Monday, May 24, 2010

Beer Tasting Extravaganza: Coffee District Edition

Yesterday I mentioned that I was headed to Coffee District in Delray Beach for our second quarterly Beer Social Media tasting and meeting. Here was the summary from our Maiden Voyage at Total Wine in Pembroke Pines. During the first meeting, we had around ten people and sampled 14 different beers. This time, however, we broke the twenty-person barrier and sampled 32 different beers!

It was quite the experience. From telling one of my fellow bloggers that she was the first person I had ever spoken to with a lip ring (and that was before we even started drinking); to calling the guy that showed up in a suit by the obvious "Suit Dude" name; to the fake kiss with another beer blogger just to show how puckering one of the beers happened to be (it was for science, I swear); and finally toward the end of the evening I found myself photographing one of my online friend's tattoo! I have the picture but prefer that you check it out on her Potables and Edibles blog for now. Yep. Good Times!

I finally met Chung, the ultra-cool owner of Coffee District (pictured with some sweet beer taps behind him), who not only hosted us but also joined in on the tasting. Thanks again, Chung! I met the awesome guys that run The Funky Buddha, who should be selling their own beers pretty soon. About half way through our four-hour tasting, a lady walked in with a Cadillac hub cap. Yeah, I know. I was thinking that too. She turned out to be Phaan Howng, the General Manager of The Lodge, which is another cool Palm Beach County hangout. The Lodge owner Anthony was also present, but he deferred face-time to Phaan (she's cute too, not just funny and smart). I also met Andrew Weinstein who is trying to start up a local brewery here in Miami. That would be terrific! Finally, I sat next to TheCervezaChica the whole night, and it was awesome because she really helped me identify lots of people I didn't know by face. And many other bloggers, writers, and generally cool people made this an awesome event! Of course, Ed Roberts from Total Wine was there! He's the guy that organized everything. BTW, I ended up taking the hub cap home!!!

I also took a ton of pictures, including almost all of the 32 bottles, which I am going to show you below. The one to the left is the same art as I showed you a few days ago, but this time the picture is my own and not lifted from the Coffee District website.

Here are my reviews. I took ten pages of notes. My observations and writing got worse as my palate started to riot against me, but I have enough material here I do believe. Yes, thanks for noticing that a few are missing and pointing that out to me verbally. That's because I am teaming up with another blogger to review those as a guest. I will update the links when they are published, which all should be this week.

This is mostly the order we drank the beers in, although a few are slightly out of place as there were a few false starts on beers we put out to warm up a little bit first.  BTW, I know 32 sounds like a lot, but with over 20 people, we were really tasting a fairly small amount of each beer. That and a four-hour-plus session provided ample time to relax and enjoy. Take your time as this is really long, but hopefully the pictures will guide you through what interests you. Oh, and thank you for reading!

1. Conte Di Campiglia Etrusca. If you speak Italian, you can check out their website. This is a very simple beer, light lemon and light bitter, pilsner-type flavors. Smooth and no skunk! Good start!

2. The Bruery Rugbrød. I reviewed this in detail back in February if you're interested. For this review, I tasted rye and other grains, which provided a sharp, spicy kick. A little bitter or sour with a strong maltiness all the way through.

3. Goose Island Matilda 2010 and 2009. I actually brought the 2010 version. You may remember it was the March, 2010 Best Beer, which made the last bottle especially difficult to resist from my refrigerator. The 2009 version was brought by the guys at Funky Buddha. I had both, but didn't make any real distinction. I'm pretty sure I even combined them in one glass. If you care about the full review, read above. For this tasting, I mostly noticed a dark fruit and raisin, but some pears as well, with some spiciness.

4. Watermelon Wheat Home Brew by Phil from DosBeerigos. No picture, but imagine an antique blue glass jug being pulled out. From what I understand, Phil was trying to mimic the 21st Amendment beer Hell or High Watermelon, since his wife Kelly loved it so much. He said something about extract, but that I guess is secret society talk. You'd probably be surprised that this smelled like wheat and watermelon. Not powerful, but nice. First sip? Pretty flat. Phil mentioned that he's working on the carbonation right now. But the flavors are light, crisp and refreshing. Watermelon, lemon and wheat flavors are very tasty. A little like Bubblicious meets watermelon Jolly Rancher. Also, I think Phil is thinking about going into business brewing non-alcoholic beers, but we'll see where this one takes him!

5. Ian from FreshBeer Hoppy Home Brew. Again, Ian showed up with a no name beer. Apparently I gave the Raspberry Stout he brought last time a name, but although I remember some discussion, I don't have any documentation. For some reason I got the task of naming this one tonight (and there's added pressure as it will be entered into a contest soon). Thinking about it! Strong citrus and lemon rind started things out. Maybe it was carbonation withdrawal from #4, but this was awesomely carbonated, medium plus! Hoppy and very nicely bitter. Ian said about 6.5% alcohol, but it wasn't a factor. I liked it a lot. Very refreshing, and I had seconds and thirds! I'm pretty sure I heard Ian throw out that this was a grain only, no extract, brew. Hmmm. Fight with #4?

