The “You Can’t Get This Here” Challenge
Last night thirty beer enthusiasts gathered at the Four Firkins to witness a contentious confrontation between a bevy of brews to which their palates had previously been denied access. From East Coast and West, these beers, unavailable in Minnesota, were put to the test in a fierce fracas to determine which was the best. Big hoppy beer against big hoppy beer, big Belgian beer against big Belgian beer, and big black beer against big black beer, they did battle until only one reigned supreme over them all.
Round 1: Russian River Pliny The Elder vs Port Brewing Hop 15 – Pliny plowed the Port.
Round 2: Russian River Damnation 23 vs Allagash Les Deux Brasseurs – Allagash all the way.
Round 3: Port Brewing Old Viscosity vs Lost Abbey Serpent Stout – The serpent swallowed the competition whole.
Grand Champion: Pliny The Elder proved himself worthy.
Pliny the Elder – Folks enjoyed the intense citrus hop flavors and aromas while appreciating the balance and drinkability of this beer. Many expressed that unlike most Double IPAs they could imagine themselves having three or four of these in a sitting.
Hop 15 – While some enjoyed the complex fruity character and multifaceted hop flavors of this beer, others found the malt cloying or the bitterness harsh.
Damnation 23: Generally this beer was well liked by all. Good stone fruit notes with a dry spicy finish. The main criticism was that the rather woody oak character clashed with the peppery yeast and hop flavors.
Les Deux Brasseurs – For most this Brettanomyces fermented beer was heaven in a bottle with delightful stone fruit and cherries dancing with a gently horsey funk and light acidic sour. For some, though, the funk was too much.
Old Viscocity – For a beer with viscocity in the name, this was exceptionally light bodied, especially for its 10.5% ABV. It was a battle in itself with sweet caramel flavors competing with sharply bitter roast. The roast won out in the end. After a final bitter bite, the finish was astoundingly short.
Serpent Stout – Thick, rich, coffee and cream. Lucious dark fruits and warming alcohol. A great beer.