42. Five Big Beers

It’s been a month and a half?  Seriously?  Have you been counting?

I know, I’ve been away for a bit, but I have good reasons.  A few I’ll share with you.

First, I went to Beer Hoptacular again!  This time it was held at a venue that can actually handle a good number of people.  It was a blast, much better than last year’s.  The ability to walk through a location without bouncing off of people is highly underrated.

Second, I’m 5 beers (that’s right, five) away from reaching the 366 beers in 1 year goal.  It’s not even December!  Either I have a problem, or I’m very dedicated to searching out new beers (my money’s on the latter).  I’ll be heading over to Goose Island Clybourn after work today, might finish it up shortly.

Third, I heard about something new here in Chicago called Middle Brow.  It’s a startup brewery that’s going to be holding homebrew contests!  Winners will have the opportunity to have their beer brewed by a pro.  Interesting, huh?  Check out their Facebook or Tumblr if you’re interested.  I’m hoping to sign up soon!

Now to catch up on a few beers!

Rogue – Pumpkin Patch

pumpkinpatchSight:  Brown in color with a slight orange tint and a thick white head.

Smell:  Pumpkin pie spices with nutmeg seeming to overpower

Taste:  Creamy mouthfeel with a thick malty backbone.  It’s spicy with a lot of pumpkin flavor, but it never seems overwhelming.  A nice mild bitterness rounds out the finish.

My overall grade:  B+

If you like pumpkin beers, this is a great choice.  It’s pretty much the polar opposite of the Pum King on the pumpkin scale (it’s tastes like pumpkins instead of pumpkin pie).

Half Acre – Mr. Ouroboros

ouroborosSight:  Bright copper color with a light white head

Smell:  Lots of grassy hops.  Imagine sitting on your front porch just after mowing the lawn

Taste:  Soft, creamy mouthfeel with plenty of sweet light malts and a crisp grassy hop finish to maintain balance

My overall grade:  B+

A very easy drinking and refreshing beer.  I wish this one was around during the summer.  I’d be drinking it on my porch (couch) after cutting the grass (watching tv).

Pipeworks – Well Read Temptress

temptressSight:  Bright red (yes, red) with a thin pink head that disappears quickly

Smell:  Lots of raspberries and a mild sourness, very intriguing

Taste:  Very bubbly and sharp on the tongue.  Sweet and tangy with a light finish.  Lots of fruity sweetness at the end.

My overall grade:  B

This one was fun to drink.  Definitely out of the ordinary, a little funky and lots of bright flavor.

Boulevard – Nommo Dubbel

nommoSight:  Ruby red and slightly brown with a thick creamy head

Smell:  All Belgian yeast with a tiny lingering malty sweetness in the aroma.

Taste:  Thick and creamy with lost of malty sweetness.  The Belgian yeast shines through with plenty of spice and a mild dried fruit flavor toward the end.

My overall grade:  A-

A delicious beer worth drinking repeatedly.  It’s big and quite heavy, so working through a bottle may be a chore.  But, it’s definitely worth undertaking.

Pipeworks – Abduction

abductionSight:  Black with a thick tan head, like motor oil

Smell:  Molasses, heavy alcohol, and floral hops in the aroma.  It’s kinda frightening.

Taste:  Heavy malty sweetness, a little chocolate and coffee, like making hot chocolate on the stove and leaving it on a little too long.  Big boozy burn and a bitter hoppy finish.

My overall grade:  B

This imperial stout packs a punch.  You might want to share this guy.

Well, I better go get my Christmas shopping done.

Beer Hoptacular

Saturday night I was able to stop into the Beer Hoptacular.  I was excited; it’s my first true beer event since SAVOR back in DC.  I had some high hopes for it since it would have a bunch of local breweries and a few national breweries bringing some hard to find brews.

The High Points:

  • I got to try out 12 new beers and even a few liquors from local distilleries.
  • Goose Island brought along Bourbon County Stout making me a very happy individual.
  • My favorite beer of the night came from Half Acre.  It was a barrel-aged Belgian sour.  It was fantastic.  Although, there were a lot of people getting it who thought “barrel-aged” meant it would be a stout and were unpleasantly surprised by the sourness.

The Medium Points:

  • Food was decent.  They had a good selection to choose from, and the jalapeno and cheese stuffed pretzel I had was quite good.
  • Lines moved fairly quickly and considering the crowd (which I’ll mention later), everything moved smoothly.

The Low Points:

  • It was dangerously crowded.  The Aragon was not designed to hold that amount of people for an event of that type.  Given that the center of the floor and outer edges were taken up by the brewers, there wasn’t much room for everyone attending to move around.

    Click to Enlarge

  • I overheard a few of the brewers saying that the evening crowd was much calmer and more polite than the earlier session.  It was pretty crazy during the evening session, so I’m glad I didn’t go to the earlier one.
  • I left after a couple hours because I couldn’t deal with the crowd.  I’ve been to Great American Beer Festival and that event is completely packed full of people, but you never feel like you can’t move.  At the Aragon, you couldn’t move.

The Beer Hoptacular was good.  With a shorter guest list or a bigger venue, it would’ve been great.  I’m sure I’ll go again (I can’t just give up on good-sized beer events), but I’ll make sure I’m earlier so I can get as much done as possible at the beginning.