6. Grand Teton Pursuit of Hoppiness. Suit Guy (BTW, I do know his real name) brought this beer, in addition to the first one, the Italian Job. This brewery is in Idaho. I didn't ask how it ended up in South Florida, though. My bad. Anyway, it came in a 1 liter bottle, so there was plenty to go around. Nice grapefruit bitterness, some other citrusy fruits, and a noticeable 8.5% alcohol. I'd for sure drink it again.

7. Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu. That picture doesn't look like the rest, Beer Drinker. Very observant, I must say! That's because I have reviewed this beer before, but not for over 6 months. Funniest thing is that it appears I took the picture some time after I reviewed the beer, because this picture didn't even make that review! Anyway, I guess I missed taking a picture of this one this time. Sue me! Sweet, very pleasant aroma. Flavors match that as well with sweet honey and grapes. While the consistency is a bit thick, some apple cider-type flavors keep it balanced just enough. I originally commented that I probably wouldn't drink this again, but let me tell you, I went back to this after everyone was done (the non-empty bottle was sitting in "the lineup" for 30 minutes) and had seconds. Really enjoyable and I'm saying even moreso following a very bitter beer!

8. Westvleteren 8. These dudes are calling it the Westy, which I thought was a dog, but I'll play along. Two things. First, the label was missing on the bottle because apparently it had been taken several places before where the group was not worthy of  the beer (so I was told). Second, this is not the Westy bottle, it's just another bottle that was reused for one of the home brews, and I got confused. I have a picture of the actual bottle, but this one came out better, and I figured that this is the closest a "Bud-type" bottle will ever get to those caps!
Dark fruits, plenty of raisins, really nice flavors. There are also candy and caramel flavors complexly intertwined with the fruits. I tasted more of a pear and peach toward the end. Also, strong carbonation. This is the Ferrari of beers, and I was honored to be part of a group that was finally worthy of opening it. I was going to put a joke here about how you might have thought a handful of the people had re-discovered the Ark of the Covenant when this beer was opened, but decided to skip it! :)

9. De Proefbrouwerij Andelot Cuvee Angelique. I didn't find a picture of this one. Not sure why. I give no excuses except that I dropped the ball. And I've never reviewed this one before so I didn't have a spare at home. Also, I couldn't read my own handwriting and was missing a few words, so I went to Beer Advocate because I know they get facts like that correct. This is a Belgian Dubbel. It also has mainly candy and a mix of fruity flavors. The fruitness is a little less raisin and more on the peachy pear side of things. Really good. I (un) jokingly said I liked this as much as the Westy, which we had just finished, to which someone said I could buy this at Total Wine for a fraction of the price. I think there was an agreement wink with my assessment, but I'll protect the innocent.

10. New Belgium Lips of Faith Kriek. My review for this beer is part of a special series I'm doing with Phil from By special, I mean we're goofing off on his blog this week!

11. Hair of the Dog Fred. I didn't write a lot down about this beer during our tasting, but a friend of mine recently asked me if we get HOTD beers here because I think he's planning a trip. When I said that we don't, he said, "Oh. Snap!" which I guess means they are good! This beer was quite bitter with noticeable and big alcohol. Fruity, spicy and incredibly hoppy all packed into half an ounce! Good little nibble to whet my appetite!

12. Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale. This will be my second beer review with Phil from DosBeerigos. I will link it when it's published. Phil's promising a photo for the ages! Update 5/25/2010: Published at

13. Adriaen Brouwer Dark Golden Ale. I think Ed from Total Wine brought this one. A new beer exclusive they are offering. Since he's a loyal reader, I'm sure he'll correct me if I'm wrong. This one's from Belgium if the name didn't tip you off. Very carbonated, which accentuates the cotton candy and fruity flavors. The 8.5% alcohol works well with those flavors as well.

14. AleSmith Wee Heavy Scotch Ale. You observant ones probably notice I got the wrong picture (right brewery though) with this review. Bite me! I've spent too many hours on this book for the Library of Congress! Chocolaty and rich to start, but there is a slight sourness behind those flavors. And the alcohol is very noticeable, yet not annoying even one bit. Really complex, lots of flavors working together here. I had a little extra of this one after the rest got a turn. Good lingering-ness of the flavors on your palate. Nice beer!

15. Mayflower Brewing Thanksgiving Ale. This is an English Style Old Ale according to the bottle. The main flavors were dark fruit and rum accompanied by a smooth toffee. Very distinct and pronounced alcohol in this one.

