The Bruery GFAR (Grand Funk Aleroad): A re-creation of the winning homebrew contest entry from Al Buck, and made in the tradition of Belgian Gueuze, with barrel aging and blending of lambic-style ales. What a delicious refresher and palate preparer for the dinner ahead! Lovely notes of citrus, stone fruit, hay, oak, with a nice sour kick and a dose of funk. The staff and I had a toast to the success of the evening and away we went….
Hangar 24 Barrel Roll Series Hammerhead, 13% ABV: Whew! Starting out with the kill shot. The rich complexity of this barley wine went beautifully with the Pork Belly, while the vanilla and caramel-toffee sweetness played off of the herbal/root beer notes of the Sassafras.
The Bruery Otiose: Made with guava pulp, this pairing was hands-down the favorite of the night. Matching perfectly with a Smoked Sardine Tartine, this brown ale was balanced in fruity sourness with a proper helping of funkiness. Although guava has been “lovingly” described as smelling like armpit, most thankfully, it was not present in the beer!
Ballast Point Bourbon Barrel-Aged Sea Monster Stout, 10% ABV: Already a fan of the regular, I was more than excited to taste this version. The very low carbonation threw me off a bit, and it struck me as far more of an after dinner sipper, like a cognac or port, than a beer. Coffee, roasted malt, dark chocolate, vanilla, and molasses with a substantial hit of bourbon confirm my inclination.
Alesmith Brewer’s Blend Speedway Stout, 12% ABV: Truly honored for this special beer blended just for this event! Rich, complex and perfectly balanced, with layer upon layer of dark chocolate, espresso, tobacco, blackstrap molasses, roasted malt. Truly one of the best Imperial Stouts out there. Pairs beautifully with food, or makes for a perfect nightcap.
2011 Lost Abbey Red Poppy, 5.5% ABV: This most recent vintage of this Lost Abbey favorite was the finale beer for my recent Barrel-Aged Beer Dinner at San Diego’s Local Habit. Honestly, this could stand alone on any dessert table. Brewed from a brown ale base with sour cherries, and aged in barrels for at least 12 months, this Flanders-style Red has notes of oak, cherry, vinegar, and a lovely dry finish. If you can, go get this. Now.