17 November 2006

From Jason: A Stop at The Hop Shop

I have great admiration for young adults who are not afraid of taking a chance and investing in themselves and their ability to make a concept work. My college friend Adam is 29 years old and has his own successful urban planning and design firm. My drinking buddy Chris is also 29 and has helped create a not-for-profit that focuses on fatherhood in Central Indiana . And then there’s my new hero, Mr. Courtney, who is 27 and owns and operates a specialty liquor store.

I’m referring to him as Mr. Courtney because a.) a success like this deserves the respect of being constantly referred to as “mister” and b.) Courtney is his first name and you should not mistake him for a woman. Mr. Courtney is the proprietor of the Hop Shop on 96th Street . And being the generous man that he is, the Hop Shop hosted a fundraiser for Chris’s not-for-profit Dads Inc. The fundraiser was a beer sampling event and silent auction. I’m hoping they make this a monthly event.

The samplings include 8 beers from Cavalier Distributing and World Class Beverages. These beers were: Founders Black Rye, Breakenridge Christmas Ale, Bison Gingerbread Ale, Cumberland Pale Ale, Bell ’s White Ale, Barley Island Black Majic Java Stout, Anchor’s 2006 Christmas Ale, and Avery Old Jubilation. My favorite were the Black Rye, the Java Stout, and the Anchor Christmas. Also at the tasting were fellow knights Jim and Kelly. We all agreed that events like there are great opportunities to expand your tastes in beer.

There were also wines and liqueurs to sample. I sampled the three whiskeys that were available: a California single malt, a blend scotch, and a single malt peaty scotch. The single malt scotch burned like hell, the California single malt was okay, and the blended scotch was my favorite. In general, I prefer bourbons and blends. I don’t have enough chest hair to drink single malt scotch, especially of the peaty variety.

The event was a success, beating attendance and dollars raised expectations. It is almost certain that we will see this become an annual event.

Chris and Mr. Courtney had invited the Good Beer Show to come down and do their show live from the Hop Shop after the event was over. GBS is an award winning podcast based in Muncie that includes beer reviews by a group of intelligent beer geeks and music. And Chris, Mr. Courtney, and I were invited to sit in, drink, and contemplate with them.

As a warm up, Chris and I started with 3 Floyd’s Dreadnaught, a hoppy IPA with a strong citrus smell and flavor. On the show, we reviewed six beers. Unibroue 10 and 11 were the first beers. These are anniversary beers that contained 10 and 11 percent alcohol respectively. Both remind me of good, sweet, bubbly wines with the 11 being the better drinking beer of the two. That was followed by Samichlaus and Olde Suffolk, both great old-world style beers that are better served at room-temperature. And it was followed with Bell ’s Hopslam and Devil Dancer. Quite a bit of time was spent comparing Hopslam and Dreadnaught. While some said they tasted almost the same, I argued that the Dreadnaught’s fruity taste and smell was more overpowering than the Hopslam’s. And the Devil Dancer was also a very hoppy beer, but with no overpowering fruit flavors or aromas. The last two beers consumed were my favorite of the six. Mr. Courtney was very generous with his beers last night (he did stop short of my recommendation that we open a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle’s 20 Year Aged Bourbon. Can’t say I blame him; it’s $139 a bottle).

I learned several things from last night. There are many people with more ambition and guts than I. There are many people who are more intelligent about beer than I (the crew from the Good Beer Show were great…we’ve been invited up for future broadcasts). I’m not anti-hop as much as I am anti-fruity. And when I go out for beer “tastings”, I should always have a D.D.


  1. Two things I want to add...

    1.) Steve, who works for Mr. Courtney at the Hop Shop, is a great guy and beverage afficienado. I was trying to talk him into buying a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle's...to share of course. Didn't happen. He's still a good guy anyway. Wanted to mention that.

    2.) As with all my posts, I never proofread after I finish writing them. TLW is great at pointing out grammatical and spelling mistakes. Please excuse my Southern Indiana English.

  2. 1. Ditto on Steve. He's definitely a good shit!

    2. What do you expect from wives other than for them to point out our flaws?? :)

  3. Sorry I couldn't stick around, guys. But with an 8:45 p.m. class time, I'm sort of glad that I didn't continue to pour high octane beer down the gullet. That being said, I'm looking forward to meeting the Good Beer Show crew in the future.

    The Hop Shop was outstanding. Thanks again to Courtney and Dads, Inc. for putting on a great time.

  4. It seems like you guys are getting some good press. Congrats!