I’m going to nickname Stone’s 9th Anniversary Ale as the beer that never dies. It was bottled on September 2005 and when opened nearly three years later, it was bubbling like it was a brand new baby beer. There was a wild aroma that made me think of the Italian Street Festival at Holy Rosary. You would almost swear this was pizza beer. Until you tasted it. Thankfully. (I still haven't had the pizza beer, but I'm having a hard time imagining that it is good.) The cloudy, orangish gold beer has an alcohol punch that is chewy and caramelly. An enjoyable beer. 3.52 mugs.
Up next was Hvedegoop, the combined effort of Three Floyd’s and Mikkeller, two of my favorite breweries. This bad boy of beers has a gumballish smell but tastes like an apple covered in hot caramel. At 10.4% ABV, it is not surprising that I also think of scotch and bourbon when drinking this. This copper colored wheat wine is dangerously enjoyable. 4.82 mugs.
A small sample was in store for me with the Cantillion Kriek. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: I don’t like lambics. Jim said it smelled like nail polish. I thought it tasted like nail polish. It was just too damned sour. So sour my ass puckered up. The other things that I can add is that Art Linkletter is a huge pothead and Jim was wowed by Metamusel. In what will certainly be the lowest rating from the Knights of this beer, I give it 1.40 mugs.
Go ahead, call me names. I can take it.
Surly Bender was next. It smelled like the alley behind the downtown Rock Bottom. If you ever walk from Monument Circle in Indianapolis south to Washington Street, midway there is an alley where Rock Bottom’s exhaust fans are located. And on brewing days, it smells like heaven back there. Clouds of malt aroma. Mmmm. That is where the parallels stop. Unfortunately, this oatmeal brown ale was lacking. It seemed like a good brown in the back of the throat, but lacked fullness up front. I’d take a Brickway Brown in Rock Bottom’s alley over this. 3.17 mugs.
My disappointment would continue with the O’Fallon Whiskey Barrel Smoked Porter. They use Pappy Van Winkle’s bourbon barrels for this. But the bourbon notes were completely overpowered by the smokiness of this beer. And a good example of why it is good to drink alone at times, all I could think of when drinking this beer was drinking beer from a dirty ash tray. Thanks Gina. 2.15 mugs.
But we would bounce back with Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast. This beer was so good, it made Jim turn Muslim and Mike turn Unitarian. Wonderful smells of oatmeal and coffee fill your nose. When you drink it, you taste breakfast up front and coffee bitters in the back. It was a bit more watery than the nose let on, but an all around enjoyable beer. I’d serve this over my Cheerios any day. 4.50 mugs.
We finished with the guest of honor for tonight’s roundtable: the 2008 Three Floyd’s Dark Lord. Most people know, whether they have consumed it or not, that this is a BIG BEER. It also, from my understanding, is the trump card when playing beer trading poker. It smelled of Cherry Coca-Cola. And it burns like hell when you snort it (I was a bit overly enthusiastic in smelling this beer). It is dark in color. And I mean dark like Dick Cheney’s soul. But the parallels end there. It is chewy, syrupy, and sweet. Kelly referred to Dark Lord as a “stealth blow job”. I’m not entirely certain if the drinker would be on the giving or receiving in this case. But with this beer, does it really matter? 4.67 mugs.
KOTBR Episode 49
The Phantom Menace
For some odd reason, I have Star Wars on the brain. I'm the sort of person who lies awake at night stewing over George Lucas's ruining of his own cinematic legacy. Actually, I'm not that nerdy. I don't really lie awake at night pissed off at George Lucas. But I still think Episodes I and II were awful CGI orgies with dopey dialogue and wooden acting. And I remember the palpable feeling of disappointment that washed over me when the credits rolled at the end of The Phantom Menace. I had waited almost two decades for this "piece of junk" (in the words of Luke Skywalker)?
That's similar to the feeling I came out with after our last roundtable. Okay, so maybe the beers we drank were not "pieces of junk." But there was lots of promise with not as much delivery as I had expected.
So now the curtain has gone up and the opening crawl has scrolled past. Time for an intergalactic beer adventure from a few weeks ago, in a galaxy on the south side of Indianapolis...
Stone 9th Anniversary Ale. Looks, smells, and tastes like a barleywine, but without the cloying boozy sweetness that most carry. Unlike Jason, I detest scotch, and this beer is too much like scotch for me. And since he hates lambics while I love them, I hereby challenge him to a lightsaber duel. My Yoda backflip/cartwheel style of fighting will be on full display. 2.71 mugs.
Three Floyds/Mikkeller Hvedegoop. This beer is billed as a "wheat wine." Sheesh, another damned barleywine, and does this mother ever pack an alcohol punch in the taste. Oddly, I find this beer more appealing than the previous one. It's sort of like my weird attraction to the blue chick with the tentacles on her head who kicks the bucket at the hands of monster underneath Jabba's lair. 3.32 mugs.
Cantillon Kriek Lambic. At last, a real beer! Cranberry juice color with a nose of cherries and nail polish. Extreeeeeeeemely sour with a slight cherry back. Wonderful, but only in small doses. I look over at Jason, furtively wave my hand, and say, "You do like lambics, Jason. You do like lambics." We'll see if the Jedi mind trick eventually works. 4.00 mugs.
