This Friday's drinking is a liver primer for a big day tomorrow. My tiny town of Paso Robles California will play host to one of the great beer fests, the Firestone Walker Invitational. Here is a partial tap list of what will be poured. A bunch of Cali brewers are there (Stone, Russian River, The Bruery, Lagunitas..) But the real treat are the places, (3 Floyds, Bell's, Cigar City, Odell, Avery, Surly...etc.) that are not available here, so this is our big chance to taste the best beers from other states. And to top it all off, only brewers are allowed to rep their beers, no sales/marketing guys, so you get to talk directly with the brewer to ask questions. And if you ask nicely, they usually bring all sorts of extra random special project 22's to sample as well. Anyway, since I've never gotten to taste most of the beers from out of state, any advice about who I should seek out would be appreciated.
OT- Training Night For Epic Beer Weekend
I am unclear as to whether you have tried Michigan beers or not. Anyways, below is a list beers or breweries I have had and enjoyed from that list. Sorry if you are familiar with some of them. Those are just what I have had not including the Cali beers you know already.
As an aside, I just picked up a bottle of Founders Doom BBA DIPA, gunna taste test it against the regular Founders Double Trouble when my roommate gets home. So, cheers!
I managed to get 9 bottles of Doom - still have half a case left that I am putting some age on / saving for trade bait. Anyway, I would let the Doom warm a little before drinking it otherwise the vanilla kills the hops.
9?! The place I picked mine up seemed hesitant to give me 2. Thanks for the advice. I will set it out now.
Yeah I split a case I found in Neffsville PA (Lancaster county) with a buddy and managed to pick up a few more. Its a Founders one-off and I didn't want to regret not getting it while I could.
Is terrible. BA DL is phenomenal
3 Floyd's and Bell's are like sasquatch legends out here cause we never get to taste them. I'm hoping what they are pouring are good examples
The Bells offerings aren't the greatest, but the Three Floyds are what they are known for.
if the bell's guys are hiding something special.. what should I ask about
Black Note, Oracle, This One Goes to 11, Third Coast Ole ale or any of their experimentals.
fills up notebook
Have not had Black Note yet (saw one bottle, $20, at ChurchKey in DC at their Hopslam cask night) but This One Goes to 11 is a fantastic brew.
On the East Coast, Pliny the Elder is Bigfoot. Would love to try...
PS Will be trying Dogfish Head 61 minute for the first time tomorrow at their brewpub in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Convinced the wife that it was the perfect day for the beach :)
Sorry, didn't look at the tap list SMH.
If you get a chance, try Surly. They are microbrewery out of the Twin Cities. I would try the Bender (IPA), however does not taste like your traditional IPA. It is a tough beer to get a hold of in the Twin Cities, so the take the opportunity to get it while you can in CA.
On the Surly. Quality stuff and a very small distribution area. Get your hands on some for sure.
Coffee bender is unique and delicious. Bender and furious are fantastic.
EDIT: and cynic. Don't forget cynic
never really heard of them, feel like Minn should have some solid brewers so really excited about it
You have a challenging day ahead. I have always liked the brews from Stone and Rogue along with Bear Republic. Hope you plan on a nap!!
I've almost gotten to the point where being in G.R., I feel like I'm cheating if I don't drink a local. Which is fine, because there's so damn much good beer here. But every now and then a friend in Corvallis sends me a Rogue 6 pack and that stuff is welcome in my fridge anytime.
Damn, that's a really solid lineup and not at all limited to West Coast offerings. Would love to try some of those BA brews (Speedway, Brandy Hunaphu, DL Variant). The Alpine IPAs are phenomenal (at least equal to Pliny IMO). Is the Kern River Citra fresh? Thought it was a one weekend per year release. I traded for some after release earlier this year and it was tremendous. Have't had pleasure of trying anything from FW's sour program. That stuff doesn't make it out to East coast that I've ever seen.
My version of beer nirvana will occur the weekend of the U Conn game this fall. I'm arriving a day early and will be visiting Hill Farmstead then staying overnight in Waterbury to drink Heady Topper, Lawsons, etc. Can't wait.
Had a heady topper, rodenbach grand cru and an ola dubh 18 tonight with ribs. Its good to be the king.
supposedly everything is made fresh just for the fest. since all the brewers are there, everyone wants to show their best
Is a batch just for the festival, though they've put a limited amount on at the brew pub. Apparently kegged Thursday night.
I'm going to this, too. Just about to head over.