16. Trappistes Rochefort 2005. Jonathan said we needed to "warm this bitch up" a bit, so I think maybe we did this one after a few of the ones to come, but this is where it left the refrigerator. He also kept saying how much this reminded him of a cognac. Which made me think of this as a cognac, and it really did have those flavor characteristics. Before that idea got put in my head, I was thinking about dark cherries and other fruits. Very rich and complex texture, with noticeable alcohol. This beer is in the same class as the Westy we had earlier.

17. Anderson Valley Summer Solstice. This beer came in a growler donated by Phaan and Anthony from The Lodge. Sweet yet balanced with a nice honey flavor. I liked it a lot, and with 64 ounces, there was plenty to taste, even with so many people. Ian from FreshBeer wins the descriptive quote on this one: "Tastes like chocolate Teddy Grahams!" And he managed to convince a bunch of other people the same thing.

18. Panil Barriquee. This is an Oak Aged Sour Red Ale. Persistent cherry tartness throughout the entire experience. Just when you think you've had enough sour, a big dose of granny smith apples teams up with those cherries. As tart and sour as this is, there are also hints of sweetness; it's really a unique and interesting flavor profile. I like it!

19. Lil' Bitta Home Brew. This one is from Mike at, another beer blogging buddy and dedicated Philly sports fan. Lil' Bitta was his first homebrewing effort and a really good one. Lots of lemon peel in this beer. Simple, refreshing and crisp. It's a little more than a lil' bitter but that is a fun name. Go over to Mike's site and check out the logo he made for the beer, too! Nice job.

20. Pretty Things Saint Botophs's Town. Hmmm. This one probably didn't get the attention it deserves. I wrote "Rustic Dark Ale" which I'm guessing the bottle says since I don't speak like that. Malty and nutty flavors. A little bitter with some dark fruit balance. One ounce will do that to you.

21. Shipyard Barleywine Style Ale. The picture of this bottle is with Chung above. Chung had that bottle, and I never got it back for a solo photo. LOL. So I decided this might be the perfect place to show you my new Cadillac hub cap! BTW, Thank you for making it with me this far. If you are exhausted, imagine me writing this novel! For this beer, I am having a hard time deciphering my notes as Phaan decided she'd like to doodle there with hearts and LODGE decorations! Anyhoo, this was a bitter beer, very hoppy, yet some rich chocolate provided a great balance.

22. Half Acre Baume. This was the other beer I brought along with the 2010 Matilda. Both came back with a friend of mine from a Chicago business trip a few months back. So thanks to him! Yes, another picture I didn't take at the tasting. That is a doily in my house! Here is another picture for your enjoyment. Sorry to get your hopes up for a review if there's not a link here yet, but this will be another in the DosBeerigos Guest Post series. Patience! Update 5/26/2010: Published at

23. Dogfish Head World Wide Stout 2006. This beer has 21% alcohol in it! Let's start there. You know, that's really dangerous, because although you can certainly feel an alcohol bite, four years of aging has taken any edge off that may have previously existed. What you have is a silky smooth chocolate upon chocolate upon chocolate treat. Very rich. It's funny because I am too cheap to buy the 2010 version at $10 a bottle, so this was really an awesome thing!

24. The White Hooter Home Brew. Twitter friend Vanessa is also a home brewer! And quite a good one, too. But Beer Drinker, that bottle has a label on it. Yes, Vanessa had her own bottle labels made for this beer! Pretty cool, right? Lemon aroma. Gigantic carbonation. The flavors were lemony as well, and the carbonation was prickly and refreshing. Light body, very refreshing and tasty. Thanks for bringing it, Vanessa! How'd you come up with that name?

25. Bohemian Pilsner Home Brew. This beer was also brewed by Vanessa (above). Wow. The only think I wrote is "lemon". Well, I did write a curse word, but I'm pretty sure that was directed at someone. :) Would love another shot at this one.

26. Goose Island Pere Jacques 2007. This is another one you'll need to wait for over on the site. If there is a link here, the wait is over, for you slower readers. Update 5/27/2010: Published at

27. buLum Elderberry Black Beer. All I could muster for this review is Beeer, with an extra e. That probably isn't very fair, but neither is life. If you're dying to hear more about this beer, you'll probably need to look elsewhere.

28. Brew Dog Rip Tide. The label says this is a "Twisted Merciless Stout!" Chocolate, dark fruit, cherries. Creamy smooth, but under-carbonated.

29. AleSmith Speedway Stout. Enormous head! Rich and thick, dark and roasted, just how a stout should be. Definite alcohol presence with chocolate and fruit and a persistent, yet not overwhelming, burnt flavor. Creamy smooth, delicious!

