Going into our belated fourth edition of the Craft Beer Meal That Comes Before Lunch, we looked back at previous editions, and tried to come up with a theme. Nothing really jumped out at us, so we decided to dedicate this one to some of the highlights of the previous editions, along with picking out a few of our own personal favorites to fill out the lineup.
Our first selection came from St. Louis' Perennial Artisan Ales. Saison de Lis is a light-bodied 5% ABV Saison brewed with Chamomile Flowers that served as a perfect starter for the day's activities.
For our second beer of the day, we went with Brasserie Dupont's Monk Stout, a lower ABV (5.2%) stout that packs light but full flavor.
Our next beer was Brugge's Black - with a twist. Our special edition was aged on plums, providing the Black flavors you've come to know and love with a plummy finish. Look for further developments on this recipe in the future.
Next up was this year's smokebeer, Schlenkera's Marzen. For those of us usually overwhelmed by smokebeer, this was a pleasant surprise. While the usual bacon-like elements were easily found in the beer, it was perhaps a more balanced or lighter smoke beer than we might have expected.
Beer five was one of the hopheads. Many of us at HBG feel that the entire He'Brew lineup is overlooked, and Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. is a perfect example. This double rye IPA provides big hop bitterness, complimented by the rye malt, which provides the balance of caramel and bread flavors.
For our sixth beer we went sour. Hanssens Oude Kriek, a cherry lambic, balanced cherry sweetness with Belgian funk.
Keeping the fruit train rolling, beer seven was New Glarus' Raspberry Tart. Syrupy raspberry flavors dominate the beer, providing a perfect dessert.
But because one dessert is never enough, we finished with New Glarus' Wisconsin Belgian Red, a fruit beer packing a pound of cherries in each bottle. A pie in a glass.