On Day 2 of GABF, the ghost of Miles Davis serenaded me with coffee bean trumpets while the Mad Hatter laughed maniacally in my ear. That's after I rode in on a horse from the stables of Garret Oliver. Not a bad day, eh? Yes, friends, GABF brought many fairytale wonders to the throngs of craft beer lovers. Here are just a few....
BEER & BREWERY #16
Brooklyn Brewery Wild One (Barrel-Aged Local 1 with Brett) 9% ABV: Ah yes!! I have heard many praises for this beer, so I am thrilled to get to taste this rarity. Especially since I haven't been able to enjoy a Brooklyn Brewery beer since living in New Orleans!
I have always enjoyed the Local 1, so I figured the Brett would take it to new heights. After all, it's my favorite little rocket yeast! With this beer gal, anything with the word Brett attached to it gets a VIP, velvet-roped, red carpet pass into my happy pucker.
Lovely notes of citrus (lemon particularly), hay, a touch of stable, oak, vanilla, and yeast. That citrus brightness comes through on the palate, followed by the bready yeast and oak notes. This is a treat, and one I would like to have again someday.
Brooklyn Brewery was started in 1987 by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter, and has grown exponentially into one of the most loved and respected breweries on the East Coast and the country, for that matter. Taking Brooklyn to new heights is their charismatic Brewmaster Garret Oliver, hired in 1994 to design and run their facility. All of us beer geeks worship and dog-ear his book The Brewmaster's Table. If you haven't had the chance yet, go pick up a copy. It will make your mouth water and tummy rumble. And while you're at it, have a look at their website. With some of the best graphics in the business, it's a treat to peruse. I love how their front page reads "Welcome Home." Just makes you feel all warm and snuggly inside. And no, I have never had the honor of meeingt the dapper Garrett Oliver, but I feel my time will come. Eventually.
BEER & BREWERY #15
Dogfish Head Bitches Brew Imperial Coffee Stout, 9% ABV: As a certifiable Miles Davis nut, I knew I HAD to have this beer. Bitches Brew was my first Miles album. It's cosmic symmetry. I remember thinking when the news first broke of its release, "How am I going to get my hands on this immediately?"
So thrills and chills ensued as I saw it up on the board at the Dogfish Head booth. And as expected, I was not disappointed. Rich, lush, nose-filling aromas of coffee bean, espresso, dark chocolate, and blackstrap molasses. On the palate, smooth and balanced, with tobacco notes emerging(nice!) and that black malt bitterness you would expect, like a shot of espresso. Pazow!
So no, I did not have my picture taken with Sam, like thousands of others (most of those adoring women. I mean seriously folks, that guy has a LEGION of drooling ladies.) I actually first met Sam back at Stone for the Saison du Buff collaboration, along with Bill from Victory and Greg of Stone. CLICK HERE to read about that entertaining evening of delicious beers, entitled In the Shadow of Giants.
Dogfish Head began in 1995 as a brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and by 2002 had moved into a 100,000 square foot brewery in Milton, complete with a distillery for making spirits. They are currently distributed in 25 states and have brewed to date a whopping 86 different beers! I'm just gonna say it, WOW. I'm sure all of you readers have had Dogfish Head multiple times, but if there is someone out there who hasn't (have my friends and fans in Italy and Belgium tasted them?), make it your mission in life to do so.
BEER & BREWERY #14
New Holland Imperial Hatter IPA, 9.4% ABV: Lots of honey and floral aromas. Something like diving your nose into a bouquet dipped in honey. Add to that caramel and orange. Definite hoppiness on the palate. What I like about this beer particularly is one of the elements on the nose. An aroma akin to dried, baked raw sugar or sugarcane. A easy drinking, balanced IPA. Not over the top or mouth-clenching. In West Coast terms, (hey, it's what I'm used to!) this would have the flavor profile of an straight IPA, rather than an Imperial.
This is my first experience with New Holland, and I must say, it was a pretty good one. Founded in 1996 by Brett VanderKamp and Jason Spaulding, New Holland has grown to a 50-barrel production and is also known for their distilled spirits.
Located in Holland, Michigan, they brew a variety of Year Round, Seasonal, High Gravity, and Cellar beers, and apparently are distributed to unknown lands (they don't specify on their website.) They lovingly refer to some of their employees as "Beer Beast", "Sex Machine", and "Beervangelist," so have have a look at their quirky website next time you are surfing for new beer discoveries. I would love to try more of their beers someday, but I might have to go to Michigan to do it. And that would not make my Ohio State friends so happy....
Until next time,
Drink beer and be happy.