Cultivating Craft 2016

May 11th marked Union Distribution/Blueprint Brands' Cultivating Craft event, which is held to showcase their wide portfolio of craft beer and craft spirits. Happening only once every 3 years, I was thrilled to find that I would be going with The Wilky team this time around. 

Household names like Stone, Allagash, Avery, Bell's and Maine Beer Co. were all in attendance, as well as New York's favorite locals (Grimm, Sloop, Peekskill, and many more). There were also breweries new to Union to check out, like von Trapp, a Stowe-based brewery focusing solely on craft lagers. While there were too many tables to hit in one session, I'll highlight a few of my stand-out beers of the night. 

The Bruery Poterie - French for "pottery," a traditional gift for an 8th anniversary, the Poterie marks The Bruery's own special occasion. With pieces of oak-aged anniversary beers past in the blend, the malt characteristics of Poterie were intense and deep. It poured a very telling, clear, caramel color. From the second it was poured, the aroma was a caramel bomb. Taking a sip, you taste a strong toffee flavor combined with caramel. As it washes down, notes of vanilla and hints of oak become apparent. The body was medium with low carbonation. Overall, this was a standout because it was such a robust toffee/caramel dessert beer. While we all know, I'm not a fan of sweet beers and can only drink them in small quantities, this was something I could definitely see as a 9 oz. dessert. (Noting that the abv is 16.8%, it's probably better that I don't drink more than 9 oz.!) 

Owbow Saison de Kuaska - This blonde farmhouse ale is aged in French oak barrels for 16 months before bottling. This saison poured a slightly hazy gold in color with a tart fruit, lemonish, funky aroma. Taste? Wow, a delicious green apple and lemon tartness with just the right amount of saison funk. Notes of oak and slight acidic, chardonnay-ish qualities were present. 

Sloop Sauer Peach - This Berliner Weisse poured a hazy, orange tinted gold. The aroma was sour and peachy, as you may assume by the name. The taste was sour peach with nectarine notes, lactic acid and some brett-like funk. While pretty sour, not so sour that it will make your face hurt; drinkable for those who want to drink more than one. Moderately carbonated with a fitting fizziness. 

Unfortunately, the beer floor was more than enough to take up an entire session and I did not get to experience much of the craft spirits. However, we all left the event easily, knowing we had plenty of kegs ordered. While I can't mention exactly which ones, you can always come to The Wilky and find out for yourself! 

Until then, hoppy drinking!

                                               - One Hoppy Lady

Bourbon County 3 Year Vertical @ The Wilky

Last week's event at Bed Stuy's The Wilky Bar featured Goose Island's BCBS '15, '14, and '13. Only three bars in NYC had the 2013. The Wilky was the only bar in NYC with 2014 and 2015 to taste side by side! With the vertical available as a tasting flight (4 oz pours) or available in 9 oz pours, the bar was packed with neighborhood regulars and travelers from as far as Canada. Now on to the beer:

2013- The color was almost black, with nearly no carbonation or head. This vintage was sweet, thick and syrupy, having a complexity in flavors that the other years hadn't yet developed. The sweetness from the bourbon was emphasized, with underlying flavors of vanilla, chocolate and hints of oak. 

2014- This vintage poured a dark brown, lighter in color than the other vintages. The brew boasted bitter chocolate and boozy bourbon as the dominating flavors, coffee notes and charred oak were also present. The body was full, but noticeably thinner than the 2013. 

2015- Again, nearly black in color. Low carbonation and little head.  You could immediately smell the bourbon. Theh taste was very boozy, with bourbon being the dominant flavor by a landslide. Charred oak and a slight roastiness are present as rich chocolate worked at balancing the bourbon. 

My favorite? As expected, the 2013. There you have it. And it's still on tap at The Wilky! There you, literally, have it. 

Check back for more beer fun soon!

Until then, hoppy drinking!

