Thursday, April 2, 2015

Week 6: 40 Beers 40 Nights

The more hoppy beer you drink, the harder it is to enjoy the lighter stuff. It’s not that all lighter stuff is bad. It’s just that it stops tasting like beer and therefore doesn't satisfy that beer fix I find myself jonesing for at the end of a long night. Then again, maybe it’s just that it hasn't been warm yet this year and once the temperature spikes, witbiers and session lagers will be refreshing.

36 beers into this thing, I’m realizing something else. I’m running out of beers to try. There are way more than 36 beers out there, but I’m trying not to do the same brewery twice and I've nearly exhausted the beer stores most convenient to my home and office. I might have to get on a bus or a train to make the final week work.
Wednesday – Ten Fidy – Oskar Blues Brewery – (Russian Imperial Stout 10.5%) – I've always avoided purchasing this despite my curiosity because a 4-pack sells for $19. And this is not the kind of beer you are going to drink more than one of in a single sitting. I finally caved this week figuring what I didn't drink would age gracefully. Perhaps it costs so much because it looks and feels like crude oil. Ten Fidy pours a deep black and comes out of the can (stouts are best in a can) thick. You can smell the alcohol. Its taste is very creamy with a hint of chocolate and it’s not as boozy as a beer with such a high ABV could be. This is a great beer to sit and sip and I don’t think I’ll have a problem finishing off the other three.

ThursdayCalabaza Blanca – Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Witbier 4.8%) – See preamble. This is the polar opposite of the beer I drank last night. I've really enjoyed this beer in the past. This time, it went down like a cold glass of apple juice. I love a cold glass of apple juice, but not as a substitute for beer. This is a very citrusy, lightly carbonated beer that you could easily drink multiple bottles of on a hot day. I’ll come back to it when it’s 90 degrees.
That's Lauren's belly in the background

Friday – Alpha Male – Alphabet City Beer Company (IPA 7.2%) – After two nights of going to the extremes, it’s time to go back to the basic IPA. This one is from a small and relatively new brewery in Lower Manhattan, but it appears to have been contract brewed up in Clifton, NY (near Albany). I had heard good things, so I was happy to see it on the shelf at the Whole Foods on Columbus Avenue. This beer sets out to be hoppy, but is not meant to dominate your taste buds. It goes for subtle and it achieves that. Nothing about this beer was overly exciting, but it tasted nice and went down easy. At its current price, I’d buy it again.

Saturday – East Coast Lager Cricket Hill Brewing Company (American Pale Lager 4.0%) – I don’t know what possessed me to buy a beer with a 4% ABV and then to drink it on a Saturday night. I think I just saw that it was local and put it in my mix and match six pack. Listen, I don’t want to sound cruel, but I also don’t want to mince words. This beer is awful. It tasted like Miller Lite. Miller Lite is a fine taste if you bought a bunch of Miller Lites to pound during the NCAA Tournament. It’s not a fine taste when you aren't expecting it. I was drinking this with a buddy who’s reaction was “What is that taste?” That’s not a good first impression. Fortunately, I also drank a Stone Enjoy By 4.20.15 and a Boulevard Brewing The Calling on this night, both of which were delicious.
Monday – T IPA – The Schalfly Taproom (IPA 7.2%) – Today I started to come down with a cold. When your throat is scratchy and you have just a little bit of post-nasal drip, beer just doesn't sound as appealing. It doesn't taste as good either. I guess that’s where this really becomes a Lenten sacrifice. Saturday’s beer would have worked better today. Fortunately, my judgment wasn't too skewed to recognize that this Schlafly (which I had never heard of) selection is another excellent, drinkable IPA. It was very crisp and drinkable with no bitterness. When I think of beer from St. Louis, Missouri, I think of Budweiser. Now, I’ll think of this instead.

Tuesday – Kuka Coffee & Cream Stout – Andean Brewing Company (Sweet Stout       5.5%) – Before I cracked this beer, I googled “do coffee stouts contain caffeine?” Still not feeling well, I didn't want to lose precious sleep. I got distracted before I found a definitive answer and poured it anyways. It looked perfectly delicious in a coffee mug which I thought was appropriate. This beer is very new. I can’t find a whole lot about it on the beer internets. It’s local (Rockland County, NY) and is probably just now getting distributed. I’m always excited when I really enjoy a local beer. Of course, coffee stouts are my sweet spot, so unless you put battery acid in it, I’ll probably lap it up like a dog. This one features more of a coffee taste than a sweet taste. It’s smooth and low carbonation and would taste great with a slice of cake. 

Next Week: The Final Four Brews

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