I'm also in CA, but some of those CA items are pretty rare, such as the Kern River Citra DIPA - supposed to be one of the best DIPA's up there with Pliny and Heady Topper. Also Stone's Tropical Ruination (mango and habanero) should be awesome and I've had the double dry-hopped Levitation - that's some damn good stuff. I would bet Firestone will break out some awesome rare stuff too and would be sure to try everything they have that you haven't seen on a shelf out here.
That's the problem with Beer fests, if you want to really enjoy it, you have to spit it out like a wine tasting - otherwise you're too soon in the bag and looking for the exits and a cab.
I would prefer to go to a local tap takeover or beer week event where they are more likely to break out the rare stuff than go to the $50 dollar per head beerfests that they just bring the same stuff you find at BevMo or even the supermarket. But this event is no ordinary beerfest - this is a primo event that attracts the topbrewers in the country. Cheers to you for going - have an awesome awesome time.
I dont know too many cali microbrews, but I just got a Lagunitas Hop Stoopid to try later. But for now I had a couple Dogfish Head 90s and a huma lupa so ill probably put it off until a bit later.
Doesn't anyone just enjoy a cool, crisp, and refreshing Bud or Blue Light anymore?
Dont tell the Hipsters that, they've already driven up the price of PBR because its the anti- "mainstream" pilsner.
will trade a pack of wolves howling for that.
But don't you ever talk bad about the ribbon
Until Stroh's is one again brewed from the cool crisp waters of the Detroit River, I'm done with the American Adjuncts
For the Chicagoans reading this thread, here's some two-month-old beer news:
I'm not sure exactly where it stands at the moment, but I definitely plan to visit if it opens.
Yea I'm really looking forward to this. Should be amazing.
Make sure you try Lagunitas Undercover Investigation Shut-down Ale. It's around 10ABV so make sure you get to it early so you can enjoy the taste. Cheers!
Funkwerks is a great brewery out of Ft. Collins. They specialize in a variety of Belgian style ales.
nice.. will be warm tomorrow so some Belgians will be refreshing.
I never had Californian beer. What would anyone recommend I try? I mostly drink Midwest brews and enjoy stouts.
Anything from russian river brewing company
He's not going to get RR in Michigan/Midwest. They only distribute to the Philly market east of the Mississippi.
Lagunitas, Stone and Bear Republic - I think Bear Republic is from CA. Their Racer IPA is really good. Don't be thrown off by the NASCAR looking checkered flag on the bottle.
Stone just released their Russian Imperial which is widely available and excellent. AleSmith is excellent if you can get it. I don't live in Michigan but you can use http://www.seekabrew.com/distro/index.html to see what from California is distributed there.
Thanks for the source!
Russian river, Anchor, Stone, Firestone, Kern River, 21st Amendment.. some of my favorites
Honeslty, try anything with a CA label. You're most likely to find Stone and Lagunitas. Sierra Nevada, obviously, as well, but you won't usually see their more rare beers. If you can find some Bear Republic Racer 5, snatch it up, Green Flash might make it out there and is well worth it. Knee Deep is going to go national in the next few months - they make some pretty popular double and triple IPA's (Hoptoligist, Belgo Hoptologist, Hop Shortage, Simtra).
Avery is hands down the best micro brew lineup I have had. Their mass production stuff is good, but their bombers are amazing-- maharaza, HOG HEAVEN etc... pricey, but amazing beers. And if Pliny the elder (or pliny the younger) make an appearance, get on that.
It seems like their New World Porter would be right up my alley.
I am tempted to make the trip down from Napa/Yountville...
yeah, you could taste some beer and some real wine :)
where? Sta Rita hills?
this event's been sold out for some time
Didn't know where else to put this since I don't have enought points to post yet.
3 new predictions for Michigan came in on 247s crystal ball for Artavis Scott today. Might be some news pushing the analyst in that direction. One of them is an Ohio insider.
I think its cute that MSU just offered him.
Get this man points!
I'm too drunk to taste this chicken.
add more sauce
I'm spoiled living 10 minutes from Three Floyd's. Zombie Dust is a must if they're serving it. Blackheart is great, In the Name of the Suffering is another good one. I'm a bit biased being a 3F's fan but you really can't go wrong with any of theirs.
Almost forgot. Battle of Charro is another good one I had last week and its only been on tap for a few weeks. So I recommend that as well if its available, American Amber red ale.
Wrong region. That's the south...and it's not kool-aid - its red drink, green drink and orange drink. There's also purple drank but that's a whole different deal.
