Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hoppy Birthday Rich!

We were in La Jolla over the weekend to celebrate Rich's birthday in the only conceivable fashion: with lots of beer and a bit of scotch. His beer friends from San Diego brought over lots of interesting limited release bottles and he opened a couple from his stash as well (barely making a dent).

We started with some scotch / whisky. I'm not a scotch drinker; the burn and the peatiness is a bit much for me usually, but the Laphroaig 30 year was awesome: smooth, smoky and mellow. I guess I will just have to stick with really expensive really old scotch! It was purchased from an estate sale so who knows how old it really is. The Yoichi Single Malt was a little strong for me.
Moving on to the main event, the beer. A couple of beers did not make the family photo including a growler of the Alpine Hoppy Birthday and a growler of Redwood Curtain Black Forest Imperial Stout (no wonder I forgot the name) which was quite delicious. I didn't try all the stouts as they get too dense for me after a few and my palate goes numb. I'm still a beer newbie and lack the right vocabulary and sophistication of palate to do justice to the descriptions, so beer connoisseur friends, please feel free to add your thoughts on what we tasted that night!
One of everyone's favorites of the night (including me): Goose Island Bourbon County Rare, aged for 2 years in Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon barrels. It was syrupy smooth and deeply chocolatey
Troeg's Nugget Nectar, Captain Lawrence's Smoke from the Oak (in Rum barrels), Epic's Brainless on Peaches, Chris' belgian triple home brew. I really liked the Nugget Nectar, a very hoppy amber ale. Chris' belgian was also excellent, one of my favorite style beers (belgian triples)
Cigar City's Guava Grove (a guava saison, unfortunately I found this too tart so that the nice saison flavors I like got lost); Captain Lawrence's Smoke from the Oak (apple brandy barrels), FiftyFifty Imperial Eclipse Stout, growler of Founder's Black Biscuit.
Ithaca Excelsior Le Bleu (a lot of people liked this, not me; all I tasted was sour), Surly's Smoke Lager, Central Water's Bourbon Barrel Stout and Peruvian Morning, Williamsburg Alewerk's Cafe Royale
Upland Brewery's Blueberry Lambic (I liked this one because it wasn't too sour, others said it was phenolic but I couldn't tell); Jackie O's Cellar Cuvee 4 Strong Ale, Firestone Walker XII Anniversary Strong Ale, Cantillon Bruocsella 1900 Grand Cru Lambic
New Glarus Unplugged Cran-bic, Alpine's GREAT Barleywine (I really like barleywine and this one in particular; has the taste and mouthfeel of sherry with some caramely flavors), Sierra Nevada's Organic Estate IPA (refreshingly drinkable)
Some of Rich's prized stash

Sprinkles Cupcakes for all
Happy Birthday Rich! It was fun celebrating with you and your buddies.


  1. The missing stout was Redwood Curtain Black Forest Imperial Stout (aged with cherries and cocoa). The New Glarus was Cran-bic.

    Thanks for the documentation! I will post this to our drinking group. My faves were the Ithaca LeBleu, Goose Island Rare BCBS, Captain Lawrence Apple Brandy Smoke from the Oak, Williamsburg Cafe Royale, and Cantillon 2004 Grand Cru.

  2. Thanks Evan, I knew I could count on you guys to remember!



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