Monday, January 18, 2010

The Lost Abbey and Port Brewing all in 3 hours

My husband Dave, had to go to Orange County for work last Friday and we decided to make a weekend trip out of it-considering it was The Bruery's Reserve Society initiation party on Saturday.  So, I flew down and landed at 6:15, when Dave picked me up and we high tailed it over to The Lost Abbey. Apparently they close at 8pm, it was a 1 1/2 hour drive AND it was rush hour.

Besides getting lost for a few minutes, we still arrived in time to try their Isabelle Proximus, which is a $50 beer. They don't even let you take it to go because people sell it on ebay for $150! The bartender was pretty impressed and awed with our choice of beer as we rushed up to the bar and ordered it. It's an American Wild Ale and 7%.
It poured a very lemon yellow with lots of tiny bubbles. It smelled of pounds of lemons, sour apples and a ton of oak. It tasted extremely tart- again lemons, sour apples, a hint of apricot- reminiscent of Beatification from Russian River. It had a soft mouthfeel, very delicate on the tongue and delicious.   However, it seemed pretty uncomplicated- just pure pucker.

We then tried the 2010 Angel's Share aged in Brandy Barrels, by telling them the secret code "I hear there are angels among us". The 2010 version wasn't out until Saturday (the following day) but we couldn't make it back down again before The Bruery's party as we had plans for brunch with friends. We weren't allowed to buy any bottles either, but was able to have an entire pint of it for $8! The Angel's Share is an American Strong Ale and 12%. It smelled of oaky vanilla, raisins, prunes and brandy. It tasted extremely malty, sweet with tons of caramel/toffee notes, with a huge burnt coffee aftertaste. It wasn't quite balanced for me, the brandy definitely overpowered the other flavors. It also was lacking in carbonation, which I personally didn't think that was such an issue since this beer is heavy and pretty much a sipper (but I know that goes against all beer codes), but it DID bother Dave considering last year's version had no carbonation and we bought a case of it before we knew any better.

We were also able to try their Serpent's Stout, which just came out. We were given a taster of it, which was nice, but we also made some lady friends and shared our Isabelle with them and the bartender. It's an Imperial Stout and 10.5%. This puppy smelled of chocolate, espresso and roasted malts. It tasted like roasted burnt coffee, dark chocolate, a ton of malt and it is extremely dry and bitter- in a good way. You feel the heat from the alcohol but I had no idea it was 10.5 % until I looked it up.  Out of all 3, I actually liked this one the best.

After these 3 classy beers, we were booted out. So we made our way to Port Brewing on our way back to our hotel in the sunny and fabulous town of Placentia. I had Port's Killer Dana Double IPA, which is an Imperial IPA and 8.75%. Dave had Big Dog's Hop Dog 500, which is Big Dog's 500th batch of beer from their brewery. It's an Imperial IPA and 9.4%. The Killer Dana is super dry hopped. You can't smell or taste the alcohol, which is pretty impressive. It smelled of typical west coast hops- citrus fruits, pine, a bit of cedar. It tasted bright and hoppy but not too bitter. The Hop Dog 500 was way more floral in the nose and in taste. You could taste/smell the alcohol in this one. It had a bit of a funk in the nose as well- it was definitely hoppy, more floral than bitter.

So was it worth us driving the 1 1/2 hours, rushing just to spend $50 on a beer? Definitely.  Would I do it again? I would rush to go- but I probably wouldn't buy the Isabelle Proximus again. It was fun to do and fun to have, but I am not sure it is granted the $50 price tag, let alone the $150 one that people are paying for it. Plus we have 1 bottle in our own reserve collection. But it was fun to rush out and get to some of our favorite breweries.

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