Last night's Deschutes Base Camp party at San Diego's beloved Toronado brought delicious beer memories to savor. Here are the highlights:
The Abyss 2011, 11%ABV: This highly sought after beer never disappoints the stout loving crowd. Brimming with dark chocolate, espresso, smoke, wood, licorice, molasses, and dried fruits, this bad boy is viscous and aimed to stun. I observed many a glass of this amongst the Toronado crowd.
The Stoic, 11% ABV: I was delighted when the Deschutes crew offered to open up this Quad for me to try, alongside brewmaster himself, Cam O'Connor.
Aged in rye whiskey and wine barrels, I found this beer nicely balanced for its alcohol magnitude. Refined on the nose and palate, with notes of caramel, spice, vanilla, red fruit. Only a slight alcohol burn on the finish reveals its power. Brewed with pomegranate, the fruity aspect is intriguing yet gentle. Having tasted big, burly Quads, this one surely stood apart, and I was impressed by it sophisticated restraint.
The Abyss 2007, 11% ABV: And then came the big boy. A rare and special treat indeed, it's not often you get to drink a 5 year aged Abyss! Whoa. Billowing campfire smoke in the aroma. Which if you know me, and how much I like Rauchbier, was all too welcome. Intense aromas of charred wood, dark chocolate, sweet and dried tobacco, black fruit, and espresso. This my friends, is not for the weak at heart. As the famous line goes, "When you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you." Ahhh, Existentialism.
2008 The Dissident, 10.5%ABV: Talk about sought after. I was most honored last night when a bottle of this was presented for me to open and taste. Thank you Erik!! Undoubtedly the highlight of the evening, this beer does not qualify for my 100 Barrel-Aged Beer Challenge because in this vintage, no oak was used. Beautifully refined and elegant, The Dissident reveals behind silken veils notes of cherry, brett, hay, restrained barnyard, and red wine vinegar. Coupled with a nice dry finish, this is a beer you want to sip and savor.