A Proposal to Determine Differences in Available Varietals of Guinness and Contain 5 Gallons of Homebrew.

Guinness for Strength

or, Sunday Stouty Sunday. 3PM, Dave’s place.

Let’s get together, bottle some stout, and taste test various varieties of Guinness. Currently, Guinness is available as “Guinness Draught” in bottles, and 20 oz. cans, as well as “Guinness Extra Stout” in bottles (5% ABV). For comparison’s sake, bring a bottle of another kind of stout. I’ll provide the Guinness and the wee glasses.

I also propose a bottling session for BS Brewing’s newest stout (with notes of cinnamon and brown sugar). Name is up for grabs … please suggest names!

Guinness Fun facts:

    • The bottled “Draught” is designed to eliminate the need for a glass; the widget reactivates with every tipple.
    • Canned “Draught” has been widgetized since the 1980s, but is meant to be poured in a glass
    • Contrary to popular myth, Guinness suggests a drinking temperature for its packaged goods of 38.3°F
    • On tap Guinness should be served at 42.8°F
    • According to Guinness, it takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint.
    • Guinness on tap in America comes from the main brewery in Dublin

A Good Night for Beer

Well, the sweet taste of victory still lingers after a successful night at the Brass. We’re not the worst anymore, but I can also say we’re not the best.

Chimay RedChimay Blue

Maybe it was the 23 points we gained, but it was just an exceptional night at the bar last night. Dogfish Head’s 60-minute IPA was on tap, which I had never seen before. I believe it tastes better in pints, particularly as it warms up a little. Such a great herbal aroma on that beer. I had four.

The best part of the evening, better than the IPA, better than the darts – Sheepdog guy. More than a year ago, I spent another night at the Brass, probably throwing darts, definitely drinking too much, and I ended up in the Ranger’s Corner area sometime late-ish. I began talking with Sheepdog guy, whose name I never got, and he mentioned he was heading to Iraq the next day, just getting a last HB night in before shipping out to drive for Halliburton. Before I knew it, he’d ordered a Chimay Blue and shared it with me. We polished off the bottle and I wished him good luck as I stumbled out to the car where Sarah was waiting.

Fast forward to present-day. Last night, Andrew spotted Sheepdog guy, back safe and sound. I bought him a bottle of Chimay (Red, they were out of blue) and reminded him of that night a year ago. Well, Andrew reminded me, and I reminded him. I think we all remembered. A very beer moment – not something easily done with a bottle of wine or whiskey (and hope to wake up).

13th Annual Hillsdale Brewfest

We set out for parts unknown – a little-known pub in Southwest Portland, where no man dares to go, least not without a good stiff drink and mapquest directions. Our destination – McMenamin’s Hillsdale Brewery & Public House, home to the 13th Annual Hillsdale Brewfest. After what seemed like hours of aimless driving on crooked streets, a light in the sky told us we were near … the Bat Signal? No, dear reader, the Beer Beacon. Behold it’s magnificence! 139.5 gallons of brilliance!

The Beer Beacon

The reason for our journey? “The Battle of the Belts.” It’s no “Thrilla in Manilla,” but there were 18 beers to be tasted from across the McEmpire, and far less danger of contracting malaria. Remember … no known pathogens can survive in beer.

The Brewer\'s Belt

Patrons to the Hillsdale House were invited to sample each beer in two flights of nine beers each. Each flight was $6. Pours were approximately 2 oz. “Vallhalla” is Norsk for “Hillsdale.” You be the judge.

A point (pint?) of criticism: beers were not well-arranged in the proper light-to-dark tasting order that is preferential. Each tray contained a good mix of very light and very dark beers. I assume someone thought that most patrons would only order one flight, and so tried to mix it up. That someone, it seems, had not met Bruce and Eryn.

Bruce and Eryn

A tasting of scope so large required a group of trained drinkers: the much-feared Bruce and Eryn team, Kari and Andrew, Sarah, and myself: brewer, drinker, photographer, renaissance man. Pose!

Trained Brewing Judges

Isn’t it great when every moment of your life is documented, even the moments you’re documenting? I imagine Jane Goodall’s life would have been much richer and certainly better-documented had the apes had digital cameras and high-speed internet.

Kari has a digital camera, too

With thoughtful livers, we began, laying waste to 2 flights per couple. The tiny glasses began to add up as our commentary became more colorful.

“Terrible. Fishy.”
“Belongs in a goblet.”
“Remiscent of Rome on the morning March 13th, 1974 – airy, but with a still calm prescient of manifest destiny.”
“Hoppy.”

Note: napkin not to scale.

Napkin not to scale

Taste buds deadened, we proceeded to vote using my ever-present Sharpie marker and the blood of our enemies. The group favorite was easily Cornelius Roadhouse’s “Los Diablos del Paso” Imperial IPA, although it ranged from 1st to 3rd favorite depending on intellect. My personal favorite was “Monkey Wrench” from McMenamins Queen Anne, an American Amber that tended more toward the Imperial IPA style with just a bit more color. The Chinook hops were present at every turn … Hoptastic.

Special consideration went to Dad Watson’s “Marchioness di Garibaldi,” by far the most daring entry, and a flavor explosion in teh Gueze style. Cidery with tons of Black Cherry flavor, it was a taste explosion that easily could have topped ice cream. This is the one that belongs in a goblet.

Beer ballots

When all was said and done, a fine evening spent at pretentious pursuits. After some hazy calculation, we bid the Hillsdale Brewfest Buh-bye and adjourned for trendy-first.

The bill

Epilogue: “White Lightning” took first place. Our group felt it a good contender and some of our party rated it in the top 3. Our favorite, “Los Diablos del Paso,” took home 2nd place. Krakatoa, the one we labeled “fishy,” “worst beer ever,” and “this is the beer they serve in hell,” took 3rd. Just shows to go ya.