Beer roundup - Wednesday

This week has included a lot of beer as well as a lot of cocktails. Um, and wine. And work!

Wednesday, we attended a Brooklyn Brewery tasting at The Avenue. Mike Vitale, the first employee hired by Steve Hindy and Tom Potter as a sales person back in the earliest days of the company, came to talk about Brooklyn's beers. We were running a little late, so we missed some of his discussion about the history. But that was OK, since we'd both read Hindy and Potter's book: "Beer School: Bottling Success at the Brooklyn Brewery" which goes into all that. I recommend it for any beer lover- though slightly technical about the nuts and bolts about brewing and business.

We were able to get 4 (out of 8 available) samples. I had (in this order): Black Ops, their Russian Imperial Stout, which they are very cute about "disavowing knowledge" of. It was good. It's bottled flat and then re-fermented in the bottle with Champagne yeast, and then aged in bourbon barrels for four months. It was pretty intense in flavor and alcohol level (11.6% ABV). I'm not sure how aged the bottle was, but it was pretty mellow on the alcohol bite. Complex flavors- vanilla, bourbon, cocoa, roasted coffee.

Next I had a pour of the Brooklyn Local 2- their Belgian dark strong ale. After the Brooklyn Ops, this was actually lighter in comparison. But it had a fruity spiciness and was balanced. 9% ABV. Drinkable and enjoyable. I recommend it- it's a bottle that is relatively easy to find in stores, so pick one up and enjoy.

Third up was the Brooklyn Cuvee Noir, which, upon reflection, was almost a cross between the two previous samples, like an Imperial or oatmeal stout with Belgian yeast. I really enjoyed it. And at 8.7%, it wasn't quite as dangerous as the previous 2. Still pretty high, but not as high. I could happily climb into the bottom of this glass and drink it all day. Excellent balance of flavors, great carbonation and mouthfeel. Overall, a pleasure to drink (which is pretty much why I drink beer in the first place.)

My last Brooklyn beer (though not my last beer) of the evening was the Brooklyn Blast, a double IPA which I've enjoyed on The Balcony before. This batch was even better in my memory though- more of an earthy balance to the strong hop presence. Juicy, fruity, but grounded IPA. I chose this last because I thought its hop bomb characteristics would blow out my palate, but I was still able to enjoy my subsequent beer.

I was happy with my choices. After finishing up my Brooklyn tasting, I had another small (4 oz) pour of the Petrus Oude Bruin. I like the Flemish/Flanders styles, they tend to give me a bit of funk and sourness that I've come to love. This one was pretty good- I don't know if it was because of hop related palate issues, but it was pretty mild as far as funk goes. But pleasant nonetheless.

Ooh, da funk will be greater when I return with my description of last night's tasting which included a 10 oz of delicious crazy sour Apricot lambic, Cantillon Fou' foune. Stay tuned.