Friday 10 January 2014

Beer Party!!

Over the holidays, a group of friends and I finally got together to enjoy some of the cross-border beauties our friend had legally smuggled over the border this summer. Yes, I am talking about craft beer... Lucky for us we only scratched the surface of his beer stash, that means another beer party will be in order! The selection was awesome, we had representation from 9 distinct breweries and a total of 18 distinct brews. On hand were: Allagash, Dogfish Head, Orkney Brewery, Grado Plato, Stone, Kiuchi Brewery, Anchor Brewing, Southern Tier, and Huyghe Brewery.

Our Friend and host, Dan, graciously supplied us with a nice spread of cheese, pizza, club sandwiches, and his oh-so-delicious oatmeal, banana and chocolate chip cookies.

My goal here is to provide you with a nice summary of what I thought of each beer, without getting into the details - most of which I do not remember. So instead of supplying you with a the usual Ratebeer formula of apperance, aroma, taste, palette, etc. Rather, I will rate them on a 5-point likert scale that looks like this:
  1. Poor
  2. Average
  3. Good
  4. Very Good
  5. Excellent
 Of course I will also supply the Ratebeer rating alongside my super-subjective ratings.

Namaste by Dogfish head. This is Dogfish head's attempt at a Witbier, and yes they did a good job. However, it is far from being the best Witbier I have had to date and underwhelming compared to their other brews. So I will rate it as:

Jean: Good
RateBeer: 94

You may all be wondering why our scores are so different. Well, I did not say I did not like it, but it was not as pleasing to my palette as some others. So there you have it.

Red & White by Dogfish head. I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. It is a big beer and it drinks well, what more could I want. Rating:

Jean: Very good
Ratebeer: 97

While I do give this beer a "very good" rating I do not remember too much about it, except that it was dry and nicely so. I recommend this beer.

Curieux by Allagash. This beer had a lot of hype going in, because whenever something is "barrel aged" there is an automatic assumption of quality. That being said, this is an awesome beer, but yeah, I was expecting a little more "je ne sais quoi". Rating:

Jean: Very good
Ratebeer: 99

I am a big fan of Allagash, but sadly have not had enough exemplars. I will make an effort to fix that.  

Dragonhead by The Orkney Brewery (Sinclair Brewery). Amazing! I was really blown away by this one, of all the beers this one really stood out for me. Maybe I was not expecting much from a beer with such a cheesy label, but I definitely need to try another one. It was very smooth, rich, and smokey, but not overly so. It seemed like I was drinking peat moss, that may not sound great, but it was. Rating:

Jean: Excellent
Ratebeer: 81

Apparently Ratebeer and I do not see rating to rating, oh well.

Birra Etrusca Bronze by Dogfish Head. Yeah, if you can tell already we like us our Dogfish head. Ok, I am not sold on this one, its fine. If you find it somewhere and say you have never had it before, go for it. Otherwise, I do not think you are missing out on much. Rating:

Jean: Average
Ratebeer: 89

To each there own, and this one was not for me. The only thing of note is the Hawaiian Barack Obama bottle opener used to open it, Thanks Age!

Strada San Felice by Birrificio Grado Plato. I drank this beer before having read the label and I was quiet astounded by the unique, if not peculiar, flavour on my palette. It turned out that Grado Plato made this beer with chestnuts - a very Italian thing to do. The chestnuts are very present throughout the beer, and if you are thinking, "Well, I do not like chestnuts". I would say to you, "Well then you will not like this beer". On the other hand, for all you chestnut enthusiasts this one is for you! Rating:

Jean: Good
Ratebeer: 81

The Grado Plato's use of chestnuts is very original and makes good use of Italian terroir. I will be on the look out for anything Grado Plato in the future.

Old Guardian by Stone Brewing. Measured by any standard this is a wonderful Barley Wine. It easily compares to Brasseur de Montreal's 5th anniversary (I had it in a Champagne Bottle), though, I would give the upper hand to BDM. Rating:

Jean: Excellent
Ratebeer: 99

I loved this beer, but Quebec Barley Wines are superior.

