Monday, August 22, 2011

Liking My Beer and My Steaks Rare

It was one of those beery weekends for Georgeeats, as Stone held its 15th annual festival, but that's just one part of the goodness, as I also now own a bottle, one of only 500 in existence, of the very long-winded ale illustrated above. (You almost expect to see a "Francis Ford Coppola's" in there, no?) I had to enter a raffle to win a chance to buy a bottle of beer, which makes me a very serious man or ridiculous, I'll let you decide, dear reader. I've had the "regular"--that is not aged, let alone in bourbon barrels--version of this beer at Stone Festivals prior to this edition and it was wonderful, hearty and deep and balanced, given it could taste like an explosion in a candy shop. So I'm looking forward to popping this not quite big boy (that verbiage to the left on the label merely means it's a 500ml bottle, and that's what the series of odd one-offs Stone will be releasing will be called) soon, even though I know it will continue to age, but I can't wait. Desire is a mighty thing.

To confuse you yet more, at Saturday's actual festival, I passed up beer from Russian River, Green Flash, AleSmith, Port Brewing, Maui, Ommegang, North Coast, and Ballast Point. Still had an amazing time. It's getting harder and harder to surprise me, that's all, and as much as I love Pliny the Elder or AleSmith IPA, I can and do get those semi-regularly (thank you, oh gods of hops). With only 20 tastes between the two of us (my lovely partner in drink and I, and we always got different beers to get the widest range of taste-age--is that a word?), we didn't want to waste one on something we already knew, no matter how much we liked it ("and lo" I said to my weaker self, "do not be tempted by Temptation!"). We didn't want to waste our tickets on beer we didn't like, either, so there was that risk. Admitting that, we did surprisingly well.

Fave Tastes

All the stuff in the Collaboration Booth was at the least interesting, but generally much more than that, pushing at the edges of what beer can do: one had parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme (the Saison du BUFF from Dogfish Head, Victory, and Stone) and was sort of the rosé of beers, the perfect warm summer afternoon sipper; another's name tells you all you need to know--Jason Fields & Ken Sheppard / Troegs / Stone Cherry Chocolate Stout. (OK, maybe that name doesn't tell you everything--it was mightily controlled, so just enough of the flavors with plenty of the stout, and crying out to be used in a beer float). Then there was the Stone/Brew Dog bashah [lower case theirs] that's supposedly a Black Double Belgian IPA. In a word--complex.

As for happy hoppy new faves, Great Divide's 17th Anniversary Wood Aged Double IPA, Mother Earth Brew Co.'s Rysing Tide Rye IPA, and Eagle Rock's Populist IPA all made us bitterly pleased.

Here's the rest of the list of what we consumed, in no particular order (but the list begins and ends on fine, huge notes):

2011 Stone BELGO Anise Imperial Russian Stout
Breakwater Brewing Maverick's Double IPA
Breakwater Brewing Kali Kush
Bear Republic Endeavor IPA
Cerveza Tijuana Morena
The Lost Abbey Witch's Wit
The Bruery Loakal Red
The Bruery Mischief
Lightning Brewery American Amber Ale on cask
Green Flash / Pizza Port Carlsbad / Stone Highway 78 Scotch Ale
21st Amendment. Firestone Walker / Stone El Camino (Un)Real Black Ale
Baird / Ishii / Stone Japanese Green Tea IPA on cask
Avery Anniversary Ale - Eighteen
Stone 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA on cask

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