At some point I'll get up off my lazy butt and do my own write-up of the Central Market "Big Beers" tasting that Nosregref, Lance and I attended a couple of Thursdays ago. But Nosergref — being the very industrious and driven person that he is — has already done his write-up, so I'll just post that here. Or maybe I'll just add some comments to what he wrote and leave it at that. But for now, here is guest beer blogger Nosregref:
Beer #0 - Malheur Brut Reserve. 10.5% alcohol. What a fine way to start the class, with a big wallop of alcohol in a beer reminiscent of champagne. The instructor mentioned it was brewed as a beer first, but then aged as a champagne to give it the unique taste it had. I personally found the light citrus taste to be similar to the Blue Moon White, except with more kick. Class notes: "Aged 1.5 years" and "Hooray pre-class beer!"
Beer #1 - Anchor Steam. Food pairing was with salty Beer Chips. I think nearly everyone that could possibly read this has had Anchor Steam, so we'll move along. It was the instructors idea to have a 4th of July themed tasting, so he chose one of the oldest beers still brewed in the US. Personally, I would have liked to have seen Independence Brewing represented here instead, especially because they are local.
Beer #2 - North Coast Pranqster. 7.6% alcohol. Food pairing was a cold peach soup. The food choice was odd, but strangely very good. The beer itself was a straight ahead golden ale, and quite good, similar to Duvel. I will be looking out for more North Coast beers in the future. About this time the instructor mentioned something about people getting a little too happy from the strong beers at the last tasting, and that his goal this time was to simply get us to "mirth," and not laugh-out-loud drunks. Spoil sport.
Beer #3 - Dogfish Red and White. 8-10% range. Food pairing was a soft cheese, a brie I believe. I'm a sucker for cheese, so I couldn't help but like it. Why cheese with this beer you might ask? It's because the red in the name refers to the fact that part of the batch of beer was aged in Pinot Noir barrels before being combined back into the main batch. The result is that this Wit beer takes on a reddish color from the wine barrels, and adds a small amount of the taste as well. As usual, Dogfish has outdone themselves yet again. If I'm ever in Delaware, this is a must-visit brewery. Class notes: "Mirth has set in."
Beer #4 - Liefmans Goudenband. 8%. Food pairing was a nice blue Stilton cheese and crackers. This beer was a Belgian lambic, and you will either love or hate lambics. I'm in the former category, while the head chef doing our food absolutely despised it. There was no fruit added to this beer, so you got the full brunt of the sourness without worrying about the cherry or peach flavors found in many similar beers.
Beer #5 - Lagunitas Maximus. 7.5%. Food pairing was brisket with a spicy barbecue sauce. At first this beer seemed quite similar to the Dogfish 60 minute IPA, since it's a double IPA, but it really wasn't quite as hoppy. Either way, beer and barbecue (bbq, cue, bar-b-q or however you spell it) is always a good combination.
Beer #6 - Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar. 6.37%. Woooo, can you taste that Hazelnut? That's about all you can taste at first, and second, and so on … It falls under the category of a beer you can drink one of every few months or so, like a pumpkin ale. Lee said "it tastes like candy!" Either way, I thought it was good, but not great. However, my opinion rose after a few people around me didn't feel like finishing theirs because of the strong hazelnut quality to it, and in the interest of not wasting beer, I helped them all finish it. Mirth is going really good about now.
Beer #7 - Schneider Aventinus Eisbock. About 12%. Food pairing was a banana bread pudding. This "ice bock" beer was a great way to finish off the class. It was a dark wheat, but quite strong in the alcohol department, so strong you could smell and taste it. Normally that's not such a good thing, but when combined with a dark wheat it works well. The bread pudding was real good, made with beer during the baking process as well. If the chef saw a way he could slip some beer into the recipes all night, he did.
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