Contraband is not only a movie starring Mark Wahlberg. It’s also what many a beer geek may have in their ‘fridge. Due to many nonsensical shipping laws, it can be hard to get that great beer from Colorado or North Carolina or Oregon.
Thankfully, my “source” legally brought me a bottle of rare-to-us-down-here-in SoCal beer and I got together on Memorial Day with another beer geek who also had a rare Oregon beer to bottle share.
Our first beer was Block 15’s Pappy’s Dark. Block 15 is a new but highly regarded brewery in Corvallis, Oregon. Home to Oregon State and their highly regarded brewing and agricultural schools.
This 2011 vintage poured a hazy brown/red color. And boy did it have a bourbon and spirit aroma floating out of the tulip glass. I also caught some rum notes as well and what really surprised me was that there was a big wallop of hop bitterness as well. This beer did not taste like a cellar beer thanks to how bright and carbonated it was. It also left a pretty lacing on the glass.
Second up was Roses on Roses from Fort George Brewery in coastal Astoria, Oregon. This is a bourbon barrel aged Belgian IPA. And like the Block 15 beer, this did not taste or smell like I imagined it would from reading the label copy. It did not have any aroma or taste of the Four Roses barrels it was aged in but boy did it pack a punch of rosehips. There were three levels of taste with this beer. First was the bitterness, followed by the rosehips and then the Belgian funkiness that you get in Belgo IPA’s.
Both beers were much more special than anything Wahlberg was smuggling in his movie which nearly put us to sleep.
The Beer of the Week is a long forgotten German style that is starting to show up again. The Gratzer is a sour smoked wheat. Piwo Grodziskie is here in America under the Professor Fritz Briem label that also does a Berliner Weisse. It is named for the Polish town of Grodzisk Wielkopolski and is an unusual taste for even those who have developed a taste for either sour beers or smoked ales.
Your Homework this week is to help out a local brewery. Bootlegger’s Brewery in Fullerton is outgrowing its current space and wants to move to better serve not only the Orange County beer geeks but also those of us in L.A. County that travel down south. They have run into the usual roadblocks of people who do not seem to get that craft beer is not only a job producer but also a good community member. So let the City of Fullerton know who craft beer people really are and how important Bootlegger’s getting a bigger space is to our little but growing community of beer lovers.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.