It was Labor Day, we had some meat and a grill, so it only made sense to drink. Even though I originally suggested a BBQ, Chris was man enough to step up, host and cook the food for the event, thus saving us all from trichinosis, salmonella, beef tapeworm, hoof and mouth, and possibly myxomatosis.
As an added bonus, we got to watch the Muppet Show. Talk about childhood flashbacks... the opening theme put memories in my head so vivid that I was almost overwhelmed with the bittersweet memories of my lost childhood. Or maybe that was caused by the endless supply of beer Chris kept feeding us.
Bell's Batch 8000 - I suppose a beer that's 9% ABV isn't really the best way to start a night of drinking. Nevertheless we began the evening with Larry Bell's latest and greatest, a beer with a 95 rating on ratebeer - and of course I didn't like it all that much. 8000 is a wheat beer with a cloudy, pumpkin-colored appearance. In fact, pretty much everything we drank Monday had the exact same appearance, which was kind of weird. Anyway. Something about this beer reminded me of Brugge Beer's White, though I'd take the White over this. 8000 has a tight, tart-like mouthfeel and a flavor that sticks with you. The beer hits right on the front of the tongue and then leave you with not much else. I found it hard to get a read on this one, to be honest; but I know I wouldn't want more than one. 3.0 Mugs.
Bear Republic Racer 5 IPA - After starting with the 9.0 ABV 8000, we scaled it back a bit with this 7.2 ABV IPA from Bear Republic. This beer had the same pumpkin color as the Bell's, but with a lot of sediment and floaties. The Racer 5 has a sweet, hoppy nose, which is followed by a mouth-snappin' hoppy taste. I prefer my IPAs a little milder, with a little more malt backing. I know Chris really digs this one, but I'm the guy that hates everything. 3.0 Mugs.
Unibroue Seigneuriale - I'd pronounce that as "Senior Ale" - but if you know Unibroue, then you know that this isn't a beer for your grandpop. Another 7.2% ABV beer, this had the pumpkin color, a tiny bubbly head, and a tart, fruity Belgian-style nose - but there was something slightly off. Gina mentioned fermented apple, Jason agreed - I'd say that's the closest description I could come up with. The beer had an apple taste, but also a hint of caramel - caramel apple is probably a fair description. The other thing I noticed was that the beer had a very "flat" taste. Although I'm a fan of the caramel apple, I'm not so much a fan of Seigneuriale. Interesting, but not necessarily good. 2.5 Mugs.
Goose Island Demolition - Well, I like the bottle for this beer, but other than that I don't have a lot good to say about it. The bottle explained that the original Goose Island brewery was located in some sort of mini-mall that was being torn down, but through the magic of beer, the brewery stayed. This beer was created in tribute to those folks who stuck with the brewery through the demolition.
Look, that's great and all, but why does this beer taste like dirt? Earthly tones - I actually thought of green beans with my first drink. Then a bit of a sulfury taste, similar to what I got from Fat Tire. I guess this was 8% ABV... I dumped it in the sink. You can probably see where this review is going. 1.5 Mugs.
Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout - Because we're gluttons and I can never pass up a stout - we also had a slight tasting of another Bear Republic offering. This beer had a dark, dark body (think Darth Vader), with heavy lacing. A deep Hershey's syrup nose was followed with a thick, chewy taste that found a fine middle ground between chocolate and smoked meat. 8.1% ABV. Small sample. This was good stuff. 4.0 Mugs.