Monday, February 23, 2009

IIPA at 75th Street This Week

Just a very brief note - 75th Street Brewing will be putting an Imperial IPA on draught this Wednesday (2/25) and will have it available in the firkin keg this Friday (2/27).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Upcoming Beer Tastings at Grinders

Grinders hosts a "Taste Beering" with food pairings every 2nd Thursday of each month. The upcoming March 12th beer tasting features several Ommegang beers.

According to their website, here are the menu offerings:

1. Ommegang Hennepin: paired with a floral & citrus shrimp ceviche
2. Duvel: paired with spanikopita
3. Maredsous tripel: paired with a spicy chicken taquito w/ green chile sauce
4. Ommegang Abbey Ale Tripel: paired with bacon wrapped dates stuffed with pecan creamed cheese
5. Ommegang Three Philosophers: paired with a lemon tartlette

(bacon-wrapped dates? HOW HAVE I NOT THOUGHT OF THIS???)

Tickets are $17 prior to the event, $26 at the door.

April's Taste Beering will feature Unibroue (which, I learned on our trip to Quebec last year, is pronounced "OOO-nee-broh"). Details aren't yet posted.

Side Comment - we ordered a basket of 6 chicken wings with "death sauce" and they wouldn't let us order it at first ("we put it on the menu as kind of a joke" they said...). They gave us a little sample taster of the sauce, which was pretty damn hot but tasted quite nice. We were able to order them after some convincing, and they were delicious.

If you've been disappointed at the lack of spicy food in KC, this will definitely renew your faith that spicy food does exist here. And if anyone has some tips on how to get places to believe me when I order food hot, let me know. I've tried everything I can think of, and nearly always get some jalapenos tossed onto the top of my dish. So disappointing. The sauce they use, by the way, is Dave's Insanity Sauce.

And, last but not least, I enjoyed a nice Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Dunkel. Banana & spice present, of course, and a bit bready. Very nice and easy to drink.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What do an IPA, Pils, Brown, Dubbel, and Tripel all have in common?

They're all in today's blog post.

I have a lot to talk about today... let's start with an overview.
  1. Doodle Brewing continues to move forward!
  2. Free State's birthday celebration is crazy, but their C3 IPA is crazy-good
  3. Sam Adams' Hallertau Imperial Pilsner is wonderful
  4. John made a tripel recently that seems like it's going to come out fantastically. Beautiful beer.
  5. Homebrewing book recommendations

Okay... so let's look at the details.

Doodle Brewing.
This is an up & coming brewery in Liberty that looks & sounds promising. Nick, the owner, has a degree in Chemical Engineering AND has brewery experience - he has worked at Harpoon Brewing in Boston as well as 75th Street here in KC. He'll have a tasting room on the premises and I'm looking forward to trying his first brew, a Belgian dubbel. Nick's got a blog in addition to the brewery's formal website.

Free State Brewing
We trekked on over to Free State Brewing last night, primarily to sample anything we'd never had before. This place was busy. No, it was CRAZY BUSY. Despite that, we were able to get 2 seats at the bar. And, much to my delight, they had their C3 IPA on tap. Deliciously hoppy and bitter, this baby comes in around 95 theoretical IBUs.

In total, they had 14 beers on tap, 2 of which blew out while we were there. (Let's see if I can remember... they had the Wheat State, Winter Wheat, Crimsonberry, Ad Astra, Copperhead, Oatmeal Stout, Imperial Pils, Santa's Helper (blown), Eccentricity (blown), C3, Owd Mac, ESB, Old Backus Barleywine... descriptions of each are available here.)

They also have new branded 12oz Willi Becher (or willibecher) glasses that will be available for purchase next week. They're quite nice and I know we'll be picking up a couple for our collection.

Sam Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner
James at K-7 recommended this to me a while back, and we picked up a 4-pack last weekend. This is a really nice beer, and the Hallertau hops are well-demonstrated. It is hoppy, but not astringent or bitter. I am quickly becoming a fan of the German Pilsner (or "Pils") style for this reason. It is a nice hoppy beer, but still light and very easy to drink. If you like the citrusy taste of hops but aren't a fan of the bitterness you get with IPAs, you would probably enjoy this beer.

