Our fair city just finished up the 2nd annual "Craft Beer Week." I didn't get to participate as much as I wanted to, but I still managed a few events:
Last Friday (5/4) we tasted Left Hand Brewing's (CO) 400 lb Monkey IPA at Coopers Tavern. We paired it with mussels steamed in the same ale. Both were DELISH. I'm also a big fan of their Stranger Pale Ale, which I discovered last summer while visiting Greenville, SC. This is a great irony that doesn't need elaboration at this juncture.
Sunday, 5/6, we returned to Coopers for the Samuel Smith's "tasting" except I don't think you can really call it a tasting event if you make people purchase a 20 oz bottle (Sam Smith's std size) to try it. Luckily, our table of 4 chose 4 different things, so we did get to taste: Taddy Porter, Imperial Stout (I ordered this, it's my all time favorite beer even though I'm only in the mood for it once a year or so), Cherry Ale, and Strawberry Ale. None of us are usually into fruity beers, but these two were great - sweet and tart without being too "chick-like." Kinda in the Belgian lambic family. We did get free tasting glasses, but still - shouldn't there have been stuff on tap? I didn't link to SS, because if you don't know already, there's really no help for you, yanno?
During the week, our fridge was stocked with New Belgium Blue Paddle (CO, yes, the Fat Tire people), Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA (CA, and my home-town brewery), Capitol Amber (WI), Abita Restoration Pale Ale (LA), and Founder's Porter (MI)-the label states "dark, rich, sexy" and they're not lyin'. Sometime during the week I also had a Founder's Cerise (cherry ale) which I absolutely loved.
Thursday 5/10 we were at our neighborhood beer pub, The Great Dane, and tasted Ale Asylum's (WI) Common Thread (brewed exclusively for Craft Beer Week) - a common ale that was served at most of the venues participating in the week's festivities. We also had the Great Dane's Texas Speedbump IPA (a long-time fave that's served out of a beer engine and has the most luscious head evar), and the Terminal Gravity Belgian Quad. The quad was deceptive - it's billed at 12% ABV, but wasn't that hot in the mouth - it was rich, deep and sweetly delicious. Thank goodness I had someone to split the 7 oz snifter with.
Friday 5/11, we hit our gang's favorite dive, the Crystal Corner, where we imbibed Sprecher Amber (WI) and New Glarus Two Women (WI). Two Women is billed as a Country Lager, and is the collaboration of the women who run New Glarus brewery and Weyermann Malting. It's a very nice session beer, which I've been drinking on Fridays since it was released.
Today, we went to a friend's retirement party, where we had our choice of Lake Louie Arena Ale (WI) and Tyranena's Rocky's Revenge (WI). I love Tyranena, I love it's founder/brewer Rob beyond reason, but Rocky isn't for me (it's a bourbon barrel aged brown ale). I tend to drink Bitter Woman IPA and Headless Man Amber Alt. If you haven't gathered by now, I'm a hop head, with a fair appreciation of deep chocolatey porters and stouts. Just up the street, a great taproom was having a Bell's tasting party, and a few folk (including the honoree) walked over for a bit of a tasting, but I was too busy playing Bocce Ball to go ;) Bell's is quite popular in these parts.
Any road, I had a GREAT beer week! Looking at the list, I did more than I thought, but really, there were events I wanted to attend that just did not mesh with my schedule or energy level, and that made me (briefly) sad. I'm so lucky to live in a place where I'm surrounded by fabulous brewed potables at all times - the week seems a bit redundant, but hey, it's all about really f'ing good beer! And it didn't totally ruin my diet progress - just delayed it a bit.