Sunday, December 12, 2010

"B-Side Beer Festival: Porters and Stouts" at The Muddy Pig Going on Now

I recently headed off to my local (as the kids call it) for one of their mini beer festivals. Basically, they get a bunch of kegs of one particular style or type of beer and let patrons have at them. You can get several pints, or you can order flights of three small samples (for that beer festival feel) for a little bit more than the cost of a pint. Awesome idea. I love it. Sample lots of beers, try something new, and do it in a comfortable, mellow environment without all the super-fans and voting that usually bring down the mood in a regular beer festival. The menu looked something like this (only less blurry):

Being that it was a school night, I kept it to one flight and a pint afterwards. The real reason for meeting on a weeknight was to have a few drinks with a good friend of mine I hadn't seen in almost a year. Standard chat ensued. I got married, he's about to move, both at the same jobs, and so on.
So now for the beer.

I got a Summit Imperial Pumpkin Porter, Bell's Expedition Stout, and Left Hand Milk Stout (pictured left to right, in that order). In retrospect, I should have been more adventurous with my picks, but it's hard to pass up Milk Stout and just about impossible not to order Expedition Stout when it's available. Those are two fabulous beers. I wouldn't do any justice to describe the samples of those two aside from saying that if you have access to either of those beers: you owe it to yourself to give them a try. The Summit Imperial Pumpkin Porter was a delightful surprise. The words "pumpkin" and "imperial" are frequently words that steer me away from a beer, but this was a very balanced and restrained beer. Mostly, it just seemed like a great porter. Very full body and flavor; tons of roast and coffee notes. Tasted black without any of the astringency or tartness you can get in stouts. It also had quite a bit of bitterness for the alleged 40 IBU's. I think I'll go pick up a six pack of it and do a stand-alone beer review of it, but suffice it to say that it's a delicious porter with minimal pumpkin or spice qualities. Pumpkin, of course, does not actually lend any real flavor to beer since the starches in it are converted to sugar and then alcohol, and although Summit used a lot of different spices in the beer, they were only barely noticeable. I thought I even noticed an Earl-Gray-tea-like quality hidden in the finish, which I attributed to those spices.

If you're in the area, a stop by The Muddy Pig may be a good idea. I think normally by now the beers for these festivals are gone, but they were closed for some of this weekend due to the blizzard that hit on Friday* and probably still have most.

*Some video of the result of that blizzard

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