I’m back from the Growler & Gill after a very interesting evening. The occasion was the tasting from Bear Republic Brewery, and this did not disappoint. They led off with the Racer 5 IPA, full-bodied and quite hoppy, a straightforward West Coast IPA. The next selection was Red Rocket Ale, described as a red ale like a Scottish strong ale. It’s interesting, somewhat full bodied and fairly hoppy, and neither of those things is typical of a red ale. Red ales aren’t my favorite, but I would rather have them crisper than this. Up third, appropriately, was Tripels Alley, a Belgian-style Tripel. This started strong with a mouthful of Belgian yeast and malt, classic stuff, followed by a wave of spiciness, especially coriander, and then finished up with an interesting, atypical little hop bite. The rep from the distributor said that Bear Republic likes to take styles to extremes. This worked great for me with the Tripel, less so with the Red. The tasting wrapped up with the Big Bear Black Stout, full bodied and malty, a bit of sweetness with hints of toast and coffee. Nice stuff.
After the tasting I was hard-pressed to choose one, but I went with the Tripel to go with jalapeno poppers. That worked very nicely with the maltiness complementing the pepper and the hops playing off the cheese.
Before the main event I tasted a few pale offerings. One was a Telegraph Pale Ale from California which I found to be a little thin. Then I tried Captain Lawrence Sun Block Pale Wheat. That made my palette sit up and take notice. Then I tried Rushing Duck Naysayer Pale Ale, another interesting one that I’d like to try again. Not an easy call, but I went with the Sun Block, a nice malt and caramel ale with a refreshing crisp edge to it. I had this with the G&G hummus plate: classic and red pepper hummus with pita bread, tortilla chips, olives, celery, and cucumber. The whole combo was very nice.
Of course I did some shopping on the way out, but those are chilling so you’ll hear more about them in coming days. Just now I’m sipping a super rich ale described as an American-Style India Pale Ale. It’s called Corne du Diable (Horn of the Devil) from Brasserie Dieu du Ciel!, from Quebec. The nose gives molasses and malt and a fermented hint that’s hard to place, similar to sourdough or maybe a freshly-opened jar of olives. On the palette this has a full-bodied yeasty maltiness with an even bigger shot of molasses and then good solid hop bitterness. Most unusual.