After a 2+ hour hike through the Mission Trails Park early Saturday morning with the Booze Reviews crew it was time for beer tasting and English Premier replays from that morning. We were able to brave the snakes, poison oak, and ticks to make it back before noon for our first beer- Kriek De Ranke. This beer was crazy sour cherry. I don't think I'd met a sour beer maker that could match the mouth puckering ability of Cantillon, but they did. There was also a nice subtle funk thrown in there too, adding to complexity of this delicious kriek. A refreshing way to rehydrate after the 7 or 8 mile hike. Arsenal took a 1-0 lead right out of the gate. Lesson #1 learned on the day: [for certain reasons] the Booze Reviews crew may not be the best to ask for directions to the parking lot when you're lost on the trail with your kids.
The next beer was Smuttynose Wheat Wine, a beer from their Big Beer Series. I've had a wheat wine before but I don't remember it being anything like this. This brew smelled and tasted like the aroma that fills the area when you're in/near a brewery (usually the vapors coming off the boiling wort). Now I like that smell in that setting, but not condensed into the final beer. JTH was right when he immediately said I would not like this beer as he handed it to me. Actually, I didn't hate it, I just wouldn't drink more than a couple ounces of it at one time.
Up 3rd, batch #1 of Brooklyn Local 1. I acquired this bottle long ago, it's gotta be at least 2 years old now... maybe more? I remember it being better fresh. It was aight now but nothing spectacular. Flavors were kind of a bit muddled in my opinion. I dunno. Arsenal was up 2-0 by this time and on another station Senor Greasy was crying as usual. Lesson #2 learned on the day: It's probably wise to eat before this sorta thing, especially when it's already past noon and you've been exercising all morning. Lesson #3: Sun Taco saves the day, but they need to work on tortillas that are a bit stronger for their burritos and don't explode out of the bottom.
All 3 of the Booze Reviews Crew had raved about Flying Dog's Raging Bitch while we were hiking. I was caught by surprise. I had never heard anyone in Southern California mention this beer. I didn't know it was even in bottles out here, and had only ever seen it tapped at Beachwood BBQ a few weeks ago. Of course, I've heard about it relentlessly from The Baltimore Beer Guy. Flying Dog Raging Bitch seems to be worshiped in Baltimore... I think BBG is forming a cult... instead of Kool-Aid... Raging Bitch. Well it makes sense because this beer was fantastic. The smell was like a citric, fresh green hop sorta thing punch to the face. Very clean hoppy aroma, slight Belgian background but not much- that was more in the flavor. Probably 1 of the top 2 Belgian IPA's made on a semi-large scale in the world (along with Green Flash Le Freak).
At some point in the last couple years I had officially declared myself NOT a Maharaja fan. It's just too boozy for me. The alcohol heat overtakes all the orange citrusy goodness coming from the hops. But this batch was supposedly a little more refined. Either I was still just really thirsty or it was actually much better, because it was a taste of tropical goodness.
Lastly, a bottle of Ithica Le Bleu made an appearance. A new beer to me, it was a really nice tasting sour. Quite sour. But I didn't taste any blueberry. Still grateful to have tried it!
Lesson #4 learned: Morning sessions are pretty draining when it comes to having to go out and start drinking beer again later in the afternoon. I forced a pint of Dorado Double IPA down at Ballast Point and then switched to scotch, Captain & Coke, and back to a tall boy of Miller Lite (at a concert) to round out the day.
Great day all around!
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Posted by Steve at 10:03 PM