Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Bruery Reserve Society Initiation Party

To think we thought signing up for the reserve society with The Bruery at $195, was a bit on the expensive side, little did we know what a fantastic hoe down they had scheduled for us last Saturday (not to mention all of the other benefits that I wrote about in a previous blog here). They had 2 parties: one that started at noon and one that started at 4. We were in the 4-7pm group. We stayed in the hotel literally right next door, hoping that we would be able to just walk right up to the Bruery. Low and behold there was a 5ft fence surrounding the entire block which made us have to walk a 1/2 mile to actually get there. Not that I am complaining (plus on the way back we also gathered enough gusto, or drank enough beer I should say, to jump the fence).
On the beer menu for us (there was more but I tend to stay with the good stuff if it's being poured for free) was:

Hottenroth Berliner Weisse, Oude Tart, Mischief, Dirty Beaver Juice Weekend, Papier, Papier Rye, Papier Bourbon, Papier Brandy, and last but not least, Black Tuesday. You know, just another Saturday drinking all 3 barrel aged Papiers and Black Tuesday...

We started with the Oude Tart since we already bought 6 bottles (our limit in the reserve plus they only made 2600 bottles of it) and hoped it was good. We weren't disappointed. It's a Flander's Oud Bruin Style and 7.5%. It is also aged 18 months in Cabernet barrels. It's a beautiful clear copper brick red color. It had a light cherry aroma, a hint of funk and lots of wood. It was a strong sour at first that fades into a delightful sweetness, very complex! This is the type of sour I truly enjoy. It is a bit reminiscent of Rodenbach Grand Cru, which we just had at our Belgian Beer and Cheese Pairing meetup.

I then had the Mischief. This beer is a Belgian Strong Pale Ale and 8.5%. It poured a deep pee yellow and was a bit cloudy. It had a good thick head on it as well. It smells like American hops- pineapple, grapefruit, pine and it tasted like hops- citrus, pine. It had a slightly sweet and light flavor and finished dry- the alcohol is well hidden in this one.

Next up was the Hottenroth Berliner Weisse, which I wasn't that familiar with. It's a Berliner Weissbier and only 3.10%. It poured a bright yellow. It smelled a bit funky, Brett, not too tart but with a bit of lemon. It tasted like sour lemons, green apples then turns to yeast. It is very light and I learned from some fabulous East Bayers that it is meant to be drunk with sweeten syrups, which I would love to try sometime.

Did I hear Dirty Beaver Juice Weekend calling my name? Wow just wow. It's a Boozy American Strong Ale and 15% and not made anymore. It was only brewed once for Beachwood BBQ's 3rd Anniversary.  The name was taken from suggestions from the crowd at the bbq and each word was taken out of a hat- ala Grateful Dead style. It poured a murky, cloudy mahogany. It smelled of caramel, raisins, prune, bourbon and some wood. It tasted amazing: vanilla, a bit of nuttiness, burnt sugar, butterscotch, bourbon, mmmm. Apparently it is a blend of: Bruer's Anniversary Ale (2010 version, which will be called Coton), White Oak Sap (100% barrel aged White Oak) and a special smoked beer.  I heard a few people saying that it was better than the Melange #3, which I haven't personally had yet but it's on my list (thanks to Brian Yaeger) !

Next up was the special 'release' pourings of all 4 Papiers, which were brewed only once. There was a huge line for each and only 2 of us, but I got the bright idea to run and get more glasses so we each had 2. I got the Bourbon and Brandy while Dave got 2 glasses of the Rye- good call on his part. But then we poured the 2 rye's together and I went to get the only one that was left- which was the regular Papier. The Papiers are all Old Style Ales, with the regular one clocking in at 14.5%, and the barrel aged versions clocking in at 17%. In order of our favorites:
1- Papier Rye-aged in whiskey barrels, lots of oak, smokey, full bodied, smooth whiskey, vanilla, malt and brown sugar.  This one definitely seemed the smoothest out of the 3.
2- Papier Brandy- aged in brandy barrels, boozy brandy, dark oak, raisins, molasses, caramel, malt.
3-Papier Bourbon- aged in bourbon barrels, vanilla, caramel, sweet malt, bourbon, brown sugar. This one did not seem as complex as the other two and seemed to be a little bit past it's prime- at least when you are trying all 4 at once. They all age differently anyway.
4-Papier-25% whiskey barrel aged & 75% oak aged, dark fruits, prune, caramel, sweet raisins, toffee, malt. Definitely lighter then the last 3 but better than I had anticipated. Glad we have at least 1 bottle of this in our reserve.

SO on that note, we went back to try some 'home-made' blends that they were serving:
Sour Beaver- which was 1/2 the Oude Tart and 1/2 the Dirty Beaver Juice.
Two Hookers- 1/2 Two Turtle Doves and 1/2 Dirty Beaver Juice.
They were both pretty good. Obviously the Sour Beaver was more sour while the 2 Hookers was a bit more malty and caramel.  It was a nice idea that I never think about doing, even though Black and Tans are the most obvious thing. I might just start doing more of these blends on my own.

 On a side note, we obviously have the 2 Turtle Doves on its own as well, but I have written so much praise on this beer before. We also had some Partridge in A Pear Tree, which again I have written about both beers- here. It actually was a bit better than the last time I tried it. Still not sure if that's going to age 12 years though.

Last but not least was the 'great pouring' of Black Tuesday. It's an Imperial Stout and 19.5%! It poured pitch black, hence the name, and smelled of: vanilla, dark chocolate, malt and bourbon. It tasted like molasses, brown sugar, chocolate malt, prunes, raisins, espresso, slight anise and an oaky bourbon finish, which actually wasn't that strong of an alcohol burn considering it's 19.5%! All in all, it was delicious.

So my top 3?
1-Black Tuesday ties with Dirty Beaver Juice Weekend
2- Papier Rye 
3- Oude Tart

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend of drinking rare beer. We met some great new SF area friends as well. I look forward to our 'special releases' that we get 1st dips on for being members!


  1. All that and you didn't get to try Melange #3? And what's this about White Oak Sap being... better? I haven't tried it (nor the bottle of White Oak I've got here), but I find it hard to fathom. Considering M#3 is comprised of Papier, Black Tuesday, and, wait for it, White Oak Sap, it truly is greater than the sum of its parts. These people are insinuating that Papier and Black Tuesday make it inferior. Poppycock.

    Did you get to meet Barley?

  2. No, no no. NOT White Oak being better- Dirty Beaver Juice Weekend! That's made of: Bruer's Anniversary Ale (2010 version, which will be called Coton), White Oak Sap (100% barrel aged White Oak) and a special smoked beer. Melange #3 isn't out yet for 2010, but it is on our reserve list to be able to buy. So I am assuming that's not why we had any. PLUS I didn't say it, I heard some people say it. Don't shoot the messenger~

    Didn't meet Barley- too busy shoving my way to the front for more Papier.:)