Well only if evil means DELICIOUS, mouthwatering, well-crafted, and unique beers!! In this case, evil=good.
BEER & BREWERY #31
Flossmor Station Collaborative Evil 2010 Smoked Imperial Porter, 8.4% ABV: As you know, this beer girl LOVES smoked beers, so I am sold on trying this one. I had first heard of Flossmor upon my visit to Chicago for Dark Lord Day and a visit to Goose Island. But time ran short, and I was unable to visit. So when I saw their booth next to Founders, I knew my time had come....And a smoked porter to offer? Was this kismet?
Made with 5% cherrywood smoked malt, this beer has wonderful smokey and sweet notes of caramel and honey with both meaty aromas(almost textural) and flavors. I get this nostalgic sense of being in the woods camping after a big cookout. Burned down campfire cinders with caramelized and charred juices on the wood. I really enjoyed this beer. Would love to have more...
Opened in 1996 by Dean and Carol Armstrong, the story of Flossmor Station Restaurant & Brewery is a treat to read. Saddened by the deterioration of the historic train station, they began a mission of gentrification to give true homage to their beloved town. The result has been a welcome and embraced addition to the community. Extensive and delicious menus make this a must stop for Chicago residents and visitors alike. CLICK HERE to read the whole story.
So WHAT is the story with Collaborative Evil and WHO are the brewers? In a nutshell, this year was a collaboration of EIGHT brewers working with a base idea (this year Imperial or Baltic Porter), who brewed various interpretations of the style. The idea was/is to showcase the individuality and personality of the breweries. This year the brewers were:
- Todd Ashman- FiftyFifty Brewing Co., Truckee, CA
- Zac Triemert- Lucky Bucket Brewing Co., La Vista, NE
- Matt Van Wyk- Oakshire Brewing Co., Eugene, OR
- Brandon Wright- Silver Peak Restaurant and Brewery, Reno, NV
- Bryan Shimkos- Flossmoor Station Brewing Co., Flossmoor, IL
- Roger Davis- Triple Rock Brewery, Berkeley, CA
- Matt Cole- Fatheads Brewery and Saloon, Cleveland, OH
- Jack Kephart- Brew Kettle Production Works, Strongsville,OH
Had I known the story PREVIOUS to GABF, I would have made it my mission to visit all eight!! Nuts. Next year, I'm ON IT. To read the complete story, check out beernews.org's coverage by CLICKING HERE.
BEER & BREWERY #30
As I grow older, I have inexplicably become numerically dyslexic, am seemingly losing my hearing, and have developed cracking knees. And that's just the half of it. Laugh it up. So when I saw a brew entitled Fourth Dementia Ale, I chuckled and thought, "This is a beer for me."
This beer won GOLD this year at GABF for Old Ale/Strong Ale! Congratulations! A Cherry Wheat, aged for four months in oak. Sweet notes on the nose, vanilla, sherry, candied sugar, baking spice, anise. Also on the palate, with caramel aspects and nice bitterness on the finish. Quite a bit of heat. Definitely an interesting ale. At 12.5% ABV (according to their sign at GABF, although their website says 9.5%...), you will undoubtedly develop dementia drinking this one!
Located in Warren, Michigan, Kuhnhenn Brewery was began by brothers and homebrewers Bret and Eric Kuhnhenn. The brewery actually began as...get this...a hardware store! Purchased by their father 35 years previous, they faced a tough decision when Lowe's moved in nearby. So, using their skills and intuition, the brothers have turned what might have a been a door-closer into a successful, loved brewery and homebrew shop. Bravo, guys. I can't wait to taste more of your beers.
With a whopping 60, yes that's right, count 'em, 60 beers, these guys are serious brewing machines. And they obviously have a fantastic and slightly wicked sense of humor. Let me share with you some of their names: Loonie Kuhnie, Cherry Panty Dropper, and Simcoe Silly. And for a dash of evil....Diablo and Devil's Horn.
BEER & BREWERY #29
2009 Surly Darkness, 9.8% ABV: I am just gonna go ahead and say this right now. Wow. Holy Wow. This beer was AMAZING.
I had the incredible pleasure of tasting this beer at Dr. Bill's Rare Beer Tasting at Falling Rock during GABF. Amongst other heavy hitters so powerful you thought you might faint, this one truly stood out for me.
And while I am all about trying cult and insanely sought after beers, I try not to get starstruck and to reserve judgement of any beer, until I mentally put it on a level playing ground with every other beer. It's tough sometimes, but I had to learn to do this when I began trying First Growth Bordeaux wines. You have to, or you will end up judging it on its name or reputation rather than its quality.
Ok, with that being said, I was happily floored by this beer. It was incredible, and I hope, and HOPE I will get to have this beer again in the future. And the Smoke. Bravo, Surly.
Surly is a brewery 10 years in the making. After starting as a homebrewer in 1994, owner Omar Ansari has traveled a long road (literally) to become "Minnesota's first new brewery west of the Mississippi since 1987." Through renovation, legalization, international negotiating, and cut water lines, Surly has become a nationwide phenomenon in craft beer circles. CLICK HERE to read the entire entertaining history.
So there you have it friends, a touch of evil, a dabble of dementia, and a devilish dose of darkness for your Saturday.
Until next time,
Give in to your dark side. Wooohhhaahaahaaa (that's supposed to signify an evil laugh)