Well it was SF beer week recently so we continued the trend and had a beer tasting this month at the City Beer Store instead of whisky. In truth though the planning for this get together had been a couple months in the making. Saying that I spend a little time at the City Beer Store is a bit of an understatement. Saying Nate spends a little time there passes the boarder and drives straight into the heartland of ridiculous. Sometimes getting a seat in the quaint shop is difficult and competition can be fierce.
The City Beer Store is a great, no, fabulous beer store that stocks a great selection of craft beers from all of the country and all over the world. In addition to selling bottles of beer, Craig and Beth, owners of the store, have a few taps working so you can enjoy while you are there. Of course you can always pop open one of the bottles and have a drink for an extra $1.
Beth had planned out a great menu of beers for us to try on Wednesday night. She knew we are a whisky crowd so she chose primarily barrel aged beers. We also were treated to some great chocolate to snack on during the tasting that went great with these deep rich beers. I didn’t take any pictures and I didn’t take any notes on the beers. I was there to enjoy the experience and the company of 15 other friends, so any impressions are only from memory.
The first one in the lineup was the Allagash Curiuex a tripel Belgian aged in former Jim Beam barrels. The Curiuex was a deep yet crisp fruity Belgian with lots of spices (not the chili kind). There was also a lot of sweetness to it – but not cloying. I personally, had a hard time picking up the whiskey notes from the barrel aging. While others identified it almost immediately.
The second beer of the night was the Ballast Point Sea Monster – the only non-barrel aged beer of the night. Don’t be fooled though, this stout packed a whole lot of flavor. Great roasted notes with bitter chocolate made me thirsty for more!
We jumped back into the whiskey barrel again with the third beer, Old Viscosity from 2009. This is a bourbon barrel aged blend. Although the color was dark and brooding the blended character of this beer actually helped to smooth it out. It didn’t have the sharp sweet tones that are usually present in bourbon aged beers. It initially had a little too much carbonation for my liking and was too cold. However, after letting it sit for awhile and warm up it became a lot more drinkable.
The last beer of the night got right back to our whisky background, Brewdog’s Paradox Isle of Arran. I really was expecting to have my tongue blown out of the water knowing Brewdog’s background. However, it wasn’t as “out there” as I was expecting. There were nice chocolate and roasted notes in there and a touch of the oak. I could have used a bit more of the Arran cask influence. A good beer nonetheless though!
Everyone seemed to have a great time. For some this was there first foray into craft beers. It was a bit of a turn off of our normal whisky path to the displeasure of some but to the great delight of others. About 8 of those that came out had never been to the City Beer Store before – as a result of this event Nate and I now have an additional 8 other people we have to compete with to get a seat.