Birthday Edition

Date: May 17, 2010
Location: Mike’s house
Present: Steve Schroeder, Mike Merrill, Curt Merrill, George Wietor, Josh Berezin

JB: It’s a special edition.
MM: It’s true, birthday edition!
JR: And special G-rad guest edition.
GW: Goodbye edition.
MM: And it’s Calvin’s first 1000 beers! And Josh’s last.
JB: I’m passing the torch.
MM: Okay, which one’s first?
JB: The small one.
MM: Founders Brewing.
JB: With an apostrophe?
MM: No, but it seems like there is a capital S.
JB: That is just for symmetry.
JR: We have found that bad graphic design does not indicate a bad beer.
SS: It’s usually better!
MM: It claims to have started in 1997.
JB: What’s the actual beer name and type?
MM: Dirty Bastard. Scotch-style Ale. George, do you want to say anything about this beer?
GW: This is from a brewery that’s a 10-minute walk from my house. This beer has been on a train, unrefrigerated, for several days. It is not my favorite of this brewery’s beer. But it is their flagship beer. And Curt has rated it quite highly before.
CM: After Mike and I did our blogging tour, I hosted a beer tasting, and this was the highest rated. But Mike did not get to try it.
GW: I don’t know why I didn’t think, of this, but I could have brought a mix-n-match six-pack.
JB: Let’s taste.
GW: What are we supposed to say?
JB: There are no rules.
MM: I wonder if the fact that I’m drinking it out of a coffee cup is influencing how I feel about this beer.
JR: You like coffee, so you might like it more.
CM: It’s dark, but not bitter, and kind of sweet.
GW: They make a “Kentucky Breakfast Stout” beer… They have a maple-aged beer, they have beers aged in bourbon barrels. They are experimenting a lot right now. Their barrel-aged beers are stored underground in gypsum mines.
JR: I thought you said “Egyptian mines” and I thought you were so full of shit.
GW: Gypsum. They make walls and gum out of it. It’s a mineral. Michigan is right above a swirling vortex of gypsum.
MM: This kind of reminds me of the Session Black. Dark, but drinkable.
GW: These are notorious for hangovers. Monday night, everything’s half-off. So there are a lot of Tuesday hangovers in Grand Rapids. Do you have any questions you’d like me to field?
MM: When was the first time you drank beer?
GW: Actually, I don’t know. I don’t remember anything! My dad was an amateur brewer, so I think I accidentally drank it when I was a kid.
SS: Your dad was an amateur brewer before it was cool?
GW: He’s basically a chemist. He stopped now, but he was interested in doing it, because he liked to make something that wasn’t at work.
SS: What beers of Founders do you not enjoy?
GW: This isn’t an everyday beer for me. I usually get whatever’s on tap and I haven’t tried before. They have a new one called “DEATH” that I want to try when I get back. They had a raspberry beer called “Rübæus” that they had to stop making when raspberry prices went up. Raspberries aren’t grown much in Michigan, but cherries are, so they’re switching to cherries for their fruit beers. I like their Centennial IPA a lot.
MM: When I went to the Full Sail brewery, they had about 10 beers, total.
GW: Yeah, these guys have like 20. And they’re changing all the time. They had all these spiced Christmas beers last winter. They had one called Spice Rack that tasted … like a spice rack.
96/1000: Full Sail Top Sail Imperial Porter
JB: I’ll point out that this was a very hot, limited release, where the beer stores had to have limits on how many bottles people could buy, they’d announce it on their blogs… It was kind of a big deal.
MM: It looks like motor oil as it pours.
GW: It’s definitely barrel-aged. But there’s not a lot of taste to it.
MM: The aftertaste disappears… once you taste it, it’s gone.
GW: Smelling it, I expected it to be really strong, but once I had it in my mouth, there wasn’t as much to it.
SS: It smells like a wafer cookie. Or a Necco wafer.
JB: It’s chalky.
GW: It certainly smells the part.
JB: I guess I didn’t have the same expectation that it would be super-flavorful, but I’m sidetracked by the smell. It smells amazing!
MM: This is a sharing bottle.
JR: It’s part of the problem with it, that you can’t just sit down and drink it with two people.
SS: I could just sit down and knock this back.
GW: I’m not let down, but I’m surprised and a little confused that this isn’t more flavorful.
JB: You thought it would be, like, challening.
GW: Exactly. I’m used to cringing a little after having a bourbon-aged beer.
[Mike pours his beer into a brandy snifter.]
JB: It’s going to taste so much better like that.
MM: It is! It is much better. Lesson one: Mugs are better for beer.
GW: I don’t agree. I think you should drink darker beers, and bourbon beers out of these.
MM: But not Budweiser.
GW: No, just the ones that rely a lot on smell.

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