Tag Archives: Oskar Blues

Stouts and Porters Beer Dinner

It probably isn’t fair to be reviewing this one on the heels of the Nikki’s Beer Dinner from last month as that was a tough one to beat.  The Stouts and Porters Dinner at Julian’s on Sunday night was a great time and they did top it one way – entertainment.

In the middle of the dinner, they had a bunch of people from a Chinese dance school come in and do a little thing with a lion that ate and regurgitated some lettuce.  It was accompanied by drumming.  It was really fun and bought a nice new dimension to the dinner.  In addition, Brian from Julian’s also attempted to wear a different color ruffled tux shirt with each introduction for the courses.  Anyway, on to the review.

The first course found us drinking Buffalo Belgian Stout.  I had tried this once before from the bottle at a warmer temp and it was quite enjoyable.  It wasn’t nearly as good off the tap, unfortunately.  It was served with chestnuts and cranberries, which actually paired quite nicely.

The second course was a salad served with Avery The Czar.  The beer was awesome.  It was the first time I had tried it.  I found it a little odd that the strongest beer, at 12.2%, was served with the salad.  It had a lot of depth to the flavor with some dark fruit and anise.  The salad was greens, golden beets, herb encrusted pistachios, and crispy sweet potatoes.  It paired alright with the beer.  Neither over-powered the other, but I didn’t find them overly complimentary.  However, I also didn’t find them to be so opposite that they went poorly together.

The third course is honestly slipping my mind right now.  The beer was a whiskey barrel aged Ten FIDY from Oskar Blues.  This was quite tasty and added a nice dimension to the Ten FIDY without giving it a strong whiskey/bourbon flavor as happens too often when beers are aged in those types of barrels.

Following that was an intermezzo.  Again, the food is slipping my mind.  The beer was Great Divide’s Oak Aged Espresso Yeti.  This is easily one of my new favorite beers.  I managed to try some of this at Track 84 on Thursday.  It’s very tasty and has quite a bit of depth to the flavor.  The espresso is muted enough that it’s not overpowering, but strong enough to really complement the other flavors of the Oak Aged Yeti.  If you can find this, you need to try this beer.

Now onto the main course.  As with all the Julian’s beer dinners, there were 2 options.  Luckily, this time Susan and I picked different options.  I opted for the crab corn butternut squash ravioli, which came with an oak aged Smuttynose Robust Porter.  It turns out that this is actually called “JD” Oak Aged Robust Porter, the JD presumably standing for Jack Daniels.  Boy was that beer strong with the whiskey flavor.  Luckily, some of that flavor died off as the beer warmed, bringing out more of the porter flavors.  The regular Robust Porter is one of my favorite porters.  It’s very flavorful and has a great body.  This rendition of it wasn’t really up to my liking as I’m not big on strong whiskey flavors.  The meal was perfect, though, again, it wasn’t a perfect pairing.  If anything, the strong flavors of this beer took a little away from the food.  The other option was a roasted duck dish served with Hoppin’ Frog’s B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher, an oatmeal Russian imperial stout.  I found my dinner to be better and the beer to be different enough that I was really glad I chose what I did.

Finally, we made it to dessert, which was also a choice of 2 options.  I opted for a pumpkin creme caramel with a ginger cookie.  The beer was Meantime Coffee Porter.  This was the best pairing of the night.  The beer is excellent, and the dessert had just the right flavors.  It had a great consistency and the mix of pumpkin and ginger went well with the coffee flavored porter, which has a nice coffee flavor that is not overwhelming.  The other option was a float made with Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.  Again, I’m glad I chose what I did.  It was the better of the 2 options.

Overall, this wasn’t the best pairing, but the beers were fantastic and the evening, as always, was a ton of fun.  Many thanks to Brian, Mike, and the rest of the great staff at Julian’s.  I wish I remembered those other 2 dishes, but I just can’t.  If someone reading this remembers, feel free to post it in the comments.

Next month’s beer dinner is curated by JB Masters from Tigris Beverages.  I won’t be able to make this one or even the following one, which will be curated by Dave from Track 84.

Victory Storm King Stout at 1 Year

Last night I pulled up a can of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy that I had been holding since last year and a bottle of Victory Storm King Stout that I had been holding for a year.  I decided to try the Storm King.  This beer is normally a very hoppy, “in your face” Russian Imperial Stout.  I figured I’d age it and watch the hops mellow out a bit and bring some of the malt flavors forward.  That’s exactly what happened.  The beer is now much smoother, though not silky smooth.  It has more of a roasted malt flavor with some chocolate notes and a slight hint of coffee.  It’s also a lot easier to drink without the huge bitterness from the hops in addition to the huge flavors from the malts.

I’ve got three more bottles of this in my cellar.  I think I might save them for the next three years and see what happens.  There are plenty of RIS’s out there that don’t need aging that I can get by without this one.  I do think I’ll buy more soon, though, and let it sit in my cellar for a while.  The Ten Fidy will be another night this weekend.

2 Beers You Should Try…

I like beer, as can be seen by some of my previous posts and by the tagline of this blog. I am lucky to have Nikki’s Liquors nearby to fill my craft beer needs. I recently picked up 2 mix-a-6’s from Nikki’s with a bunch of beers I haven’t tried (and a couple favorites). I’m going to write about 2 of them. If you can find these beers at a package store nearby, you should try them. One is widely available, the other, I’m not so sure.

Anchor Porter, pretty widely available, is perhaps the best porter I have tried. It’s nicely carbonated, thick black, and all roasted malt with a slight bitterness to it. It’s about as perfectly porter as you can get before it becomes a stout. The only other porter I’ve had that was this good was Smuttynose’s Robust Porter. It’s very similar in flavor and thickness, with less carbonation. Both are amazing porters, both are a must try.

Oskar Blues Old Chub is an awesome Scottish style ale. It has a very carmel-y malty roasted chocolate flavor to it. It almost tastes like it was aged in oak barrels as it has that nice oak/whiskey flavor to it. I’ve had only a couple Scottish ales previously (from Sam Adams and Trinity Brewhouse). I’ve liked all that I’ve tried and this one was definitely the best of the 3. If you can find it, buy some. Don’t be put off by the can that it comes in. Cans do not equate to macro piss beer. In this case, it equates to a nice tastey powerful brew. At 8% abv, this isn’t for the lightweights (though one wouldn’t hurt…).

As I go through the rest of the beers in the mix, I’ll write more about them. Just for reference, the first 2 before these 2 were New England Brewing’s Sea Hag IPA, which also came in a can and, while good, was just your average IPA, and Victory’s HopDevil Ale, which is one of my favorite IPA’s (second only to Great Divide’s Titan IPA with Haverhill Brewery’s Leatherlips IPA coming in at a very very close third). Needless to say, my favorite style is the almighty IPA. Yes, I am a hophead.