Friday, November 13, 2009

On Tap Around Town

Sure are a lot of new beers going on tap lately.

Barley's out in Shawnee has had some rare Bear Republic kegs on tap the past few weeks. If you haven't had Racer X or Mach 10, they're a (west coast) hoppy treat - and they probably won't be around much longer.

McCoy's in Westport just put on a keg of their Imperial Steam Beer. I haven't had any yet but am looking forward to trying it. I'll be curious to see what an Imperial steam beer is like... I'm guessing lots of sweet & bready flavor with a bit more fruity esters. Most people are probably familiar with Anchor Steam but don't know that it's a lager brewed at ale temperatures. German brewers who immigrated to California in the 1800s didn't have the technology or cold Alpen caves to lager their beers, so they fermented their lagers at California's more temperate climate. Anchor trademarked the "Steam" name, so you might see this style called California Common elsewhere.

Speaking of California Common, Free State just put one on on tap ("Prairie Fog Ale") along with a new Vienna Lager. Vienna Lager is a cousin to the Oktoberfest and Märzen styles and isn't very easy to find (outside of Negra Modello). You can read more about these three closely-related styles in Ray Daniels' Designing Great Beers or George Fix's Vienna/Märzen/Oktoberfest edition of Brewing Classic Styles. I've become a fan of Fix - reading about chemistry seems about as appealing to me as getting jabbed in the eye, but his Principles of Brewing Science was actually really interesting. If you're curious about what happens when you do hop additions during the wort boil or what is actually going on during fermentation, I highly recommend Principles.

But I digress. McCoy's also recently put on a Bohemian Pilsener and should have their Coffee Stout available as well. They'll be coming out with a Winter Warmer here some time soon. I'm not sure when, but it'll be at their Christmas Ale dinner on 12/1. Not to be left out, 75th Street is tapping a keg of their Coffee Porter tonight (11/13) and will have it on nitro to give it more body & a creamy mouthfeel.

And finally, next Thursday Flying Saucer will be tapping a keg of Sierra Nevada's Harvest Estate ale, an American IPA that was made using only hops & barley grown on the brewery's property. With almost all of the brewery's energy coming from their own private solar array and their efforts to use recycled water, perhaps one of these days we'll see a Sierra Nevada "Off The Grid IPA" on the shelves.

So there you go - plans for next week!


  1. Thanks for the great info. Now if only I could make my way to each of these establishments. Could be a busy weekend!

  2. I tried the imperial steam beer ("California Uncommon") on Sunday 11/15 and it was so sweet/caramelly I couldn't finish it. Way too much malt and no idea what kind of hops he used. Northern Brewer is the signature hop of the style and none of the minty/woody characteristics stood out. This should be a fairly clean but hoppy beer and I'd expect an imperial to be hoppier than it was.

    I don't recommend it, unless maybe you plan on reducing it and putting it on ice cream...

  3. The 75th Street Brewery just released their coffee porter. It's made with Roasterie coffee. I don't know the name but it was wonderful.

  4. At McCoy's, I didn't care for the Imperial Steam either. They brought some out for the stragglers at the last Brewmaster's Dinner, and none of the four of us finished our taster. Okay, maybe I did...but only because it was there. The Toddy Oatmeal Stout, made with Broadway coffee, is very tasty though. It also marks the first time I've ever seen two coffee stouts on tap at one establisment (they have Founders too).


Tasting Notes