I've been to three floyds twice and it is as amazing as the hype it gets. Of course anything from Founders is good. Bell's is good as well but some of their brews have fallen off a bit. I wish some Cali breweries would bring their stuff to Michigan.
The greatest website ever. Lifelong Michigan fan. Moved to NJ from ohio two years ago...love this website and miss my MICHIGAN season tickets. Thank goodness for BTN!
but Weyerbacher beers are great, especially the Merry Monks.
Disclaimer: My tastes lean heavily towards IPAs/Double IPAs/Imperial Stouts
Three Floyd's Dreadnaught is one of the top Double IPAs, and I personally think it's pretty similar to Pliny the Elder (though my tastings of each have always been separated by at least a year). If Three Floyd's has Dark Lord (especially if it's a variant), that's a must have. I'm not crazy about Zombie Dust (if they bring it). I think it still has a lot of hype from back when citra hops were new and rare, and I've found that most beers brewed with citra are dominated by the same hop flavor. Also not a fan of Tree Shaker, doesn't seem like the peach flavor is strong enough to match up with the IPA. Which kind of makes sense, because the reviews I've heard for peach wheat beers said the peach flavor was overpowering, and the Epic Brainless on Peaches I had last week (belgian style) seemed pretty well balanced. Surly is sadly only bringing Bitter Brewer and Schadenfreude, which are both very good seasonals for their respective styles, but neither do much for me. Short of a mystery keg of Darkness, I don't know what else they would be bringing that they wouldn't have just announced with the other two.
In terms of California beer, I had a System of a Stout from Beachwood last week, and it was a really good coffee stout. Ruination Tropical Heat and Habanero Sculpin both sound interesting, though I think I've only had habanero in a lager before (Fiery Hell from Surly). An IPA should do a better job at cutting the heat. If I were there, I'd also be scouting out the BA Speedway Stout, Keene Idea, Cigar City Brandy BA Hunahpu's Imperial Stout, Silva Stout, Kern Citra DIPA.
That sounds like an awesome event, wish I was there! I'm about a 10 min bike ride from the Avery tap room here in Boulder and generally love everything they do. Among the 10 or so breweries close to here, Avery is my favorite with Oscar Blues a close second. If OB shows up with something unique I'd try that as well.
Cliche or not for us Michiganders, bells is amazing
Alright man, I'm going to take a stab at this. I'm assuming you have access to most of the awesome CA stuff (Alpine, Kern River, etc) on a regular basis, so don't worry about those. Also, not sure how much you get to festivals like this, but if you're really into trying a lot of different beers, don't be afraid to ask for less in your glass so you can try more before getting blasted. (also, eat a lot)
I'm a huge Bell's homer and do like Roundhouse quite a bit. I've only seen it at the pub in k'zoo, so if you can, get a bit of that. My sis also lives in Tampa, so I've had a fair amount of Cigar City - all their stuff is great, so be sure to get those. (my reco is if you're going with someone else, have them get the opposite beer you do, so you can try both without waiting in line again).
I also love Dogfish Head generally, but 61 and Noble Rot aren't my favs- they're both solid beers made with grape must, so if you're into wine, I'd suggest getting after those so you can see what they taste like.
We get some Mikeller here in Chicago, but I've not had either of these - they make great stuff though, so I'd wait in line for those.
The beers from Revolution in Chicago are awesome, I'd say try to get to those early to make sure you get some. They make a killer IPA (Anti-Hero) so between their expertise and FW's I have to imagine that collab will be spectacular.
Ditto the above posters thoughts on Surly - they mostly stay only in Minnesota, so now's your chance. Dreadnaught is a good beer from 3 Floyds, but not my favorite. If you have the time and your liver remains intact, go ahead and get some, but I wouldn't shove anyone out of the way for it. If they DO end up brining DL and Zombie Dust, go ahead and push down that old lady - she'll understand.
Have an awesome time! I'd love to see what you end up trying/liking.
And I thought the ACBF was good...wait it was terrific. Also this weekend. In dear old Boston.
Question for those who attended...
What did Bell's have to offer?! I'm attending a beer festival this weekend (nothing like the one this thread is based on, whatsoever) but there will be a quite a few breweries not from the area, Bells and Founders being two from Michigan and I'm excited for. Again, just curious as to whether this is something I may have a chance to be able to taste some of their rarer brews.
Chances are this will never be read...worth a shot, as I'm not making a new thread (thank me later!). Thanks in advance.