So I'll do what I do at every fest and create a list of a few beers that I must try. These will be the lines I visit first so they don't blow before I have a chance to try them. After that, well, it's like surfing--you ride the waves (generally to the smallest lines). What follows is not a defensible list. All these beers look enticing. But you gotta start somewhere, so here's where I'm starting:
- Widmer Babushka's Imperial Stout. [9%, 1.086, IBU: 70] Brewed exclusively for the fest (get used to that phrase), this is their long-time draft KGB stout fermented with 14 lbs/barrel of local black raspberries. I don't know what black raspberries are, but this sounds fantastic.
- Lagunitas White Pepper Stout. [8.2%] In their usual manner, the folks from Lagunitas tell us nothing about the beer. The name is actually yersinia pestis the latin name for the plague. Hell, I don't even know if it's white pepper stout--I'm basing my pick solely on the basis that it is a white pepper stout.
- Cascade Drie Zwarte Pieten "Sang Noir." [9.5%] This comes from Ron Gansberg's brewkettle, and it will be strong, sour, and funky. Whether the designation "Flanders red" has anything to do with this beer, which has been aged in whiskey and pinot barrels and fermented with cherries, is really beside the point. Brewed exclusively for the fest.
- Hair of the Dog Jim. [9%] Jim is a blend of several HotD beers (Adam aged in Elijah Craig barrels, Fred aged in new oak, Blue Dot, and Doggie Claws) and is made exclusively for the fest. This is the third iteration. Will it match the sublime first year batch? I must know.
- Stone Smoked Porter (with vanilla beans). [5.9%] This has two interesting--and one would imagine--conflicting flavors, smoke and vanilla. It may be terrible, but I have to try it to confirm. Plus, it's the only one less than 7% alcohol in the bunch.
- Pyramid Special Snow Cap. [7%, 1.069, IBU: 47] I almost resisted putting this on the list because of the actual name, so bad we shan't speak of it here, but I concluded that that was a little petty. Truth is, this will be one of my first pours, because it was aged with Sharffenberger cacao nibs, so it makes the list.
*Special beers also pour on Wednesday and Thurday nights--that's stuff for another post.