 

- One Hoppy Lady

Annual Kane Takeover at Cloverleaf Tavern

b015ee4e69ce0367e7847917844e0bf3.jpg

As you probably know, yesterday was Kane's annual Takeover at Cloverleaf Tavern. The popular NJ craft beer bar had 24 Kane lines with various rare/specialty tappings throughout the day. I had already been lucky enough to try most of these beers at their anniversary. However, I still hadn't tried all of the ANTEAD variants which were being tapped at 2pm.

I arrived around 2:05pm due to the heavy rain. That was a mistake. The line for bar service was through the hallway and filling up the back room. I waited about 50 minutes, got my flight and tried to find some space. While many people stood right by the bar to drink their flights, I went into the back room and shared that single table with a few strangers. (Unfortunately, I'm not as poised as those who can stand AND hold a flight at the same time.)

Before drinking, I was most looking forward to the vanilla, but my favorite ended up being the cocoa. They all poured a very similar, very dark brown color with light brown heads. Carbonation was equally low for all of them.

Coconut - The nose on the coconut was great, it smelled like fresh coconut shavings being toasted right in front of you. The taste had a good amount of coconut, but not overly sweet; dark malts and dark chocolate balanced it out. While coconut beers are becoming a thing now, this is probably my favorite coconut beer I've tried yet.  

Vanilla - The nose was lightly of vanilla bean ice cream and chocolate. The taste had a chocolate base that seemed slightly thinner than original ANTEAD with a medicine-like aftertaste, almost like drinking vanilla extract straight. Some people actually might really like this flavor, but I'm very sensitive to medicine-like flavors. 

Cocoa - The nose was of roasted malts and dark chocolate. The taste was creamy chocolate with a bitter, dark chocolate finish that lingered in your mouth. The mouth feel seemed a bit fuller than the other variants. Again, my favorite of the ANTEAD variants. 

In addition to the ANTEAD flight I also tried the Holy Nights and the Coffee Silent Nights. Once the crowd died down, I got a table and ate a Fat Burger (7 oz. charbroiled burger grilled and topped with taylor ham, Monterey cheese sticks, crispy fried onions and chipotle mayo), which was fantastic. It was exactly what I needed after drinking all those heavy beers on an empty stomach. I met some cool people, had some great beer and guilty pleasure food (aka every day food) then headed out around 5pm before the after-work rush came. It was crazier than expected to get my ANTEAD flight, rather expensive and I wish the pours were bigger than 2.5 oz, but I do understand the effort to make the kegs last.

Which variant was your favorite? Comment below or let me know via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram :)

Hoppy Drinking! 

 

- One Hoppy Lady

Extreme Beer Fest, Session 3

Let me first say, that I went to Row 34 for lunch on saturday and it was absolutely amazing. Do not miss the opportunity to eat here if you go to EBF next year.. or if you're just in Boston. Also, sorry that I forgot to take pictures of Session 3..

I made my way to the fest around 4:45/5pm for 6pm door opening. Session 3 was, as expected, more crowded than session 1. Again, I made my way to Tree House's line first to see if they brought anything different that day. This time, the line was sanctioned off with velvet ropes.. Fancy. 

I got to try the Vanilla Bean Triple Shot and the Triple Shot, side by side. The VTS poured nearly black and smelled wonderfully of vanilla bean and espresso. The nose was fantastic on this beer. As I drank it, it tasted of bitter espresso, milk and sweet vanilla. The body was medium, creamy and with low carbonation. Overall, I thought it was very good, however, I preferred the original Triple Shot. Anyone who knows me knows I prefer all sweet things to be bitter sweet. So the vanilla was just a tad sweeter than I would have preferred. 

Tuna Tartare and Fried Calamari

Tuna Tartare and Fried Calamari

Ethel's Creamy Lobster Roll

Ethel's Creamy Lobster Roll

Beers That Stood Out, Session 3: 

Though I'd already had most of the Wicked Weed beers before the festival, I do regret that I didn't taste Chocolate Covered Black Angel. I also wish I had gotten to taste more of the OEC beers. I left a few minutes early to make my way to the Row 34 after party, then to a bottle share. More details on that next time!

