There are some nights as a beer drinker that really stand out. It could be finding a brewpub in a new town. Or maybe attending a festival and trying a new beer for the very first time. Or it could be when seventeen people get together with a common love of beer, and everyone brings a special beer to share with friends. That night was this past Saturday, and over the course of several hours, upwards of 40 beers were sampled from across the country and beyond (yes, the 'thousand' was a bit of a stretch).
Our friends John and Melissa were kind enough to host the tasting, not to mention digging deep into their beer cellar for some rare treats. The special tasting was scheduled to coincide with the arrival of two intrepid beer travelers who have incorporated Asheville into their beer travels, having come down from Pennsylvania three times in the past year. You can read all about Deuane and Caroline's beer travels at Caroline's blog, and you can also get a run down of just about everything we sampled on Saturday night. Jason and Julie from Bruisin' Ales and Mark and Trish from the Asheville Brews Cruise were on hand as well to take part in the festivities.
Now, on to the highlights. Deuane and Carolyn brought down several great beers from Pennsylvania, one of the best states in the country for craft beer lovers. One interesting beer was the Voodoo Love Child from Voodoo Brewery in Meadville, PA. The Love Child is a Belgian Golden ale aged on passion fruit, raspberry and cherry, and Pisgah's Red Devil comes to mind when drinking it. Another beer from up north that stood out was the Southern Tier Choklat Imperial Stout. This beer had the most intense chocolate flavor that I have ever had in a beer, with a semi-sweet chocolate finish that lingers on your tongue after a couple of sips. Moving away from American micros, there was also a 3 Fonteinen Oak Aged Kriek, with plenty of tart cherry to go with the ever present farmhouse funk associate with Belgian lambics. And finally, Dave from Pisgah Brewing brought along an old and a new Baptista for an impromptu vertical tasting. The aged Baptista was superb, and if you have an extra one or two in your cellar from last year, now would be a good time to compare it to the new one. And speaking of Pisgah, be on the lookout for a possible customer appreciation day in April.
I can't say enough how much I enjoyed both the quality of beer and the quality of people that I experienced at the beer tasting. Nothing beats good friends and good beer.