Monthly Archives: July 2010

Sixpoint Event at Rattle N Hum

Last Tuesday night, I met John and Joel at Rattle N Hum for a Sixpoint event. Lots of great and interesting beers, and quite well-deserved after an extremely hot 6.85-mile run home from work.

I realized after my first beer that I should have gotten a couple of flights, instead of pints. This would have allowed me to try even more beer. But anyway, the first beer I had was a pint of the Signal IPA (nothing on Beer Advocate, where I usually link to). This was a good one, but I didn’t love it. Pretty light for an IPA. Nowhere near as good to me as their Bengali Tiger. Next I had a flight, which is four four-oz. tasting cups in wooden holder. I had the Apollo Saison, Autobahn IPA, Aberdeen Cask with Nugget, and the Old Krusher Barleywine. I love their regular Apollo Wheat, so I had to try the Saison; I wasn’t aware that Sixpoint had done a saison. It was very nice, though not as nice to me as the Saison Dupont or Goose Island Sofie. The Autobahn I had been looking forward to trying for a long time, so I was very excited for this one. It was very nice, but again not as nice to me as the Bengali Tiger. Not as malty and hoppy, which for me the Bengali Tiger has a perfect balance. The Aberdeen was by far my least favorite. Joel loved it, but I just found it way too peaty. I don’t like my scotches peaty either. The Old Krusher was a great Barleywine, at 10.4% ABV.  Glad I had only a four-oz. tast of that one. Last I had was a pint of the Autobahn IPA to finish off the night. Good stuff.

This now makes 32 Sixpoints I’ve had.  They’re definitely prolific.

Goose Island Sofie

Last night, Christina and I had the Goose Island Sofie and it was fantastic.  Sofie is one of their series of Belgian Style ales, this one being a saison, or farmhouse ale. I’m a big fan of this style, my favorite so far being the Saison Dupont, but the Sofie is a definite rival, especially impressive that it comes from an American (Chicago) brewery.

The first of these Belgian styles I had was their Matilda, a pale ale, which I also loved.  I then tried their Pere Jacques, an Abbey Ale, which I didn’t love so much.  But then again, that was the 2010, so I suspect that it would taste much better having sat for a year or two.  Most of their Belgian styles they say will develop in the bottle for up to five years, I’m sure increasing in complexity.

Overall, I’m extremely impressed with Goose Island and will try anything from them.  I could drink their IPA all day long.

Dogfish Head Brewery Tour

Last Saturday, I went on a trip to one of my favorite breweries, Dogfish Head. This was was organized by probably my favorite NYC beer bar, Rattle N Hum. We had to meet at RnH by 7am. Only other time I get up to Manhattan on a weekend this early is for a race, so this would be quite different. After some technicalities at the bar with registrations and such, we were on the road at about 7:30. There were about 50 people, almost filling a big tour bus. In the front of the bus was beer; a lot of beer. Including a full keg of Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. After a 3 to 4-hour bus ride down, we arrived at the brewery. On our way inside, which starts in the gift shop area, we were personally greeted by none other than Sam Calagione, President and founder, as well as super nice guy. A real class act in every way. Fortunately, Sam also gave us the brewery tour, and due to the nature of our group being beer geeks and all, he said beforehand that it would be much more technical and dense than the usual tour. And indeed it was. Really fantastic tour. I almost felt like I was in Willy Wonka’s factory. I mentioned this to Sam, and he said not to eat the blueberries.  One thing that sticks out in my mind is that whenever Sam would speak about other breweries, he’d precede the name with, “Our friends at.” He said that it’s more of a camaraderie than competition. I guess the real competition to all of the microbreweries is The Man, being Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and Coors, which together roughly make up a staggering 85% of beer sales in the US. The American craft breweries in 2009 added up to only 7.2%. These may not be exact, but they’re pretty accurate.  So anyway, we ended the tour back around at the gift shop, where we sampled the four beers on tap, and of course bought cool stuff.  The beers were:

