This was the third ungettables gathering put on by our buddy Chad of @BeerPoet fame on Twitter. It was a great line up of beer while pedestrian for some, for us out west in the wilds of Idaho, these represent some of the hardest beers to get in our little corner of the intermountain west.
Frankly the line up was great, and I really don’t know how to do it justice other than to take you through the brews one by one and give you my thoughts on each, so here goes.
We began with IPAs and pale ales. This was by far the best one IMO and perhaps the most unique IPA I’ve ever had. This is a three brewery collaboration between Stone, Ninkasi, and Alchemist brewing. It is called more Brown than Black IPA, and the name is completely accurate. This was basically a brown IPA. The softness of the malts that made this beer combined with the hops used, in a delectable way. This was one of my favorite IPAs I’ve ever had, and I’ve had a great many. If you can find one, buy it. It is sure to be a favorite of yours too.
This was another Stone collaboration brew, this time with Pizza Port Brewing and Green Flash. The label says Scotch Ale, but to me this tasted like it was all barleywine. Good barleywine, but barleywine nonetheless. It doesn’t even really look like a scotch ale in color. This was a good beer and one that is worth trying if for no other reason than to have the experience.
This was one of the brews I brought to the party. This is a barleywine from Boundary Bay Brewing up in Bellingham, Washington. It is a classic American style with a sweetness up front and a hop kick in the back. It was very nice and one I would try again. If you see it, buy one. They are pretty rare, and quite a good expression of the style.
This was a Russian River dark ale. Not too sour like some, but pleasingly so. I liked this beer, but it was towards the bottom of the pile as far as the beers went, and wasn’t actually that memorable. Its a sour brown ale, and that is about all I can say about it.
This was something unique from Russian River, as this was just a blonde Belgian Style Ale, no souring or anything like that. Too bad, maybe if they soured it, the beer wouldn’t have smelled and tasted like feet. Didn’t like it at all.
This brew by contrast was one of my favorites. Goose Island Lolita was a belgian style ale aged in, I think, Chardonnay Barrels and flavored with Raspberries. This is a special beer, and one that got raves from everyone at the gathering. Even if you don’t like fruity beers, or beer period, I think you would find it hard to not like this brew. It was amazing. Find it and drink it. But be advised that this is a fruity beer that would have to be paired appropriately, or drank on its own. If you are having a big red steak, probably not the best choice. Act accordingly.
This was a barrel aged ale that was aged with chocolate and cherries. It was good, but unique in the way that up front, not much, just some sweetness, but on the back side and finish this beer is incredibly complex. All the barrel flavors of vanilla and caramel and oak interact with the yeast of the beer, the cherries and the chocolate to give this beer an incredibly complex flavor, but it is all in the finish. Odd in that way, but not unpleasant, and a decent beer overall.
This beer was from the Cascade Barrel House and was a Blueberry sour. Not too sour and not too sweet, but just right. Those guys really know how to age beers and I loved every drop. This however wouldn’t be everyone’s favorite as the fruitiness really stood out. It was pretty fresh from the barrel, so perhaps a little more time to bottle condition this brew would help it to mellow and blend the flavors a bit more.
This was one of my two favorite beers of the afternoon. This too was from Cascade Barrel House and it is their Bourbonic Plague sour. a Sour strong ale aged in bourbon barrels. What’s not to love here? It was masterfully made and aged. It probably helped too that this beer was bottled in 2009. The addition of 3 years in the bottle really smoothed out any rough edges and made this beer an absolute delight. My understanding is that this beer won GABF Gold in 2009, and I concur. It was an incredible brew, and one that you shouldn’t be afraid of if you aren’t a huge sour fan. It is very light touch and blended perfectly.
What can you say about Founder’s Breakfast Stout that hasn’t already been said on this site. Barrel aged Oatmeal stout that satisfies and delivers on all levels. I am envious of people who have regular access to this beer. It was awesome.
I know lots of people have access to World Wide Stout on a regular basis, but in Idaho it is a pretty rare beast. A good solid stout that is incredibly boozy. I could drink one or two by myself, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t a good idea. Great flavor, and while it is 18% ABV it drinks like it is half that much. Solid stout, but in the final analysis, not one I would drink that aften unless I were in the mood for one.
This beer was “Best in Show” for me. A boozy, malty, creamy treat. Perfectly blended to produce a beautiful imperial stout. I now know why Jim LOVES this beer. I know he has some love affair going with the 2008 version, but I think that is kind of all in his head. This was a beautiful beer and two years younger. I can’t explain the uniqueness of this stout, it had this very silky mouthfeel and a great roastiness without any bitter flavors and it was completely satisfying on all levels. An amazing beer all around. I just wish I could get my hands on some in my neck of the woods. This one was actually brought back from the brewery in a suitcase. I’d like to get a panel van and load it up with a palate of this stuff. Fantastic beer and one I highly recommend.
At the end of the afternoon, getting on towards evening Chris, the owner of Bier: Thirty where the gathering took place brought out one of his most coveted stouts. This was an 8.2 oz bottle of Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Brunch (You know the beer I raved about a couple weeks back) but this particular version was aged in Cognac barrels. Let me first say how grateful I am to Chris for sharing this very rare beer. Only 6 bottles of it made its way into Idaho. This beer, while very good had two strikes against it in my mind. First I don’t love Cognac, it is just a bit too harsh for me. Second the aging in barrels masked the brightness of the civet coffee for me and made it a bit muddled. While I truly appreciated the opportunity to try this rare offering, I really think it was overworked. Too many flavors vying for my palate’s attention, and it tasted a bit confused to me. Too bad.
We ended the evening with a bottle of Firestone Walker XV, their blended 15th anniversary beer. This beer is getting raves, and I will admit that my palate was pretty fried at this point, but it really didn’t do a whole lot for me. I thought it was good, but lets just say I was very happy I didn’t pay $28 for a bottle when I went to Oregon a few weeks ago.
That was it. We also had a Russian Imperial Stout that was home brewed, and tasted like it. For whatever reason it had banana esters in it and I don’t like my RIS to taste like something George of the Jungle brewed up in his kettle next to his hut. We also had some others like the Duchesse, and Troegs Nugget Nectar, but I didn’t review them here, because I already have. So all in all it was a very fun, educational and enjoyable afternoon. Thanks Chad. Can’t wait for Ungettables 4!