This post is a continuation of the 2015 New Beer Every Day Beer Diary Challenge, #ottbeerdiary. Over the course of 2015, I drank at least one new beer every day. Please read the background in the link above, and enjoy reading about the most recently tasted beers below. This year I may deviate from the diary format in some posts, hoping to concentrate more on the locations and the breweries I am enjoying. If you’d like to join the challenge as well, let me know in the comments below. You can catch up on all of our posts as part of the challenge under the tag ottbeerdiary.
Day 395: January 30, 2016
Today was one of my favorite beer drinking days ever!
Back in September, I was invited to apply for press credentials for the Ratebeer Best Awards ceremony and beer festival. I honestly thought there was no way I would be selected, so I decided to just apply for the heck of it. To my surprise, they wrote back to tell me that both Erin and I selected and granted press credentials. So now I had to scramble to put together a trip to combine my home leave with the awards, since the awards are in Santa Rosa, quite a distance from the Netherlands.
Today is the day of the awards ceremony, so we had to start things off right with a nice breakfast, which we took at Willie Bird’s in Santa Rosa, where we gorged on turkey, with all the stuffings…or was it more stuffed ourselves on turkey schnitzel and turkey sausage and turkey gravy and, well, you get the picture. The Bloody Mary’s were pretty great, too 🙂
Next we had a visit to Cooperage Brewing on the agenda, where Ratebeer was providing lunch. They had a nice mix of beers on draft, so we made the decision to just jump in head first, and take a full sample board.
A bit of a surprise, however, to see the size of these sample glasses. Something tells me this is going to be a long day!
Cooperage Brewing Company Beers:
A Fish Called Blonda – 5.1% Belgian Blonde – Bitter and Fruity.
Three Amigos – 8.2% Belgian Tripel – Hoppy and fruity nose. Major bubble gum flavor.
Quad Di Da Di – 9.3% Belgian Quad – More like a Barleywine almost. Malty.
Absence of Color – 6.6% Porter – Coffee and cocoa bitter.
Thriller – 7.8% American Stout – A nice normal stout. Dark malty bitter.
Cooper Duper – 4.5% Session Pale Ale – Fruity citrus bitterness.
Blanc To The Future – 7.2% IPA – Ipa with Nelson hops fermented in Sauvignon Blanc barrels.
Bowie Is A God – 7.7% English IPA – Malty Hoppiness.
Juicy Coop – 9.3% Double IPA – A very fine, hoppy DIPA.
After this tasting, we prepared for the main event, the Rate Beer Best awards ceremony itself.
The awards ceremony was held at at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel and Spa in Santa Rosa, so we booked our room next door at the Courtyard by Marriott where I could use some expiring Marriott Rewards points for the stay. Which was very helpful for bringing bottles of beer to the ceremony for the second part of the evening, the Encomium, a bottle share of epic proportions.
The event started with a reception of excellent food and some beers from regional breweries. Many of the breweries I was familiar with, so I stuck to a couple of beers from a local brewery I had not tried before, 101 North Brewing Company:
101North/Homebrew Winners Collaboration Mojo Chocolate Milk Stout – 7.4% Milk Stout – Awesome stout! Dark chocolate and cocoa. Nice Bitter.
Heroine IPA – 7.2% American IPA – Beautiful bitterness. 64 IBUs. Excellent IPA.
The awards ceremony was hosted by Jay Brooks of Brookston Beer Bulletin and a number of other venues, who I had the pleasure of hanging out with in Belgium back in August at the European Beer Bloggers and Writers Conference. I have to give him a lot of credit; he had a lot of awards to read through, and some of those in attendance started the Encomium a little early and tended to drown him out as he was reading through the winners.
But the Encomium.
Oh the Encomium.
One room with many of the best brewers in the world, and some of the biggest beer geeks in the world. All of them invited to bring bottles to share with everyone else. How could this possibly be any better?
I have to say, we would up with a great table, with a couple of beer lovers from Northern California who became good friends over the weekend, as well as a representative from one of the award winning breweries, Fair State Brewing Cooperative of Minnesota, who brought a nice sampling of their award winning sours. And once the bottles were opened, the sharing began, and some truly amazing beers were shared up for anyone who was interested in trying.
Ratebeer Best Awards Encomium Samples
By no means did I come even close to sampling every beer that was present at the Encomium, but I must say I made a decent dent:
Barrel 5 by Fair State Brewing Cooperative – 7.2% Sour Ale – An awesome sour! Rye saison 10 months in French oak. Dry and tart. Funk delight.
Mamouche (2013) by Brasserie Cantillon – 5% Lambic – Awesome sour!
Gooseberry Colorambic by AC Golden Brewing Co. – 6% American Wild Ale – Sour. Tart. Decent fruit flavor. Tasty!
