Sunday, October 09, 2005

exceeding OSHA’s legal limits on IBU’s per square foot of floor space...and other good beer things

Rich O's 4th Annual Lupulin Land beer festival got under way this past Friday and Ryan (beer) and I went down. It was awesome. Roger Baylor, the owner of Rich O's, arguably the best beer bar in Indiana, if not the midwest, brings in about 25 of the world's greatest hoppy beers and puts them on tap once a year in October. Some of the highlights this year were New Albany Brewing's Elector Ale on handpull. Roger also founded and owns NABC. It was more like an ESB than anything. Really good. They also had DFH 60 minute on a Randall. It was ok, but I think Randalls work better with higher ABV beer. A Randall is a water filter housing packed with whole leaf hops that you run the beer through before it gets to your glass.

Here's Roger with the Randall.

The Two Brother's Hopjuice was good too as was NABC's Hoptimus Double IPA. It was cool because there was big hop bitterness and flavor from Fuggles hops, a British strain that imparts a really nice lemon rind character to the beer. It was also %8.5 ABV. The De Dolle Arabier was good, if a stretch for a hop festival. A good, fairly strong (%7.5 ABV) Belgian ale that had big citrus character, maybe from the hops or bitter orange peel spicing, but I think from the yeast strain employed. Could be wrong there. Also had the Belgian Hommel Ale on, a fairly hoppy, pale Belgian brew that's made in the hop growing region of Belgian. The Scottish Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA was really good, but definately another stretch in the hop department. Nice mellow hop aroma and flavor, but way more malt in the nose and flavor. A bit peat-smoky in the nose. I think that's from Belhaven's yeast, not peat smoked malt. Also had a taste of Jever Pils, a good North German Pils that packs a nice hop bitterness. They had a bunch of other good beers that I didn't get a chance to imbibe like Great Divide's Hercules DIPA, which is great out of the bottle, probably better on draft. DFH Aprihop and 90 minute, Avery IPA, and Rogue's I2PA.

Of course the nice thing about Rich O's is that even with a raging tribute to the hop going on, you can also try some awesome bottles of Belgian beer. The stand out bottle, one of the better beers I've had recently, was certainly the Panil Barrique, an Italian brewed Flemish Sour Red Ale. Crazy, I know, but really fucking good. Big, puckering sourness with a dash of the Brettanomyces funk thrown in for good measure. Nice sweetness, but I really think the sourness overpowered the sweetness in this example, not like Duchess de Bourgogne or Vichtenaar where the sweet is more prevalent. But this beer also had an extra little something in the flavor, something that added depth and turns out they're aged in Cognac barrels for 3 months. Pretty nice. It runs, I think, $18 for a 750ml. Pretty steep, but worth it. Of course Roger, being the fucking coolest dude on the planet, gave us that bottle on the house.

Ryan and I also bought a bunch of carry out bottles at really good prices. I got a bottle of Oaken Barrel's new Saison, corked and caged AND foiled 750ml for $8.50 I think. I also got a bottle of de Proef's Primitive Ale, another 750ml, for $6!! I think that price might have been a mistake. Can't wait to try that one.

Ryan picked up a bottle of Deus, the TRUE champagne of beers. %11.5 ABV, pale Belgian brewed ale that's then sent to the Champagne region of France to undergo the 'methode champagnoise' where the yeast sediment is frozen and then undergoes 'degorgement'. This beer cost like $28 for a 750ml bottle, but Ryan was generous enough to break it out when we got back to the Hotel. It was much sweeter than I expected with a distinctive sweet spicyness. I said cinammon, Ryan said nutmeg. But we both agreed.

The Deus was quite effervescent...much like champagne.

Than Ryan broke out two smaller bottles of a good Dutch brewery, 't IJ, I have no idea how to pronounce that, that makes beers in what we would call the Belgian tradition I suppose. The politcal boundaries between modern day Belgium and the Netherlands and France really don't map on to distinct brewing traditions, as if anybody would expect them to. Anyway, we tried the Zatte and the Natte, their Tripel and Dubbel. They were good, but a little harsh in the fermentation character department. I think a couple years aging would do wonders for them.

Then we went to bed, very very drunk.

It was good. Except for the ghetto ass Motel 6 we stayed in. That sucked.

Outside our hotel the next morning:

Until next time, drink a good beer.

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