30. Black Flag Imperial Stout. This will be the final DosBeerigos guest spot beer later this week. Hopefully Phil took a picture or can photoshop it from the lineup because I got nothing. Probably what happened is the name of the beer took me back to my home town, when Black Flag equaled the "band of the skaters", a group that wasn't particularly attractive (and I'm not (mostly) talking about appearance). Update 5/29/2010: Published at

31. Cigar City Big Sound Scotch Ale. Another picture not from the tasting. This one I have at home, yet have not cracked it open yet, although as you can see I have taken a picture. Actually, I have two bottles at home. I was going to send one to Cooking Asshole in my first ever beer trade, but "he doesn't really like Scotch Ales". Pussy. He's way too busy to read this but whatever! Hahaha. I sent him Cigar City's Warmer Winter Winter Warmer instead. This beer had some fruit and caramel? I don't know, but that's what I wrote. Smooth, creamy and flavorful. My palate is burnt to a char.

32. Hoppin' Frog Barrel Aged BORIS Oatmeal Imperial Stout. The ever-cool Ed Roberts brought this one. I had the normal BORIS several months ago, but this one was aged in whiskey barrels. There was a brief fight about it being bourbon barrels, but Ed drop-kicked Phil and Mike with the best WWF move you ever saw. I bet they pledged to cover that part of the story up, too. This beer is sweet, yet alcoholic, then you will taste some raisins followed by more alcohol. Guess what. I've had enough!

The Full Lineup... mostly.

If you find a typo, tell me. If I made a name mistake, tell me. If you do it in a sarcastic way, which I've been known to do, I will fix the error, jump in my car, and hunt you down! Thank you so much for reading, and to everyone that was there with me Saturday night, I hope to see you again real soon!

Set of 27 Glee Pins 1.25" Buttons TV Show

Mr. Beer Premium Gold Edition Home Brew Kit

All About Home Beer Brewing -- Kindle Store


Unknown said...

Great recap. My palate was destroyed, too. Near the end when we started hitting those heavy bourbon barrel-aged stouts, I was almost queasy and hesitant to finish the last few samples. Ed had asked which was my favorite and I just threw whichever one out there because we had so much and my tastebuds and brain were completely pummeled. Great to finally meet you and several others, as well. The meetup definitely got me fired up to get my own blog going and hopefully, if I'm invited back next time, I'll be there as an actual beer blogger instead of just some random dildo who likes good beer.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hey Joel. It's tough to remember what happened without taking some notes. I'm glad Ed didn't ask me my favorite because I'd need to go back and think about it.

Good to meet you too. Best of luck with the blog!

Unknown said...

Awesome job, it was hard enough just listing the beers we had on Saturday, but you even make notes on them too!!!

the "Suit Guy"

PS if you still need a good photo of Black Flag, let me know I have a bottle at home.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Good morning. Thanks for stopping by. I might need to rethink the "do a review for each one" strategy. I am spent!

Talk to you soon. Very nice meeting you!

kkozlen said...

Looks like an incredibly awesome event! Looked like a ton of fun.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hi kkozlen. Thanks for stopping by. It was a lot of fun, and since I live like 50 miles from the area, I don't get to hang out with most of those guys too often. In fact, I met about 15 people I never had before.

The next meeting is in a few months. I'm sure it will be terrific!

Vanessa said...

Such a good time, thanks for the wrap-up! :) I took some notes too, but they began to get pretty useless by about beer 15!

Look forward to the next one!

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Hi Vanessa. Thank you for bringing your two home brews. Next time let's sit at the same end of the table (if you think you can stand me).

Writing this, figuring out my notes, uploading pictures and getting all the details straight took me a really long time. I could have been shorter if I wasn't such a smart ass, but that was the funnest part! So thank you also for taking the time to read and comment.

Talk to you soon.

Michael Jurewicz said...

An epic review from an epic tasting. No offense but I noticed you had the picture of Speedway Stout up as the picture for Wee Heavy. No offense of course. :)

Great seeing you as always Rob.

Beer Drinker Rob said...

Mike. If you read the very first sentence next to the non-Wee Heavy picture, I predicted that someone would eventually say something before I even published the post.

I just made the "fuck it" type decision because the real photo was on another computer. LOL.

Nice seeing you as well. Can't wait for the next one.

Michael Jurewicz said...

Well silly me for not catching that. haha I also saw that as an opportunity to use our new catch phrase. "No offense"

Beer Drinker Rob said...

No offense taken. I didn't know the cool kids were saying that now!

Anonymous said...

Great to meet you, and thanks so much for the phenomenal recap. I'm thrilled that there is a thriving and growing community of proper geeks! Can't wait for the next event!


Beer Drinker Rob said...

Thanks, Drew. South Florida has quite the crew! Talk to you soon and can't wait to hear more about your brewery.