Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Best Things Come in Small Packages

Yes, this is true and it applied very well at Al’s Imperial March Day of Big Beers at the Blue Nile. We resisted the urge to show up promptly at 2 pm when the show was to begin and made a very un-McDowell-like, fashionably late entry around 4 pm.

We found only one beer to have been completely consumed by then, the Bell’s HopSlam Ale. Sure, I would have liked to try it but there were plenty of other treats to be had to be upset about missing just one. Al, in his infinite wisdom, was offering sets of three, four ounce pours in addition to 12 ounce glasses. With this kind of line up small packages was the way to go.

We managed to make it through: Southern Tier Gemini Unfiltered Blended IPA (the only 12 oz we ordered), Tyranena Hop Wh0re Imperial IPA, Moylan’s Moylander Double IPA, Moylan’s Double Kiltlifter, Avery Hog Heaven Barleywine, Eel River Raven’s Eye Russian Imperial Stout, Southern Tier Choklat, Tyranana Chipotle Smoked Imperial Porter, Flying Dog Double Dog Double Pale Ale, and Bell’s Expedition Stout.

I have to give “Best Beer of the Night” honors to Eel River Raven’s Eye Russian Imperial Stout. I think this is the first time I’ve had any Eel River product and if this is any indication of the rest of their stable of beers then I’ll be eager to try more. The aroma is a very nice chocolate roasted malt, as opposed to Choklat with a very yummy scratch-and-sniff chocolate bar aroma. The flavor is similarly roasty but the best part is the smoothness, reminiscent of a milk stout, that hits you after a five second delay. Even at 9.5% this is an easy drinker that is well balanced enough to be had for a long session of enjoyment.

We didn’t see as many of our usual beer friends there as we expected, which was fine. It’s not like we know ALL the beer geeks in town and it’s great to see new faces showing up to help us support our favorite haunts. There was also a very entertaining woman, who it was probably going to be a very early night for, that apparently had won a chili cook off earlier in the day and at least part of the prize was a headless Ken doll (well, not exactly, there was a chili pepper to replace the original skull), wearing only a loin cloth and named Chief Chili Head. Ok, then…happy for coming!


  1. My favorite was the Tyranana Chipotle Smoked Imperial Porter. Oh my was that good.

  2. The chipotle porter was good but I was hoping for just a bit more spiciness to have come through. Then again, it could have a lot to do with the other beers I had been drinking (this was one of the last ones of the night for me).

  3. The woman you describe came by to visit me on Tuesday, and heard that she'd been mentioned on someone's blog. I told some tales, held my tongue otherwise.
    I'm looking forward to more tastes of the Chipotle. The rest of the keg should go back on tap soon. Didn't get to try much of it myself.
    Glad you all had a good time!

  4. Did she seem upset or concerned about the mention? I actually have a picture of Chief Chili Head that I had considered posting.

  5. No, not at all. Go ahead and post, I think she'd enjoy it. I'm sure I know Gira at least that well.