Rodger Davis, the ace brewmeister at Drake’s Brewing in San Leandro, CA. is holding a couple of very interesting tastings on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at the Toronado, 547 Haight St., San Francisco, and Thursday, Nov. 16 at Cato’s Ale House, 3891Piedmont Ave. in Oakland.
Both tastings are open to the public and begin at 6 p.m.
The first, at the Toronado is a vertical testing of five different vintages of Jolly Roger, Drake’s very strong Christmas Ale, each very different.
The second. at Cato’s will be three different versions of a brown ale, originally brewed as a homebrew by Alex Smith, the bar manager at Cato’s. More on that in a moment.
Here are Rodger’s notes on the Jolly Roger beers to be tasted at the Toronado:
A Scotch Ale. Based on the early 1800’s way of taxing ales, where more Shillings were charged to higher gravity ales, this would be considered a“120 Shilling” Ale. Big and malty from roasted barley this beer is balanced with only two hop additions of East Kent Golding and then it was fermented at 50*F to keep the ester formation low. 9%ABV 30 IBU’s
2003 Barrel Aged
In the early 1800’s Scottish brewers would transfer their ales to barrels where they would condition for up to two years. Often these beers would sour over time. The 2003 Scotch Ale was placed into a Brandy barrel for 18 months. This version has a slight sourness to it but is quite complex with the many different aromas and flavors. 11% ABV 30 IBU’s
An American style Red Ale. Think of it as a dark IPA. After 2003’s version we found the need to get back into a hoppy style but wanted to keep the beer rather dark to try and confuse some into thinking it was another Scotch ale. Little did they know that it was actually a hoppy beer. Hops: Horizon, Chinook and Centennial. 9.5% ABV 70 IBU’s.
An Imperial IPA. This is a very big beer. Crystal malt lend a nice ruby red back drop to an onslaught of hops. How many pounds of different kinds of hops can you throw at a beer and still make it somewhat drinkable? It turns out a lot! Hops: Horizon, Simcoe, Cascade and Columbus. 11.5% ABV 80 IBU’s
An old ale. For our 15th Anniversary we decided to do two different versions, one a hop bomb and for the other , we broke out Roger Lind’s first Jolly Roger recipe from 1990 and re-create it using our own brewing techniques. This is a well balanced ale that is lightly hopped with Galena, East Kent Goldings and Willamette hops.
9.5%ABV 40 IBU’s
2005b Barrel Aged
This is the Old Ale that has been aging in an Apple Brandy barrel for 12 months. The first few months of aging, this beer was dominated by apple aroma and taste, but over time that has taken a backseat to the French oak the barrel is made of. 11%ABV 40 IBU’s
An Imperial IPA. We have discovered that if hops are not used in the Jolly Rodger these days, then people would become enraged. So here we go with another hop bomb. This one steams from a conversation with Pat McIlhenney (owner/brewer of Alpine Brewing) when he mentioned that he used a whopping two pounds of dry hops per barrel in his outstanding Duet beer. Most of our IPA’s were about one pound per barrel! So what the hell, let see what that will do to one of our beers. Thanks for the advice Pat! Hops: Warrior, Simcoe, Summit, and Amarillo. 10% ABV 70 IBU’s.
What’s more…Rodger adds that he’s trying to secure a keg from 1996 or 1997 (brewed by Roger Lind, who founded Drakes) that somebody bought, never tapped and has been storing it in “good” condition. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, the next day at Cato’s also at 6 p.m. Here’s what Rodger plans in his own words:
“And if you not too hungover after that we brewed a Brown Ale that was originally brewed as a homebrew by Alex Smith (bar manager at Cato’s) which we will be tapping the 16th. We will have three different forms of it, co2, nitro and a pin (a small firkin) set on the bar. This is not your ordinary Brown ale as it is hoppy as hell. We try to make malt dominated beers but those hops keep jumping into the fermenters……Oh well. Anyway, I hope to see you there..”
I wouldn’t miss either event Rodger.