I attended the Bottle Shop’s beer tasting again at the Goods Shed on the 3rd. Sadly, it was the last I’ll be able to experience before we have to leave the area, but it was really a spectacular lineup of beers paired with good company, as usual. I met up with Tim, my fellow beer traveler, in time to have a pre-tasting beer over dinner at the Goods Shed. On previous evenings we’ve sampled the wares of Simon the raw foods vendor for dinner, but he was out of town so we made do with hearty chunks of frittata begged off of another vendor as she was closing up shop.
Below, Tim’s raising his glass of Kernel Black IPA — an astonishingly good beer. Note that the tin of crisps, enthusiastically recommended by Dave at the Bottle Shop, is “Roast Lamb & Mint” flavor. The Brits are wild about their flavored crisps (e.g. roasted chicken, sausage and mustard, chutney, paprika, etc). I expressed healthy skepticism about Lamb & Mint when Dave suggested them. He enthused about the fact that they contain “real lamb fat” as though that was a good thing. I must admit that they were pretty darned tasty.
The beer tasting got underway a little past 7:30, and there was a much smaller crowd this month — thankfully. We started off with Camden Town’s Hells Lager, a Helles-style pilsner. They’re not really my thing, but this one was clean and fresh and was nicely hopped. Then on to Dogfish Head’s Red & White (10%), which is basically a Belgian-style wit that has pinot noir juice added before fermentation, then spends time aging in oak tanks. It’s not obvious from that description that the result would be drinkable, but it was really an intriguing beer — almost a wine.
Then on to Ballast Point’s Big Eye IPA (7%). This beer was exactly my thing. (Some followed me home.) Just a lovely American-style IPA, strongly hopped with Columbus and Centennial.
Next up was Lost Abbey’s Lost and Found (7%). Below, Ian’s listening to Andy introduce this Trappist-style beer, brewed with raisins and German hops. It was pretty special. I bought a bottle and sent it home with Tim so we can enjoy it at his place in a week or two. (He assures me he won’t drink it before then.)
Then on to Brew Dog’s Bitch Please Islay (12.5%). If Dogfish Head’s Red & White is a wit that wants to be a wine, this is a barley wine that wants to be whiskey. It’s brewed with peated malts from Islay, then aged for 18 months in old Laphroig casks. Yow! Delicious, but to be savored in small doses. (It made me very happy though, as illustrated below.)
As if that weren’t extreme enough, the next beer was Brew Dog’s Paradox Jura (15%). It’s an Imperial Stout that’s aged for nine months in oak barrels that first housed American bourbon, then Scottish whisky. The flavor from the barrels went really well with the stout. I think. Most of my taste buds were missing in action by this point.
Then Andy introduced the final beer of the evening, Mikkeller’s Black Hole, White Wine Edition (13.1%). An Imperial Stout aged in oak barrels that once held white wine. Another huge taste experience.
But wait! The show was not yet over. After the end of the official tasting I bought another Ballast Point IPA to share with Tim, Ian, and Laura. Tim then reciprocated with something really special: Mikkeller’s Nelson Sauvignon (9%). A strong Belgian-style ale fermented with ale yeast and brettanomyces, then aged three months in Austrian white wine casks. Thanks Tim! By then we’d broken out some apples (from yet another vendor at the Goods Shed), and Andy stole some excellent cheese for us from the cheese vendor. (He assured us he’d settle up with the cheese guy eventually.)
Where else but the Goods Shed? Besides the Bottle Shop, we sampled the wares of four different vendors during our evening, and were exposed to some exceptional beers. No wonder folks come from miles around for these evenings!