From The Cellar: Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2009

Bell’s says:

“Malt beverage brewed with spices, maple syrup and hawberry syrup.”

eccentric092Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2009
American Strong Ale, 12.10% ABV

(Editors note: we’ve stockpiled enough Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2009 to review it every so often to see how it is developing, aging and changing. Feel free to read through from the fresh tasting to the most recent review. However, if you’d like to jump around, be our guest, and read more about Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2009 fresh, after two years and three years in the cellar.)

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From The Cellar: Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2008

Bell’s says:

“Malt Beverage brewed with Birch Syrup, Honey, Maple Syrup, Juniper Berry, and Elderflower.”

eccentric081Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2008
American Strong Ale, 10.1% ABV

(Editors note: we’ve stockpiled enough Bell’s Eccentric Ale 2008 to review it every so often to see how it is developing, aging and changing. Feel free to read through from the year old tasting to the most recent review. However, if you’d like to jump around, be our guest, and read more about Bell’s Eccentric Ale after one year, three years and four years in the cellar.)

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From The Cellar: Bell’s Batch 10,000

Bell’s says:

“The last of a series, Batch 10,000 Ale looks back to our roots, symbolizing the end of the home-brewing season with a creative take on “cleaning out the brewing supplies closet”. After combing through the catalogs of many malt and hop suppliers, our brewers used over 100 different malts, grains, and other fermentables, and followed them up with a blend of 60 different hop varietals between the kettle additions and dry-hopping.”

batch10kBell’s Batch 10,000
American Strong Ale, 9.2% ABV

(Editors note: we’ve stockpiled enough Bell’s Batch 10,000 to review it every six months to a year to see how it is developing, aging and changing. Feel free to read through from the fresh tasting to the most recent review. However, if you’d like to jump around, be our guest, and read more about Bell’s Batch 10,000 fresh, after one-and-a-half years, two years and three years in the cellar.)

FRESH

Ryan: When I read the commercial description of Batch 10,000 and the borderline ridiculous ingredient list used I thought about the opening scene in Act IV of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Hang with me a second on this. The play opens with an introduction to three witches who, in the fourth act, are huddled around a cauldron tossing in “toe of frog, wool of bat, and tongue of dog,” amongst other things. After each batch of ingredients are added they chant in unison:

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.

This is how I imagine Batch 10,000 came about. I picture Larry Bell and his brewers encircled around a brew kettle. The crew is surrounded by buckets upon buckets of ingredients; coffee malt, rye, Michigan hops and the other 150+ ingredients that went in to making this beer. After dumping in a series of malts and grains the crew chants:

Double, double perle and fuggle; Fire burn, and wort bubble.

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From The Cellar: Bell’s Batch 9,000

Bell’s says:

“Black, dense, and rich, this is a great ale for the cellar.”

Bell's Batch 9000Bell’s Batch 9,000
American Strong Ale, 12.5% ABV

(Editors note: we’ve stockpiled enough Bell’s Batch 9,000 to review it every six months to a year to see how it is developing, aging and changing. Feel free to read through from the six month old tasting to the most recent review. However, if you’d like to jump around, be our guest, and read more about Bell’s Batch 9,000 after six months, one year, two years, two-and-a-half years, three years, three-and-a-half years and four years in the cellar.)

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Adventures in CellarSitting Review: Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout

Bell’s says:

“Special Double Cream Stout derives its name from its smooth, creamy texture, not the ingredients. Completely dairy-free, this stout blends eight different specialty malts to yield a remarkable depth of flavor. With only a touch of burnt notes, Special Double Cream Stout focuses on the softer, cocoa & espresso-like aspects of roasted malt.”

Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout
Stout, 6.1% ABV

TBK-BCBS-BDCS1

(Editor’s Note: We began this “Adventure’s in CellarSitting” series when we began the site, to chronicle what happens to some of the most popular double IPA’s available when you cellar them. On purpose. Our hope was to prove that while, yes they are best when drank fresh, they can still taste pretty damn good with a few years on them. Past experiments include: Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree, Founders Devil Dancer and Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.

This is our first attempt to step out of the taboo world of cellaring double IPA’s and in to the taboo world of cellaring a stout. Not an imperial stout, mind you, but a basic, run-of-the-mill stout. Below are the tasting notes for Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout fresh and after one year and two years in the cellar.) Continue reading

Drink Your Way Through The Alphabet And Learn Something Along The Way

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PRESS RELEASE

Chicago, IL – AlphaBeersm is the only event that teaches craft beer lovers about 26 beers – one for every letter of the alphabet. It’s a three-hour tour of hops and barley and lagers and ales, and everything is crafted by masters who are passionate about their beers.

The 10th AlphaBeer takes place on April 20 from 12p.m. to 3p.m. at John Barleycorn River North (149 W. Kinzie St.) in downtown Chicago. At this very special event breweries from the Great Lakes area, including Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, and of course, Chicagoland, are being highlighted.

