Date: 1 February 2009, 6:00 p.m.
Location: Rod & Jess's house
Super Bowl Sunday. Party at Rod & Jess's, and they are gracious hosts. They certainly know how to put out a spread of great food, even for a veg-head like me. Spanikopita. Hummus (homemade by Rod), salsa, and chips. A primo veggie tray. Luscious gooey butter cake straight from Park Avenue Coffee in St. Louis.
Even though I'm not much of a football fan, I'm hoping for an Arizona victory, which seems to be the consensus of the rest of the attendees. I can't bring myself to support the Steelers, the team with some of the most obnoxious fans in the NFL (my boy Jason has my back on this one). Alright--I do know some reasonable Steeler fans, but they are the exception to the rule. If only every Terrible Towel in the universe stopped waving...
I'm most interested in the beer we have, though. And because several other KOTBRs are present (Mike, Gina, and Chris), we have a good variety of craft beers. Here are my favorites of the night:
Brugge Tripel de Ripple. I brought a bottle of Ted's tripel along with me. I'd been letting it sit since he first released his beers in bottles back in August. The aging has made an excellent beer even better. There is so much going on in this beer: citrus, apple, banana, caramel, vanilla, and grape notes come through. This is my first beer of the night, and it is a great way to begin.
Bell's Hopslam '08 and '09. Chris brought two different vintages to share. A year of aging has made a marked difference. The '08 Hopslam is uber-malty with much less of a hop presence than you'd expect. The '09 Hopslam is true to Hopslam form, full of grapefruit, peach, and pineapple character with a somewhat sweet finish.
New Belgium La Folie. From Mike and Gina, acquired on their trip to the '08 Great American Beer Festival. This is New Belgium's take on the Flanders Red style, and they do it justice. Tart, oakey, crisp, and with nice cherry and apple presences. My favorite beer of the night, but I'm a sucker for Flanders Reds.
New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red. Courtesy of Rod and Jess. This is my first ever New Glarus beer. If it is any indication of the rest of New Glarus's beers, then I want more and more and more. As a someone who doesn't make it up to Dairyland much, I can see a trade for New Glarus beers in the offing. This is like drinking liquid sour cherry pie. That may sound like overkill, but I love it.
So much for a Cardinals victory. Oh well...at least the beer was good.
Date: 11 February 2009, 7:00 p.m.
Location: Chateau Smith
Time for the other kind of football: a World Cup qualifying match. I'm watching the North American Clasico--USA vs. Mexico--at the family homestead of my comrade in soccer, Bryan. Unfortunately for Mexico, they've experienced misfortune at our boys' hands with Groundhog Day-like consistency. But instead of Sonny & Cher coming on the clock radio every morning, the repeating event is the scoreline: USA 2, Mexico 0. That was the scoreline in 2001 (World Cup qualifying), 2002 (World Cup Round of 16), 2005 (World Cup qualifying), and 2007 (exhibition). Would that be the result again on this night?
Bryan and I shared two beers in the first half and two in the second. The first half beers:
Dark Horse Tres Blueberry Stout. We kick off with one of my favorite beers. To quote my thoughts from a previous drinking of Tres, "the nose is full-on blueberry scone, and the dark chocolate flavor is enhanced, not overwhelmed, by the berries." I wish I could find this on tap somewhere.
Mendocino Imperial IPA. I bought this on a whim at Parti Pak. This is a winter seasonal release. Bryan likes hoppy beers, and I've never tried it, so we crack it. Surprisingly, there is very little hop presence in the nose. Rather, I get a lot of caramel and biscuit notes. Flavor-wise, this beer is well-balanced for a DIPA--a nice blend of the citrus and pine coupled with a slightly sweet finish. A good representation of the DIPA style.
The second half beers:
Anchor Christmas Ale 2008. I originally bought this in anticipation of the X-Mas beer roundtable that we kept having to put off and that I wasn't able to make when we did manage to have it. A Winter Warmer that didn't impress me much. Smells and tastes like flat Dr. Pepper. Meh. Maybe I got a bad bottle.
Founders Rubaeus. A favorite of KOTBR Mike. Founders has discontinued this beer, which is a shame because I quite like it (honestly, has Founders every done anything that isn't good?). This was my last bottle of Rubaeus, which I was saving for a special occasion. USA/Mexico World Cup qualifying matches qualify as special occasions for me. Sweet, malty, full of raspberry flavor, and punchier than you'd expect for a fruit beer. Anyone know if there's any Rubaeus left in Indy?
As you've probably figured out by now, the score was Gringos 2, El Tri 0. Two goals by the coach's kid, who plays professionally in the top German league. Hey, the USA Men's National Team is nothing if not consistent.