Bricoleur Batch 01 by Fair State Brewing Cooperative – 5.3% Sour Ale – Fruity and tart. Pineapple
Oude Geuze Vintage (2005) by Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen – 6.0% Gueuze – So smooth. So good.
Miami Madness by J. Wakefield Brewing – 3.6% Berliner Weisse – Great passion fruit flavor and aroma. Tart. Delicious.
Griffith J. Griffith by Highland Park Brewery – 10.5% Imperial Stout – Awesome stout. Dark, cocoa. Made with Trytero Coffee.
Bombay Rouge India Red Ale by Third Street Aleworks (California) – 7.6% Imperial Red Ale – Quite tasty. a “Red IPA”.
Tropical Apricot by Gravity Brewlab – American Wild Ale – Incredibly delicious. Sour, with fruit tones. Delicious.
Barrel 10 by Fair State Brewing Cooperative – 6.9% Sour Ale – Sour stout aged in French oak. Nice dark flavors mixed with sour.
Pushin’ Carts by Highland Park Brewery – 5.7% Saison – A very nice saison. Nice funk. Quite flavorful. Collaboration with Monkish Brewing Co.
Twilight of The Idols (2015) by Hill Farmstead Brewery – 7.2% Winter Porter – Awesome porter. Great flavors. From the brewery that had just been named the best in the world! Locally roasted coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla beans.
SR-71 (Barrel Aged) by Toppling Goliath Brewing – 14% Imperial Stout – Tiny sip. But made me cry. So awesome! Maple syrup. Chocolate. So thick. Delicious.
Laird’s Apple Brandy Big Black Voodoo Daddy by Voodoo Brewing Company – 12% Imperial Stout – Great dark chocolate flavors.
Lou Pepe Gueuze (2008) by Brasserie Cantillon – 5% Gueuze
Grand Cru Bruocsella Lambic Bio (2013) by Brasserie Cantillon – 5% Lambic
Blood Lust (Aged In Bourbon Barrels w/ Cacao Nibs, Habaneros, Cinnamon Sticks & Vanilla Beans) by Spring House Brewing Company – 16.5% Russian Imperial Stout – Quite nice. Not too hot.
Casey Family Preserves – Montmorency Cherry by Casey Brewing & Blending – 6% Saison – Excellent cherry flavor.
Guava Fresca by Casa Agria Specialty Ales – 5.7% Saison – Excellent fruit flavors!
Agamemnon by Omnipollo – 12.5% Imperial Stout – Not quite the BA, but still delicious.
Wisconsin Belgian Red by New Glarus Brewing Company – 4% Fruit Beer – Excellent. But a little bit too cough syrup sweet.
The Abyss (2010) by Deschutes Brewery – 11% Imperial Stout – Dark cocoa flavors
Manaphin by Green Bench Brewing Co – 11% Imperial Stout – Chocolate stout aged in bourbon barrels
Framboos (2014) by Brouwerij 3 Fonteinen – 6% Lambic – A little flat, but so flavorful. Great lambic base and wonderful fruit.
Mosaic Saison by Anchorage Brewing Company – 6.5% Saison – Hoppy. Tasty.
DBR by Cycle Brewing Company – 15% Imperial Stout – Nice flavors. But not great.
Smoked Marzen by 49th State Brewing Company – 7.5% Smoked Beer – Very smokey.
Bourgogne Blanc by Bruery Terreux® – 11.1% Sour Ale – Beautiful sour with toasty oak, buttery Chardonnay.
Big Bad Funky Wolf by Barbarian Brewing – 9.4% Imperial IPA – 100% Brett Imperial IPA. Great flavor! A fine way to end the evening.
Well..almost end the evening. This was followed up by a run for the border. Taco Bell, here we come!
Name: Black Gold
Style: Imperial Stout
Producer: Central Waters Brewing Company
Alcohol content: 11%
Bottle size: 2 oz. per taste
Purchased from: Encomium Bottle Share at Ratebeer Best Awards
Black Gold by Central Waters Brewing Company of Amherst, WI. 11% ABV Imperial Stout. I had so many different beers at the share, but this one was at the top of the pack (after the Toppling Goliath SR-71, but I only had a tiny sip of that one. Black Gold was impressive. Oh my lord. Great aroma. Oak and vanilla. Dark dark flavors. Some dark black cherry noted. Hints of anise. If this wasn’t a bottle share, I’d have gone for a second pour!
Black Gold is released every October at the Brewery, with a different recipe every year.
While we received free media passes to the Ratebeer Best Awards ceremony and beer festival, all travel, the Cooperage beer tasting, and hangovers were at our own expense. All opinions are always our own.