Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bourbon Cerise

I love Founders and nearly everything they distribute to Missouri. I also love quality-made fruit beers like BBQ, WI Belgian Red, or Sam Smith strawberry ale. A couple of years ago, I had the opportunity to try Cerise, and I found it a bit over-fruity and sweet, even though I'm a fan of super-sweet fruit beers like Belgian Red. I haven't had it since, mostly because it was just too... fruity.

A couple of months ago, I decided on a whim to get into bourbon. I bought a couple bottles of bourbons I read about online and absolutely fell in love with Eagle Rare 10. Fast forward a month or so, and I'm in Royal liquor looking around for something to drink. I picked up some saisons from Jolly Pumpkin and Stillwater, as well as a 4-pack of Founders Cerise (hoping that perhaps my memory had failed me). When I got home, I drank half a bottle of Cerise and wasn't that impressed.

So, I added about a quarter-ounce of bourbon to that last half of a bottle... and loved it.

Founders needs to barrel-age Cerise. While I'm happy to add an ounce of bourbon to a bottle of Cerise, the oak and bourbon would add significant depth. Without a doubt, cherries, oak, and bourbon are a match made in polyamorous heaven.

So if you find yourself with a chance to drink a bottle or glass of Cerise - or if you are interested in trying the beer with some complexity - get a shot of bourbon to go with it. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Engine & Cask

We took a trip to Chicago earlier this year for a homebrewing competition as well as a long weekend getaway. Among some of the typical places we wanted to hit (Map Room, Publican, Goose Island Clybourn), we had our sights set on Owen & Engine. We wouldn't have known about this place had it not been for Elliot (from Waldo Pizza) moving to Chicago and getting a gig there as the Beer Manager. We ran into him last fall and he mentioned the place to us. We couldn't wait to check it out.

Owen & Engine
Photo from Metromix Chicago
There were several reasons we wanted to go (one of them being the stellar British-inspired food menu), but the main one was for the beer engines. They've got four of them set up behind the bar, each with carefully-selected beers available. The place also has 20 separate taps at the bar, again all thoughtful and representing a wide variety - everything from Rodenbach Grand Cru to Bitburger, cider, and Cafe Negro. We had a great time trying a bunch of the beers on engine, as well as those on the standard taps and I recommend stopping here any time you're in Chicago.

I'd really like to see more places in Kansas City offer beer on engine (whether cask or keg), or even gravity-fed from a cask. A few bars around town do have engines, but they’re rarely ever in use. And while beer on engine can be kegged with CO2 gas maintained at a low level to keep a blanket over the beer, it’s the beer in a cask that is really something unique (ever try an IIPA on cask? Amazing difference between its kegged counterpart!). But its shelf life is short, and the last time I did have something from cask here in town, it had oxidized beyond salvation. It seems we just don’t have enough interest in beer on engine and/or cask to really make it worth the bar’s time or expense.

However, it looks like St Louis is experiencing a surge of attention to cask beer. iTap introduced its cask program this spring:  they purchased empty casks and now send them off to various breweries to be filled and returned. And just announced that Lohr Distributing recently purchased casks for a similar program catering to multiple bars in the STL area.

If the KC beer scene keeps moving forward as it has in the past 2-3 years, it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing a revival of cask nights and dusting off the ol’ beer engines. I hope.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Great Nebraska Beer Fest 2011

What are you doing the weekend of August 27th? Consider going to Nebraska.

The Great Nebraska Beer Fest 2011 is going on that Saturday from 1-6pm and is held in the parking lot where Nebraska Brewing Co is located. Tickets are $30. Not convinced? Check out the flyer and this (long) list of breweries...
  • Nebraska Brewing Co
  • Twisted Pine
  • Cigar City
  • Raccoon River
  • Crooked Stave
  • Grimm Brothers
  • Crow Peak
  • Granite City
  • Stevens Point
  • Great River
  • Avery
  • Upstream 
  • Thunderhead
  • Empyrean
  • Lucky Bucket
  • Gottberg
  • Funkwerks
  • Spilker
  • Schilling Bridge
  • Free State
  • Crabtree
  • Freetail
  • Madhouse
  • Peace Tree
  • Tallgrass
  • Summit
  • O'Dell
  • Sprecher
  • Left Hand
  • Boulevard
  • Boston Beer Co
  • Breckenridge
  • Tommyknocker
  • New Belgium
  • Weyerbacher
  • Great Divide
  • Ska
  • Boulder
  • Schell's
  • Rock Bottom
  • Goose Island
There are a lot of phenomenal breweries represented here, many of which don't distribute to our area. Looks like it'll be a good event to attend. And unless you're a New Yorker, you know Nebraska really isn't that far away.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sour Beer Week at the Saucer

As you can probably tell, I've lost a lot of steam in the world of blogging. Work travel has nearly taken over my life, but I've also become a lot more invested in other hobbies & time-consuming things of late. And with KC Beer Blog doing such a great job at covering all things local these days, they make it hard to come up with unique content. Not a bad thing, of course!

However, I received a press release from Flying Saucer today that I can't ignore. SOUR BEER WEEK will be taking place at the end of this month, and there are some fantastic breweries being represented. Monday starts it off with a Goose Island dinner (about which you can find out more on Facebook).

And, as fate would have it, I'm going to be traveling on business for most of that week. Hopefully there will still be some good beers left on tap when I get into town. I may have to stop in on my way home from the airport Thursday, as I'm not sure how much of the Cantillon will last. Then return Friday for Jolly Pumpkin night.

I've been thinking for a while about voting Jolly Pumpkin one of the best breweries no one in KC seems to be talking about much. If you've never had their beer, you owe it to yourself to make the trek to the Saucer on the 29th. As well as pretty much every other night that week.