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BBQ and Nøgne Ø of Norway

Taken April 27th, 2009 by The Beertographer

Went to Fette Sau again last night for our co-homebrewer Tim's birthday and had some delicious Pulled Pork Shoulder, Pork Belly and Spicy Sausage coupled with Potato Salad and Guss' Half Sour Pickles. All paired with some Arcadia Pappy's Old Ale, which surprisingly was a good combination.

Afterwards, we ventured just across the street to Spuyten Duyvil (again), mainly because it was very nice out, and they've just expanded their backyard area. It had completely slipped our minds that Kjetil Jikiun of Nøgne Ø would be appearing to debut some of his brews on tap for the first time in the US. Their offerings were the Imperial Stout, the India Pale Ale and the Framboise de Porter. There seems to be no reviews anywhere on the net for this one, so my guess is that it's brand new. But if you're into sour beers, this may just be the king.

At first, it's incredibly jarring. In fact, I ordered the "Vanilla Porter" without even noticing the "de Framboise" written underneath of it. A patron nearby quickly turned and exclaimed that it was sour and pretty intense. I remarked that I loved sour beers, but the bartender brought me a taste anyways, just to be safe. The combination of a smooth, vanilla-infused porter with a vinegar-sour intensity. One of the most complex and interesting beers I've ever had. The only negative would be that it might be tough to drink a second, but I feel that is often the case with sour ales.

If anyone is in the Philadelphia area, it will be debuting tonight at Monk's Cafe.


2008 Sly Fox Christmas Ale

Taken December 25th, 2008 by The Beertographer

To drink or to cellar? A question that a craft beer drinker faces frequently when purchasing stouts, strong ales and like in this situation, a winter warmer. This is the 2008 Sly Fox Christmas Ale. The one above I got for, youguessedit, Christmas and it was pretty good. Slight spicy, cinnamon flavors, but not too high on the alcohol at 6.5%. A few weeks ago, when it was still cold, I encountered another bottle of this and decided to pick it up. It's sat in the back of my fridge since then, and now it's in the 80s. So, should I sit on it for a year or should I just have a Christmas in Spring?


IPA Showdown

Taken April 22nd, 2009 by The Beertographer

After the Cantillon/de la Senne event at Spuyten Duyvil the other night, my homebrewing friends and I decided to do a bit of an IPA style session. We grabbed 7 different IPAs readily available at the corner bodega (L to R above): Smuttynose, Lagunitas, Brooklyn EIPA, Goose Island, Blue Point Hoptical Illusion, Arcadia and Stone, and compared them all.

I came away finding it to be a close call between the Smuttynose and Stone as the best representation of the style. Both have a fresh, sticky-hoppy taste balanced perfectly with citrus bitterness.

It's all a matter of personal preference though, as Tim's #1 was Smuttynose with Goose Island coming in second and Jeff's #1 was the Brooklyn EIPA. In reality, every one of these beers would be an enjoyable quaff (I can't possibly be using that word correctly).


Belgium via Brooklyn

Taken April 22nd, 2009 by The Beertographer

Last night, brewers Jean Van Roy of Cantillon and Yvon de Baets of de la Senne poured their deliciously rare brews at Spuyten Duyvil in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This was actually the first time that anyone from Cantillon has ever been to the US, and being able to get their beers on tap is a rare treat, so of course we had to stop by.

I had the Cantillon Kriek (pictured above and pronounced "creek", which I only learned after googling), a 5% Lambic. This was one unique beer. Your tongue is attacked by sourness, sweetness and cherry notes all at once. You almost get a vinegar taste, but not in a bad way. I don't think I'd ever had a Kriek before, but I would definitely want to have more.

I was also able to try the Cantillon Broucsella 1900 and the Brasserie De La Senne Equinox which were both superb as well.

These excellent Belgian brews only add fuel to the fire of our plan to do a Belgian Brewery tour in October 2010.


Black Storm Imperial Stout

Taken April 15th, 2009 by The Beertographer

Beer: Black Storm Imperial Stout
Russian Imperial Stout 11.5% ABV

Brewery: The Brew Keeper (North Ridgeville, OH)

No chance in hell would anyone ever be able to guess this was a 11.5% beer. Sheesh. I let it warm for about 15 minutes and then decanted into my new Dogfish Head "Shaped" Pint glass. It's got a nice dark mocha head and a roasty coffee aroma. It's insanely smooth and not overly thick, almost porter-like in its mouthfeel. Not sure of this brewery's distribution, but I would definitely seek out more from them.