Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Screwed by a Dog Fish

I recently pontificated about Dogfish Head brewing and their 90 Minute IPA as being one of the best double IPAs. This is saying a lot, as the market is flooded with great IPAs. Last night I had two of those great IPAs--Pliny the Elder from Russian River, care of Don, and Moylan's Hopsicle, one of the last remaining bottles in the Twin Cities I'm sure.

First, the Pliny. Whoa. Russian River is known for pushing the brewing envelope, and has made their mark by producing some wonderful sour/wild beers (I'm not a fan of the style--yet), but this Pliny is incredible. Bitter and hoppy yet superbly balanced. Great mouthfeel, full and rich, and an absolute all-around amazing experience.

The Hopsicle was the opposite--completley and utterly unbalanced, intentionally so to be sure, but an amazing curiousity and a nice treat. I could feel the enamle being stripped from my teeth. Glad to have tried it, but I probably won't buy another bottle.

Then, heading the advice to resist sharing some treasures, on the heals of drinking IPAs last night, tonight I popped open a 120 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head. I bought two 12 ounce bottles of this, setting me back $20. ($10 for a 12 ounce bottle of beer? What?) As you can expect, this is no ordinary beer. It approaches 20% abv., and pours a nice amber color with almost no head. The aroma is sweet and sugary, orange and raspberry maybe. Smells like a port. And...tastes like heaven. Sorta port, sorta beer. Really hard to classify. It'd be amazing to try this without knowing what it I was tasting.
Yes, one of the best beers I've ever had.

I put the other bottle away for another year or two at least. For sharing.
(Photo by Benito.)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Saison Athene

One might not think of Florida as being a beer mecca--I surely didn't--until last night. A friend of mine, having missed my birthday outing, took me to the Muddy Pig for a beer, and was kind enough to agree to share a 750 ml bottle of Saison Athene from Saint Somewhere Brewing Company out of Trapon Springs, Fl.

It was easily one of the best Saison's I've ever had. Fruity and spicy and crisp, yet full of enough barnyard hay and grass to remind you that it's a Saison. I've never seen it on the shelf at a liquor store, but if I do, I'm buying a bottle or 12.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A little of this....

Whoa. One month. It is summer time, eh? I'm sitting here drinking one of the best double IPAs, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, hopped continually for 90 minutes during the boil. 9% abv. Yum. Of course, you have to drive to Wisconsin to get it, but it's worth it.

(Every time I sit down at the computer to write a post about what I'm brewing or what I'm drinking or who I'm voting for, I get stuck over at my newest on-line obsession, Facebook. I can simply write a one or two sentence "status update," letting all my friends know what I'm doing, and it takes five seconds, as opposed to a half an hour at

While I've blasted Wisconsin time and time again, they do have access to a much broader range of beers than here in Minnesota. This month, Stone Brewing arrived in the state east of us, and it would be well worth your time to pick up some Ruination or Arrogant Bastard while passing through Hudson.

Tomorrow's my birthday, and I'll be whooping it up at the Happy Gnome, ignoring their inflated prices in exchange for thier amazing selection of beers. C'mon down and buy me one!

Homebrew Update
The saison is in the bottle. It came in at about 7.4% abv, and was amazingly smooth when I bottled it. Labor Day can't come quick enough.

Our first batch in the big brew kettle turned out pretty good. A nice drinkable pale ale, 5 gallons dry hopped and the other without. I'll let you know how they turn out.

The second batch was our India Brown Ale, this one made more like the extract version we did a year ago, with 5 ounces of hops, honey and brown sugar. It should be about 8% abv, with a nice hop bite after dry hopping.