Monday, May 18, 2015

Six Pack O' Questions with Blacklist Brewing

This is going to be a regular feature of the Beer'd Baron and Blacklist Brewing is the lucky first brewery to get featured. I've not had the chance to sample many of their beers but they are one of my favorite small breweries based on the little bit I have had.

I emailed with Brian Schanzenbach one of the BIG WIGS at Blacklist Brewery and asked him a SIX PACK O' QUESTIONS

1. What is your favorite beer not brewed by you?

My favorite beer not brewed by me is almost impossible to decide on just one…but most memorable might be the first Ayinger Hefeweizen I had at a little restaurant outside of Munich.

2. Where did your brewery get their name?

We based our name Blacklist from the stories of sour beer producers being blacklisted from even entering other breweries from fear that they might contaminate the breweries with “wild yeast” and bacteria. Although we have not released many “sour” beers into the public we plan to go that direction in the future. I’m sure you know “sour” beers properly made take a long time. 

3. What is the worst beer you've ever brewed?

The worst beer I have ever brewed. Haha one time back in my home brewer days I made a beer for a Lord of The Rings marathon party. It was a beer with star anise, lemon peel substituting hops. Lets just say I have good friends because we still drank it. 

4. What are three yearly events you do not miss?

Three yearly events I do not miss…
1. Schanzenblast ( This year will be year 13. Its a party of close friends that                           involves beer, camping, campfire, and a little more beer. )
2. Oktoberfest in some form and location…. I can’t resist slapping on some                       lederhosen!
3. My birthday. I seem to keep getting older so I know I don’t miss it.

5. What is the best beer you've had in the last month?

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis! Sometimes the simple things well done get me the most excited!

6. Weather is sunny and you're hanging with friends - What's in the keg?

It doesn’t matter whats in the keg if its sunny and I’m hanging with my friends but probably something refreshing like a good pils or hefe.

Some great answers from a great brewer. I've only had the privilege of drinking a couple of their beers and they were both excellent. I intend on definitely trying as many as I can. If you see Blacklist Brewing beers in your local beer store, you better snatch one up and enjoy it. 

 Keep an eye out for the next 6 Pack O' Questions with another brewer. If you have a suggestion for a brewer you'd like me to try and get ahold of, leave it in the comments.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Beer'd Baron Visits: Big Axe Brewing

Finally, a Gastropub near me! I was extremely excited to visit Big Axe Brewing last night and sample their selection of beer.

Ugh...I need a better camera.

That's supposed to be a picture of the beer menu but it didn't come out too particularly well...They have 5 beers on tap and no clever names for them. Amber Ale, IPA, Chocolate Oatmeal Stout, American Wheat, and a Red Ale.

I had a flight so I could try them all and I was relatively impressed. None of them stood out as being amazing but they were all good beers. The Chocolate Oatmeal Stout was definitely lacking the point that I tasted none but it was still good. If they just called it a stout I wouldn't have been disappointed at all but since they called it a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout I was looking for chocolate that just wasn't there.

The IPA was the best beer but that's not really a surprise coming from me. I love IPA's. Big Axe's is definitely a good one. Nice citrus flavors, good hops, just a good overall IPA.

The Red, the Amber, and the Wheat were all good with the Red standing out the most. Good flavors, good hops, good beer.

I'll definitely return in the future. The food was good but I'm not going to get into that since this isn't a food blog but I will say I had a tasty cheeseburger. 

I'll be going back in the future and writing more in depth about each of their beers individually but for now I'll just say that I was satisfied.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Avery Brewing Maharaja Imperial IPA

Avery Brewing Co. is another brewer I completely new too but if this is an indication of their quality, then you can say that I'm a fan. To be fair, I'm a fan of IPA and this is a IMPERIAL IPA or an IIPA. I I CAPTAIN! 102 IBU? Yes please. I would like all of the IBU's to dance on my taste buds. 10.2 on the Drinkenscale? WHOA!  But it's just so drinkable! I wouldn't have guessed this was a 10,2 and I'm still having a hard time believing it. Are you lying to me AVERY BREWING COMPANY? Is your label a farce?!?!?

I love me an IPA, all of the bitterness and the citrus and the smell..nothing smells better than a good IPA and this is a good smelling IPA.

If it has a flaw it's that it really is another IPA but to me,..that's not really a flaw. The Maharaja doesn't really bring anything new to IPAs but I don't care because it does what it does so well.

