Eric: Last night I was lucky enough to have some really rare and incredible Hair of the Dog beers. But first, some other stuff I’ve had recently:
Friday night was IPA night (with a sour break)-
- Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA is made with German and German-inspired hops and malts. Maybe because of that, it tasted really unique for an IPA, definitely a lot different than a hop bomb like Enjoy By (which I prefer).
- Bear Republic Cafe Racer 15 was my 3rd tasting of it. It’s hoppy but also breaddy and grassy, which leaves a more interesting aftertaste than the typical IPA bitterness. It reminded me of the Lawson’s Chinooker’d IPA we brought back from our Vermont trip (parts 1, 2, and 3), probably because both feature the Chinook hop!
- Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse is my favorite basic, entry-level sour, which is funny to say because I used to hate them. It’s tart, sour, and fizzy. I really love having a sour during an IPA fest, it’s kind of like a palate cleanser.
- We ended with a Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA. It was a juicy way to end the night. You can read about my trip to the brewery in Portland here.
Saturday had another great beer lineup-
- Cascade Brewing Vlad the Imp Aler – I had the cherry version on tap at the brewery, and it was so good I had to buy this bottle and bring it home. It’s really sour but not overpowering. It was not as good as the cherry Vlad, but that was only made once ever, so I’ll never have it again. And now I’m sad I only have one more bottle of Cascade left.
- We continued our anti-IPA start with Stillwater Classique, a saison. Yeasty, funky, and light.
- IPA time! Another Stone 17th Anniversary Götterdämmerung IPA
- Otter Creek/Lawson’s Double Dose DIPA was next and was great. We’ve gotten to have this a few times (including on tap… keep reading). I taste almost no malt, a ton of hops, and some orange (especially the smell). It’s one of my new favorite IPAs.
- Now we got epic, and had a Hair of the Dog Fred, which I was lucky enough to have on tap at the brewery. At 10%, I’ve finally (almost) learned to take my time and sip beer. Especially with these dark ones, the flavor really does change as it’s temperature rises. It tastes very sweet, and my favorite flavor of it is burnt sugar. It’s really intense with a lot going on. They call it an “American strong ale”… it reminds me of a barley wine like King Henry (had at the Top Hops Goose Island takeover).
Sunday was a mini beer day-
- I started with a Cigar City Jai Alai IPA, which might just be my favorite beer right now. Grapefruit, orange and mango makes it like a hoppy tropical fruit punch. And if you know me, you know I love to get punched in the face. All of a sudden this has become available in NYC, even on tap, so I plan to drink a lot more of this.
- Epic time again, as I opened the first bottle of Hill Farmstead that was brought back from our Vermont trip. I was with a dark beer fan, so Everett was the easy choice. It was insane. So chocolate-ey and coffee-ey. And amazing-ey. This coming from someone who hates chocolate and coffee in beer. I could also really taste the malt, but not just the malt, but the fact it was toasted. So basically, it was like chocolate covered toast with a side of a coffee.
After all this, I somehow went out to a bar on Monday-
I met Chad (to protect his identity, let’s call him Chandra) at Pony Bar in Hell’s Kitchen. I had a Double Dose DIPA, and a Boulder Beer FRYEd Fresh Hop Rye Ale. I didn’t expect much, because Boulder Beer generally isn’t very good, but this was really great, and reminded me of all the fresh-hopped stuff I had in Portland. It tasted like fresh cut grass, which makes sense since it’s made from fresh cut hops. I really like the bar. They have only American craft beer, all for $6, and a really cool beer menu/board.
Another cool thing is when a keg runs out, they replace it with something new. They also have pretty good food. I got turkey chili and fried horseradish pickles. After my mouth stopped being on fire, I took this picture of Chandra’s glass of Double Dose, showing some pretty sweet lacing.
Then things got epic again. Chandra had a special surprise, bottles of Hair of the Dog Otto and Matt. They were both pretty unbelievable. The Matt (along with the Hill Farmstead Everett) was the best dark beer I’ve ever had, and one of the best beers of any kind I’ve ever had. It’s made from malts, smoked malts, and Belgian sugar, then aged in bourbon and apple eau de vie (apple brandy) barrels for 12 months. It was so complex I still don’t know what was going on, and we took our time with it, drinking it for about 30 minutes. Otto was sweeter and fruitier, almost like a port, and thick and syrupy. They take their basic Fred and add peaches and cherries, then age it in oak barrels for 18 months. With alcohol contents of 11.5% for Matt, and 13% for Otto, added to the sweetness and thickness of both, these are perfect beers to share with a fellow BrewBoyz or two.
On the walk back from the subway in DUMBO, I saw this street art which is just another thing that makes living in NYC great…