February 5, 2009

Ommengang Hennepin

image1684593411.jpgAppearance: at first, quite clear, later foggy with yeast sediment
Aroma: sweet, citrus, hoppy
Taste: slightly sour, grassy, orange, decently hopped
Overall: 7.5/10
Personal: a nice belgian twist on the farmhouse style, gift from Kathy

January 31, 2009

Spanish Peaks Brewing Winter Cheer

image882286160.jpgAppearance: almost black, very dark brown, clingy light head
Aroma: caramel, roast
Taste: light bitter, roast malt, mostly clean aftertaste with just some astringent
Overall: 6/10, a good session beer

Victory Hop Devil

image814116968.jpgAppearance: light brown, clear, like coke that has melted ice; head with small bubbles
Aroma: Massive hop aroma, citrus.
Taste: Caramel, roast, massive hops bitterness. Astringent aftertaste
Overall: brilliant IPA; 7/10. Could stand some sweetness.
Personal: good 'ol standard

Bell's Kalamazoo Stout

image752720997.jpgAppearance: Black, small head, very tiny bubbles, but not fine like a guinness, more like a pilsner.
Aroma: Very roasty malt, some hops. Molasses or burnt caramel.
Taste: Roasted malt, bordering on burnt, bitter hops
Overall: 8/10
excellent session stout, would complement a piquant cheese like blue.
Personal: got this for my "manday" celebration, drank outside with the guys.

January 30, 2009

Bierra Paradiso Dogfish Head Beer Dinner

photo_restaurant_georgetown.jpg On Monday, for my birthday, Jean and I braved the cold temperatures, and drove downtown to Pizzeria Paradiso for Bierra Paradiso's (the alter ego of 'Pizzeria') Dogfish Head Beer dinner. Greg, Bierra's beer sourcer, arranged a six course gastronomic extravaganza paired with six limited edition or seasonal ales from DFH.

Bite: Orange Balsamic Beef Skewer
Beer: Palo Santo Marron

Appetizer: Rogue River Blue Roasted Onion & Mushroom Crostini
Beer: Olde School Barley Wine

Salad: Eggplant & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad
Beer: World Wide Stout

Pizza: Pizza Thai
Beer: Pangea

Pizza: Sun Dried Tomato Mustard Pesto Pie
Beer: 120 Minute IPA

Dessert: Lemon Fort Trifle
Beer: Fort

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If the menu isn't enough to whet your appetite, let me run through our evening. We arrived early enough to have a beer at the bar (Smutty Nose Old Dog Brown Ale, look for the separate post) before being invited down to the basement for our seating. If you haven't been to Pizzeria before, it's a very cool place a few blocks east of the Key Bridge on M. Parking right beside the place if you get there early enough, or look for street parking if you arrive after rush hour. Good lighting at the bar, and amazing pizza. Honestly.

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The beer menu for drafts on tap is varied enough (and changes often enough) to make for an interesting evening, and the bottle selection (of bottles visible in cabinets from the bar, no less) is impressive. Relax, have an outstanding beer (I like the beer selection here better than the location just west of Dupont Circle on P, though the last time I was there was summer 2008) and look at the locals. And the ceiling. No kidding, it looks like the sky at night. Very cool.

Over to one side and down the back stairs we went, and Greg sat us for the dinner. Devon, from DFH was there, (the SE regional channel manager from DFH), waxing about each beer after Greg introduced each course. We sat at a table with four other friendly folks (a fifth one was running late) and immediately got served our first sampler (for the record, these samplers seemed to be between 6 and 8oz.) and "bite."


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Bite:IMG_0077.JPG Orange Balsamic Beef Skewer
Beer: Palo Santo Marron (9/10)

The Palo Santo Marron is one of my recent favorites; we tried this earlier in 2008. Jean has some small wooden toys made of the wood, so we were able to smell the wood while drinking it then; this evening Greg passed around a 2"x4"x16" piece (which smelled more treated than I remember) and weighed in around eight pounds or so. Wow. Anyway, the beef bite was a nice texture, slow roasted, but it seems like someone was a little excited about spice. We have a mongolian beef with apricot recipe that would have gone much better. That aside, the PSM was amazing. Nearly opaque with dark red around the edges. The small was as liquid mahogany, like vapors filled with wood. It tastes very strongly of soy sauce with a strong porter-style roast and alcohol. Seriously amazing. Can't have more than one though.

Appetizer:IMG_0079.JPG Rogue River Blue Roasted Onion & Mushroom Crostini
Beer: Olde School Barley Wine (8.5/10)

We moved on to our appetizer, and had made acquaintances with our dinner mates by this point. The crostini was an amazing little thing, the blue cheese was amazing. The barley wine was a hazy brown with a very small head. The aroma was sweet and malty and the taste was all of citrus and malt and alcohol. Like mash in a coffee meal, a mash oatmeal of sorts. This BW is 15% abv and I think Devon said the most alcoholic barley wine. He recommends burying a bottle in the woods, and in fact the bottle has instructions for doing so. Nice.

