Jess and I just officially retired from Dark Lord Day Eve. Here's our beer diary from the night...
Jess and I were the first of the HBG crew to show up at Crown (around 5) and things were still fairly slow. Bob O's posse was already hanging out on the patio. We inquired about the HBG special and by doing so, helped educate all the wait staff on tonight's special. Turns out it's 20 cent wings and $5 off an extra large pizza. Still not too shabby. We started off with a Celtic Pride Stout and a Crown Town Brown.
The Celtic Pride Stout was opaque black in color with a toffee colored head. The nose contained coffee, roasted malts and chocolate. Fairly characteristic of an Irish Stout. The flavor of the beer was filled with roasted flavors and a touch of caramel. This Irish Stout weighed in at 5.5% ABV.
The Crown Town Brown had toasted hazelnuts, walnuts and coffee in the nose. This beer was surprisingly sweet with a lot of brown sugar notes and sweet malt. The finish was slightly nutty with a hint of herbal hops.
The Smokestack Amber was surprisingly hoppy. The nose was quite odd, with metallic characteristics similar to that of well water in addition to pine hops. The flavor was very prominently dominated with pine and grassy hop notes. Reminiscent of Troegs Nugget Nectar but lower ABV at about 5%.
We're not really Hoosier Wings and Pizza Geek, but if you're curious what was on special tonight, here's a quick rundown of what we ordered. The wings were fried and tossed in a decently spicy traditional buffalo sauce (I'd guess hot sauce and butter). The sauce was pretty good and we managed to consume most of the excess. We had a thin crust Vegetarian pizza with added pepperoncinis (the peppers in the Papa Johns' box). The crust was very cracker like and there was at least twice as much cheese as a regular pizza loaded on this thing. Quite tasty, but very filling with all of the cheese. We took half of it back to the hotel with us... and we're snacking on it now. It's good cold too!
In case you haven't heard, Flossmoor recently turned over brewers. Matt Van Wyk has moved on to the great state of Oregon, leaving Bryan Shimkos at the helm of Flossmoor Station. This is the first time we've been up since Bryan has taken over, and for the most part everything seems to be business as usual. Although in previous years Matt has hosted an amazing Dark Lord Day Eve party (or so we hear), this year things seemed to be fairly casual. The crowd was mostly beer geeks and the bar was very busy, but not over-crowded.
In addition to their typical lineup, the special Flossmoor beers on tap included the Shimko's Simcoes IPA, Farewell Pale, Killer Kapowski, Recession Ale and Belgian Wit. Guest taps were occupied by Two Brothers' Cane and Ebel and Great Lakes' Blackout Stout. We decided to go for a double shot of hops, with Jess trying out the Shimko's Simcoes IPA and I went with the Farewell Pale.
Shimko's Simcoes poured a deep copper with very slight white head. The nose contained hints of juicy fruit gum, citrus, grapefruit and pine. All signs pointed towards Simcoe hops. The mouthfeel was very pillowy with predominantly sweet, sticky hops and a nice caramel balance. This was a sugary sweet IPA with spice notes. For those of you playing along at home, this IPA carries a white wax finish on the bottle.
I wish I could elaborate more on the Farewell Pale, but it honestly was a fairly standard Pale. Good hop balance, but not much stood out. Pine and grassy notes in the nose with a matching pine flavor. Hints of mint, with a creamy milk character and the sweetness of caramel and orange cream rounded out this easy drinking Pale.
I finished out the night with a Great Lakes Blackout Stout, only because I had never seen it on tap. This beer was amazingly sweet compared to the bottled edition. Great Lakes is no longer available in Indiana, but you can still pick it up in Illinois and Indiana. The Blackout Stout is their Imperial Stout, brewed in honor of the big northeast blackout of 2003. On tap, this beer has a nice roasted malt nose with big portions of chocolate, coffee, molasses and cocoa powder. The sweetness of this beer was surprising. Maple syrup came out first, followed by honey, toffee and peanut brittle. Then, as if out of nowhere, chocolate covered bananas came to mind. This was verified by Jess, so it is clear that I am not insane. The alcohol was well hidden in this one and didn't come out until the end of the snifter.
I think we had a pretty great DLD Eve overall. We grabbed a bottle of Shimkos' Simcoes (I have no idea where that apostrophe is supposed to go) to go. Not sure if we'll open it up tomorrow or not. We have the Downtown Indy Rock Bottom's Hacker Schwarz and Fire Chief Red in growlers to share with the Dark Lord crowd tomorrow. If you can find us we'll be glad to share!