Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Respect Beer

There are so many communities of beer lovers in the world, that you can't fully participate in all of them -- I do my best to keep current with beer events I can walk to from my house in Southeast Portland. One worthy community is the group of beer aficionados that has coalesced around the magazine Beer Advocate and its well-organized website. Beer Advocate's motto is "Respect Beer" -- you better not argue with that. The website holds thousands of thoughtful reviews of craft beers from around the world.

The BA community has also spawned a culture of beer trading, allowing a wonderful cross-pollination of zymurgical culture as people ship beer across the artificial boundaries of bureaucracy. My crippling fear of the post office keeps me from participating in such activities, but this past weekend I was lucky enough to go to an imperial stout tasting at Brian and Sharon's house, fueled partially by Brian's impressive beer cellar, partially by contributions from Brian's local acquaintances from Beer Advocate.

Here are some of the amazing stouts opened at Brian's on Saturday (most of them unavailable in Oregon):
  • Brooklyn Brewing Black Ops: big and good
  • Skagit River Trumpeter: malty goodness
  • Avery Mephistopheles: 16% awesome
  • Southern Tier Imperial Oat (2007): smooth and malty
  • Schlafly (St. Louis) Imperial Stout (2006): flat but rich and tasty
  • Voodoo Black Magick: heavy whisky dark stout -- nice but too much
  • Goose Island Bourbon County: nice, smooth and strong
  • Terrapin Beer Coffee Oatmeal: good and coffeeish
  • Bell's Expedition Stout: very nice
  • Three Floyd's Dark Lord (2008): big, sweet, minute-long finish
  • Dark Lord (2006): same but darker flavor
  • Port Brewing Old Viscosity (2007): stouty and delicious -- awesome
Forgive my simple-minded descriptions: I'm not a wine guy. Those were some fantastic stouts, but perhaps more impressive was the great camaraderie and friendliness of the Beer Advocates at the tasting. There was a sincere interest in all things beery, and a great generosity in sharing some hard-to-find bottles. I was pleased to meet local blogger dabeers of Beer Around Town, who is active in the Beer Advocate scene. I actually held off a few days on this post, thinking he'd beat me to a writeup. Oh yeah, the Old Rasputin Cheesecake was a thing of beauty also -- nice work, Les!

Now I need to make it to one of Ezra's tastings...


  1. I'm simultaneously jealous and intimidated… I doubt I could handle more than an ounce of each, but I want to! :)

    Bourbon County Stout is one of my favorites… very similar to Full Sail's bourbon-aged Top Sail, but richer - thicker mouthfeel, stronger chocolate flavor - and oh-so-smooth-yet-spectacularly-strong bourbon flavor. Definitely a room-temperature sipper…

    I just picked up a bottle of Mephistopheles at John's Market last Friday, but I've not had the pleasure of cracking it just yet… that will be a special occasion indeed; if it's close to Dogfish Head's World Wide Stout, it'll be worth the expense.

    None of the others I've even seen in person… jealousy rising.


  2. anónimo: I was taking very small samples of everything. And there were about the same number again that I tried but didn't list (not quite as good). Luckily there were plenty of snacks to keep me from going cross-eyed.

    That Mephistopheles is a thing of beauty, you'll love it.

  3. Thanks to Brian and Sharon to hosting such a fun event, and inviting us into their home...especially those of us with toddlers. It was a rare treat for Dave and I to go out together, and not have to find a sitter. P.S. thr southern tier was the only one I tried, but it tasted really yummy, even when pregnant ;)

  4. Bill,

    Great times for sure. I think my favorite brews of the night were the 06 Darklord, Heavyweight BA Old Salty, and Surly 16 Grit IIPA. Good thing there was a ton of food to balance all the beer out. What was opened after I left?


  5. After you left, Derek? Hmmm...
    Were you around for the Nogne O Dark Horizon side-by-side? The Surly Darkness? The curiously good, 2 year+ old Clipper City Heavy Seas Uber Pils?

    What a great night, thanks to all for attending and sharing! Sharon & I look forward to the next one!


  6. Derek: I left before you did! I even missed the Nøgne Ø :-(.

    You're right, that Surly 16-Grit was fantastic. I didn't include it because it wasn't a stout.