Drink It Slowly

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Pipeworks Brewing “Raspberry Truffle Abduction”

Raspberry Truffle AbductionPipeworks Brewing “Raspberry Truffle Abduction”
2013 Imperial Stout with Raspberries and Cocao
10.5% ABV

Nice, small, creamy and burnt tan head lingers ambiguously on the glass.  Very black in color with a touch of dark brown.

Smells of fresh raspberries right away, perhaps a bit unripe. This is soon followed by sweet, malty goodness. The sharp raspberry nose, although not overwhelming, does not let much else through in terms of smell.

The taste is slightly sour, vegetal raspberries, bitter bakers chocolate, and raspberry purée.

Medium body, slightly under carbonated, with a nice dry aftertaste. Needs more stout and less of this sourness. Not too complex of a beer sour chocolate covered raspberries.

Rating: 4.25/5

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Surly “Darkness”

2012 DarknessSurly “Darkness”
2012 Russian Imperial Stout
10.3% ABV

This beer poured such a deep brown color it looked black in the glass. It had a nice lighter colored mocha head, sticky lacing, and a slow carbonation catch-up which results in a super creamy head.

Smells of bourbon, brown sugar, hops, fudge, and a touch of vanilla came to mind when faced with this massive beer. Very well rounded with everything I look for in a stout.

The first sip resulted in a bitter mineral mouthfeel. After that it got a lot better with flavors of bitter coffee (or maybe faded hops), great malt profile that came across as creamy dark chocolate, and a nice alcohol balance. All the flavors in the nose translated perfectly. Also, surprisingly the hops were very much a leading component of the flavor profile. It was a little too sweet towards the end as it warmed up, and the resulting syrup bomb threw off the flavor balance quite a bit.

This is probably my favorite of the “day” releases (Dark Lord, Hunahpu, etc.). It had a great silky and medium to thick bodied mouthfeel, and it was a great beer until it got too warm and syrupy.

Rating: somewhere between 4.25 and 4.5/5, I could not decide.

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Mikkeller Bar Opening in San Francisco

The LineMikkeller Bar in San Francisco had their official opening yesterday on August 9th. My friend and I were surprised that by the time we got there, only fifteen minutes before the bar was scheduled to open, there were only around thirty or so people in line! Granted, it was a Friday afternoon, but I really did expect more people to show up.

The Bar

They handled this event very professionally; they only let in about twenty people at a time so that the bartenders wouldn’t get totally overwhelmed (even though I’m sure they were).  The inside was beautiful and rustic with a modern feel. There was lots of wood and steel decor along with Mikkeller label posters and artwork decorating the brick walls surrounding the bar. Oh, and they have forty taps.

First Beers

We were lucky to get a table right away and drinks soon after. From left to right, I started off with a 2013 Cantillon “Iris” and a Cigar City “Barrel Aged Kalevipoeg At The Gates of Hell”. The “Iris” was wonderfully effervescent, hoppy, and a generally balanced sour. The “BA Gates of Hell” was unbelievably good- one of the best, if not the best, porters I have ever had. It had a perfect balance of barrel presence, a thick body, cocoa, dark fruits, and even some coffee in the aftertaste.

Shelf Turds

The real treasure of this bar was downstairs, in their Sour Room. I have never been so awestruck in my entire life when it comes to looking at a beer selection that I can actually buy. Some of the highlights were Drie Fonteinen “50th Anniversary Gueuze” and their “Millenium Gueuze”, Cantillon Iris from 2004 and a whole assortment of other “non-shelf” and aged Cantillons. They also had a lot of Mikkeller beers, but compared to everything else they had, they didn’t get much attention.3F 50th Anniversary Gueuze

We decided to get a bottle of Drie Fonteinen “50th Anniversary Gueuze”, which was bottled in 1998. This was unlike any Gueuze I have ever had. Not nearly as explosively sour as I was expecting, but the depth of flavors was simply amazing. It had a very well put together body with notes of cognac, grassy funk, acidity, and even some mint. This may be my first 5/5 beer that I have ever had. Just slaying whales on a Friday afternoon, no big deal.

