We had our second annual Family Beer Tasting on Saturday, and it was a heck of a lot of fun. And as I was thinking about it today, it occurred to me that maybe other folks were interested in what we did and how we did it. So here's a list of the beers that we sampled, along with my notes about what each beer was, and why I decided to include it in the program.
This year's theme was "Beers of Connecticut."
|A lot of folks really, really liked|
1758 GW Beer.
So GW Beer is what we might think of as America's prototype beer. From here, everything else is basically kind of variation.
2. City Steam's "Blonde on Blonde" Pale Ale. City Steam is a local brewery out of New Haven. They brew most of their beer in Stratford at the Two Roads facility, but their beer is distinctly different than the Two Roads stuff, and "Blonde on Blonde" in particular was a good second stop on our tour. "Blonde on Blonde" is Pale Ale, essentially similar to the GW Beer, save that it's the product of 200+ years of American beer evolution. It's hoppier and more strongly flavorful than the GW Beer, but still recognizably the same basic animal.
3. Two Roads "No Limits" Hefeweizen. Two Roads is a new craft brewer in Stratford, and their Hefeweizen is excellent. I like to include a Hefeweizen in these tastings because that's a beer that leads people to discover beer, the kind of thing that opens peoples' eyes to what beer can be.
4. Thomas Hooker "Hop Meadow" IPA (East Coast IPA). "Hop Meadow" is a distinctly East Coast IPA, a drinkable beer that's got some hop presence, yes, but that succeeds by being better-balanced than the super-hopped citrus bombs that're coming out on the West Coast these days.
Hop Meadow is one of my personal favorites; when I so down to have a few beers at home, they're often Hookers' Hop Meadow IPA.
5. Southport Brewing Company's "Connecticut" Pale Ale. Southport's "Connecticut" Pale Ale is a similar type of beer to the Hop Meadow, and it's also terrific. Southport Brewery is one of Connecticut's older craft breweries, and they called their beer a "Connecticut" Pale Ale as a way to differentiate it from the various other IPAs on the shelves and to give it a decided East Coast bias.
6. Two Roads Roadsmary's Baby Pumpkin Seasonal. Sally really likes Roadsmary's Baby, so I put it on the lit. It's a pumpkin seasonal aged in rum barrels. A unique taste but not exactly my personal taste. But like I said, Sally and her friends really seem to like it.
|This one has my favorite label of all time.|
7. Clown Shoes "Miracle" IPA (West Coast). Clown Shoes is actually a Massachusetts brewery, but they make excellent beer. Their "Miracle" IPA is fantastic. I included it as an example of a West Coast IPA, despite the fact that it's made on the East Coast. It's a very hoppy, citrus experience.
8. Clown Shoes "Hoppy Feet" Black IPA. Black IPA is, to me, logically where American brewing ought to be headed. It's essentially a hopped-up stout, black and bitter with just a hint of head. That said, there aren't a lot of Black IPAs on the market. "Hoppy Feet," however, is excellent.
|Hoppy Feet was my favorite of the day.|
9. After all those IPAs, our German friends started objecting to all this American hop-nonsense. So we went another direction for a while. They brough a Munich-style pilsner, decidedly not an IPA, but a very tasty drinkable beer and a reminder that those classic German recipes are classic for a reason.
10. I planned to close with a Stout, but we never got there. By that time, it was getting late, and folks had kind of gotten the full measure of what we'd been trying to get across.