Several special guests will be joining the event to talk about their beers, including representatives from 5 Rabbit, Brewery Vivant, Founders, Goose Island Brewing Company, and New Holland. Chef Cleetus Friedman of Fountainhead is also scheduled to talk about Loudmouth Soup, the beer he produced in collaboration with Greenbush. Other guests on the roster are Chicago Beer Geeks and the Chicago chapter of Barley’s Angels, a beer club for women.

Attendees won’t just be tasting the beers. Chef Jill Houk is returning as the emcee, or AlphaBeerMaster, for the fourth time. She’ll educate guests on the ABV, the IBU and what to eat with each brew. Notes on each beer are broadcast on multiple screens so everyone can learn their A-BEER-C’s.

“On tap” for the event are the following beers (subject to change based on availability):

  • A All Day IPA, Founders
  • B Breakfast Stout, Founders
  • C Curmudgeon, Founders
  • D Dynamo, Metropolitan
  • E Eugene Porter, Revolution
  • F Farmhand Ale, Brewery Vivant
  • G Goose Island, Pepe Nero
  • H Huitzi, 5 Rabbit
  • I Iron Works Alt, Metropolitan
  • J Jinx Proof, Three Floyds
  • K Kalamazoo Stout, Bell’s
  • L Loudmouth Soup, Greenbush & Cleetus Friedman
  • M Monkey King, New Holland
  • N New Grist, Lakefront
  • O Over Ale, Half Acre
  • P Paleooza, New Holland
  • Q Coming Soon
  • R Revolution, A Little Crazy
  • S Sky High Rye, Arcadia
  • T Tiny Dancer, Goose Island
  • U Unfiltered Wheat Beer, Boulevard
  • V Hammer, Bullet, Vice; Half Acre
  • W White Chapel Wit, Haymarket
  • X “X” Fidy, Oskar Blues
  • Y GFY Stout, Spiteful Brewing
  • Z Zaison, Brewery Vivant

Tickets are $45 to try 26 different craft beers. A limited number of tables of 6 are available for only $225. Tickets can be purchased at http://thelocaltourist.com/event/alphabeer-x

What: AlphaBeer X
When: April 20, 2013, 12p.m. to 3p.m.
Where: John Barleycorn River North, 149 W Kinzie St., Chicago, IL
Details: http://thelocaltourist.com/event/alphabeer-x

About AlphaBeer

AlphaBeer is hosted by Theresa Carter, founder and publisher of The Local Tourist, LLC. The first event was in 2009 and it was inspired Ms. Carter’s mother, who each week would drink a beer from a different letter of the alphabet with fellow commuters on their Friday night train ride. Since then AlphaBeer has appeared at multiple venues in Chicago and has featured over 200 different beers.

About The Local Tourist

TheLocalTourist.com, or TLT as it’s affectionately known, is Chicago’s one-stop-spot for things to do, events, restaurants, nightlife, news, reviews, photos and more. It’s a business directory, an events calendar, and a multi-contributor magazine filled with news from the TLTeam of city experts. Its mission is to help locals experience the fascination of a tourist, and tourists feel the comfort of the local.

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(Editor’s Note: We receive a ton of beer-related press releases, but we’ll only bring you the ones we think are relevant, fun, interesting, cool, newsworthy, or offer something we’d be interested in checking out ourselves. Rest assured we’re not just posting these to churn out content – take this as a tacit endorsement from the staff of GDB.)

Is Detroit A “Domestic Beer Town?” Comerica Park’s Beverage Boss Thinks So

photo courtesy tigers.com

We get where the Associated Press was trying to go with a story titled, “World Series beer battle: Suds taps give insight into Tigers, Giants fans.” They wanted to highlight how different San Francisco Giants fans and Detroit Tigers fans are by talking about what beer they drink at the ballpark.

Your typical Giants fan? They’re eccentric and hip and they drink craft beer like it’s their job.

“In a trendy, gourmet food-and-drink obsessed place such as San Francisco, a generic “cold beer” at AT&T Park often doesn’t cut the mustard as a companion to the stadium’s pungent garlic fries or a Caribbean-style concoction called the Cha-Cha Bowl. Revelers can choose between 56 different beers inside the waterfront ballpark.”

A typical Tigers fan, however, is portrayed as a guy named “Mack” who wears ill-fitting flannel shirts and ripped jeans – but not because they’re cool – but because they’re old.

“At Detroit’s Comerica Park, where only a couple of locally made beers are on tap, die-hard Motor City fans are just fine with the unpretentious, established American beer brands.

Detroit is a “blue-collar, domestic beer town” said Bob Thormeier, who oversees food and drink services at the Tigers ballpark.”

