Every 2nd and 4th Wednesday, 4 Hands Brewery hosts a “Specialty Beer Swap” by local homebrewers or beer “aficianados.” I went to my first one tonight — although lightly attended due to other beer activities going on in the city, I was able to sample several different beers. Beer 38 for me was one I’ve wanted to sample: The Velvet Merkin. Whoa. This is an outstanding beer. Firestone Walker out did themselves with this Oatmeal Stout. Although it is 8.5% ABV, it is so smooth. Many bourbon-barrel aged beers are sometimes overpowered by the residual bourbon in the barrel–not this one! There was the hint in the background, but you could definitely tell this was all beer! If you can get your hands on a Merkin, I recommend it! <smile>
The fantastic thing about this evening is that this was not the only beer I was able to sample. Next up (none of these are in any particular order) was a Russian River Beer: Temptation. Wow! Two world-class beers in a row. This one is listed as an American Wild Ale. Here’s the description: “A blonde ale fermented with a special strain of yeast, then aged in French oak chardonnay barrels. Flavors of wine and oak absorb into the brew throughout twelve months of aging. During this aging process, a secondary fermentation occurs using a yeast strain disliked by most brewers and winemakers called Brettanomyces.” [from BeerAdvocate]
Next up? Short’s Brewery Soft Parade. This one was a little sweet for my taste … very similar to a Lambic/Kriek but I’m not sure they call it a Lambic. The bottle says “High Gravity brewed with a bunch of different fruit.” Still a very good beer.
Fourth taster? Port Brewing‘s Santa’s Little Helper. An Imperial Stout aged in Oak Barrels … wow again! This beer was fantastic. So nice and tasty, the aroma was great with a very good finish. Find it, buy it. haha.
The last beer was one I provided. Premiant Hopburst by Brouwerij de Molen. It is bottle 104 out of 366. This bottle was 4 years old. This is a single-hopped IPA made exclusively with Premiant hops (a Czech variety). I liked this beer, but a couple of the guys there didn’t. Maybe they weren’t used to an aged IPA? I thought it was really good.
Overall a great beer tasting evening at 4 Hands. I look forward to the next one!