George Washington was said to have a taste for porter style beer, something which he brewed at his plantation before, during and after his terms as the first president of the United States of America. Well, I don’t know for sure if he brewed during his actual presidency, but that would be cool. I often wonder what a home brewing president might be like. I have a feeling that Obama probably doesn’t drink a lot of craft beer. In fact, when watching those television shows about the folks who serve the president, I’m often a little dismayed at the personal beer choices for Air Force 1 or White House state dinners.
But Washington brewed and drank great beer, as did many of the founding fathers.
In honor of the proud tradition of early brewers, my pick for a President’s Day beer is Stone Brewing Co.’s Old Guardian Barley Wine.
According to the Stone Brewing Co. blog, the 2010 release of this beer is today, so you won’t likely get any unless you live in Southern California, but if you see some, pick it up and put it away for next President’s Day.
Just to be fair to all the readers in the Grizzly Growler blog world, I’m going to do a Super Bowl Beer National Edition, State Edition and a Local Edition this year.
I’ll start with National Edition, and we’ll hit the more wide-spread varieties.
This year’s matchup between the Indanapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints isn’t the most exciting Super Bowl in my book, but I’m glad the Saints finally made it in, and it’s always fun to root against a Manning.
On the national craft beer scene this year: collaboration and barrel aging .
Even the biggest of the craft brewers got into the collaboration and barrel aging scene this year. And it looks like this trend will continue for some time.
Collaboration beers might be more difficult to find outside Stone Brewing Co. and Samuel Adams territory, but if you look hard enough, you just might find something.
But here are a few barrel-aged beers you can look for in many parts of the country. These are not your run-of-the-mill can slammers for your Super Bowl party. These are sippers that you should pour into a snifter and watch the game with while contemplating the greater questions in life.
My favorite widely-produced barrel-aged beer is probably Curieux from Allagash Brewing Co. It’ snot cheap, but then again the Super Bowl doesn’t happen every Sunday.
Another possibility is Temptation by Russian River Brewing Co. This barrel-aged beer might be a little more difficult to come by, but I know you can probably order it online today and still get some shipped to your house before Sunday. Many high-end bottle shops tend to carry this beer as well.
One of the winners of the 2009 Open Beer Championship was the Tart Lychee from New Belgium Brewing Co. I haven’t seen this in the Northwest region, but I’ve had a few friends who have told me it’s worth getting your hands on.
More widely known, Barrel Aged Yeti from Great Divide Brewing Co. is a fantastic beer for Super Bowl Sunday. It lives up to the hype, when one or both teams might not.
And just because you probably can’t get the best barrel-aged beer in America, one Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Co., I’m going to suggest you go with Oak Aged Arrogant Bastard from Stone Brewing Co. instead. You’ll not go wrong with this beer, and unless you live in a dry county, you should be able to get your hands on some of this beer in time for the big game.
I saw this on Stone Brewing Co.’s Facebook page. While it’s quite an honor for Stone, it’s also an interesting look at some of America’s most innovative breweries. It’s also interesting to not which breweries are not on this list.
You know, just in case you find yourself in the San Diego area later this year.
This announcement out of Stone Brewing Co., has me very excited. Why? Because the thought of brewers putting out beers without regard to formal style considerations or cost of ingredients means that we finally have achieved high art in the craft of brewing.
Here’s the latest collaborative effort from Stone Brewing Co., Firestone Walker and 21st Amendment:
Sure, we’re a bunch of Arrogant Bastards, but we humbly admit that we were inspired to start brewing by other fantastic breweries and homebrewers. There are a whole lot of fellow craft brewers who we respect and admire, and who we’ve wanted to collaborate with. So why just dream about it? Starting in 2008, we released a new series of collaboration beers. The goal was to get three brewers from three different breweries to put their heads together and have some fun with no regard for boundaries. No restrictions on fitting a beer into a lineup, using familiar ingredients, conforming to preconceived beer styles, using tested procedures in the brewing process or even affordability. Each of these beers is the result of three brewers coming together and doing what they love. Therefore, many of our collaborations include ridiculous amounts of decadent ingredients without regard for shelf price. And because our collaborations are usually only brewed once, they can be rather difficult to find, and once they run out—they run out. Consider yourself warned.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on these liquid tributes to the spirit of camaraderie, you’ll agree that the end result is worth it.
Yes, them’s fighting words, but my Ducks lost in the Rose Bowl, and football season is officially over for me. So it’s onward and upward. And this event just looks too cool to pass up. Not that my travel budget is anywhere near able to afford this, but a craft beer lover can dream, can’t he?
My feelings for Stone Brewing Co. increased measurably over the winter break, as I was able to try many different beers from that brewery that I haven’t tried in recent memory. The Imperial Russian Stout comes to mind, as does the Double Oak Aged Bastard. Both are incredible beers worthy of the accolades, and the gargoyle.