Salad:IMG_0082.JPG Eggplant & Buffalo Mozzarella Salad
Beer: World Wide Stout (9.5/10)

Last time I had this stout was with chocolate, but I figured I'd give it a shot. The eggplant and cheese were decent, but I pretty much just ate it up and moved on to the beer. The WWS is super dark brown, but not actually black. There are hints of brown around the edges. The aroma is an incredibly burst of chocolate and some malt. The taste. Wow. Fireworks of chocolate and alcohol. (660 calories a bottle, says Devon) Jean says "Liquid roasted chocolate." Pairing mellows it out. The world's strongest dark beer. Devon: "A crap-load of sugar and malt"

Pizza:IMG_0084.JPG Pizza Thai
Beer: Pangea (8.5/10)

I love their pizza. I love it. This was a good one; bok choi, shallots, ginger, carrots, chicken. I'd not had the Pangea yet, and I really enjoy it, but I'm not sure I could have more than one. Anyway, the P is a clear, light amber. The aroma was an overpowering ginger and almost no hop or malt. I imagine this would be crazy cool with Thai food. The taste, well, ginger again. Yeah, and a very light hop profile. Overall, even with the ginger craziness, I give it a high score.

Pizza:IMG_0086.JPG Sun Dried Tomato Mustard Pesto Pie
Beer: 120 Minute IPA (9.5/10)

The next pizza was much more palatable to the table as a whole ( I know b/c there was much less to actually take home) and went very well with the 120 minute IPA. The 120 was very hazy, like an amber hefeweizen and it smelled of grapefruit and citrus in the hops. The taste blew me away. Honestly, most IPA's are a bitter-sweet mix of hop aroma and bitter beer. This thing was sweet! And hops! And more sweet! Devon said that they use a device called "Sir Hopsalot" that dumps in fresh hops every 8 seconds for two hours. Jean says "Honey Suckle" which is very apprpriate I think.

Dessert:IMG_0090.JPG Lemon Fort Trifle
Beer: Fort (8/10)

I'm not a fan of citrus desserts aside from a sorbet. Key lime pie and this trifle thing were not for me. That aside, I am a fan of this Fort, which I'd not had before now. The appearance was like a hefeweizen, but just slightly darker. It smelled of rasberries, completely over the top. The taste was rasberry again and sweet. Like the 120 w/o the hops. Overall, I enjoyed it immensely. It is the world's strongest fruit beer. (sense a theme?)

We had to adjourn upstairs (towing left-over food and beer glasses with us, to the applause of the second seating crowd eagerly awaiting their dinner) to allow the second seating to commence. We stuck around for a good while chatting it up with some folks with whom we'd made an acquaintance.

We heard of some good reading, eats, and otherwise during the dinner. "She said wine, He said Beer" Garret Oliver's (Brooklyn Brewery) book on pairing. Cheesetique, a cheese shop in DC. Cowgirl Creamery, a cheese shop in DC. And that DFH is opening an alehouse in Chantilly (Green Briar Plaza, near total wine) in April. Hello Jean's birthday!

January 28, 2009

Ommengang Three Philsopher's Belgian Style Blend

image812357905.jpgAppearance: Mahogany amber, clear with clingy head
Aroma: Oak, resin, light hops, alcohol, fruit, chocolate
Taste: alcohol, oak, slick, molasses, toasted malt
Overall: 8/10
Gift from Kathy; Belgian style quad.

January 26, 2009

Smutty Nose Old Dog Brown Ale

image19204797.jpgAppearance: amber brown suffused with haze
Aroma: citrus hop notes, light roast
Taste: malt and slight sour immediately on the tongue, roasted aftertaste and a clean finish
Overall: 7.5/10
Personal: Jean and I went to Pizzeria Paradiso on my 33rd birthday. Good times.

January 13, 2009

Lindemans Pomme

Appearance: light, fronthy head like a cider with action
Aroma: fruity of course, dry yeasty smell
Taste: initial fruit gives way immediately to a tarty profile brought on by the yeast. Just dry enough (not as dry as a Celtika)
Overall: 9/10
Brewery: Brouwerij Lindemans
Personal: drank with mussels, bread, this was incredible! 4%abv, Lambic
Mobile Blogging from here.
  Lindemans Pomme

January 11, 2009

Uerige Doppelsticke

Appearance: dark brown with a hint of red, clear and not cloudy
Aroma: like a bock, malty
Taste: hoppy, malty, roast
Overall: 6/10
Personal: gift from Laura, Xmas 2008
Mobile Blogging from here.

January 2, 2009

Trader Joe's 2007 Vintage Ale

Brewed by Unibroue, Chambly, Quebec, Canada
Best before 10-28-2010
Appearance: deep brown, head has small bubbles
Aroma: clove and citrus notes, toasty malt, Belgian yeast is prominent
Taste: sweet malt, smooth yeast profile, true to the Belgian Dubbel style
Overall: 9/10
Personal: I bought this last year for cellaring, and have done the same thing this year. Should I be able to brew something so smooth one day.