Until then, hoppy drinking! 

 

-One Hoppy Lady

Extreme Beer Fest, Session #1

After a grueling 5 hour car ride in the snow, I arrived at the Boston Westin Waterfront. No time to shower or freshen up, beer was waiting for me! I scurried into line around 5pm for the 6pm door opening. As the doors opened, I skipped directly over to the TreeHouse Brewing Co. line. 

This line was instantly the longest line, but it actually moved pretty quickly. It didn't hurt that the Tin Man Brewing Co. guys walked up with their Strawberry Sour for those of us waiting. After about 15 minutes, I reached the front of the line. I was slightly disappointed that they didn't bring many of the beers they listed (mostly about JJJuliusss), but the disappointment faded when I tasted how great the beers they did bring were. The Triple Shot was an imperial stout that tasted dominantly of espresso, with a milky, chocolate-y sweetness that offset the strong espresso bitterness. The aroma was like a Flat White (an Australian beverage made with a sweet risretto shot and steamed milk) that was made with light chocolate milk instead. It was really a sumptuous smell. The body was medium, not too heavy, which was actually kind of nice because of the espresso bitterness. Normally, I like my stouts extra full bodied. I thought this was very well done and balanced.  

A few other beers that really stood out to me during session 1:

  • OEC Salsus Singluaris (gose) - aged in syrah barrels! (fyi, syrah is my favorite type of wine) This was a unique sour. It really stood out from the rest, even after hours of tasting. 
  • Jackie O's Cucumber Ginger Berliner Weisse -  had a slight sourness, extremely light and refreshing. Cucumber and ginger are such a great pairing, this beer perfectly captures that favorite coupling that we often find in cuisine... and not so often in beer
  • Funky Buddha Lychee Berliner Weisse
  • Against the Grain  Bo & Luke Fenugreek, Cumin & Black Pepper (imperial stout) - You had to risk getting pied in the face for this (checkout my instagram to see if I got pied!). Totally worth the risk. Extremely unique beer. I think Cumin was the most dominant flavor, but the stout supported the strong spice very well. It wasn't overpowering and it had great body. If you like cumin or Indian food, I would recommend trying this. 
  • The Bruery White Chocolate (wheat wine) - I don't even like white chocolate, but this was good.
  • Dark Horse Rubescent Zhaftig Ghastly Blood Stout (imperial stout) - Wow. This poured an odd light red color that definitely throws you off a bit. It looks like a sour. But the stout was delicious, definitely coffee and chocolate. 
  • Grimm Lambo Door (dipa)
  • Rare Barrel Forces Unseen (American Wild Ale) 
  • Tree House Doppleganger (dipa)
  • Tin Man Brewing Co. Tomato Gose - This sounds odd, but I really loved it. It tasted like a summer version of a tomato soup. Good amount of pepper flavor was in it. It almost tasted like a bloody mary, but it was extremely light and refreshing and still beer-y. 
  • Other Half Oat Overdose (American IPA, collab. w/Tired Hands)
  • Short's Brewing Co. Peachy Pom Pom (American Wild Ale)

Friday session was pretty chill. The line to get in was organized; stamped hands, wristbands and scanned tickets. The floor was carpeted, so no slipping on spilled beer (there was crying over it though). The venue also had more than enough room to move around freely. Not many people were sloppy drunk, to the point of knocking into people. Another thing that I greatly enjoyed was that there was no line for the girls bathroom! So my beer drinking wasn't stalled by bathroom lines. There were also two different bathrooms per gender, which was really nice. There was a bacon avocado grilled cheese that allowed my second drinking wind. Overall, a great session! Well thought out and with great brews. 

Check back soon to read about EBF Session 3!

Until then, hoppy drinking! 

 

- One Hoppy Lady