Friday, February 12, 2016

Super Beer Weekend

 It's Super Bowl weekend, the biggest sporting event of the year.  Lots of people have big parties with family and friends, and as always, there's plenty of junk food and beer to go around.  Parties are great and all, but I prefer to spend the evening with my family and actually watch the game (still with junk food and beer, of course.)  I watch as many games as I can all season long, and I love watching the final showdown for the title.  These are the beers I've enjoyed both the week leading up to the big game, and during the game itself.

Ballast Point is relatively new to Iowa, and I've only had a handful of their brews so far.  Grapefruit Sculpin is an excellent IPA. I came across this bottle of Victory at Sea at HyVee a few weekends ago, and had to try it.  This 10% ABV Imperial Stout was fantastic.  Big bold flavors, yet surprisingly smooth and easy to drink.  I can't wait to try the peppermint version of it!
 With the good, comes the bad.  Indra Kunindra Curry Export Stout is what it sounds like.  A decent stout with curry, cumin, coconut, and kaffir lime.  To me, the curry and cumin were over powering, and I didn't get any coconut or lime flavor.  To be honest, I didn't even finish this beer, the curry was just too much.  I'm sure there are lots of people who would enjoy this one, but I am not one of them.

Even though I didn't enjoy this brew, I will still continue to try more of their beers.  Not every beer is for everyone, and one bad beer doesn't take away from all the good ones they make.  For instance, my favorite brewery Dogfish Head makes a couple that I truly dislike, yet they make up for it by making some of my favorite beers.  So, if you haven't given Ballast Point a try yet, please do....  Just maybe not this one.

While in Des Moines a few weeks ago, I picked up a few offerings from Backpocket and Exile Breweries.  It's great to have so many really good craft beer offerings made in the state of Iowa right now.  Exile has really been making a name for themselves in the past few years.  At the Last Great American Beer Fest, they scored a gold medal with Gigi, a dark lager.  With other great brews like Gorilla Press, Beatnik Sour, and Chill Clinton they are showing they are on their way to being a power house in the beer industry.
This time, I picked up some Raspberry Bohemian and Cherry Bohemian.  I tried the Cherry last night, and was quite impressed.  Tart and sour, and very easy to drink.  This would be a great beer to enjoy during the hot summer months, although, I enjoyed in quite a bit during the cold wintry night too.

The latest in Toppling Goliath's X-Hop series, X-Hops Gold, may just be the best.  The fruity hop aroma hit me as soon as I popped the top, and the beer poured hazey with the perfect head.  This was a great beer.  As usual Brew Master Mike loaded this brew with hops, yet kept it super easy to drink and had me wanting more. It also paired well with nachos, buffalo chicken dip, spinach dip, and the Super Bowl.  I couldn't have chosen a better beer to enjoy the biggest game of the year.

Of course I did follow it up with Blood on the Blade, a Red IPA by Backpocket Brewery.   This was a completely different beer from TG Gold, but really just as good.  These guys are continuing to impress me, and I have become a big fan of theirs over the last year or two.

As for the game itself, I've heard a lot of people say it was boring, and I couldn't disagree more.  It was an excellent defensive battle that I found very exciting to watch.  I mean, a strip sack with a walk in touchdown?  How is that not awesome?  The halftime show however, was horrendous.  This is the biggest stage in the world, and the NFL keeps laying eggs.  Let's try for actual entertainment NFL!!

Well, that was some of my football weekend.  Feel free to tell me what your favorite brews of Super Bowl weekend were below in the comment section.  You can also follow me on Twitter: @Crinkletalk
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Friday, February 5, 2016

Beer show

The holidays have long since past, but the cold and snow are here to stay.  Sometimes a weekend get a way is just what our family needs.  In this case, the Des Moines dog show is a great excuse to get away, see some friends and family, and have some great beer.

Joseph was all smiles on the ride with two dogs to cuddle with.  Arson, and our friends dog Cherry, tried to sit on his lap the entire drive.  We had a fun afternoon visiting with friends and watching the dogs strut their stuff.  No points this time around for Arson, but he lights up in the ring, and is coming into his own.  Give him another 6 months to grow up and fill out, and                                                                                           he'll be a winner!

Joseph doesn't just enjoy the dog show, but now he enjoys visiting the local breweries too.  Thanks to his uncle Chad for introducing him to Peace Tree's rootbeer at their taproom this summer.  Luckily, my favorite Des Moines brewery, 515, has Peace Tree rootbeer by the bottle.

Since Chad and Annie met us for the dog show, I knew they had to visit the 515 tap room with us.  The parking lot was packed, and the tap room was just about full on this Saturday afternoon, but luckily for us a table opened up at the perfect time.  I would also like to add, that this was my second visit to 515, and both times the staff was extremely friendly helpful even with a busy tap room.  Maybe it's a good thing that I don't live in Des Moines, because I'd be visiting this place all the time.

Chad and I both ordered the 4 beer sample flight and we were ready for take off.

The beers from left to right, Dart Dodger, OJ IPA, Mediocre Pale Ale, and Castaway Porter.

The first 3 I tried at my last visit, and knew they were all top notch IPA/Pale Ales.  Don't ask me to pick a favorite, because I can't.  Which ever one I was drinking was my favorite.

What really surprised me was the Castaway Coconut Porter.  There are several coconut beers on the market now, and this was the first that I've had.  I was reluctant since I'm not a huge fan of coconut, but this beer blew me away.  Extremely smooth, and well balanced, there are great roasty malt flavors with a very subtle hint of coconut that blends well with the porter.  I love IPA's, but this is the beer that I've been craving since I came back home.  Great job, once again by the folks at 515!