What I’ve been drinking here and there.

Since the Hopslam hype and seek game is over now (it is, isn’t it?), I figured I would take a break from posting about my Holiday Trip (still a few more days left, must. get. through. them) and discuss what I’ve been drinking in the meantime.  With everyone waiting the upcoming Bigfoot (soon), Bourbon Counties, Better Half, and KBS releases, bottle shops are getting checked daily for new allotments.  Last week I checked three places for any 3 Floyds and it was all gone, nowhere to be found.  Thankfully after a few tweets,  this week the stores have fresh Dreadnaught and Behemoth on their shelves.  What a difference a week makes.  In other Kentucky beer news, we just got Sixth Point and Green Flash to Kentucky.  West Coast IPA is pretty legit, but not TOO legit.  I need some hammer pants.
My take on this years version of Bell’s Hopslam (10% ABV).  I’ve had it both in the bottle and draught, both fra fra fra fra fresh (my rapping abilities were just shown off there).  Simply put, not as good as last years and not as good as Double Trouble or Heady Topper.  Is it overhyped, heck yes!  I ask myself how Whole Foods sells it for $20 a 6er.  Then go around and ask myself why I spent $6 on a piece of cheese there.  Goodness.  Lots of honey in the beer which, I think, masks the hops.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a damn mighty fine beer, but like most things, it doesn’t live up to the hype.  Now to just get through the rest of them without a bitter taste left in my mouth from the price.
Next up is Pretty Things Beer Projects flagship beer, Jack D’ Or.  Jack referred to as an American Saison or your everyday table beer.  Not my favorite style, but one my wife enjoys.  A sweet, smooth sipper. Very light and crisp and would make a great summer beer, except for its January but it almost feels like summer.  How Pretty Things describes it:
“Inspired by some of our favorites like Saison DuPont, but also DeRanke’s XX Bitter, De Dolle’s Arabier, and local IPAs like Smuttynose, the Jack D’Or starts off with North American Pils, Vienna, Wheat and Malted Oats (among others) and is hopped with a combination of four hops, finishing with Palisade and Nugget. The bitterness is the real backbone of the Jack D’Or.  It’s a proper “plant-like” bitterness with all of its jagged edges, beginning deep in the soil, then to the stem of this beer and up into to the very tippity heights.  Fermentation-wise we use a blend of four yeast strains to give Jack D’Or its refreshingly dry character.  Finally, despite all of the spicy flavours in this beer it contains no actual spices – only malt, oats, rye, sugar, hops and yeast.  One more time: there are no spices or citrus in Jack D’Or. Wheat lends acidity at Jack’s edges, then rye and our blended yeast character come into play for a bit of polyphony, displeasing the notion of “balance” and creating the fire in the belly of Jack D’Or!
A beer I had been sitting on since my pre-Christmas trip back home was Green Flash’s Le Freak (9.2% ABV).   I was a little let down when I realized this wasn’t a Sony collaboration with Rick James, guess that’s just Dogfishhead.  Oh well.  Le Freak is a “San Diego” style Imperial Pale Ale and Belgian-style trippel getting their freak on together producing 1 PT. 6 FL. OZ of goodness.  Look closely in the picture and you’ll see a Cadbury Creme egg which was a  prelude to the beer and equally as tasty.  Kroger puts these by the checkout for a reason, Ashley bought two more yesterday.  Very malty and sweet with a nice kick of belgian yeast.  At times I thought I was drinking a barleywine with the malt and trippel sweetness overbearing all the hops.  A good beer, but it confused my palate with all the freaky stuff going on.
When we were in Houston for the marathon, my buddies Steve (CO) and Jay (CA) brought along some beers for us to drink.  The first was Odell’s Mountain Standard Time ( 9.5 %ABV), a Double Black IPA.  Here is what Odell says: Mountain Standard, Double Black IPA, features the homegrown hops our Brewers helped pick from farms along Colorado’s western slope. MST pours committingly dark with a light tan head and a slightly roasted hoppy nose. An ephemeral bitterness, the result of combining roasted malts with an assertive American hop profile, contributes to MST’s act of balance and harmony. As the season’s darkness sets in, why shouldn’t your beer become darker too?”
Here is what King says: Let me preface with the fact that I am not on the “Black IPAs are the best thing to happen to craft beer” movement.  Yes, I enjoy them…but they are not something I am crazy about.  I’ve had far too many Black IPAs which aren’t very complex (see also: taste good) compared to ones which are fantastic.  Mountain Standard ranks up there with the good ones.  Great roasty characteristics with a nice hop kick before the roast decides to hang out on your tongue for a while.  Definitely a beer I want to try again…and not like at 11:30 at night like we had this one.  I’m an old man.  Granted it was my first beer of the night, but drinking out of a hotel glass just doesn’t seem right. Geek, yes, I know.
To keep things simple, we’ll go with another beer I brought all the way back from Vermont, Rock Art’s Black Moon IPA (10% ABV).  I should have left it in Vermont.  Granted it was a cheap buy, $5 for a bomber, but not worth making the trip home and the packing beer debacle I went through (I haven’t written about that yet).  I can’t remember much about it other than it was pretty plain with little character to it. Blech.
The beer that really made the trip worthwhile was the allotment of 2011 Fifty/Fifty’s Eclipse (Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels, 9.5% ABV) that Jay brought.  Jay brought the Elijah Craig 18 year, the Four Roses, and the Grand Cru blends for us to drink and then the Elijah Craig 12 year and Buffalo Trace for me to take home where they belong, Kentucky.  The beer really has traveled full circle.

Of the three, the Elijah Craig 18 year was my favorite by far.  All of the imperial stouts tasted similar to a degree, but they all had distinctive characteristics.  The Grand Bru was a booze bomb.  The EC 18 was full of oak and bourbon flavor and the Four Roses was a little more blended in with the imperial stout.  I wouldn’t go and say these were some of the best imperial stouts I’ve ever had, but they are some of the most unusual and hard to get imperial stouts I’ve ever drank.
Bananas, peanut butter, pitas…beer. That’s about right.

About johnking82

Homebrewer, Runner, Educator.... Giddy as a kid on Christmas about good beer.
This entry was posted in Beer Sampling. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What I’ve been drinking here and there.

  1. Drew says:

    Got a sixer of Hopslam out here in Shebbyville for $16.99 and well worth it. Nowhere near as good as it is on tap but I feel like it’s on par with previous years. Still hoping to catch it on tap this year (Flanagan’s soon, anywhere else?). Double Trouble is a bigger taste and damn good but I don’t know that it’s really a good comparison with Hopslam, primarily because of the honey.

    I’m not overly crazy about Black IPA’s either, good stuff usually but not life changing.

  2. Alex says:

    I’m also a HUGE fan of black IPA’s/Cascadian Dark Ales, but Mountain Standard is, I have to admit, very solid. My fiancee and I visited one of the farms that Odell sourced their hops from, so perhaps I’m biased. Glad you got to try it.

  3. Zac says:

    Yes. What’s up with all the honey this year? Did they forget some Simcoe? We haven’t received our allowance of bottles, but I’m debating whether I’ll even buy any. I tried some from a firkin last night. I think it was sitting on Simcoe. Friends scored the dregs they plan to use for an ESB or something. I preferred this version the most. It was actually hoppier than what I’ve had on tap.

    Hopslam is over!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s