New Glarus Steals the Show
Along with Moon Man, mad props to the BA's that brought the Raspberry Tart and Unplugged Cranberry Lambic bottles. These two beers prove why so many people in the beer world consider New Glarus the best brewer of fruit based beers.
Cranbic has a beautiful scent that even my weakened nose picked up on and enjoyed. While sweet, Cranbic has enough balance to where the fruity taste does not overwhelm the beer and make it too sweet to enjoy.
Raspberry Tart certainly tasted like beer with fruit brewed in the formula and not fruit juice disguised as a beer. Again, a strong balance of fruit and sour flavors mix to form a delectable drinker that needs to be a must try for all beer lovers. On my next trip to the land of beer and Warriors I hope to bring full bottles of the Raspberry Tart and Belgian Red home.
More and more I believe New Glarus to be the preeminent brewer of session styled beers in the country and one of the top breweries period.
Definitely not as sweet as I expected, I nonetheless enjoy the the malty, roasty stout from Munster. A smooth drinker at 7.0% ABV, there was no alcohol notes present and that should be commended in any beer with an ABV at that level. From my limited sampling I believe that Beer Advocate reviewers have it on money in rating it an A-.
Even with a fellow A- rating, Bell's Expedition Stout needs to heralded as a tremendously balanced brew that hit my sweet tooth (always like a dessert flavor in my stouts, especially since I normally drink them at the end of sessions). It did not taste overwhelming at 10.5% ABV and certainly could do a number on me in the future. Glad to see this available later in the night, this definitely proved to be the revelation of the night for me.
The one moderate disappointment of this group was New Holland's Poet. The oatmeal stout did not have an overwhelming flavor and lacked that something to catch my attention. After loving Goose Island's offering in this style, I think that may have been an aberration as this may just be a style that does not suit my tongue (also highly disappointed with Rogue's heralded Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout).
Shout Out to Homebrewers
First off, props to the homebrewers that go through the effort of producing their brews for us to sample. History shows that the future top brewers always manage to start in this capacity and go from there.
I greatly my enjoyed samples of a hefeweizen, hybrid Pale Ale/IPA (a potential session IPA), and the creative Thai IPA brewed with a mix of tea and hops.
The ingenuity involved with coming up and daring to brew a beer as bold as a tea flavored IPA makes this such a wonderful industry that open its arms to outside the box thinkers.
Really enjoyed Green Flash West Coast IPA and definitely to sample a full one at the start of a future session. Love the west coast hops and think they brew nicely in most every beer I have tested (and prefer them to the East Coast/English style).
One Black IPA clearly played to a tough crowd, with numerous comments about the smell of feces in the scent.
So far, so good with my relationship to Metro's Krankshaft Kolsch. While I love breweries that experiment in unique and exciting ways, we need brewers that know their strength and brew simple but strong brews. What Metro may lack in flair they make up for in their strong command of German styled brews.
It did not take for the Great Lakes Erie Monster and Two Brothers Hop Juice to be completed and I hope to sample these beers in the future.
Finally, I must make note of the welcoming presence, kindness, and of course generosity of all the BA's in attendance. Even though I attended solo, I had no issue conversing with and hearing the thoughts of the nice people in attendance. Most off all, there was a great group of beers and GI's complimentary Saison offering was also well received.