In addition to the beers mentioned, I also had Crooked Stave “St. Bretta (summer)” and Cantillon “Saint Lamvinus” on tap. This was truly a memorable afternoon filled with great beer, an awesome and inviting atmosphere, and good times all around with friends new and old.

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Stone R&R Coconut IPA

Stone R&R CoconutStone R&R Coconut IPA
2013 Collaboration IPA Brewed and and Flavored with Coconut
7.7% ABV

Pours a refreshingly pale straw color.

Smells like Ruination in terms of the resinous and sticky hops. There is a faint coconut aroma, but you have to really dick for it; it comes off more as a sweetness than anything else. Brown sugar malts, as well.

This beer is okay. The flavors are big, hoppy, and powerful but lack body and depth. The coconut adds a unique flavor with an almost vanilla sweetness, but it’s not very pronounced. It has quite a dry and bitter finish. Not nearly as good as I was hoping or expecting, but still enjoyable. Lower points for not incorporating coconut enough. Come on, it’s in the name!

Rating: 3.25/5

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Ale Industies “Pink Drank”

Pink DrankAle Industies “Pink Drank”
2013 Sour Blond Ale with Raspberries
6% ABV

A pretty flat beer, but you can see the carbonation bubbles creep up the sides of the glass. It is a really nicely colored beer, with both dark and lighter pink colors, depending on the light.

Smells of fresh raspberries, barely sour, a medium amount of sweetness, and a touch of funk.

This beer starts off pleasantly tart with a huge cheesy yeast presence that completely dominates the flavor. After the first sip the palette acclimates and makes for a more balanced, wonderfully fruity, and sour easy sipper. A little under-carbonated, as well.

The beer is a bit thin and the flavors are one dimensional and lacking in complexity. That being said, it is a great dimension. Definitely the best beer I’ve had from these guys.

Rating: 3.75/5


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The Bruery “Sour in the Rye with Kumquats”

SitRKThe Bruery “Sour in the Rye with Kumquats”
2013 Sour Rye Ale with Kumquats Added Aged in Oak Barrels
7.6% ABV

This beer pours a very thin head that underneath contains a murky orange, deep apricot color.

Smells of lactic sourness, musty tannins, orange zest, and a bit of funk.

Wow, this one punched me right in the face when I took the first sip. It is super sour, with great flavors of apricots, kumquats, lemon and pineapple. It has a nicely downplayed cheesy yeast flavor  that helps round it out with the delicious rye. It is taking me a while to get past the sourness, but eventually I get to the underlying flavors of this beer. Some barrel notes, but not very prominent.

This beer is a little too much for me, but a great variation of the original; more sour, more funk, and citrus.

Rating: 4/5

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Goose Island “Cherry Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout”

Cherry RyeGoose Island “Cherry Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout”
2012 Stout Aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels with Whole Cherries Added
13.7% ABV

I was digging through my cellar yesterday looking for some bottles, when I noticed that this bottle was cracked. I was waiting for an excuse to crack this one, and opportunity came in spades.

Pours very smoothly. The color is pretty much pitch black like the regular BCBS with a creamy espresso head.

I smell sweet malts, a nice barrel presence, store fruit (along with the barrel it gives an almost tart smell), and bourbon soaked dates.

Initially creamy, the cherry gives the flavor a little tang on the way down, the rye helps round it out and move things along, it has a decent bourbon kick, but the aftertaste is what steals the show. Fresh and dried cherry flavors linger, along with what I can surmise are tannins. Thick, fugdey, and a very interesting take on the classic. Cherry becomes much stronger as it warms. Very sweet. A bit chalky in the after-after taste.

Super creamy and rich. I’m glad I split this bottle, it would be tough to get this one down on my own.

I really wasn’t very into this beer. It was not very balanced; all of the flavors sort of mushed together. A classic case of an over-hyped beer, and one of my least favorite of the Bourbon County series.

Rating: 3.75/5