Sunday, July 10, 2011

Are You Ready to Rumble?

You might have noticed a gap in blog posts a few weeks ago. What? You mean, you’re not coming here first thing every day to see what’s on my mind? I’m heartbroken…

The reason for the lapse in posts is that I was in Denver for a conference and a painful amount of meetings. I hear there are mountains in Denver. I wouldn’t know, the only things I saw were the giant blue bear in front of the convention center and the interiors of a few hotels and restaurants.

But on the good news front, I ate pretty well and enjoyed some delicious beers. My initial plan was to head out early and visit a few of the breweries (New Belgium in Fort Collins to be exact). However, paying $100+ for a rental car just to visit a brewery or two seemed like a crazy idea (even for me).

I resigned myself to visit a few brew pubs in the evening and then hopefully do a tour at Great Divide Brewery. Sadly, my evenings ended up being work-related dinners and events. Wednesday rolled around and I had yet to visit any of the brew pubs. At the end of the day, I quickly finished up my work and high tailed it to Great Divide.

Maybe it was the pent up anticipation, but a few of the beers blew my mind. I didn’t make it there in time for a tour, but I did make it in time to visit the Basic Kneads food truck. I’m not convinced that a 700+ degree wood fire inside a converted box truck is a good idea, but I am convinced that they turn out an excellent pizza. I forget the name of my pizza, but it had sausage, caramelized onions, and rosemary. And they do the first whole wheat pizza crust that I have ever liked. I’ve been doing some experiments at home to create my own version.

But back to beer. It’s probably sold out locally by now, but the 17th Anniversary Wood Aged IPA is maybe the best beer I have ever had. It’s got hops galore, but it also has a woody/vanilla sweetness that hides the fact that it’s 10% ABV. Best to split this one with a friend. I’m calling it the big bold zinfandel of beers. And I could see it pairing well with the same foods. I have one bottle of this left. I think I’ll be pairing it with ribs. It could be great with steak as well.

The other beer that blew my mind was the Rumble, an oak aged IPA. This beer is like a less intense version of the 17th Anniversary. Less hops, less alcohol, less wood. I need to try the three of them side by side, but I think I might this more than DFH Burton Baton and Stone’s Oaked Arrogant Bastard.  And the good news, the Rumble should be available at both Perfect Pour and IM Wine for a while.

Oh, and back to New Belgium. I’m lucky to have a co-worker that went out early and toured New Belgium. She picked up a six-pack of the Somersault (the replacement for Skinny Dip this year) and a bottle of the 20th Anniversary Super Cru. And luckily, these and a sox-pack of the Rumble all made it home safely in my suitcase. Sadly, both will be long gone when New Belgium arrives in MD/DC/VA in late August.

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