Yes, it’s January. Yes, there’s snow on the ground. No, this was not a timely post. BUT I still think it’s worth mentioning this one. Surly Brewing Co.’s Zwart Black Star 8 is a Brewmaster’s collaboration between Ben Smith, Jerrod Johnson, and Dirk Naudis of De Proef Brouwerij.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie
I received this ale as part of my monthly beer club from La Bodega. While I’m not always a fan of what I get as a member of this program, I can always rest assured the beers are unique. This collaboration was not a disappointment in that arena.
The ale was bright amber in color. The note of star anise was nice, but the Brett was not. I’m just not a fan. I’ve tried so many Brett beers and my tastebuds are still very much against them. After pour, there was a really nice head, and a pleasant aroma. The first taste was sour and sweet. More than one sip proved this a complicated beer. I actually really liked the first notes. I dared to swish it around in my mouth and I got sweet, sour, and decent effervescence. Overall it was pleasant if not for the Brett. Brett fan? Run and grab this beer.
Little tidbit: this was named after Bowie’s final album “Blackstar”. My mother had a major thing for Bowie. She’s a very proper person, but when I was growing up she’d drop hints. I think the most scaring moment for me was when, after watching the movie Labyrinth, she announced that David Bowie should always wear tights as pants. Wowza. The only thing I could do to cope with the blow was wait until I had children, let them watch Labyrinth, and then let them know about Nana’s desires. Done and done. You’re welcome S and L.
To prove how much I love my mamma, and how I really did recover from too much information, here are some gratuitous shots of the man. Although, please note the Labyrinth photos have been omitted. I can only handle so much.
This is a familiar story- girl hears about new, amazing beer. Girl misses the first release. Girl’s best friend tries to bring her a growler of said beer. New, amazing beer isn’t put into growlers. Girl begins mourning process because she didn’t ever get to try beer. Brewery brings beer back on tap. Girl rushes over. Girl and new, amazing beer are united…finally. The world is a better place.
Touching isn’t it?
The Girdwood Reserve is a bourbon barrel aged stout. It’s pitch-brown in color, has very little head, and a smooth mouthfeel. Upon first approach it smells of barrel chips, and delivers a lot of flavor. There are layers for your palate’s enjoyment, including a bit of sweetness. I am happy to report it’s not even a little “barleywine-y” and is instead a very drinkable (well, sippable) barrel aged beer. Derek mentioned notes of cherry, but I enjoy cherry Lambic, so my meter is set pretty high. I was happy to let the bourbon notes shine.
This is where the story gets embarrassing- girl drinks stout. Girl hadn’t eaten much. Girl tries to have conversation with kind brewery owner. Girl realizes she’s a bit tipsy…
Even so, Josh Hegna discussed expansion with me. The team at GBC is ready to grow and moving forward with very exciting plans. It would seem they can’t make poor decisions. It does help that their backgrounds are varied- everything from law to education. It’s also a true family establishment.
Josh and I were discussing education too. Well, we were trying. Derek was enjoying his own story- the one where boy has brewery owner’s attention. Boy loses the attention and conversation strays from beer.
Boy interrupts current conversation to return to topic of beer…three times. I don’t know why I bring him. Oh ya, I love him and he loves beer as much as I do…maybe more.
Happy April 4th! I cannot believe we have started a new month already. While I’m enjoying the changing season, those of you who live in Alaska know it’s not one of our finest. Our trees and grass are brown, there’s mud everywhere, and the only fragrance is an odd mix of dog poo and freshly awakened bear. How will I survive this awkward Spring awakening? Beer. Duh.
Our selection today is Laurelwood Brewing Company’s Organic Portland Roasting Coffee Espresso Stout- whew! That’s a mouthful. I sent my hubby out with instructions to pick up something “substantial”. He didn’t disappoint. The stout satisfied my urge for something heavy and flavorful. The smell, unlike nature’s current concoction, is earthy and heavy on the coffee. The taste is like a really good mocha: light sugar, smooth, and primarily coffee flavored. I won’t say it has a chewy mouthfeel, but it isn’t remotely light.
I appreciate that Oregon’s Laurelwood partnered with a local coffee company on this one. In business since 1996, they became carbon neutral in 2008 and intend to stay that way. If you visit them, it becomes clear coffee is their “baby” and it shows in this collaboration.
Derek wasn’t too comment-y on this one. I got to enjoy most of it myself. (Whoot!) His only suggestion was that I “please don’t duck-pout” when I was taking pictures of myself drinking.
First, as if! Second, pshaw! I don’t duck lip unless he does it too and we send the pic to our teenage girls. That is a perfectly understandable situation. To be sure I kept him happy, I photo bombed him so he could monitor my lip movements.
Years ago my husband and I started a very personal relationship with beer- we began to brew at home. As all good home-brewers know, it’s required by law that one drinks while brewing. (This honors the beer god Brewlius and almost guarantees a great batch.) Sadly, as with many good things, time created a couple of monsters out of us. Now we find ourselves fascinated by brew regardless of brewday.
Due to our affliction for which we know of no cure, I have decided to raise it to an artistic level because everyone knows that once it’s “art”, it’s ok. As a matter of fact, it usually catches on and is deemed socially acceptable and glorious. Admittedly my beer knowledge comes from great discussions with smart people, reading books and articles, and a pure excitement for the stuff, so please take this “with a grain” and hopefully my words will add to your adventure with beer.