Last Friday I had the pleasure of attending the Yeasty Beers meetup presented by Michael Agnew of A Perfect Pint and graciously hosted by Cory. Michael had constructed a series of tastings around the core ingredients of beer; hops, malt and most importantly yeast. I was not lucky enough to make it to the prior meetups but I was pleased to be able to attend what was probably the most interesting of the series as yeast is one amazing creature that we must sincerely thank for the beer that we allow it produce. Upon entering Cory’s home I was greeted with a glass of brown ale that Michael had home brewed and even though it did not end up being the style he intended (dopplebock I believe) it was really quite tasty and enjoyable. Once everyone arrived we started with Huvila ESB which hails from Finland and was simply delightful. I didn’t write any tasting notes for the evening but I was incredibly pleased with its well balanced flavors and not really being a Bitter guy it really made me appreciate what the style can be. I would have happily drank this beer all night long and will unquestionably be properly reviewing it the next time I can find it on the shelf. This ESB was paired with some delicious mac & cheese expertly prepared by our host Cory, very tasty. (You can see the almost empty casserole pan in the picture two down)
Next came Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier a very traditional German Hefeweizen that is quite light and allows its yeast to shine through wonderfully.
Next we enjoyed a Saison from Boulevard Brewing’s Smoke Stack Series and I must say I was humbly impressed. I have had a few beers from this series and they are absolutely more complex and flavorful than Boulevards traditional offerings but their Saison delivered far above what I have experienced in the past from them and encourages me to sample more of their offerings. The beer very nicely complimented the aged Gouda and awesome home baked bread we were offered. Definitely worth trying if you enjoy a quality Saison.
Then came the always delicious Westmalle Dubbel. This creamy looking dark brown colored ale tastes strongly of dark pitted fruits and nice herbal notes as well as showcasing its wonderful Belgian yeast strain. This was paired with beef tongue and heart which were both incredibly tasty. I particularly enjoyed the intense meaty (and somewhat gamey) flavor of the boiled heart. Westmalle is unquestionably a classic Belgian brewer and is part of the renowned Trappist organization and certainly worth your time to enjoy.
Next came Rodenbach also from Belgium. I had never sampled this beer before and apparently it is no longer distributed in the country so it will probably be difficult to get your hands on it. This is certainly a tart ale but it was far less sour than I expected though I suppose I shouldn’t have expected too much tartness as it is a Flanders Red Ale which is on the low end of sour beers. An interesting and well balanced brew, I would curious to sample their Grand Cru which is presumably even more smooth. This we paired with pickled herring.
Then we moved onto Jolly Pumpkin’s Oro de Calabaza which is a delicious Belgian Strong Golden Ale that like all of Jolly Pumpkin’s brews does a wonderful job showcasing its yeast. Drinking this brew reminded me how much I enjoy the incredibly creative and largely sour beers that they produce out of Michigan.
As we enjoyed the above beer Cory was hard at work steaming mussels in 3 Fonteinen’s Oud Gueuze which smelled simply marvelous and you can see pictured below. After the mussels were finished and presented to us we got to sampling the Oud Gueuze which was quite interesting tasting and rather funky but enjoyable particularly with the delicious food to compliment.
Lastly we had a Kriek from Oud Beersel again from Belgium. This was a sweet cherry beer that had some nice tartness to balance and complimented the cheesecake we enjoyed perfectly. If you enjoy lambics and want something that is more interesting than your standard Lindemans this would be a good choice as it has many more dimensions and is particularly for desert as we did.
After the official event was over we proceeded to opened a number of bottles and enjoyed further good conversation. Many thanks to Michael for organizing this and Cory for sharing his space and tasty food. Hopefully I see you fine folk again next month and perhaps some new faces. Cheers to a grand evening!
You can check out Michael’s write up of the event here.