Friday, August 27, 2010

Finding Love in Lee's Summit

We had a great night last night. Despite driving through traffic for over an hour yesterday (at least it wasn't that insane traffic jam in China) and arriving at the Flying Saucer to only obtain one ticket for CBS, we still had a nice time hanging out with our friend J and Mark from The Hopry. The CBS wasn't as "maple-y" as I remembered it being last year, but it was still an incredible beer. (And it's very possible my palate has changed.) Coffee, bitter roasted malt, dried fruit, vanilla, oak, and just a touch of maple sweetness. Keep an eye out for it next year; the Saucer's had it the past two years in a row, and I wouldn't be surprised if it made an appearance in '11.

We ate dinner, split an 8oz pour of CBS, and figured the night was still young - we had plenty of time to finally go to Gomer's in Lee's Summit. We'd both heard so many good things about it, and I'd recently seen that they had Mikkeller Rauch Geek Breakfast stout in stock. What else were we going to do with our evening?

So, we hit the highway and, half an hour later, found ourselves in a beer wonderland. We walked in and saw an incredible amount of craft beer in refrigerated coolers straight in front of us. (It's worth mentioning, by the way, that they have a fantastic gin selection that rivals Lukas' in Martin City.) They have the entire Mikkeller yeast series, a ton of Belgian beer I've never seen here, and put simply, THE BEST beer selection in Kansas City. By "best" I don't mean the largest selection or the most bottles; they have the most thoughtful and interesting selection I've seen in this city.

We talked to the beer buyer for a while, who's about our age and a major beer nerd as well. He keeps their blog pretty up to date and works hard to ensure their beer selection's current and creative. I just wish they weren't so damn far out of town. However, I now have a reason to go to Lee's Summit at least once a month, and recommend you do the same. I'm embarrassed that I've never been here before. If you're any self-respecting beer lover, you owe it to yourself to make it out there on a regular basis.

In case you're curious, here's what we came home with:

  • Drie Fonteinen Oude Kriek
  • Southern Tier Pumking
  • Mikkeller Frelser triple bock
  • Cantillon broucsella 1900 Grand Cru
  • Trois dames grande dame oud bruin
  • Mikkeller Rauch Geek Breakfast
  • Rogue Chatoe Rogue OREgasmic 
  • Ska Nefarious ten pin imperial porter
  • Haand Bryggeriet barrel aged porter (aged in an aquavit barrel)
  • De Molen Heaven & Hell 
  • Charlevoix Dominus Vobiscum double
  • Nogne O/Mikkeller Tyttebaer (cranberry wild ale) 
  • Vikings Blod Mead
  • Pirtle Blackberry Mead
  • Ben Middlemiss Benediction ale
  • Mikkeller Monks Brew
  • Sierra Nevada Tumbler
  • O'Fallon Pumpkin
  • Schlafly Pumpkin

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

An Early Thanksgiving

We popped open a Southern Tier Pumking last night and the temp was below 70F while I drove to work this morning. Fall is on its way and I can't wait. So here I am already thinking about giving thanks to what we have...

My brother and his girlfriend-of-12-years recently came to visit for a week and I think I'm still hung over. We tapped into the Wort Hog Stockpile and my brother brought some beers from Portland (note: Deschutes Jubel 2010 is awesome - worth trading). While we drank our fill of beer we can't get here in KC, I briefly lamented over not being able to get HUB, Russian River, Port Brewing, Smuttynose, Deschutes, Great Lakes, and so on.

However, as we reveled over our piles of empty bottles, Mr Wort Hog and I were both struck by how many great breweries have gained distribution to the KC metro just in the past few years. Hoppin Frog, Ballast Point, Lagunitas, Founders, New Holland, Anderson Valley, Dieu du Ciel, Ska, Moylan's, and others. Of course, even regional breweries like Tin Mill and soon Free State are (or will be) distributed here. There are several breweries we can get here that those on the west coast cannot. Brother Wort Hog was able to try a bunch of Founders while visiting - Devil Dancer, Double Trouble, Red's Rye, Breakfast Stout, and KBS. (Man, I love that brewery.) He also enjoyed some Schlafly, Bells, Left Hand, Breckenridge, New Holland, Odell, and O'Fallon - all breweries whose beers we can easily find at our local liquor stores but aren't available in "beervana."

I often go back & forth between picking up some regular favorites and hunting around the liquor store trying to find the Next Best Thing. After his visit, I was reminded of all of the great beers we can get here and not to take them for granted. (On that note, we also ate our fill of awesome KC BBQ and commiserated with Brother Wort Hog's inability to get good BBQ in the northwest.)

Overall, it was a good visit. We drank our weight in some awesome beer, ate excellent food, and laughed ourselves silly playing Cranium (OK, we only play the green & blue cards - those are the best ones anyway). I'm thankful to be able to share a passion for great beer & food with my kickass brother and his awesome girlfriend, and that they were able to come out here to visit - even if it was 115F nearly every single day.

All the more reason to stay inside and drink more beer.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Canadian Breakfast Stout is Coming!

The Flying Saucer got a keg of this Founders delicacy back in June and has been holding on to it through the summer... until now. They're putting this baby on for Rare Beer Night on August 26th. They've been tapping some stellar stuff for Rare Beer Night lately, and this one continues the trend.

I probably don't need to say anything more, but JUST in case you're not sure what this concoction is, it's their standard Breakfast Stout that is aged in barrels that were initially used to age Heaven Hills Kentucky Bourbon, then were shipped up to Canada to age craft maple syrup. The result, as I wrote about last year for Present Magazine, "carries smoky flavors from the charred barrels, vanilla notes from the bourbon, and a prominent douse of maple sweetness."

Simply delicious.

Friday, August 6, 2010

More Mikkeller

I mentioned the other day Mikkeller's line of yeast-series beers and how exciting and innovative this is. Lo & behold, McCoy's is featuring all five of them at their next beer dinner (see the last paragraph on the linked page). I've only been to one other McCoy's dinner but found it fun and entertaining; the food was pretty tasty (a notch or two fancier than what they typically serve) and the crowd was friendly and social.

They're also serving the Mikkeller Chipotle Porter, which was the Rare Beer this past Thursday at the Flying Saucer. I'd been looking forward to this one, so we trekked on down and had ourselves a glass or two. The aroma's wonderful – chocolatey and roasty, much like a rich dark chocolate bar (and it's all from malt – very cool). The flavor was quite similar but also had just a touch of red chili flavor. And then the capsaicin kicked in.

Living on the west coast, I used to have a pretty decent heat tolerance. After three years in Kansas City, however, I am now a self-avowed hot-food-wuss. This beer is spicy. Now, it's not melt-your-face hot, but I've had Thai food here in KC that was less spicy than this beer. It was wonderful, like eating one of those chocolates that has dried chilies in it. I wish this weren't as rare as it is.

You can get yourself a glass of this at the Saucer, or join me at the McCoy's dinner on Tuesday, September 7th. Tickets are $50 (inclusive of tax & gratuity); you can buy them at McCoys or by calling (816) 960-0866. This is one I'm not going to miss, so I'll see you there!