OH YEAHHHHHHHHHH. Hear the beat people. On Monday afternoon, I COMPLETED MY 100 BEERS 30 DAYS CHALLENGE!!!! And I tell you, it was fun as hell. And seriously, I am about to pop. As I realized as on Thanksgiving Day morning, with stout sweating from my pores, 100 different stouts and porters in 30 days is no joke.
Back in October, I joked that I might give birth to a stout baby when this was over. I'm not far off. I'm also pretty sure if I cut myself shaving, instead of blood a dark, viscous brown fluid that smelled of coffee, chocolate and charred wood would come oozing out of my veins. How's that for imagery? Let's not find out, shall we?
On the emotional side, I have for the last few days, looked around like a lost child searching for her mama. Think I'm suffering a bit of phantom limb syndrome? WHERE's my beer?
Tomorrow's post will be my interview with Pacific Beach Alehouse brewmaster Eric Jensen, which will be followed by my BIG COUNTDOWN of the best beers in each category, and then THE BIG WINNER. So, there will be a top place in categories such as, "Best Chocolate Stout", "Best Smoked Porter", "Best Russian Imperial Stout", "Best Organic Beer", and so on.....It should be interesting, and I want to hear everyone's opinion, so STAY TUNED!!!! And WHAT O' WHAT WILL CLAIM TOP HONORS?!?! (Most unfortunately, I do not have a cool blue ribbon)
Monday was, without a doubt, New Orleans Saints day. Seriously, for those of you who don't live in New Orleans, the city SHUT DOWN. Businesses closed, everyone was taking off work, many joining the thousands and thousands of fans out tailgating, BBQ'ing, drinking exorbitant amounts of alcohol (there was a Patron tent, folks. no kidding. I did NOT go there.), and just getting rowdy for Drew and the gang. No one could think of anything but Monday Night Football in the Dome.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBY4jyhwAIo]
I had been prepping for a week to either go watch the game in a rowdy bar or go and tailgate myself then rally into the quarter in search of a TV. Unfortunately, the sick germs that I had been successfully battling off from others' numerous coughs and sneezes finally invaded after 29 days. And so, I decided to keep my sad ass in bed for the day, so I could be well enough to scream my head off and jump up and down later for the game. And boy did I...
And I couldn't have picked two better beers to end my 100 beer journey and lay in bed with all day. They were the Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Stout and Marin County's San Quentin Breakout Stout....
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast Stout: ABV: 7.5% What a glorious way to start any day. I am convinced I will be drinking this again soon over brunch with friends. Skip the coffee folks, and dig into this delicious part of any nutritious breakfast. Seriously, it's an Oatmeal Stout brewed with coffee. What more could you ask for?
It pours out with a viscosity somewhere between straight espresso and molasses. Not too runny, yet not motor-oil viscous like the Dark Lord. Has a dark brown mocha head that holds on pretty well. On the nose, black cherry, dark chocolate, intense coffee, and dry cocoa. Followed as it warms, by nutmeg and molasses biscuits. You know the ones. Mmmmm. Under that molasses, there are subtle peppery meat aromas, but you have to look for it. What was so interesting to me about the nose was that I got just as much, or more out of the tulip glass as my Riedel. Which tells me and you, use a tulip on this one!
The palate is lusciously smooth and very well balanced. (That's the oatmeal at work.) And may I say, it is one of the smoothest and most successful uses of oatmeal I have seen in this challenge. There is a substantial, yet welcome bitterness of coffee and roasted malt. It dries your palate just enough, and makes you yearn for the next satisfying sip.
I was impressed with this stout wholeheartedly (it's brewed at Nogne O, no wonder I like it!), and will no doubt drink it again. It's expensive friends, at $11-14 a bottle, but think of it as a roasty, rich, decadent divergence from those same ole' brunch mimosas. Serve this in two tulip glasses with breakfast in bed for that special someone, and you'll be having a satisfying morning in more ways than one. Trust me.
Marin Brewing Company San Quentin Breakout Stout: ABV: 7% My final beer, #100!!! After countless seduction strategies involving the Mikkeller coursed through my mind, I was definitely starting to feel better, with the alcohol and caffeine taking effect. Knees pulled up tight, with covers and pillows all around me, I broke into beer 100, the San Quentin Breakout Stout. A bit nervous that my last beer would be a dud, I held my breath expectantly, as I poured it into the Riedel.
Nice, dark brown to black color. This one's opaque too, with a similar colored head, a lovely dark mocha color. "So here we go!" I thought as I dove my nose into the glass like a tornado chaser charges fearlessly towards a Kansas Supercell (Those people are NUTS).
Have you ever stood in a barn where they cure country ham? That was, and I kid you not, the FIRST thing that rang in my memory when I smelled this beer. That glorious, genuine, real life smell of wood, smoked meat and the earth beneath your dirt-caked boots. Add to that notes of scrub brush, black malt and an aroma somewhere between charred wood and a firewood stack, and you've got this nose. As Mark, a fellow beer enthusiast, who has also tasted the Breakout, remarked, it's "like a Northwest U.S. farmland on fire." I love it!
The woody notes follow through on the palate, along with coffee, and a roasted maltiness. In fact, while I was drinking this, I REALLY wanted to be sitting by a fire. So if you are lucky enough to have one of those, get this beer, curl up with that same someone you served breakfast in bed to, and make a day of it. My, my, aren't I romantic today? Must be the fever....
P.S. Don't forget to stay tuned for the upcoming TOP BEERS LIST!!!