Thursday, January 29, 2009

Out late on a school night

Last night Kat and Scott graciously provided me a ride over to Stub & Herb’s for the Flat Earth & Lift Bridge tasting since Mag was in class and couldn’t partake in the fun until a bit later. When we showed up, just before the start of it at 7:00, there were already quite a few people there, enough so that we decided to grab a booth in the main bar area so we could get some food in before the drinking started in earnest.

Similar to the last tasting I attended, you could purchase a taster glass with tickets for one 5 oz pour of each of the beers they were showcasing. So last night’s tasting was Flat Earth’s Black Helicopter, Rode Haring, Cygnus X-1 Porter and Winter Warlock. Lift Bridge’s were Pale Ale, Biscotti, and Farm Girl. All for $5, plus one ticket for $1 off a pint of double-hopped Pale Ale…a pretty good deal as far as I was concerned.

Other than an incorrect name for one of the beers and a bit of a wait for some of the samples it seemed to be a much more organized event than in the past. Plus, Jeff, Cathie, Jim, Steve, Dan and Brad all took turns talking about their respective beers before the samples were poured. A nice way for people new to the brewers or their beers to get to know them a bit better and hopefully join us as fans of their fine work.

Mag was able to join us for about the last third of the tasting and thanks to Kat, managed to score one of the last pints out of the Lift Bridge cask. We finished off the last couple of beers in the tasting and the crowd started to thin out a bit. Switching over to pints I took the opportunity to enjoy the hard to find Rode Haring as Brad headed out with the now empty cask of dry hopped Pale.

At some point I saw someone’s watch. I believe it said 12:10. I almost fell over. How could it have gotten so late? So we headed home, with a detour to Wendy’s, and I believe I saw the clock say 1:23. Oh, it’s going to be a long day today.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Chocolatey...coffeey...ambrosia. Jason and Mark weren’t kidding when they told me I should buy more than one bomber of it.

What delectable treat might I be speaking of? None other than Southern Tier Choklat. Black as night with minimal carbonation, an aroma of melted dark chocolate and mouthfeel smooth enough to fool you into thinking you’re actually eating a piece of quality dark chocolate instead of sipping on a beer. Weighing in at 11% ABV this is a perfect beer for enjoying at a relaxed pace in the cooler months of the year.

If you go out to pick some up and find there is none left you can blame that on me. I’m planning to pick up way more than my share of it, assuming Jason and Mark have left any on the Cellar’s shelves.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Family, Friends, Food, Beer

Saturday ended up being a full day that started off with lunch at Ansari’s Mediterranean Grill & Bar, the new tenants of the former Baker’s Square building in Eagan, with the McDowells. They did an amazing job remodeling the interior, removing all traces of its past life. Add to that great food and the fact that it’s actually within walking distance of our house. For now they only have a handful of taps with the local representatives being Summit and Finnegans however the manager that was on duty yesterday (and also father of the owners) said he would look into getting Surly in there. Here’s me with my fingers and toes crossed!

Next up was a stop at Cellar’s for their beer tasting, which I was pleased to see was packed. I did a little sampling before making my decisions and taking home a bomber of Southern Tier Choklat Imperial Chocolate Stout and six packs of Dark Horse Crooked Tree IPA, Lagunitas Brown Sugga and an old favorite, Schells Schmaltz’s Alt. Mmmm…more goodies to add to the beer fridge.

A quick stop back at the house to drop the purchases off and grab Mag and we were off to Pint Club at Town Hall. With the holidays and all I think it may possibly have been a month since we were last at Pint Club. No matter, falling back into the routine was easy and we spent an enjoying afternoon with our fellow beer lovers. I tried to start off easy with the cask Scotch but it just wasn’t doing it for me so I dove into the hops with the Masala Mama, regular and on cask. I don’t recall who first ordered the DuPont but all of us agreed that it smelled like cows/hay/manure and yet was still quite tasty and subsequent glasses of it were consumed.

Once we had exhausted the liquid menu there we decided some food was in order and went to check out Black Sheep Pizza just down Washington Ave a bit. Although parking was available, the place was packed and not being interested in waiting we had to figure out Plan B. With the pizza seed already planted, and growing, the decision was made to head across the river to Pizza Nea. I’ve never been there before and although the beer selection isn’t great the pizza is outstanding! My Diavola good, but Mag’s Capricciosa was even better, I think because of the porcini mushrooms. Tons of flavor, a great crust and a sauce that my picky-pizza-sauce-palate approved of. All in all, a great Saturday.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Last night we cracked open the growler of Flat Earth’s Trees, the hazelnut infused Cygnus from their infused series at the end of ’08. This one was released the week of Thanksgiving, so had been aging for about six weeks in our beer fridge. I don’t recall the specifics of how the growler came to be mine but I do know that both Kat and Mike were instrumental in making sure it came into my possession. THANK YOU!!! This stuff is amazing! And of course, thanks to Jeff and whomever else was part of creating it.

I first had a hazelnut beer years ago at Papago in Scottsdale, Arizona while visiting Mag, who was there for work. I remember pulling up to Papago, sandwiched between some other businesses in an unimpressive strip mall, and both of us having our doubts about the place. Since we’d been to other iffy looking in the places in the past with good results we put those doubts to the side and headed in. In Arizona they allow “on-sale” and “off-sale” at the same location so it was part bar, part cooler lined liquor store. I’m sure we tried more beers than just their hazelnut but it was so good that’s all I can remember.

Since then, I’ve had a soft spot for hazelnut beers, which are few and far between. There have been a few, with Rogue making one of them, and they vary from the outstanding flavor I recall at Papago to one that is only vaguely hazelnut in flavor. I’m thrilled to say that Trees falls into the former category and I’m looking forward to enjoying the rest of the growler. I don’t know if there are any more growlers of this fine brew floating about but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for ‘em.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy New Year!

By now everyone should be back to work, facing the reality of no holidays until possibly Memorial Day unless you’re one of the lucky ones that gets days like Presidents Day and Good Friday off. And then there’s the let down from all of the great beer happenings we were treated to at the end of the year. This seems to be one of the slower times of the year for us, the beer consumer, although I have no doubt that the brewers are busy bees replenishing their supplies and planning more tasty treats for us in the coming year.

On the bright side, we rang in the year with friends and a keg of Bell’s Two Hearted. Then two days later celebrated Kat’s birthday with more good beer. Thanks to those that helped us kill our keg and to the generous folks that contributed goodies to Kat’s celebration. Two great parties in one week is a great way to start the year as far as I’m concerned.

Hope your New Year is off to a good start and I’ll try to do some interesting drinking soon so you can read about it.