I haven't posted much about our homebrewing efforts lately, but we've made a couple of batches so far this year. John's latest is a Belgian Tripel and is coming along quite nicely. He made up a large yeast starter for this batch, which led to pretty messy blowout during the initial 24 hours of fermentation. It smelled delicious, though. Here's a picture of the yeast starter on the stir plate:

I think the most impressive picture from this round of homebrewing, though, was the clarity of the wort.

Amazing! It's a beautiful wort sample and was quite tasty as well. The tripel's still in primary fermentation, but I'm anxious to try it when it's all done... unfortunately I'll be waiting for quite some time as this baby takes a while.

Homebrewing Book Recommendations
We also bottled an American Brown Ale, the recipe for which was taken from Jamil Zainasheff's Brewing Classic Styles book. Everything we've made from this book has turned out well, and I don't think this will be any exception. We dry-hopped this baby with Centennial hops for a couple of weeks prior to bottling and will be tasting it this afternoon.

If you're looking at getting into homebrewing, Jamil's book (and webinars on The Brewing Network) is just fantastic. I'd also buy John Palmer's How to Brew at the same time. Read that one first, then read Jamil's. Those are pretty much all you'd need to read to make some excellent home brew that will impress your friends and stun your neighbors.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

And in Local News...

I recently received an email via Free State's mailing list (sign up!), as well as an update from the Foundry (I e-mailed them a while back with praise for Left Hand's Smokejumper and apparently Todd there kept my email). Here's the latest:

Happy Birthday Free State! To celebrate, they'll have 20 beers on tap (12-15 at any given time) between 2/18 and 2/23. Once a keg blows, they put another on, so your selection will be varied throughout this time frame. We'll be there Friday after work. Will you?

The Foundry in Westport recently got a few new kegs in. They have a keg of Hopslam, one of Val Dieu Grand Cru, and another of Duchesse de Bourgogne.

Oh, and regarding my post about New Belgium's Dark Kriek aka Dunkelweiss 30. I emailed Barley's and apparently it is the dunkelweiss. It's the strangest dunkelweiss I've ever had, with overwhelming flavors of dried cherries and chocolate. Most reviews I've read on beeradvocate and ratebeer state similarities to banana bread, which I completely did not get. I think I'll have to make the sacrifice and try this one again, as all I really tasted the first time around was dried cherry, a little raisin, caramel, and chocolate. Maybe my tastebuds were broken that night. It's possible.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Drink the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

I got a call from Mark at Gomer's Midtown today to let me know that they received 5 cases of Sierra Nevada's Torpedo. John and I have been waiting for this quite a while, and John raced over after work to pick up a couple six-packs (as well as a sixer of their ESB).

I loved John's review of Torpedo so I'll just post a picture of my glass along with a link to his review. Prost! 

Monday, February 9, 2009

My new favorite place for beer in KC

Well, at least in my top two, alongside Waldo Pizza. 

We decided to visit Grinders on Saturday around 6pm for dinner. I'd read about it a while ago, forgot all about it, and re-discovered it on the interwebs Saturday afternoon. I feel extremely late to the party on this one and am embarrassed that we've lived here for 1.5 years and have never been once, beer enthusiasts that we are. Upon walking up to the place, I was immediately taken back to NE Portland - funky art & graffitti, crowded, and smells a bit like beer, old wet wood and pizza. Ahhhh, I was home.

We bellied up to the bar near the door and ordered our beers - I wanted the Southern Tier IPA but they were out, so I settled for something else I can't remember - I think it was the Avery IPA but to be honest I can't remember. John got a pint of Rogue's Morimoto Imperial Pilsener. We ordered our food (half order of tots, a 10" pizza which turned out to be more like 14", and the El Diablo burger) & were told it would be 45 minutes. Our food came about 1/2 hour later, just in time for our 2nd round of beer. I asked if they had La Fin du Monde, which I was hoping they'd have on tap since they have a giant Unibroue tower at the bar. The server said, "yes we do!", ran over to the fridge, opened a bottle and poured it for me. Ah well. 

The place was very busy for the time of day I thought, and they were having a "glass shortage" at the same time. The patrons outside were drinking out of plastic cups. A group of people ordered 2 pitchers of Delirium Tremens (YES, PLEASE), and the woman pouring told the server to make sure they were OK with drinking out of plastic cups. Now THERE is a level of beer-awareness I'm not used to here.