So Stone Brewing Co. has this festival called Stone Winter Storm coming up Feb. 7-13 in Escondido. It’s billed as the most Stone beers on tap in one location ever. That’s my kind of event, even worth missing the most super bowl of them all.
Just look at this list of beers that will be available. Sure makes me aware of all the great Stone beers I’ve missed out on.
1 Stone Pale Ale -2 Stone Smoked Porter 3 Stone IPA 4 Arrogant Bastard Ale 5 Stone Ruination IPA 6 Stone Levitation Ale 7 OAKED Arrogant Bastard Ale 8 Stone Cali-Belgique IPA 9 Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale 10 Stone 7th Anniversary Ale 11 Stone 8th Anniversary Ale 12 Stone 9th Anniversary Ale 13 Stone 12th Anniversary
Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
14 Stone 13th Anniversary Ale 15 2004 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 16 2008 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine
Aged in Red Wine Barrels
17 2009 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 18 2010 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine 19 2006 Stone Imperial Russian Stout 20 2007 Stone Imperial Russian Stout 21 2008 Stone Imperial Russian Stout 22 2005 Double Bastard Ale 23 2006 Double Bastard Ale 24 Double Dry-Hopped 2009 Double Bastard Ale 25 Stone 06.06.06 Vertical Epic Ale 26 Stone 07.07.07 Vertical Epic Ale 27 Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale 28 Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale 29 Alesmith/Mikkeller/Stone
Belgian Style Triple Ale
30 Jolly Pumpkin/Nøgne-Ø/Stone
Special Holiday Ale
Part 2, brewed at Nøgne-Ø, Norway
31 BrewDog / Cambridge / Stone
Juxtaposition Black Pilsner
32 Ken Schmidt / Maui / Stone
Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter
33 Bashah 34 Stone Smoked Porter
35 Double Dry-Hopped Stone IPA 36 Sawyer’s Triple
I won’t be there this year, but I’ll be thinking about all those great Stone beers in one location and dreaming of the day when I’ll be able to attend. For those of you who happen to be lucky enough to be in Southern California in February, well, you’ve got plans.
This year’s tour started with a bang, as I introduced Oregon craft beer lovers to some of our best Montana beer. We opened bottles of Big Sky’s Ivan the Terrible, cans of Kettlehouse Brewing Co. Cold Smoke and Double Haul IPA as well as some Red Lodge Bent Nail IPA. While I was introduced to new West Coast craft beers that are, as of yet, unavailable in Montana.
The highlight of this year’s tour, other than hanging out with many craft beer lovers who are skilled in the art of conversation, was visiting a restaurant that I like to think I might have had a little influence in shaping.
Many years ago, while my best friend and I were attending community college as full-time fathers, husbands and bar tenders, we would gather, as our schedule allowed, at a small place called Venti’s Bento. Our good friend Dino Venti ran the place on a budget, but the food had out-of-this-world quality and a healthy angle that we were both looking for at that time in our busy lives.
Dino didn’t imbibe, but one day we got to talking about putting on just a couple of taps of something really special. Well, a few weeks later, we showed up and Dino had our favorite beer on tap. A whole keg of North Coast Brewing Co.’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. Our mouths agape, we took a seat at the bento bar and ordered up our first pints ever of that magic elixer. We could not believe we were having it in pints. Bottles are great and have their own magic, but the draught is a deep magic all its own.
Next came a keg of Stone Brewing Co.’s Arrogant Bastard, another gem to have on draught. Soon, Dino had to limit the number of pints served and raise prices, as he was the most popular little three-tap in town.
Flash forward a few years. Dino built a bigger restaurant across the street with a basement bar called, of all things, The Basement Bar. Along with his talented graphic designer wife, Leslie, Dino has cultivated a great hangout for Salem’s bicycle culture, especially the free ride culture. Still, more than anything, Dino is a restaurant owner who cares about individuals. I’ve heard he’ll still care for people who have no food and no money to buy food with.
On Saturday night, I spend the evening with many friends who showed up to just say hello and fellowship for a few minutes before we headed back to Montana.
I started with the first and worked my way through the others as the evening wore on. It’s nice to know that Dino still is serving great beers, and unless things have changed, I don’t believe he ever touches the stuff. But he trusts his friends and patrons, and he provides them a place that is truly worthy of conversation and fellowship. At this point, Venti’s Basement Bar is my favorite beer bar anywhere.
If you find yourself passing through Salem on that venerable artery of commerce and culture called Interstate 5, head toward the giant gold statue on the Capital building and look for Court Street. A rooster marks Venti’s Cafe, where you can order a Ninkasi Tricerahops with your teriyaki chicken over rice with vegetables or head down to the basement bar where you likely will find an amazing assortment of beers on tap and in the bottles.
Congratulations Dino and Leslie, you’ve done an amazing job.