By William Brand
Saturday, November 10th, 2007 at 8:53 pm in Uncategorized.
HAYWARD – They’re still rockin’ in the rain here at the Bistro in downtown Hayward and I’ve had far too many samples of high octane beer to drive, so I’m hiding out at Buffalo Bill’s at the end of the block from the Bistro. It’s jammed too. Good beer is big in Hayward – for those of you who got this post on a search from afar, Hayward’s a suburb, 25 miles south of Berkekey, 40 miles from San Francisco.
Here are the winners:
People’s Choice, Parabola Imperial Oatmeal Stout, Firestone Walker, Paso Robles, CA. This was dynamite: wild nose, vanilla, oak, alcohol. Taste was slightly sweet with a dry fining, notes of oak, vanilla, alcohold. It was one of the beers used in the blend for “11″, a beer being released to mark the brewery’s 11th anniversary.
Aged in Oak
1. Gold: Old Woody, Schooner’s, Antioch, CA.,11 percent, aged 12 months.
2. Silver: Odyssey, Triple Rock, Berkeley, 13 percent, aged 8 months.
Sour Barrel Aged Beer
Most of these are made with wild yeast, which creates the sour notes. In the regular beer world brewers hate wild yeast – bretanyomyces. There are many, they float through the air and they can do unpredictable things with beer. As far as I know most of the wild yeast used by American brewers comes from a yeast bank like White Labs, so it’s not quite so unknown.
1. Gold: La Folie, New Belgium, Ft. Collins, CO., 6 percent, aged two-four years.
2. Silver: Supplication, Russian River, Santa Rosa, CA., 7 percent, aged 12 months in pinot noir barrels with sour cherries. Besides brettanomyces, two strains of bacteria help sour the beer.
3. Bronze: Yellow Bus, Port Brewing, San Marcos, CA, 7.5 percent, aged with peaches. Aged in port, brandy barrels.
Note: Both La Folie and Supplication are available in bottles. Can’t find ‘em? If you live in the Bay Area, e-mail me for my 2007 Retail Beer Store List: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aged in Port/Brandy Barrels
1. Gold: The Angel’s Share 2006, Port Brewing, 11.5 percent, aged six months or more.
2. Silver: The Angel’s Share 2007, 11.5 percent.
3. Bronze: Decadence 12, Cuvee Speciale, Valley Brewing, Stockton, 12.5 percent, fermented in a brandy barrel for seven months, using seven yeast strains.
Aged in Bourbon Barrels
1. Gold: Older Viscosity, Port Brewing, 11.5 percent, dark strong ale.
2. Silver: Imperial Russian Stout, Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA., 10 percent, aged 12 months.
3. Bronze: Ryan Sullivan’s Russian Imperial Stout, 10 percent, aged three months.
As fests go at the Bistro, this was a small one _ gate was 450. But what fun. Every beer was totally different; it was an educational experience and easily my favorite of the year.
Paul Marshall, who “marshalled” the two panels, 16 judges in all, said the toughest chore was placing the beers in a category. Vic Kralj, proprietor of the Bistro, agreed. “It was so tough, I don’t think we’ll have judging next year, just a people’s choice, Vic said.
I can see that. They were all over the map – and it was more like a map of middle earth than a map of the modern ales/lagers/ world. Gee. Wonder what a barrel aged Bud would taste like?