13 May 2007

Sentimental Journey

So I'm 16 and I just got my driver's license. And like any teenager in Columbus, I wanted to get out and enjoy life. This meant taking road trips to Bloomington and Indianapolis with my friends Bryan and the Bohemian and many others. The one draw back: it's hard to have (legal) fun in Bloomington and Indy without being 21.

Until we found BW3's on Kirkwood Avenue. They let those under 21 in. They had sports all over. They had chicken wings and kick ass burgers on weck (the third W in BW3's). And it was also the first time I was served beer without getting carded. This was a favorite hang out for my friends and I.

It is many years later. BW3's has dropped the Weck to become Buffalo Wild Wings Bar and Grill. The BW's on Kirkwood is long gone, replaced my a strip mall store on the west side of town. Even the BW's in the Village in Muncie has moved out to a strip mall way, way, WAY off campus.

But my love for BW's continues. And our most recent beer tasting was held at the BW's in Downtown Indy. And this will certainly be my last drinking experience at downtown BW's as the owners and corporate, having philosophical differences, have elected to go their separate ways. So after Memorial Day, BW's will close and later in June will re-open as Badaboomz.

What will remain, however, is the amazing beer selection. Forty taps. Many more in bottles. A collection of cellar beers that probably can't be challenged by anyone in the city, state, or Midwest for that matter.

We were invited by Michael Deweese, who is a partner and the resident beer geek. He brought with him another restaurant partner named Doug (whose last night I didn't write down). We talked a lot about the restaurant business and about beers. From his cellar, Michael brought out a 22 ounce bottle of vintage Stone Double Bastard (from 2003) and a couple of bottles George Gale & Company Limited Conquest Ale (from 2001).

Normally, I would expect 4 to 6 year old beer to be skunky. I was proven wrong. And really, it makes sense. IPA's were made to survive the long journey from England to India. They have longevity.

What's really interesting is what the beers result in. Instead of being the bitter, hopped up beers when they are first born, they sit in the cellar and come out very sweet. Over time, it turns into a beverage that would challenge most wines. The result is not a beer that you slam or drink one after another. It's a sit back and enjoy type of beer.

We tried the Conquest first. As expected, it poured with no head what so ever. It was amber in color and smelled of applies. It was sweet, sweet, super sweet, like a good barley wine. There were some nice citrus notes. It finishes with a slight, syrupy aftertaste. For me, it reminds me of a really good, non-peety scotch.

We followed with the Double Bastard. Again, it poured with no head. It has a sweet aroma, a creamy sweet taste with a slight bite up front, and left my mouth covered in sugar.

Both beers were great, giving me a desire to store away some beers myself. Though I can't imagine being able to store beer away for so long and not drink it. We'll see.

With both beers, I give solid 4 mug ratings.

We finished with Piraat, which Doug highly recommended. This is an excellent Belgian ale and is available on tap downtown at BW's. It is not overly carbonated, so when the reddish-golden elixir is poured, there isn't a lot of head. The sweet aroma was faint and I wasn't able to define what I was smelling. The taste was surprising, full of fruits, especially strawberry. The sweet maltiness of this beer was balanced with just a oh so slight bite of hops. The Piraat finished clean with little aftertaste. But be careful: this drink is 10% ABV. You wouldn't really know it when you drink it, so it is easy to go overboard on this. It was a good beer to follow up the cellar beers with. It possesses many of the qualities of the cellar beer without having to wait years and years for it. Incredibly enjoyable, I give it 4 mugs as well.


  1. I remember that BW's well, mostly for good memories but for one bad memory. Let's just say that the bad memory has to do with having to suddenly leave a morning class after an 18 cent wing night in which I'd overindulged in wings and Busch beer....

  2. I spent ungodly amounts of time in that BW-3 on Kirkwood in Bloomington from 1993 to 1996. That was the first place I'd seen NTN bar trivia, and a med school buddy of mine and I liked to play under the handle of Dr Law. Trivia, wings, and 23 oz pilsners of cheap beer -- good times.