Sunday, March 11, 2012

Reflections on Charleston Brewvival 2012

With Charleston Brewvival 2012 two weeks in the past, it's time for me to reflect on how kick @$$ it was!!!  If you read my pre-Brewvival post, you saw that I made a top ten list of beers (see bottom for my top 10) I must try at Brewvival.  I came up with the idea after Brewvival 2011, deciding that I definitely needed a strategy for this type of event.  The strategy was to prioritize the beers I must, must, must try since there are so many good one's to choose from.  Part 2 of the strategy was to drink alot of water and eat alot of food.  Overall, the strategy worked as I left there highly satisfied in terms of beers tasted, highly full of delicious food, and mostly hydrated.  All this ='s me leaving Brewvival not wasted and fully functional the next day.  

In regards to the beer....all I can say is WOWSERS!!!  What a great selection of breweries and CRAZY beers!!!  Crazy in the best way possible.  In regards to my top 10 list, I was able to try 8 out of the 10.  Not too shabby!!!  The two that I didn't get to try were the Brooklyn Brewmaster's Reserve Mary's Maple Porter and the Great Divide Oaked Red Yeti (Cask).  The Brooklyn was gone by the time I got there and the Great Divide, well somehow I just never made it there.  Not sure what happened.  Of my top 10, here's how I rated them. 

1) Bell's Hopslam (Cask) 49/50.  Just damn good!!!  There was a huge line for this one!
2) Stone Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Russian Stout  48/50.   Just right amount of Bourbon made this spectacular!
3) 3 Tied for 3rd  Terrapin Cabernet Barrel Aged Monk's Revenge  46/50.  I am loving any wine barrel aged beer I taste.  Coast 2011 Barrel Aged Blackbeerd  46/50.  Went back twice for this good!
Foothills 2010 Sexual Chocolate  46/50.  Nice and chocolatey! Like a chocolate milk shake!
4) Westbrook Brewing Mourvedre Barrel Aged Quadrupel  44/50.  Like I said previously, I am loving any wine barrel aged beer I taste.  This one did not disappoint.  Westbrook has the wine barrel aging thing down to a science!
5) Holy City Brewing Tripping Brick  43/50.  Nice work imperializing a Pilsner.  I have had imperial pilsner's before, but this one is the best I've had.  Nice work HCB!
6) Sweetwater 15 Years of Heady Beers  42/50  Although it was ranked last out of my list, it was by no means a bad beer.  This one was tasty and I would certainly drink it again.  

Other notables that weren't on my priority list that I tasted and really enjoyed:

1) Terrapin Moo Hoo (Cask)   46/50.  I love chocolate milk shakes, but this beer was better than any milk shake I've ever had.  Moo Hoo is now my favorite milk stout!  Already bought a 4 pack of it the other day. 
2) Fullsteam Bourbon Barrel Aged Fullsteam  46/50.   This was tasty.  Fullsteam had some good beers.  Very interesting brewery.  Glad we can get it here in Charleston now. 
3) Fullsteam 2011 Sour Summer Basil  45/50.  Great use of basil in this highly poundable summer beer.  Just the right amount of basil.  
4) New Belgium 2010 Vrienden  42/50.  Sour ales are slowly growing on me!  This was tasty!
5) Westbrook Lichtenhainer Weisse 42/50.  I repeat, sour ales are slowly growing on me.  Tasty!
6) Palmetto Angry Ginger AKA Ginger Slap 42/50.  Palmetto win for best dressed at Brewvival.  This ginger beer was damn tasty too! 

Overall I had a great time.  Got to meet up with some buddies (Shout out to David Fowlkes from The Lost Beers, Smith Mathews from Southbound Brewing Company, and Michael Biondi and Joey Siconolfi from The Frothy Beard Brewing Company) and drink some awesome beers.  Congrats to Coast Brewing and The Charleston Beer Exchange for putting on another great Brewvival.  Can't wait until Brewvival 2013.

Now check out my Brewvival video:

My top ten list my pre-Brewvival blog!

 1) Bell's Brewery- Hopslam (cask)   This an is Imperial IPA that gets a 99 on Beer Advocate and a 100 on Ratebeer.  This is one of my favorite beers, and it's being served out of a Cask (Bonus)!!!

2) Foothills Brewing- 2010 Sexual Chocolate.  This is an Imperial Stout that is very highly rated and sought after.  It's a cocoa infused Imperial Stout. Mmmm...this is better than any dessert!  Loved the 2009 Sexual Chocolate at last years Brewvival.

3) Stone Brewing- 2008 Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Russian Stout.  This beers weighs in at a whopping 10.8 % alcohol.   This one should be pretty special!

Tip 1: This is where I take a few chugs of water to stay hydrated!!!

4) Coast Brewing- 2011 Barrel Aged Blackbeerd.  This is local beer at it's finest!!!  This is an Imperial Stout.  50% aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels and 50% aged in Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrels.  I may line up more than once for this one!

5) Sweetwater Brewing- 15 Years of Heady Beers.  This is a Extra Special Strong Bitter, weighing in at 10.0% alcohol.  This beer was brewed in celebration of the breweries 15 year anniversary.   They took their original ESB recipe and injected it with Steroids!  This will be my first experience with an Imperial ESB!

6) Westbrook Brewing- Mourvedre Barrel Aged Quadrupel.   This is a Belgian Quadrupel that I got to try months ago in Westbrook's tasting room.  I remember thoroughly enjoying it, so I am really looking forward to tasting it after it's been aging in a Mourvedre wine barrel for awhile.  Loving how Westbrook is aging their beers in wine barrels.  See my reviews of their wine barrel aged Tripels here.

Tip 2:  This is where I find my lawn chair that I set up when I first arrived and take a break to hydrate and maybe grab some food from Coleman Public House or maybe some pizza from D'Allesandro's Pizza.

7) Great Divide Brewing- Oaked Red Yeti (Cask).  This is their imperial stout that has been oak aged and blended with rasberries from their Wild Raspberry Ale.  Sounds pretty damn interesting to me!

8) Holy City Brewing- Tripping Brick.  This is an Imperial Pilsner these local boys brewed up special!  I love their regular Holy City Pilsner, so I have been dying to try the imperial version of this local classic!

9) Brooklyn Brewery- Brewmaster's Reserve Mary's Maple Porter.  This is an English Porter with New York State Maple Syrup from Cedarvale Maple Syrup Company.  Sure hope it's as good as it sounds!

Tip 3: Back to my lawn chair for some more water and to listen to some of the music as well as the keynote speaker (Rob Tod, Founder of Allagash Brewing Company).

10) Terrapin Beer Company- Cabernet Barrel Aged Monk's Revenge.  This is a hoppy Belgian IPA that was aged in Cabernet barrels from North Carolina's Shelton Vineyards.  Sounds like a good combination to me!

Tip 4: When it's all said and done, I plan on getting a safe ride home by my pregnant wife.  She was able to purchase a designated driver ticket for just $10.  Get home safely!

Now let me hear what beers you are most looking forward to at Brewvival 2012.  Check out the list of breweries and beers here.



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