Strange Brew Breakfast Grapefruit IPA

This beer surprised me. I don't like grapefruit. In fact, I think it's just awful. That being said, I have enjoyed a grapefruit radler in the past, most notably the Schell Shocked from August Schell Brewing This is an IPA made with grapefruit and when I poured it, I could smell the grapefruit and I got nervous. The radler works because the grapefruit doesn't really stand out. This IPA is the works because the grapefruit takes center stage. Give me a glass of grapefruit juice and I'll punch you right in the mouth. But for some reason, when you mix that flavor with beer, I suddenly like it. This grapefruit IPA comes from Strange Brewing Company out of Denver, CO. It's the first beer I've ever had from them and it puts up a strong showing. There is citrus coming out of the wazoo with this beer and I love it. The grapefruit works quite well. I think I would like this more with a different citrus fruit but I like this as is. 7.0 on the drinkenscale and pretty light so it's an easy drinker though the 65 IBU, which I think is enhanced a little by the grapefruit, might turn off some drinkers. If you get nervous about a beer over 50 IBU this might still be a good beer for you because some of the bitterness is coming from the grapefruit and it's not the same as a high IBU IPA. I will definitely drink this again given the opportunity.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Stillwater Surround...5.1 for yo mouf!

Chocolate, caramel, smoke...chestnuts roasting on an open fire...Christian Grey nipping at your nose...wait...what is that Fifty Shades blu ray doing hanging out back there?

Anyway, this is another good beer from Duluth, MN. This time from Stillwater. It's a 10,0 on the drinkenscale. Heavy and deep and dark. Luscious comes to mind. It's another smooth beer, I could just drink it and drink it and well...en up really fat but very happy as well. There's a bitterness that lies behind the chocolate an smoke and it's really good. I'm not one to talk about Mouthfeel on here, I won't mention the word mouthfeel. Good beer!

O'Dell's Tree Shaker Imperial Peach IPA

After the first two heavy and high drinkenscale beers I'd had I figured I would lighten things up a bit...

Look! You can see through it...and it has the word Peach in it! It must be lighter and lower on the drinkenscale, right? 

Well, it is...but not by much. This robust Imperial Peach IPA measures in at 8.0 which is still enough to put you down if you aren't careful. It doesn't taste like it at all though. This is a Ninja Beer. You never see it coming. One minute you're upright and enjoying life then BAM! katana in the gut. Ninja Beer. 

The peach is subtle but it's good. I'm a little concerned this beer isn't sure what it wants to be. I see IPA and I think IBU but it's relatively low at 48. I see peach and I think fruit beer but the peach isn't the star of this beer. It's a good beer, just not what's expected when you read the label. It is very crisp and refreshing though. I could sit and drink these all day but I only bought one bottle. O'Dell's has never let me down in the past. I'll keep drinking their beers going forward, that's for sure.

Surly Blakkr

Surly is one of the preeminent brewers in the Minnesota area and I try to drink their beer whenever I get a chance. The Blakkr is a collaboration between Surly, Three Floyds, and Real Ale. It's an Imperial Black IPA. You get some pineapple in the smell...this is one of the best smelling beer's I've ever had. It just smells wonderfully drinkable. The taste does not disappoint either. This is a beer that defines the word beer. Supposedly tastes of black licorice but I'm not sure I noticed that much. Instead I tasted a lot of rye and hops. This beer is about as black as a beer can get so it's aptly named. I'll drink more and I'll drink more soon.

Is this Heaven? No, it's a three year aged Yeti from Great Divide

I've never been made sad by a beer before...there is a first time for everything.

I didn't want to open it at first. It had been aging for three years and was sent to me by a good man and and and I just felt like it might be wrong of me to open it. Who am I to expose this fine brew to the air? I am but a mere mortal.
Alas, I opened it. I knew I was always going to and as the opener pried off the cap, I felt like I was destroying something beautiful. I was greeted with a most wonderful smell, chocolate, malt, caramel...wonderment.

I poured it into a glass...

Not a lot of head but a deep and rich brown, almost black filled the glass. The pour was astounding...the bottle filled the glass right to the brim. It was slightly over the edge but thanks to liquid's many unusual properties, I did not spill a drop. The first sip put a smile on my face. The chocolate and malt came through strong, a slight alcohol taste which was wonderful, but no burn at all. This is so incredibly smooth, it's like drinking Billy Dee Williams. That's it...this is the Billy Dee Williams of beer. I know he shilled Colt .45 but this beer is Billy Dee Williams in beer form. Dark, chocolate, smooth...ummm...has a head. ALL THINGS BILLY DEE WILLIAMS IS!

I'm never going to taste this beer again and that thought makes me sad. However, I will celebrate it while it exists and savor it..make it last. If by some odd circumstance you see yourself with an opportunity to drink this beer, make sure you do.

It's Been Awhile...

Expect some new posts coming from me this weekend. I'm drinking some beer right now.

Surly Blakkr
A 3 Year Old Yeti from Great Divide
A Watermelon Wheat and Pineapple Hefe from Horny Goat