After all that, we got back on the bus and headed over to Dogfish Brewings & Eats, their restaurant.  This was the only real disappointment of the trip for me. Sam had told us about some really interesting limited brews that we could try at the restaurant, but when we got there and sat down, we were informed that we had to pay $25 for a home style meal.  This included two beers; nice in theory, but we only had the choice of the Lawnmower Light, Shelter Pale Ale, 60 Minute IPA, and 90 Minute IPA. The 60 and 90 are two of my favorite beers, but not exactly anything hard to find.  After those two beers, I really had no more alcohol tolerance to deal with more beer.  I would have gladly taken one of the special brews for two of the regular ones.  I did get to have sips of others people’s, but not enough to really get to know the beers.  Oh well.  Maybe they’ll still have some of these when Christina and I go back down for the Dogfish Dash in Sept.  To their credit, the people from Rattle N Hum felt really bad about the $25 thing, which they had no idea about beforehand.  They said they’d make it up with free beer and appetizers when we got back to the bar, but we got back so late that I really just wanted to get home and pass out.  There was also a mystery gift for each of us that Sam said would be waiting for us at the restaurant.  We saw nothing, and eventually I joked that the gift was the $25 charge for dinner.  Turns out he gave us each a bottle from a test batch of their Punkin Ale, not due out until October.  We got these when we got back to the bar.  Thanks, Sam! Their Punkin is by far my favorite pumpkin ale.

Overall a great time and I can’t wait to get back down there.  Many thanks to Rattle N Hum and Dogfish Head for a great day.

A Few Belgian Tripels

Last night Christina and I had a little celebration of her first day at her new job. We went to Petite Abeille, a small casual Belgian chain in NYC. My favorite thing about them is that on Mondays all beer is half-priced; total bargain for trying out great Belgian beers. And food is really good, too. Last night we had three beers. First Christina had a St. Feuillien Triple and I had a Gouden Carolus Triple. I really liked the Gouden Carolus a lot, but found the St. Feuillien oddly bitter; too bitter. The last one we shared, and by far my favorite, Maredsous Triple. Interesting to learn that it’s brewed by Brouwerij Duvel Moortgat NV, who brews Duvel.

And the mussels were great, too.

Grimbergen Blonde and friends

The other night, my friend Kees very kindly helped me install my AC unit into my bedroom window. I felt really bad for both my girlfriend and my cat. I personally love the heat, though admittedly the 90+ indoor temp was a bit much. Kees helps me pretty often, and usually won’t accept anything other than good beer. So when I asked if he had any requests, he said, “Something blonde.” Since I apparently wasn’t enough blonde for him, I picked up some Grimbergen Blonde. I love this stuff. Nothing to blow you away, but just a beautiful tasty Belgian blonde ale. There didn’t end up being enough time to have any that evening, so last night, after a stressful day at work and long walk home due to a power outage along my subway line, Christina and I went down to Kees’ with the 5-pack of Grimbergen (I had one the other night). Great beer to sit around in the heat, chatting with special people…. and Moose, the awesome Burmese cat. Moose didn’t get any beer, but did get plenty of chin rubs.

Zum Schneider

I love Zum Schneider; a German beer garden, though indoors, in the East Village. We go there usually after my running team workouts when they take place at the 6th St. track.

Zum serves all German beers, the bartender having a semi-circle console of taps. More often than not I have the Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier, probably my favorite hefeweizen.  Tonight we were there after the workout.  I had a Reissdorf Kölsch, my favorite kölsch, and the Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier.

Unfortunately the bar wasn’t its happiest, after Germany’s loss to Spain in the World Cup semi-final.  I’m happy, at least, that either winner of the final, Spain or Holland, will be a first-time World Cup winner.

East End Big Hop IPA

Earlier in the year I tried Pittsburgh’s East End Brewing’s Big Hop IPA and Bigger Hop Double IPA at a cask fest at the Brazen Head. Both were fantastic.

Fast forward to last week, when I was in Pittsburgh for a work conference. Knowing I’d be there, I had to find their beers on tap. I love drinking local. Even better would have been to go to the brewery, but after emailing with Scott from East End, I learned that you can only really swing by to get a growler filled. With no car and only carry-on luggage, I decided my best bet was to just find his stuff in tap near my hotel. Scott was kind enough to give me a few places that had his stuff. Fortunately, a couple were very close to my hotel and the conference center. The one we ended up going to a few times was August Henry’s, which had the Big Hop IPA on tap. It was delicious, and others who were with me who like IPAs also were very impressed. Kind of reminded me of a slightly less malty and generally mellower Sixpoint Bengali Tiger. Another place nearby, Six Penn Kitchen, had their pale ale on tap, but I never made it there.

I highly encourage anyone in Pittsburgh to check out East End’s beers.