Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Beer Tasting - January 2009 - The preliminary situation

This beer tasting was not overly planned. It started out as a trip to the local beer merchant looking for something interesting. Actually, I was looking for a good German Rauchbier (smoked beer) because I have had it in my head lately. But, the state of beer selection on the San Francisco peninsula seems to be declining. When I mentioned that I was looking for a smoked beer, I got the same look that I imagine I would get if I asked for a cranberry cougar tea infusion. Yeah, that's it. Look in the mirror right now after reading that.

In any case, the usual mecca of beer on the peninsula, Beltramo's did not give me satisfaction. They have a large selection of beer, but I get the impression that the selection is dictated more by the distributor than a wine buyer. I could be wrong, but it seemed heavily weighted towards eye appeal and kitschy names instead of brewing integrity and craft beer styles.

Beverages and More (or BevMo to those in the inner circle) had a couple Rauchbiers "In the System". Which means they had it listed in their computer, but not on the shelf. I might as well buy it from Amazon.com. Don't get me wrong, BevMo has an incredible selection of things that contain alcohol. But, deep down, it is a "Box Store" and don't expect them to give you good advice on unique beers. They are the Walmart of Ethanol based products. I would like to think they have the consumer's best interest in mind, but the little tasting nook, un-staffed in the corner does not inspire confidence.

Finally, I went to the local wine merchant, K&L wines. I had given up on getting interesting beer and was going to turn my attention to wine.

Now, K&L wines is just that. A wine merchant. 99% of the store is dedicated to wine. But they do have one little cooler door. One 24 inch glass door that houses their entire selection of beer. And, their selection of beer is enlightened. I found out why too. I met the beer buyer. He was enthusiastic and pragmatic. When I mentioned that I was looking for a rauchbeir, he got this look on his face that was almost euphoric. He was a beerophile and had the beers to prove it. He brought me over to his beer door and we had a in depth discussion of what he had, what I wanted and what my options were.

Once I said that I wanted something interesting and worth tasting, we came up with a selection of craft beer that would make Michael Jackson (not the one with 1 glove) proud, may he rest in peace.

Let me tell you what I bought that day:
Three beers from a brewery in Delaware called Dogfish Head Brewing Company. They have been getting some press lately because they are pushing the envelope. I recommend you go to their website and have a look at what they are doing.

I bought 3 of their beers, Palo Santo Marron, 90 Minute IPA, and Midas Touch Golden Elixir.
And, I bought a Goose Island Bourbon County Stout.

I will go into details about each beer in follow up posts, but I would recommend going to their respective websites and checking them out.


Stay tuned for tasting notes on these beers. And, feel free to comment on your own opinions.


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