Friday, September 30, 2011

Tonight: Lompoc Monster Mash Release Party

[Editor's Note:  Meet It's Pub Night's newest guest bloggers, Brian and Sharon!  I've been begging them for weeks to write something for the blog, and here they are.  You may have already met them at Portland beer events, and in addition to being great people, Brian is a local Beer Advocate linchpin (msubulldog25), a relentless festival volunteer, and BA's BeerFly Guide for Oregon.  They attended a preview of Lompoc's Monster Mash Release Party this week, and submitted this post about the beers that will be available there.  The Monster Mash Release Party is tonight, Friday Sept. 30, 2011, 4 - 11 PM at the Lompoc 5th Quadrant Sidebar.]

When we were first invited to this event, we thought “Lompoc is solid… sure, why not.” Then we saw the line up: their beloved Monster Mash Imperial Porter, a Condor Pale fermented in bourbon barrels with sour cherries, a 2008 Belgian-style Golden?!... Say no more, count us in! Considering our palates are often polar opposites, we decided to taste these independently and compare notes after the fact. Let’s see how they stack up, in the order they were tasted:

Flamingo – Condor Pale Ale fermented in bourbon barrels with 35 lbs. of sour cherries. (5.2%):

Brian: (one I rarely order…). Brewed with cherries and aged in bourbon barrels, the result is a reasonable tartness, a hazy rosy appearance and surprisingly sweet and rather light-bodied beer. Easy to drink.

Sharon: Big bourbon at the front. The carbonation reminded me of a dry, Belgian champagne style. Slightly sour, not overwhelming. Without knowing the details, its darker color led me to expect something heavy and syrupy like a quad, but it was light and refreshing.

Monster Mash – Imperial Porter (8.1%): an annual hodgepodge of leftover ingredients which was described by the brewers as ‘great’ some years, and somewhat ‘undrinkable’ in others. Not a glowing endorsement by a brewer, but refreshingly honest.

Brian: Poured into a large teardrop. Big and darkly roasted , fudgy chocolate and dark coffee. A tiny bit hot, sweetness without a great deal of complexity – but that’s not bad, as it helps with drinkability. Hardly seems 8+%, extremely smooth.

Sharon: Goes down easy for a big beer, almost too easy. Strong malty flavor, but tasted more like coffee than chocolate for me. For a second, I thought I was drinking a stout. Regardless, MMmmmmmm, pass me another.

Bourbon barreled Monster Mash – Barrel aged for 1 year in 2009, bottled since Aug 2010.

Brian: Mellow, with a latent boozy warmth, vanilla and sweet wood. Looks still, feels silky.

Sharon: Wow, of the two, I prefer this. The big bourbon flavor really brought out the chocolate. This would be my perfect after-dinner winter beer.

Mon Cheri – Belgian-style golden ale brewed in Jan 2008 (6.4%)

Brian: I don’t recall there being any fruit added, but the end result was mildly citrusy and berry-sweetened with a heavy ‘cereal’ graininess. Not bad, but seemed past its prime. Fun to try, though maybe not a keg that benefitted from the extra cellar time.

Sharon: Je t’aime! The Belgian Golden is currently my favorite style and this was truly my darling of the evening. A little tart, it was sweet but not syrupy and, for me, had a floral nose. For a beer that was aged 3 years, it was incredibly complex yet balanced.

Bierz Brown – Dark brown ale (5.3%): an ‘unfinished’ creation by newest brewer, Irena Bierzynski. To be bottled this Friday.

Brian: A sessionable and rather tasty brown, full of cocoa and roasted nutshells and an ever-so-slight tartness. Only distributed at Lompoc pubs.

Sharon: While still a bit young, this malty, session beer went down easy and I could see it pairing well with food, especially in the Fall. Speaking of young, this is a first time brew by Lompoc’s newest addition, Irena “Brew Ha Ha” Bierzynski. She’s a recent Lewis & Clark grad/chemistry major and after hearing how she came to be at Lompoc, it’s clear she’s passionate about brewing and this is just the start to a bright future for her.

Steaming California – Steam beer brewed with an American Pils yeast strain fermented at ale temps. (5%)

Brian: Steam beers aren’t a style I’m all that familiar with. Since we were trying these out of order and were growing more sociable by this time, this final beer was deemed ‘spicy… a little dry… crisp and fruity’ according to my notes. That’s all I’ve got.

Sharon: solid, but the strong flavors of the other beers overpowered it, leaving it forgettable.

C-Note – Brewed with 7 “C” hops: Crystal, Cluster, Cascade, Chinook, Centennial, Columbus, and Challenger. Clocks in at 100 IBUs. (6.9%)

Brian: Prior to pouring, brewers Jerry Fechter and Dave Fleming tossed around the story of C-Note’s origins. Apparently the first version, crafted in 1991 – for the Horse Brass Pub’s 25th Anniversary, was a result of brewers aiming to outdo each other; the final product was an ‘all C hops’ beer that was pretty much unheard of at the time. That C-Note recipe is now the winter favorite, C-Sons Greetings. This ain’t too shabby – no notes, just a lovely hop-intense mouthful.

Sharon: “How big is yours?” In PDX, IPA’s = Dick wars. Originally a huge IPA now called C-sons Greetings, C-Note was retooled to be a smaller, more lunchtime friendly brew. Seeing as I’m not a hophead, it helped that I had a few beers to warm me up and dull my taste buds – 100 IBUs is no joke. That said, it was quite tasty. I ended on this and yes, 6.9% is just big enough for this girl.

Many thanks to Lompoc for showing us a good time! It was a fun way to spend a Tuesday night, hanging out with other beer geeks and hearing the brewers talk firsthand about how their beers were created. We’re definitely looking forward to the Crystal Missile at the Hops Fest this weekend.

Further reading about tonight's Monster Mash party:

1 comment:

  1. Wonder is Old Lompoc is at the GABF? Everyone else is!