Saturday, April 5, 2008

It's A Celebration B*tch!

(Credit to Dave Chappelle for the post title). A little celebration here at the house tonight after USC baseball took the 2nd game to clinch a series victory over ucla. The fact that ucla also lost to Memphis in basketball doesn't hurt, but unlike the Ruins, USC fans actually root for their own team to win more than their rival to lose. But I digress. So what did we start with tonight? How about a fresh growler of Stone Ruination. And what better way to celebrate some ucla bRUIN losses than with a growler of Stone RUINation. There's nothing quite like some fresh, hoppy, bitter, Ruination. In the last year this beer has gone from kinda "eh" to one of my favorite beers.

As the UNC/Kansas game came on and a few buddies started to file into the house we started splitting bottles of stouts I had. I had 4 stouts from Bell's brewery in Michigan. First up was their lightest stout, a sweet stout they name Kalamazoo Stout. For a somewhat lighter stout this beer may have been nearing it's prime. It still had a bit of sweetness to it as expected, with a hint of mellow coffee in the background, but it also had a kinda sour aspect to it. It is brewed with brewer's licorice but I couldn't detect any. Everyone liked it though.

Next up was Bell's Cherry Stout. Seems to be a beer people really like, or really hate. I liked it quite a bit. Had a sour cherry syrup sorta taste going on in it over the standard stout body. For some reason that was good to me.

The next one up was Bell's Java Stout. I couldn't detect much coffee if any at all, but other people could. Then again I've had the likes of Ballast Point Imperial Coffee porter which was I think just fresh brewed coffee with a bit of alcohol in it. The java stout didn't really come close. It is probably much better fresh out of the tanks.

The final Bell's stout was their Expedition Stout, a Russian Imperial Stout. Did not care for this one much at all. More of a soy, sour dark malt aspect to it. It still averages an "A" grade on Beeradvocate but there seem to be a huge portion of poor reviews for it also. I guess I'd fall in the latter category.

After the lineup of Bell's stouts which we all generally enjoyed going through I felt like pulling out some chocolate beers. First one up was Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout that I've been holding onto. This beer has quite a reputation. All of it's flavor is derived from roasted barley and not from real chocolate additives (unlike the next beer). This wasn't so much a chocolate bomb or anything, but it was a GREAT Russian Imperial Stout in general. Don't drink this cold either cause as it warms up the roasted barley and chocolate malt flavors come out more. An excellent beer overall.

The final beer was the Southern Tier Choklat, which is brewed with bittersweet Belgian chocolate. As I drank this the only thing that came to mind was "milk chocolate." Wow was it chocolate flavored. Oh, the alcohol is quite present as well at 11% ABV. Amazing beer. The night concluded with a run up to a local diner called Legend's to get an order of fries. Not a bad night overall.

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