compliment.  Humulus Gold is hoppy and approachable, the type of beer you could drink all night, every night.   I wish The Bruery would bottle this beer.

I met and had a good conversation with The Bruery's representative at the event, assistant brewer Doug Constantiner.  He told me that The Bruery has been tweaking its wonderful Mischief throughout the year, making it better each time.  I loved the Mischief I had in January and wonder how they were able to make that great beer better. 

The two other Beer Week venues I went to are not even worth posting about.  Overall, I think San Diego Beer Week was a huge success, and even better than last year's.


The Hop Daddy said...

As a fan of Coton and Black Tuesday, I must interject. I have a bottle of Coton in my cellar right now, and was able to procure a bottle of Black Tuesday as well. While there are those who will drink these beers for their alcoholic effect, I have a hard time believing that a rational person would spend $30 on a bottle of beer to just get drunk. I would recommend Steel Reserve for that, although I believe even that beer has it's place. I agree that there are many over-hyped beers out there, I just don't think these beers fall into that catagory. However, my favorite thing about beer is that opinions about what is good, not good, worth the hype, or not worth the hype vary greatly, as well they should. If everyone felt the same about every beer, the world, at least the beer world, would be a very sad place. Cheers!

Beer Rover said...

Hop Daddy, I get your point and know that most people reading this blog don't buy beers like Black Tuesday just for their booze content. Many of the bloggers linked to on this sight love these beers and their enthusiasm keeps me wanting to try them. And I will. I just prefer a beer like Humulus Gold to Black Tuesday. I do think that the hype surrounding some big beers is alcohol related. Black Tuesday may not fit this category due to its price and limited release, but frenzy over many imperial stouts is hard to explain except for the alcohol. Now I want to crack that two-year old bottle of Abyss in the back of my fridge...