We, and we’re sure the (hundreds of?) thousands of craft beer drinkers and Tigers fans in metro Detroit, and most definitely the craft breweries that are within a 20 minute drive of Comerica Park take exception to that.

Now we’re not going to argue that San Francisco isn’t a really trendy city with great craft beer, because it is. But we don’t think of Detroit as a hard hat, lunch bucket town anymore, see Beverly Hills Cop.

So, Mr Thormeier, since you are in charge of food and drink at Comerica we have a few suggestions for you next baseball season.

First and foremost, you can probably ditch the phrase “domestic beer” because the domestic beer you’re likely referring to isn’t exactly domestic anymore. The parent companies for the likes of Budweiser, Miller and Coors aren’t located in the United States anymore so it’s a stretch to call those beers “domestic.”

But they’re brewed in the U-S aren’t they? Yes, yes they are. But to invoke that argument you then must also acknowledge that so is Beck’s, a pilsner that had long been brewed in Bremen, Germany.

Implying that the blue-collar worker only drinks Bud or Miller products – as you would define a “domestic beer” – is outdated thinking and, frankly, pretty stereotypical.

Secondly, Mr. Thormeier, there is some really great beer brewed right in your backyard – locally brewed by people who live and work in Michigan. In fact, metro Detroit breweries have brought home 24 medals from the Great American Beer Festival since 1989.

Drive 20 minutes to the North or West and you’ll run into the likes of Kuhnhenn, Dragonmead, Royal Oak Brewery, Bastone Brewery and countless others. Hell, you’re practically a Miguel Cabrera home run away from Detroit Beer Company and Atwater Brewery (According to the article, the latter is served at Comerica as is Bell’s).

Venture out into other parts of the state and you’ll find other great breweries like the aforementioned Bell’s, Dark Horse, Founders and so many others..

But here’s what we find most interesting, Mr Thormeier, you had this to say about purchasing locally made sausages and hot dog buns.

“And it’s very important with the way the economy has been around Michigan and around Detroit to try and keep things local and try and boost the local companies as best we can,” said Thormeier.”

So you’ll support the local sausage maker and bun maker but you limit your support of the local brewer to a mere 10 vendors out of 130?

You’re probably wondering why some guys in Chicago are taking a stand for Detroit. Truth be told, Mr Thormeier, we like Detroit. We think Detroit is making a comeback. Please don’t slow down that progress by limiting your support of local businesses and by pinning an outdated stereotype on the city. Drinking a craft beer doesn’t make you any less blue-collar.

Boatyard Brewing Gets Green Light In Kalamazoo

pictured, Boatyard’s Hold Fast Pale Ale

We’ve long thought of Kalamazoo, MI as a stop along the way when drawing up beer trips in Michigan.

Bell’s Eccentric Cafe is always a must-visit, as is Olde Peninsula in the fall to snag a growler of their pumpkin ale. But these visits were just that, a stop along the way en route to somewhere else – Dark Horse in Marshall, Arcadia in Battle Creek or Founders in Grand Rapids.

Now, Kalamazoo is beginning to distinguish itself as a destination.

MLive reports that Boatyard Brewing got the go-ahead from the Kalamazoo City Council to move forward with its planned brewery, bringing the total number of breweries and brewpubs in operation, or in planning, in Kalamazoo to five.

At Boatyard, they will manufacture beer but will not have takeout sales, according to a memo to city commissioners prepared by Chief Jeff Hadley of the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety.

Steele and Gilligan plan to make up to 5,000 kegs of beer per year in their 2,700-square-foot space on Paterson Street. Their investment and capital outlay totals $325,000 and they plan to employ up to 20 people.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell congratulated the brewery after the city commission unanimously passed the item on its consent agenda, mentioning Kalamazoo’s status as a “beer city.”

“Anyone else out there looking for the opportunity, Kalamazoo’s the place to be for microbrews,” Hopewell said.

Boatyard’s website boasts a dozen different beers including a winter seasonal that sounds like it’s nine kinds of awesome. The Christmas Eve Porter is, “made with a hint of black-strap molasses and rum-soaked caramelized raisins. When the fermentation is complete we top it off with pure vanilla.”

That almost makes us crave a winter beer. Almost.

Also in the works is Acradia Ales new production facility and taproom, which is expected to open in the summer of 2013.

Those two join the already well established, and aforementioned, Bell’s Eccentric Cafe and Olde Peninsula Brewpub along with Bilbo’s Pizza, which brews a handful of beers in-house.

Falling Into Fall (Beers)

If you followed our advice then you’re likely staring into an empty fridge that has been cleaned out of all of your summer favorites. No more Krankshaft, no more Oberon and no more Ruby Redbird.

And if you didn’t follow our counsel, no biggie, but I bet you’ll start thinking about fall beers soon.

Regardless of which camp you fall into we took it upon ourselves to compile a handy, dandy guide of our favorites for Fall.

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