Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's Winter, DRINK UP!

 Drinking season is upon us, been a great month so far.  Went to Three Penny Taproom in our great capital city and celebration of Dogfish Craft Brews.  Recently of course Sam and his amazing beers have seen a spike in popularity due in part to the Discovery Channel show "Brewmasters" which by the way I highly recommend, maybe some of the J6P crowd will gain some appreciation or understanding into the process, pricing, and such. Or, maybe not. Regardless, with 12 beers to choose from we had a great night at TPT.

They offered up flights so we could try a ton, in total I at least tried 10 of 12! Bitches Brew remains a favorite, and on draft it was divine. I also loved Pangaea, quite a tasty treat. Smelled great, tasted even better. TPT staff rules and we walked out with glassware and a bottle opener that could double as a shiv in case we got into a rumble on the way to the car. If you haven't been down to TPT, make it happen. They are one of two bars in this state that have it right. Keep reading to hear about the other.

Take a beer break if you need it.....

Yesterday was of course the day of darkness, the day winter officially arrives.  Carefully positioning itself close to the holiday hoping we pay it no attention. Generally I dread this day, but thanks to the Farmhouse Tap & Grill in downtown Burlington it became a day that I really looked forward to. The holidays aren't my favorite, and winter is only tolerable because of snowboarding but it does help to live in such a great state of beers!

I had a couple tasty beers at the Scuffer Steak and Ale House prior to heading the farm including an Abita Christmas ale, rare to see on draft in this area and Brooklyn Brewery Cuvee Noire. Unreal tasty bevy that you must get your hands on. Strong, complex, and smoky this is a beer for the ages. Scuffer doesn't rock proper glassware but they served this beast in a standard pint, and I was happy for the extra pour!

To the farm....

Farmhouse held a great event, aptly named "DARKNESS, DARKNESS" and a great event it was.  I'm a regular to their fine establishment, and am always treated like family and last night was no different. They have a great staff, knowledgeable, passionate about craft beer, and fun to be around.

It's a rare treat to see an Oyster Stout on draft, so I started there and if you follow me on Facebook, Foursquare, or Redpint this isn't news to you. So Marston's in hand, the night got rolling. I was a little disappointed with this brew, but it was true to the English stout syle. Dry, and easy to drink but lacked the salty brine that should accompany an oyster stout. So it was on to the next one.

My next brew was perhaps one of the best coffee stouts that I've had, and this wasn't my first time having it but I've only seen it twice and couldn't pass it up. Earl, from Hill Farmstead Brewery up in the Northern Kingdom of Vermont. Shaun Hill is earning a great reputation, and it's well deserved. His brews are epic, and this one is one of his best. Well balanced, big roasty nose, great mouth-feel, and a finish that makes you perk up. Nice work.

Did you say Quad? On draft no less? In Vermont? Sure this was more common when I lived in NYC but to get a Quad on tap here is a rare treat. La Trappe is the brewery, one of the oldest around still done the way it was hundreds of years ago and the beer was tasty. For a quad this was very easy to drink, dangerously so. I think I could have had several and found myself in a bad place! Lots of cherry, a little woody, great sipper. Loved it.

When I said he was good, I meant it. Finished with another Hill Farmstead brew that is certainly his best called "Twilight of the Idols" this is a porter sent from above. Bourbon soaked vanilla beans, nice and hoppy. As good as it gets. Do yourself a favor and seek out his brews. They don't disappoint.

So that was it for me, so far as I know. Great night all in all with good friends, and my lovely lady. If the holidays get you down, and the darkness of winter is too much. Grab yourself a dark beer (or a light one if that is your fancy), surround yourself with people that cheer you up, and get sipping.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Social Media & Drinking

Like many of you I'm sure, social media plays a pretty significant role in my life. Perhaps not, but it is how I stay connected to those things that are important to me like family, friends, and yep you guessed it BEER.

I'm a self proclaimed beer geek, and my obsession for the sweet nectar of life goes way beyond the bottle. These days I find myself researching, tweeting, and sometimes dreaming of my malty mistress. I passionately follow beer bars from beyond the borders of VT, many that I've frequented like The Pony Bar, and Rattle & Hum in my second city NYC. Many others that I've never stepped foot into but hope to some day. I follow the ebb and flow of the draft line, one keg down another comes up like I was at a sporting event. Thus far my favorite Vermont stomping ground The Farmhouse has yet to move far beyond simple events on Facebook, but the other great beer bar in Vermont Three Penny Taproom in our state capital does find time for the occasional tweet.  For the most part though, my great state is slightly behind on the social media bandwagon.

Recently I've discovered social media apps like Red Pint, and Untapped that feel a little like Foursquare with a purpose for me. Although I'm likely one of just a handful of users here in the great Green Mountain State I still feel compelled update my status even though nobody but my brewing buddy would likely see. Not surprisingly the more I drink the more I update, what is the motivation for that I wonder? I might check into a bar, then tag myself on Facebook, and then add a beer and review on Red Pint. This is madness.

Oh yeah, and now I apparently blog about it.

Enjoying a very limited bottled release of Trout River Knight Slayer, part of the Darkside series.  Delicious, if you can get your hands on some I'd recommend it. Previously I only had this beauty of an Imperial Stout at the Vermont Brewers Festival.  Pours nearly opaque with very little head into a snifter, smells of slight ethanol and coffee notes. Pretty easy drinking for an Imperial, gets even better as it warms up just like any other brew of this variety.  Check it out, I think you will dig it.