Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dogfish Head Beer Dinner at Backcountry Pizza and Tap House in Boulder

Last night I went to the Dogfish Head beer dinner at Backcountry Pizza and Tap House in Boulder, I don't usual drink Dogfish Head beer but tonight I became a convert. John, owner of Backcountry and Keith, head chef conspired in this endeavor to pair high quality beer for each course that were imaginative and new to my taste buds.

Amuse course was a tortilla crusted sweet breads with watercress, morels, and roasted jalapeno molasses demi-glace sauce. I had never eaten sweet breads before and at first the thought of eating a thymus gland had me kind of queasy, but it turned out very delicious almost like chicken, in fact the consistency was very much so. But to the beer, this was paired with Burton Baton which is a blend of two batches of beer, an English-style ale with an imperial IPA that is oak-aged. Burton Baton is 10% ABV but is mellowed by the wood so it can go down very smoothly. There was a definite hoppy aroma and you can also smell oakiness to the brew but it was too big in hops for me but it's my hubby's favorite.

The salad course was grilled baby vegetables top with a aged balsamic and extra virgin olive oil. The salad was paired with Saison Du Buff which is a collaboration between Dogfish Head, Stone Brewing, and Victory Brewing.  This beer was light, with the spiciness of the herbs that is brewed with; parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, it has 6.8 ABV so it is great choose for summer drinking.

Quail on Risotto

Pasta/Appetizer course was suppose to be a tea leaf smoked rabbit but due to circumstances that was not to be but instead was replaced by roasted quail with braised quail-date risotto, by this course I was getting full but quails are small so I plugged through.  This course was paired with two Dogfish Head beers, Red & White and Ta Henket, when drank in order the spices of the second brew pop. Red & White is a Belgian style wit bier that is brewed with coriander, orange peel, and fermented with Pinot Noir juice. This is a smooth, citric flavors but with that wine undertones and at 10% ABV quite potent. The Ta Henket recipe was straight from ancient hieroglyphics in Egypt. It is brewed with an ancient form of wheat, hearth baked loaves of bread, and flavored with chamomile, doum-palm
fruit and Mediterranean herbs. It is very spicy in aroma and flavor and only 4.5% ABV.
Red & White and Ta Henket

The main course was a five-spiced grouper on top of smashed plantains with fiddle head ferns topped with a apple-habanero salsa.  The grouper was a firm white flesh with a delicate flavor no unlike halibut but I was so full that I didn't eat as much so to keep room for dessert. Noble Rot was paired with this course, it gets it's name from the fungus that sucks the moisture out of grapes leaving a sweet wrinkled grape that is the bases for many of the dessert wines. Noble Rot gets it's sugars and complexities from two grape sources, Viognier and Pinot Gris which produces a wonder beer that has wine overtones with fruity tart finish. It is 9.0% ABV so less alcohol than wine.  

Five-Spiced Grouper
Dessert was "Fort" flavored white chocolate cheesecake with fresh raspberries, whipped cream, and Fort-raspberry coulis which is a thick sauce made with pureed fruit.  This lovely dessert was paired with '08 and '12 World Wide Stout that is rich, dark, and complex but very dangerous at 15-20% ABV.  The '08 was well balanced with a smokey, oak aroma and a smooth flavor but the '12 was so hot but there was a strong chocolate aroma but there was a very alcohol flavor.  World Wide Stout is made to sit in the cellar to age.
This proved to be a wonderful beer dinner where I found I do like Dogfish Head beers.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Avery Brewing on Mothers Day

Nineteen Anniversary Ale- a Belgian Trippel at 8.23% ABV and Lilikoi Kepolo-White Rascal with passion fruit at 5.6%cABV. Both are very drinkable and great for summer!

Chaka Belgian Style Ale

Chaka collaboration between Oskar Blues Brewing in Lyons and Sun King Brewing in Indiana. A nice clean, crisp, and nicely sweet Belgian Ale. And in the first twist top can!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Father's Office in Santa Monica

Father's Office was highly recommended by a friend so we decided to stop on by while we were in Santa Monica. Well, I almost walked out on two reasons, 1. There's a sign stating it's a 21 & up establishment and they have a guy sitting inside the door checking ID's, which I thought was weird since they serve food. 2. The bouncer wouldn't let me take a photo of the inside of the bar.  When I told him I have a beer blog, he replied was that is why they don't allow photos, whatever!

The bartender was nice and said if it was up to him, he would have allowed me to take a pic but the rules can only be broken by the owners or taproom managers who weren't there.So I can only guess why the rules against photo taking, do they want a cut if I'm selling the pic or are they liable for pic taken of customers? If any of you been there or know the guys who own the tap house, tell me what's the deal.