Surly Bender. An Oatmeal Brown Ale. Now that's a new one. Has a nice malted milk ball nose--sort of like Whoppers mixed with booze. Alas, this one is totally wimpy in the mouthfeel and the taste. As Darth Vader is wont to say, "Surly Bender, I find your lack of taste disturbing." 2.62 mugs.
O'Fallon Whiskey Barrel Smoked Porter. Blackish mahogany color. Smells like a rauchbier. Mmmmm, liquid bacon, mixed with bourbon flavoring to boot (that's sarcasm, by the way)! To my palate, this beer is almost like the floating ball with the nasty sharp things attached to it that Darth Vader used to interrogate Princess Leia in A New Hope. 2.05 mugs.
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast. I have decided to dub this beer the Jar Jar Binks slayer because we're finally back on the right track. Black color with almost no head. Rich espresso nose and flavor, but not as heavy a mouthfeel as I would expect. On the dry side, but very pleasing. The Force is with this beer. 3.98 mugs.
Three Floyds Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout 2008. We saved the best for last. Upon my first sip of this lovely brew, I am reminded of Darth Vader's first appearance in A New Hope, right after his star destroyer has captured Captain Antilles' blockade runner--breathtaking (both figuratively and literally), memorable, and ominously delicious. The Dark Lord is everything a good Imperial Stout should be, full of brown sugar, molasses, vanilla, cherry, and buttery notes in the nose and taste, hallmarked by a silky mouthfeel and sweet finish. 4.78 mugs.
After Jim's Star Wars references, I briefly considered comparing the last round of beers to Emmanuelle movies - and then it occurred to me that I've never actually seen an Emmanuelle movie. So instead, I'm going to do my best to make no sense whatsoever.
Stone 9th Anniversary - Acquired less than a month ago from the Crown Liquors just south of Border's on US 31 on Indy's lovely south side. I'm sure there's still some there - they were stacked 10 deep, I'd guess. 10 fathoms deep is 18.28800 meters. I had an English teacher in high school named Mrs. Peters. She crashed her car into the bowling alley. I wonder what she was drinking. Probably not a barleywine without the barleywine punch. 3.34 Mugs
Three Floyds/Mikkeller Hvedegoop - Had Gina not been paying attention at DarkLord Day, we wouldn't have had this to sample. As we were wandering through the line she saw someone with some or something. To be honest I don't know what the hell is going on most of the time. Yesterday I came up with a campaign slogan for John McCain: The Brain of McCain is worth two in the Bush. I come up with all sorts of things while showering. Usually it's ideas for HBG features. Did you hear the one about "The Story Behind The Beer"? That's a shower idea. The beer would be better with some age on it, probably. 3.24 Mugs
Cantillon Kriek - The town I grew up in is in Sugar Creek township - Sugar Creek ran across the north side of town. Despite the fact that I know that tiny town like the back of my hand - well, better than that, actually - I can't recall where the creek starts. Surely it starts as a ditch, I guess. Kinda like the Mississippi River. Or at least I've heard. I wrote "red tomato juice jam" in my notes for this beer. 3.00 Even Mugs
Surly Bender - I was never much of a fan of that Futurama show with the robot named Bender - I guess I prefer my robots menacing. Unless they're sex robots - which reminds me of Real Girls, which are creepy. Creepy like a fox. I was working on my bike last week in the driveway and a fox nearly ran up on me. Then it saw me and ran around the back of the house. Then it smelled like wet dog for like a half hour. Let that be a lesson: Foxes smell bad. This beer had more green beer/fresh vegetable taste than any I've had before. 3.00 Mugs
O'Fallon Whiskey Barrel Smoked Porter - Back when I was in college I worked for a CarQuest distributor in St. Louis. Once one of the truck drivers had some sort of health problem so I acted as his assistant, loading and unloading his truck. O'Fallon, Missouri was on his route, I think. So was Hermann, Missouri. The Tour of Missouri runs through Hermann, if I'm not mistaken. If this beer had a bigger mouthfeel I would have rated it higher. 2.70 Mugs
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast - A little while back I left a comment on a blog about Shiner Bock, and offered some better bock choices - beer made without adjuncts, that sort of thing. Then the blog author left a follow up comment about my beer palate. Although I use the word, I hate the idea of a beer palate. This is not science and shouldn't be taken seriously. That's why we're beer geeks, not beer scientists. And god forbid anyone considers us experts. Having said that, I've tried a lot of beer. I don't know about this beer from a price/quality standpoint. 3.77 Mugs
Three Floyds Dark Lord - This past weekend I was in church acting as a newly christened Godfather to my newly baptised niece. Despite spending six years in a Catholic school, I haven't practiced Catholicism for quite a while. But when your brother asks you to be a Godparent, do you say "nah, I'm not practicing"?. Of course not. Anyway, at some point in mass the priest asked the congregation if we reject Satan, the prince of darkness. I immediately though of this beer. I guess I'd have to say no? 4.51 Mugs
Stone 9th: 3.19 Mugs
Three Floyds/Mikkeller Hvedegoop: 3.79 Mugs
Cantillon Kriek Lambic: 2.80 Mugs
Surly Bender: 2.93 Mugs
O'Fallon Pappy Whiskey Smoked Porter: 2.30 Mugs
Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast: 4.08 Mugs
Three Floyds DarkLord 2008: 4.65 Mugs