Uh-oh, the fiancee is out of town, so you know what that means! After doing a little freelance work up at Lush Roscoe, Thursday night was dedicated to watching the NBA Finals and raiding the ol’ beer cellar. As always, these beers were purchased outside the state of Illinois and are not available in this market.
Deschutes Brewing Company Hop Trip
Whoops. Well, mistakes will happen. Deschutes is a cool brewery out of Bend, Oregon, and the Hop Trip is their seasonal harvest ale. Harvest ales are made during the annual hop harvest in the fall, and I first had this one in Boulder last November when visiting my family. I didn’t realize that I had brought a bottle home until I started rooting around my beer assortment, and eight months was probably a little longer than this beer was intended to sit. Oh well, here goes nothing.
The fresh, tangy, fruit-and-spice notes that I remember from this beer had definitely faded over the past 3/4 of a year. At 5.5% ABV, this beer doesn’t really have what it takes to stand up to a long time in the bottom of my closet. The malts were still fighting, giving a creamy, vanilla flavor that the beer didn’t showcase during its prime. Still enjoyable, but hard to appreciate while knowing what I’d missed. Family feasts, Cowboy football and harvest ales–fall is definitely my favorite time of the year.
Stone Brewing Company Arrogant Bastard Ale
This beer pretty well somes up the brewer’s approach to the “Extreme Beer” market. Brew an intense, high-alcohol beer that blurs the lines between traditional styles, market it with a catchy (hopefully subversive) name and nurture your grassroots following as intensely as possible. Drinking it pretty well sums up my consumer reaction to the Extreme Beer market: intense enjoyment followed by the inability to walk in a straight line.
This is another beer that came home with me from Colorado, but this was the first time I have ever had the chance to try it. After the dissapointment provided by my geriatric Hop Trip, the first whiff of this Bastard indicated the night would not be for lost. The first word that came to my mind came in all caps: CARAMEL. Buttressed by some amazing and inexplicable notes of dark, dried fruit, this beer showed just how great a rich dose of malts can be. The hops were fresh and piney and kept the beer from becoming an Aunt Jemima-esque syrupy mess, but it’s definitely the malts that steal the show on this beer. After finishing the bottle, I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite beers. Now I only wish I could get some here.
Until next time,