Posts Tagged ‘phoenix’

Phoenix – Day 2: Frustration

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

The broski and the pops on the new light rail.

The broski and the pops on the new light rail. Notice his shirt.

The bro is a thoughtful guy. Phoenix is the definition of sprawl so even finding a gas station is difficult sometimes. Before the trip he printed out a map of things we might try to look for: trailheads, places to eat, breweries.

Most of the time looking for Mexican food we just wing it (that’s the one thing you can find there). Before our game in Scottsdale we found a place there called Los Olivos. Wonderfully tasty in an old slightly strange building. I mean that in the best way – this is a place you really can’t find anywhere else.

2009-03-26-olivosAnyway, after lunch we saw the Royals at the Giants. After that we made use of the broski’s map, deciding to go to Papago Brewing, also in Scottsdale. Papago is a first class beer bar, and they also contract produce a half dozen beers, a few of which have won Great American Beer Festival awards. I get the sense that they do alot of to-go sales: they have probably ten cooler doors of microbrews. Most of the selection is from the west coast, especially southern California. I spent the whole evening worrying about wanting to take it all home. Half way through dinner I switched seats so I wouldn’t have to look at it.

Stupid airline checked luggage costs. Well I could take them if they were in 3 ounce tasters and all fit in a quart size ziplock bag.

At least while I was there I tried some interesting things that, for one reason or another, you cannot get ahold of in Iowa.

I started out with Papago’s abbey tripel contract brewed by Br. Van Steenberg, makers of Gulden Draak. Called Oude Zuipers, it is a crystal clear old gold, with some creamy bone-white head. The nose is a little fruity with strong notes of caramel. The taste is initially slightly sweet but fades to a strong peppery spice flavor that quickly disappears. A bit of peppery sweetness lingers. Light, but a bit cloying.

I followed this with Karma from Avery Brewing, another Belgian-style ale, this one brewed in Boulder, Colorado. It’s a bit hazy, a golden amber with some off-white head. The aroma is very clean, with just a bit of maltiness showing through. The taste is caramel and herbs, with a light sweetness that is clean and drinkable. Karma is lively, light but significant.

New Belgium’s Biere de Mars (another Belgian style, bier de garde – beer for keeping, that is, cellaring) is an opal deep straw color with a bit of head. The aroma is thin: hints of malt and hints of fruit, perhaps mango? In contrast, the flavor is strong, sharp, and spicy, though it quickly dulls to a lightly malty, peppery sweetness.

When I ordered my last beer I had a hard time explaining it. Yes, it is brewed by a place called “Pizza Port“. Yes, it’s actually really good beer. Yes, they were just some pizza joint that decided to start making beer, and now they’re among the best. After all those Belgians I needed something hoppy, so I ordered The Ripper, their English IPA. This is a brilliantly clear copper ale with ample near-white head. The nose is delicately floral, but I also got a significant off character that must have been from the age or storage of the beer. The flavor is great, with a full, round bitterness and a good amount of floral hop flavor. It is dry and fizzy, bitter and drinkable.

I did pick up one beer to-go, for the purposes of consuming while still in Arizona. More later…

+/-Papago Brewing Oude Zuipers

3.1 (3-6-7-2-13)

+/-Avery Brewing Karma

3.4 (3-6-7-4-14)

+/-New Belgium Biere de Mars

3.5 (3-6-8-4-14)

+/-Pizza Port The Ripper

3.1 (3-5-7-4-12)

Phoenix – Day 1: Serendipity

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I went to Phoenix with the dad and broski for spring break. Now, this isn’t a baseball blog so over the next few posts I’ll extract only the parts of the trip relevant to beer.

Loser's punishment

Loser's punishment

One of the first things I did when arriving was post to Twitter about the beautiful weather. Now, the beer gods were with me that I mentioned Phoenix by name, because olllllo, the Beer Hack(er) (and sometime contributor to beerporn) saw it. He quickly messaged, inviting me to an annual event at his home at the base of South Mountain which was just by chance happening that very evening. So after the watching the Cubs lose and the Suns win I made my way to his place.

Shaq and Steve Nash shooting...

Shaq and Steve Nash shooting...

Okay, ‘event’ is the wrong word. Olllllo had five homebrews on tap and three brewing friends had brought two or three beers each, so there were at least 50 gallons flowing. Also olllllo was opening bottle after bottle from his cellar. It was a party.

I wish I had had more time for tasting: I was only able to sample a few of the beers. From a man that looked suspiciously like Sam Elliot I tasted a pale ale made with summit and simcoe hops, with a big rich herbal and fruity nose. A guy whose real name was Bill but who everybody just called ‘Wild’ had two selections. First was a pedestrian roggenbier. Late in the evening he brought out his reserve keg: three gallons of bourbon porter that he’s been aging over a year on oak. It was smooth, yet rough. It was balanced, yet intense. It was fantastic. I had to find out how he got the ratio so perfect. “I had a half a fifth left and I wasn’t going to drink it, so I just threw it in.” This guy is my kind of brewer.

Me and olllllo and his kegerator

Me and olllllo and his kegerator

Ollllo himself had a few interesting selections. I had what he refers to as his “Meheeco Vienna Lager”. What can I say, it was authentic. He also had a perry (that’s pear cider for the unenlightened) that wasn’t half bad. The star of his lineup, however, was labelled simply “Centennial IPA”. While drinking the first glass of this I failed to take proper stock of the aroma, or notice that centennial is (at least according to teh internets) the principal hop in Two Hearted Ale from Bell’s, a beer you should know I love. For the lazy, my description was that “[t]he hop aroma is strong enough that you don’t even need to lean in.” After being directly informed of the attempt at cloning, I was blown away. While he can still work on the flavor a bit, ollllo’s version has exactly the nose of Two Hearted. Man I wish I could brew like that.

More southwest updates to come…