Their draft beer selection was good for only having 20+ taps and most were from California breweries which we liked.

The taproom waitstaff was somewhat knowledgeable about the beers that where on tap and they were very friendly. The place was well lit and there was plenty of room at the bar. It is small so probably gets really crowded in the afternoon and into the evening.  The hamburger is rated as the best in Santa Monica but you can only get it one way. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Library in Santa Monica

Stopped at The Library Alehouse in Santa Monica before heading home. I decided on a half-pint of Coronado Blue Bridge Coffee Stout at 6.4%. It's smooth, slight coffee aroma but then hits you at your first sip. The coffee isn't as strong as Avery's Out of Sight.  I love coffee but not so much in my beer but the Blue Bridge had the right balance of coffee flavor.

Kayla, our bartender was very friendly and was informative about the beer she was pouring.

I remember being at The Library a few years back and was not impressed but this time I enjoyed the experience, I will drink here again in the near future.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Surly Goat Tap House was difficult to find in plain sight.

Found The Surly Goat on the Internet so we drove from the beach to West Hollywood on Santa Monica Blvd, well it took us awhile to find this place even with using the GPS on my iPhone.  The goat over the doorway is the only indication to the taphouse.  

The interior to The Surly Goat is dark, reminiscent to the Falling Rock Tap House in Denver and at the time we were there the place was sparse with a few customers at the bar. The taphouse has 27 taps and 1 cask beer handle which is average among beer bars.  Matt, our bartender was friendly but a newbie to the craft beer industry. I was though, very enthusiastic about beer which is near and dear to my heart, hah! 

Thought this funny, Samael's listed as a barleywine.

We talked to Matt about beer and asked him questions about the Surly Goat. It is 2 years old and is owned by Ryan Sweeney.  He owns two other establishments, The Little Bear which is a Belgian beer bar with 22 taps and Verdugo Craft Beer and Spirit bar that has 17 taps.

The Surly Goat was a real find for craft beer in Southern California that we didn't have to travel the LA freeway and was fairly close to our hotel. 

The Surly Goat in West Hollywood

The Surly Goat with Matt, taproom manager served us Sea Monster from Ballast Point. The taproom is difficult to find, the building is grey with only a goat painted over the door. Dark, noisy, but very friendly atmosphere.

Ocean Avenue Seafood in Santa Monica

Ocean Ave Seafood was rated highly for draft beer in Santa Monica, go figure? Right now having Bayhawk Hefeweizen from Irvine California, dry, crisp, even flavor not quite the wheat I usual drink there isn't the banana flavor I like.

They also have the best clam chowder.  Being land locked in Colorado, a good clam chowder is hard to find, so this was heaven with bits of bacon that added to the flavor and no fishy taste either.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Avery Brewing Samael's Release Party and Vertical Tasting paired with desserts

Thursday April 26 was the Samael's release party at the Avery Brewing's barrel aged cellar.  The lights were low with twinkling of white Christmas lights and it was an intimate setting with 30 people attending this event. They had three years to vertically taste, 2009, 2010, and the recent 2012, each was paired with a dessert that was prepared by Bob Sargent of Savory Cuisines.
Samael's is an oaked aged English strong ale that is a whopping 14.5% ABV.

2009 was fantastic, I usually shy away from this very big beer with it's strong flavors but this year was my favorite in the vertical tasting. The strong ale had a sweet, smoked aroma but was still hot, had that alcohol taste but it balanced well with the overall flavor.  This big boy was 16.45% ABV and probably would hold up for a couple more years, I'd like to be able to taste this next year.

2009 was paired with a caramel flan. It was so delicious and it paired well with the Samael's.

2010 also had that sweet aroma but there was also an alcohol tinge to it. The first taste had nutty tones but still very hot. It was drinkable and I liked it but not as I did the 2009.  This year comes in under the 2009 with being 15.2% ABV.

2010 was paired with a chocolate mousse. The mousse was sprinkled with fine dried chili flakes/sugar on top and some folded into the chocolate.  It was very good except mine had a little more chili's in it, seemed to get hotter as I ate it.

2012 the new release was strong for me with that alcohol taste and aroma. Phil Vaughn, taproom manager said there was a pineapple characteristic to the flavor but I didn't taste that at all. This Samael's is the least alcholic in the series at 14.5% ABV.

The tasting cost $20 and was fully worth it with the beers paired with wonderful desserts. I met up with two friends, Max Wolski and Mitch Smith who are Avery Brewing's longtime customers.  We had a great time listening to Phil and Rachael Burrel, who coordinated the event that night.