Overall, I'd rate this place up at the top of the list of watering holes in KC. Their selection is great for the area, their beer appears to be heavily rotated, and they offer a wide range of styles. Thier food is... how do I describe it? Retro hipster? Tots, cheesesteaks sandwiches with cheez-whiz, pizzas with piles of tots in the middle, wings with inferno sauce... it's certainly not diet food, but I didn't go there for that. I went there for the beer, and they delivered. I am already looking forward to going back.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Various Random Comments

It's Saturday in Missouri and it's 70 degrees outside in early February. I'm celebrating, which means I'm on my 2nd beer and it's only 3pm. But, despite that, I have a few comments:

  1. I work out in Shawnee, near the nexus of Shawnee-Mission Parkway and K-7. As a result, I've been to K-7 Liquor more than a few times to check out the selection. Despite its location, it carries a veritable cornucopia (as John would say) of beer options. I was asked to pick up "something Irish" on Friday for Beer Friday and ventured over to K-7 Liquor. As I perused the options, one of the employees asked me if I needed any help. His name is James and I feel he deserves props. He's extremely knowledgeable about beer (even hop types) and made a recommendation to me that was on the mark (Great Divide's Fresh Hop, which is an APA hoppier than any IPA I've had out of the midwest and absolutely delicious). He's going to hold a couple of Boulder Brewing's Mojo Risin' and a 6-pack of SN's Torpedo for me (coming next week and next month, respectively). If you ever find yourself in this area, see if James is working and ask him for a recommendation. And thank him for working with his distributor to get some hoppy beer into NE Kansas. 
  2. We went to Barley's in OP last night for dinner, after purchasing a kegerator for our homebrew off Craigslist. They have two new brews from New Belgium, Mighty Arrow and Dark Kriek (from their Lips of Faith series). Mighty Arrow is an APA and the Dark Kriek is a delicious blend of Belgian Dark Ale and Kriek. The Kriek is highly recommended - I had a snifter and thoroughly enjoyed it... it reminded me of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia - notes of dried cherry, vanilla, dark chocolate. It is dry but not sour, and way too easy to drink. They had several new items on tap and the bartender mentioned that they're working on improving their IPA selections. It shows.
  3. A few weeks ago I bought a bottle of Schlafly's Tripel. We just opened it today and it is by FAR my favorite from this brewery. It is a fantastic representation of the Belgian style - dry, estery, banana-y, a tiny bit peppery, potent. This is delicious!! HIGHLY recommended.
John's making a tripel today and I need to go do some sanitizing stuff. We're going to check out Grinder's tonight so I plan on reporting back on its current offerings. Ciao!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Slice of Win at Waldo Pizza

Waldo Pizza has some new stuff on tap recently. Unfortunately, their website is out of date and my memory is pretty poor, so I'm going to do my best to recall what they had available... 
  • Bell's Hopslam
  • Bear Republic Racer 5
  • Avery IPA
  • HofBrau Hefeweizen
  • New Belgium 2 Below
  • Boulevard Irish Ale
  • Schlafly Coffee Stout
  • Lindeman's Raspberry Lambic
  • Peroni
  • Beamish
There are about twice as many beers on tap there but my memory fails me (shocking, I know). Regardless, the selection right now is fantastic. They're just waiting for the 2 Below to blow out and will replace it with a keg of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot (2009 is its 25th anniversary!). We asked about Torpedo, but alas - none in sight. YET.

I had a Racer 5, John had the Avery IPA, and we split a pint of the coffee stout. I thought the coffee stout was pretty tasty. It definitely has a rich up-front coffee aroma and taste, with a nice bitter chocolate aftertaste that lingers for a few seconds. The head was tan, creamy, and lingering. Mouthfeel was just about right - not too light but not velvety or creamy. This is a good coffee stout and if you like the style, it's worth getting a pint. It was served just a bit colder than I'd have preferred, but that's easy to fix. 

The bartenders are always friendly and talkative, and they all know their beer. Tonight's experience was no different. We had a nice evening there, and I recommend checking out the current selection and supporting your Best Little Place for Pizza.