No theme here, just beers that I had a chance to try on one occasion or another, in chronological order (some with pictures and some without).
#1: Revival Double Black IPA (at the Garden Grille, a vegetarian restaurant on the Providence/Pawtucket city line that we frequently visit with our vegan friends, one of whom was celebrating a birthday on this occasion). Revival has been voted “best local brewery” by the readers of our local weekly alternative newspaper, and you can find their beers in some local retail outlets and on tap at several good restaurants. This was a nice, full-flavored beer that wasn’t overpowered by either the seitan appetizer or the pictured habañero tempeh and associated garnishes.
#2: Harpoon Summer Beer. This one was at the house of some friends after I had hired out my sons to do some yard work for them while I went on a long bike ride that started and ended at their house out in the wilds of Massachusetts. The beer was light and refreshing, which was nice after a long, hot bike ride and a nice accompaniment to pizza (which was part of the payment for the yard work–semi-unskilled labor pays much better now than when I was a young teenager!)
#3: Firestone Walker Pivo (described as a “hoppy pils”). Firestone Walker is based in Paso Robles, CA, which I think of as wine country. (In fact, their web site says that they started brewing in space rented from the Firestone Vineyard.) Had this one at another teen-aged boy movie night (Hellboy was this night’s campy selection) with beer buddy Philip. This was also light and refreshing, but it went well with a sort of chicken curry that was based on a spicy peanut butter called The Heat is On from Peanut Butter & Co
#4: This is an interesting one from Stone Brewing (also from California). My story is that a new liquor store opened along one of my usual offspring chauffeuring routes that advertised a focus on craft brews, and when I was in the store (on their second day of operation–they were still busily stocking the shelves while I was shopping) my eye was caught by the Spröcket Bier, which seemed fitting since I had gone on another long bike ride yesterday afternoon. The beer’s story is that it was the first winner of an internal competition to come up with a uniquely interesting beer style. This beer is described as a black rye kölsch, which seems like a bit of an oxymoron, since I think of a kölsch as a very light beer. The picture shows that they used a dark malt, and wanted the spiciness from the rye, but the lightness comes from the relatively understated hoppiness of this beer, so that the slightly smoky note from the malt comes through strongly and makes this beer very drinkable. As the picture shows, this was a big bottle, so I had the serving poured here with dinner (a burger, roasted potatoes, and edamame “succotash”) and finished the bottle with a slightly smaller serving as my “dessert” later in the evening. Stone promises more of these as part of a “spotlight series”–something to watch for in the months ahead.
With these four, the blog count is up to 82, and I’ve got a couple of new breweries to keep my eye on. One or more upcoming posts will discuss some other breweries of note, and will return to the discussion of what qualifies as a “craft brewery.” Cheers!