The kind folks at the Vreeland Mart and Easy Pick, two local party stores, coordinated their second beer tasting last night (you can read about the first one here). You know the drill, right? Buy the ticket ($25), eat a full spread of chow, and sample beers from around the world. How else should one spend a Friday night?
#565 - Cerise Cherry Ale is from the Founders Brewery. Using cherries grown right here in Michigan, Founders proved once again they know how to brew beer. I would give it a solid 4 out of 5 and suggest it is quite possibly one of the best fruit beers on the market. So many fruit beers can fall flat with funny acid tones. No such thing here. As one would expect, the color was pinkish with the short-lived head less so. Cherry aromas were obvious. On the tongue, everything fell into place. The some-what creamy body felt great while the finish was a bit astringent. A beer like this would be awesome with a cherry pie for dessert. Very well done.
(On the soapbox) On a personal bitter note (as opposed to a hoppy bitter note), it would have been nice if I could have sampled more of this beer. The fellow gave me what I would call a "splash of beer." I estimated this morning, using props in my kitchen, that he gave me 4 tablespoons of beer. You have to be kidding me. Generally speaking, one can't really get a feel for anything with what amounts to two large sips. After the little dribble in my glass, I asked him politely "Can I get a little bit more please!"
"No." was the answer. The tone was really sarcastic so I thought he was joking a bit.
"No." Not so sarcastic now - downright rude. "I only have four bottles. That is all I can give you."
So, let me take you through the conversation as I feel it should have been.
"Can I get a little bit more, please?"
"Sorry, but I can't. I only have four bottles. "
There. That wasn't so bad. The initial conversation was so rude that another fellow pulled me aside and commented "Hey, buddy, you can get this beer "here", "here", and "here". "So-and-so" has it on tap, blah blah blah...."
These can be such fun evenings, but blatant rudeness can certainly distract from the enjoyment. If this guy worked for the brewery (he is just a local distributor), I would consider contacting them and telling them he honks at his job. Market the beer, but don't be rude to the people that might buy it! This guy was so rude (and such a skimper with the beer), that I made every effort to avoid his table for the rest of the night. (Off the soapbox)
Admittedly, #566, the Grassroots Ale from the Great Lakes Brewing Company, confused me. My senses, from nose to finish, where overwhelmed and I had a hard time describing it to my tablemates. In the glass, the spectacular golden color and off-white head really set the stage for a great beer. The aroma was this wild and crazy combination that I could not put my finger on. At best, I managed spice and citrus. On the tongue, everything danced. The finish was very pleasant and mildly hoppy. (As I write this, I learned from their website, it is a Saison Ale. That explains alot.) This beer is a 5 out of 5 for sure. You have not lived until you have tried it.
The Flying Dog Brewing Company are the master's behind the Gonzo Imperial Porter (#567). The malty/alcoholic aroma was easy to pick up. It was as dark as brown could be without actually being black. On the tongue, it displayed what one would expect from a porter, but not so on the finish. Dry, sure, but there was also a sweetness that was very pleasing. 4 out of 5. I suspect others would simply give it a 5.
Kosmos Reserve (#568) is brewed by the Spoetzl Brewery in Texas. You may know them from their signature beer - Shiner. While big things can be found in Texas and "Kosmos" suggests somethings heavenly, it doesn't shine at all. It looked like apple juice. The aroma was hard to nail down, but the taste wasn't - in general, flat, boring and lifeless. This hardly stellar beer was solidly between an "eh" and a "ick". 2 out 5.
Black Lager is also brewed by the Spoetzl Brewery. While I would like to think the neat name is a bonus, #569 was a dud. A deep mahognony color (duh!) and sweetened aroma seemed okay, but everything beyond that was basically dull. 2 out of 5.
Boston Beer Company, the company behind Sam Adams, has quite a pilsner. The Imperial Pilsner (#570) pours a beautiful deep yellow/copper with a fair head. Very cloudy in good light., too. Hops and some citrus tones were present in the aroma. They (the brewer) claim a large amount of hops. Yeah, it is there, but it is balanced well with the malts. It seemed to be very lively with lots of tones coming and going. Very complicated. Sweet at one moment, followed by hoppy bitterness and then back to sweet. The finish was dry and hoppy. Interesting beer. 4 out of 5.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (at left) is considered one of the greatest composers ever, right? I assume his mastery of music was used to influence the name of a beer from the Gayant Brewers in France. Family brewed with a recipe from monks in the Crespin Abbey, Amadeus (#571) was a total trip. Picture cloudy lemonade, okay? Now smell it. Lemons? Sure. But, also add a strong hint of candy. Yes, candy. Everyone I spoke with who took a whiff of this stuff was floored. Unfortunatley, it was downhill after that. On the tongue, it was far too watery. considering it was a wheat beer (it seemed to me it should have been a bit thicker). The aroma was clearly the best part. Beyond that, it was average. 3 out of 5.
Oh yes, I almost forgot. The woman from Adam and Eve was there again. Someone please explain that to me. Really, the planners need to unload this lady. She has no purpose at this event. This time, she was wearing a necklace. They looked like they could have been those little themed lights you hang in the yard. You've seen 'em. Little red peppers or little pumpkins. This necklace didn't have any pretty stones, but it certainly had some, well, "jewels", if you know what I mean....
It should also be noted that a friend of mine predicted, back in early January, that I would eclipse Beer Species #600 this year. I said "No way!". Well, I am apparently on course to do just that!