Thursday, October 05, 2006

Imperial this, Imperial that!!??

Brewmasters, l to r: Ernesto Igot of Clipper City, Garret Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery

Brewmasters: Ernesto Igot (l) of Clipper City, Garrett Oliver (r) of Brooklyn Brewery

In 1776, nascent Americans rejected Empire and its Imperial trappings. So why are American brewers so enthusiastically re-embracing that concept when naming their quintessentially American beers (excluding the historically correct acknowledgment of Catherine the Great's penchant for extracurricular activities and London stout)?

At the Great American Beer Festival, there were many good beers and much good cheer. It was well worth the visit. Many DC/Balto folk stopped by our booth to say hello. We thank them!

With so many choices, how could one pick a favorite? But I'll pick two: the vertical tasting of Alaskan Smoked Porter (from 1994 onward .. so actually expanding my list) and the Triple Exultation from Eel River. By the way, the latter beer won 2 medals, hmmm - in its pristine form and in its aged iteration.

Here's a rant (and it truly is such, as its author does ramble) but it does speak to the issues of styles, style nabobs, and style creep.

At Falling Rock (Denver's version of Baltimore's Max's TapHouse) with 100+ taps, I enjoyed a wacky 10% abv Manhattan Project from Full Sail: inoculated with brettanomyces, extra-fermented with cherries, and aged in Pinot Noir casks.

I had time to attend only one other-than-beer session. It was Garrett Oliver doing a fantastic cooking demonstration. In the space of an hour, he whipped up omelets (paired with hefeweizen) and crab cakes (paired with his hoppy East India Pale Ale). He insisted upon Japanese bread crumbs for the crab cakes. Who knew?

It's the World Beer Festival in Durham on Saturday; hope to see you there. And the Cap City Oktoberfest in Shirlington is also on Saturday. One of our brewers will be at our booth there.

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