Dubbel Reserve by Allagash. I have had this one before, and I enjoyed it as much the second time as I did the first. It is a very good beer. Rating:

Jean: very good
Ratebeer: 94

The beer is exactly what you expect, it does not let down.


Hitachino Nest, Espresso Stout (no Espresso Stout on their website) by Kiuchi Brewery.  Ok, these have got to be the cutest bottles ever. Does the beer live up to the cuteness? I do not know what that even means, but the Espresso Stout is very good, everything you might expect from a coffee flavoured stout. Rating:

Jean: Very Good
Ratebeer: 99

Hitachino Nest, White Ale by Kiuchi brewery. Before these I did not know of Japan's microbreweries, I never bothered to research them either, but Hitachino Nest beers make me want to go to Japan so much more. I only got a little taste of the White Ale, and I only thought it was good. Rating:

Jean: Good
Ratebeer: 88

A good reason to go to Japan.

Sixty-One by Dogfish head. I love this beer. I love the fruity grapeyness. I love that they took their emblematic brew, sixty-minute IPA, tweaked it, and it worked. I think it is an excellent beer. Rating:

Jean: Excellent
Ratebeer: 73

I like grape must in beer, what else can I say. I suppose it is a polarizing issue. 

Love it or hate it, but first try it.

 Chicory Stout by Dogfish Head. An obvious classic. Every time I have this beer I fall in love with it again and again. What more can I say, excellent. Rating:

Jean: Excellent
Ratebeer: 95 

If there is one beer you must have from Dogfish head it is this one... well, also the Palo Santo Marron and Indian Brown Ale... And 90 minute IPA. I clearly love Dogfish Head.

Crème Brûlée by Southern Tier. I had this one earlier this year (Summer 2013 in Delaware) and I feel the same way about it now as I did then, too sweet. It tastes exactly as its name suggests, like crème brûlée. This one is not a winner for me. Some of my friends really adored this beer; sorry guys, this one is average. Rating:

Jean: Average
Ratebeer: 98 

My gleefully photo-bombing friend really enjoyed the beer. Well, there you have it, another polarizing beer and this time I am the hater.

Festina Peche by Dogfish Head. On their website Dogfish Head calls this beer a "Neo-Berliner Weisse". If "neo" is another way to say we tried but failed then I agree; otherwise it is a very peachy weiss beer. I like it, but not more than that. Is it summer time refreshing? Sure it is, but it is not a session beer as more than one bottle will leave you all peached out. Rating:

Jean: Good
Ratebeer: 66

First had this one at their brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I ordered a pint and realized that that was way too much, after a while I gave up.

Liberty Ale by Anchor Brewing. Maybe it was that it was the only american pale ale of the night, or because it was my second last beer and I was already feeling it, but I felt rejuvenated, refreshed, and in high-spirits after I drank this one. Fantastic beer! Dare I say perfect!? Indeed. Rating:

Jean: Excellent
Ratebeer: 95

After all the stouts and barrel aged whatevers, an american pale ale really hit the spot.

Delirium Nocturnum by Brouwerij Huyghe. Looking at the photo your probably saying to yourself that Jean must be a pretty funny guy, well not really; at this point in the night most anything would have made us laugh. 

The last beer. I had to pack up quick, so this, the Noturnum, was my last beer of the night. All I seem to remember is that it was very good, and also very warming. Rating:

Jean: Very good
Ratebeer: 94

What a wonderful night we had, full of great beers and mouthwateringly awesome cookies. Hopefully another Beer Party will be had soon enough!!

This ends my post. Thank you all so much for taking the time to read about our Beer Party!!. I hope you enjoyed the photos. And, feel free to post a comment if you have an opinion you want to share on any of the beers mentioned in the post.


- Jean

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