August! My birthday month! Sorry this post is so late, but I had a 5-day vacation right at the end of the month that threw me all out of whack. More on that in next month’s post.
Sam Adams Blueberry Hill Lager – bottle – 5.5%
A hazy, yellow-orange lager with an aroma that’s a mix of light malts and sweet blueberry-like scents. It’s not a great smell, to be honest, a little garbagey. The flavor is sweet, with a pretty good blueberry flavor. The hop bitterness is very mild, and the main issue I have with the flavor is the low-quality aftertaste, just like any big-name lager. The finish is sticky, which I attribute to the sweetness of the blueberry. I haven’t had (or can’t recall) any other blueberry beers to compare this one with, but if you really like fruity brews, this one’s probably worth a try.
Natural Selections: The Wake County Science & Brewers Expo
Now that my wife Lindsey and I are official Raleighnians (it’s real, look it up), we’re trying to get more involved with the city. To that end, and also for my birthday, we went to the Natural Selections beer expo at the Raleigh Museum of Natural Sciences. Billed as “a one-of-a-kind evening of beer and science,” the three-hour event included a swath of local breweries, some big, some small, and a couple of talks about the science of beer. Sadly, because of timing, we chose to go get dinner rather than attend the talks. They sounded very interesting, but spending 3 hours tasting beer on an empty stomach is really not a good idea, so we stuck to tasting in the time we had before and after dinner.
Here is an account of the beers I tried, based on the brief notes I took on my phone while walking around trying to look only mildly antisocial, rather than unbelievably antisocial. I doubt it worked.
Lynnwood Brewing Concern Hop on Top IPA – 7% – draft
Bright bitterness with lots of pine and citrus. Heavy carbonations and a sticky finish. It’s an interesting beer, but not something I’d want a whole pint of.
Aviator Brewing Saison de Aviator – 6.5% – draft
Oof. There’s something wrong with this batch, or maybe just this keg. I’m pretty sure I’ve had it before, but if so, it wasn’t anything like this. It’s cheesy and soapy, a little like a Flintstones vitamin actually. That’s fine as a vitamin flavor, delicious actually, but as a beer flavor? Not so much.
Big Boss Oyster Gose – ABV Unknown – draft
This is the most intriguing beer I had all night. It’s tart and salty, and it does taste like oysters. Definitely a small-portion, special mood kind of beer. Gose is such an interesting and versatile style. So far I’ve had a rosemary gose and a marionberry/hibiscus gose. I’d love to try more of them, any suggestions?
Gizmo Brewing Wild Wasp IPA – 6.8% – draft
Musky and powerfully bitter. Some citrus notes too. I say leave that yeast in the wasp, it’s doing more good there than in here.
White Street Scottish Ale – 5.5% – draft
A good solid Scottish ale, though it tastes like what most people would call a scotch ale. There seems to be a good bit of difference of opinion when it comes to what defines scotch vs scottish ale. All I know is that all of the scotch ales I’ve had have been earthy and rich, and the Scottish ales have all been sweeter and lighter. Regardless, it was a good beer.
Raleigh Brewing Big Squeeze – 6% – draft
I’ve had this beer before, at a work function, but I don’t think I wrote about it. It’s a really nice wheat beer, and the blood orange adds a fantastic tartness. I really think more beers should be infused with blood orange. More blood oranges for everyone!
Sub Noir Paul’s Brewtique Witbier + Lavender – 4.5% – draft
Lavender is not my thing in beer, apparently, since this beer did not appeal to me. It tasted either like soap or perfume, neither of which is in the Pros column for me when it comes to beer flavors.
Sub Noir Ginger Tripel – 9% – draft
The ginger was surprisingly powerful in this beer. I thought it was tasty, though I admit I got it mostly to wash the taste of the lavender beer out of my mouth.
Fortnight Brewing Blonde Ale – 5% – draft
Yuck. I can’t believe this had to be my last beer of the night. Simply terrible. This beer will definitely keep me from paying Fortnight a visit if I’m ever in the area.
Busy Bee Sourfest 2014
Tonight’s features and SOURFEST…check it out! pic.twitter.com/raHS7PhKTp
— BUSY BEE (@BUSYBEECAFE) August 24, 2014
To further enhance the beer-fueled nature of my birthday weekend, I convinced my wife and some friends to go to Sourfest with me. It was crazy in there, but we managed to find a table up in The Hive and we sat down to enjoy some tart tastiness.
New Belgium Love Felix – 7.5% – draft
It’s not quite as sour as La Folie, and much lighter in color and body as well. It has some great cherry flavors and is incredibly refreshing. I could drink this all day.
BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien – 11% – draft
As soon as the bartender handed me my glass, he wiped this beer off the board, so I consider it a minor birthday miracle. An incredible beer. It’s mellow and tart, and I honestly would not peg it at 11%. It’s so smooth, with heavy oak and dark fruit flavors under the tartness. By the way, BFM stands for Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes, and I’m keeping an eye out for their beers from now on.
I guess I have to pick a winner, so…
Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien it is! Far and away the best beer I had this month.
Leave a comment and let me know what I should be drinking in September!