“Too Big” Syndrome and Other Thoughts on High ABV Beer

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As the marauding hordes of craft beer geeks attack local liquor stores for Bourbon County I sat quietly sipping on a 2013 vintage of Black Tuesday by The Bruery ignoring the fleeting desire to run like a chicken with my head cut off through the internet and BUY MORE CRAFT BEER!

And upon this momentous occasion of tasting Black Tuesday for the first time I came across the following thought: is high ABV beer helping us experience more beer? Maybe yes, but also maybe no.

High ABV beer seems to be a holy grail of the dark beer experience with booming flavor and uncharted flavor profiles in the labyrinth of barrel aging. For example Samaus and Mephistopheles by Avery, Black Tuesday and Sucre by The Bruery, and The End of History by Brew Dog all give us mammoth flavors that catapult us into the outer space of big beer. They have discovered the rare air of this. And for new flavor profiles I am all for it! The uncharted territory is incredible.

But during my 2013 vintage tasting of Black Tuesday I realized (this is also post Samaus, Mephistopheles, and Sucre see my Untapped to prove it) that I could not handle this beer if it had not been aged I would not have been able to handle the flavor profile! What happens when you age beer is that the harsh and sharp flavors round out to create the perfect easy coasting turns of malt forward beers. This was my experience completely with aging Black Tuesday. I remember also when I had Sucre for the first time that the astringency of the alcohol almost burned my mouth. The sugariness almost gave me heartburn like when I eat donuts!

Long story short I am a fan of high ABV beers.

Long story short, super psyched that I aged my high ABV beer.

Thus are high AVB beers helping the craft beer scene? Maybe yes because they push the boundaries of flavor and engineering in the brewing world. Maybe not because the astringency is burning my tastebuds and I am unable to enjoy this beer.

Whatever your preference think about your beer and the best way to enjoy it.

Until next time, pour proper my friends…

Thoughts On New World Craft Beer

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One of the dangers of coming from the new world is that we like things that are big, bold, and in your face. The subtle, serene, and quiet tend to be missed in the maze of wows and kazaams in the bigger and better america.
This heartily applies to craft beer in america. Take sours for example. New world sours are blowing up in a variety of styles and craziness that the traditions of Belgium never expected. Or take IPA’s. Touchy subject I know so I will tread lightly. Avery brewing, in a marvelous pun, made a “new world porter” which is really a black IPA proving that americans are taking classic styles to their borders and beyond.
This trait of the New World, most realized by the good old ‘Merica, is something to be cherished and honored but also to be used with a cautious and careful hand. If we forget the tradition which has inspired our wild witches brews then we tend to boil down to arrogant “a-cultural” jerks who don’t give credit where credit is due. However on the other hand if we fear the tradition we never experiment and try new things collapsing into the sepulcher of the past and never utilizing our individual gifts.
This is one reason why beers like The New Belgium and 3 Floyds Gratzer is such a great beer. Not because it tastes good but because these new world brewers are honoring the style while also putting their own spin on this.
I dont think the american craft beer scene is necessarily in danger of become “a-historical” because many brewers have done taken advice from the heroes’ of the old world such as Allagash going to Cantillion to figure out how to do a coolship (see the book American Sour Beers). Or for example how it was in american that the lost styles of Gose and Berlinerwiess were recovered, changed, and taken in as our own. But we always want to say Cheers to the world of tradition for the sake of new inginuity. For the love of craft beer enjoy a old world style and raise a pint to our family across the pond.
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Sour Session 9

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At first glance you may think this is some sort of cynics group but nothing could be father from the truth. Rather it is an event that The Church Key in DC holds every year to rejoice in sour beer from all over the world. Somehow this bar has it’s hands deep in the pockets of importers as they had a sixtel of Fou Foune on tap, the rare sour from Europe. And not only did they have that but also a decent smattering of sours from all over america as well. This included #mrsproperpour’s favorite sour, Sour In The Rye by The Bruery.

Not only was there a plethora of sour beer but, for us longing to partake of the experience, a scorecard so you could remember what beers you drank! Its like keeping score at a baseball game (yes, nerdy I know but I love baseball).

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All in all there were too many beers to highlight but the Fou Foune was by far the most delicious and exciting that we had. Till next time!

Pour Proper my friends…

Plan a Trip to Plan 9 Alehouse

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Going to San Diego? Going on a Beercation? Planning on drinking great craft beer and being around better people? Plan on going to Plan 9 Alehouse. This little jewel is tucked in the hills of North County Escondido and hiding in the shadow of Stone Brewing down the street from The Lost Abbey. They carry on the tradition of the great craft beer of San Diego.

The owners of this bar know their beer. For example one of the owners, my friend Chad who manages the front end, worked at Stone Brewing for numerous years before he was approached about opening a new bar in downtown Escondido in North County San Diego county. And thus was educated by the best in the business on how to serve and drink craft beer.

With a modern appeal get ready to have beers slid down their 25+ concrete bar and into your hand. Then, now that you are tulip glass equipped for bouncing your tongue off of multicolored ecstasy, get ready for the best of southern California’s beers. Plan 9 regularly have taps from the best of Stone, The Bruery, Alpine Brewing, and many other classics of our current craft beer renaissance. Then engorge and gorge yourself on their Cali style food. The bourbon Siracha (can you hear the mariachi band?) wings are not to be missed and make you dream of more Californication in your life.

My favorite thing, and yes I’m biased because Chad is a dear friend, is the attitude that the bar has. The locals congregate only to be given nicknames and have their beers poured as they walk in the door while visitors are greeted and shown to their seats by a kindly server.

And did I mention they have Monty Python playing all night in the background?

Visit this place and make it soon and you will get Beer To The People!

But until next time, pour proper my friends…

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The Ever Bustling The Bruery

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Kid in a candy shop and sensory overload cannot even begin to describe my senses during my recent visit to The Bruery.

From the freeway exit, if you know what to look for their tower calls you from afar. Illuminating your desires and becoming a lighthouse of your desire. Then to walk in is to become accustomed to Southern California and the crampedness of Orange County, and also to its opulence.

One thing I love about my home state is its diversity. And this trait erupts at The Bruery. Upon entry we see Sons of Anarchy there, bro’s and their girlfriends, old and young, cool and nerd abound in this center of craft beer.

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Sour of the Night!

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This beer is like a panther stalking you in the night. From its cover, on the beer ilse, hidden, yet not so hidden among other beers, the purple cover calls to you after a long day a work to explore its mysteries. You accept the challenge and become Dr. Livingstone who explored the hart of darkness. But instead of finding a cordial explorer you find Sour Martin Sheen hiding in his kingdom of darkness. And so it is with this beer. Apocalypse now has nothing on what this sour stout does to your insides. Yes, insides, intestines and all. Grab the antacids, your intestines will hate you after this beer.

So the sour stout drifts viscously down your through after searing your sniffer. Plum bounces down your through covered in a sour glaze. Dark berries seem to really align themselves with this beer because of the dark malt and the sour yeast providing you with an ecstatic experience. And at the end your not sure if you should vomit or sit in awe. The latter is usually preferred.

Thats about enough, now to shrink back into my cave…

Pour proper my friends…