Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Emancipation Proclamation

Sunday was a quiet & lazy day for us, one that turned into a mini beer tour of eastern Kansas. 

A coworker of mine mentioned on Saturday afternoon that 75th Street had a Belgian Pale Ale on cask, but by the time we got there on Sunday it was gone (no surprise). I was hoping they'd at least have it on tap, but alas - they did not. I spoke to the bartender who informed me that it will be available again in early February. 

A while ago, John mentioned the High Noon Saloon & Brewery in Leavenworth, KS. We decided to take a trip on over to check it out. We both started out with a pint of their Rough Rider Pale Ale, which won a Silver in the '04 World Beer Championships. We also ordered some lunch (me: grilled cheese; John: burger). I also tasted their Raspberry Wheat, which won gold at the '98 GABF, and is made with Oregon raspberries. I'm not a big fan of American Wheat or fruity beers (save Bells' Cherry Stout), but this one's actually pretty good. It's nice and dry but with just a hint of sweetness. The raspberries lend some tartness to the beer as well, rounding it out nicely. 

Overall, the food & beer were good and satisfying, but not remarkable. The food menu does have a lot of options, which is a plus. Burgers, chicken fried chicken, steak, chops, salads, sandwiches... Given that smoking is prevalent in the saloon, and cigars are sold in the bar, I probably won't be returning soon. It is, however, worth a trip just to visit and support. And, the VA hospital on K-7 out there is impressive to see, even just from the roadside.

We hopped back onto K-7, on to I-70, and over to Free State. They have a new Pale Ale on tap that is wonderful. The Free State Emancipation Pale Ale is a deliciously hoppy pale ale that gives me hope that one day we might see a good, hoppy IPA born out of the midwest. It was hoppy and glorious! Great balanced mouthfeel, reasonably malty without being overtly so, and hoppy from initial aroma to after-taste. It was a perfect way to wash down the chips & salsa we were snacking on. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. I had a John Brown Ale after that and, though I quite like it, I couldn't stop thinking about the Emancipation. So, I ordered a 10oz glass of Emancipation to wrap up the day. 10 little ounces of delicious. Thank you, Columbus hops, and thank you Free State.

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