Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Strangers in Out Town

This site is focused on the happenings of the Albuquerque beer scene but I figure it doesn't hurt to throw out some info as to what they drink on the other side of the tracks.
A sophisticated guy like me knows sophisticated people who jet set around the country on a whim. One of these people I know recently went to Pennsylvania, and I knew they would be glad to bring back some beer, space permitting. I wasted no time in tracking down the local beer store so I could place my order.

I went to to see what beers they had. Frontier is bar with a small but extremely well stocked beer store attached. Their website is excellent for finding exactly what you want beerwise. They have up-close pictures of every beer in their coolers. I can't tell you how many times I have done research before traveling so I could find good places to buy beer, only to come up empty. Recommended places often don't have a website, and if they do, the focus is on the wine and liquor selections. I end up going to one of those places and it is a macro beer fest with maybe a six-pack of Samuel Adams in the corner. Frontier does it right. I got in touch with the beer guy there and he set aside a few select bottles for me.

So now I am staring at my new babies: B.O.R.I.S. the Crusher Imperial Oatmeal Stout from Hoppin' Frog Brewing in Akron, Ohio. I think this will be the first Ohio-based brewery I have beer from. This beer is 9.4% and should be a real treat later in the year. If I drink it in this weather I think I may melt. I want to try it badly but I want to do the beer justice.

Next we have Southern Tier's Tripel release. To be honest I really wanted their Unearthly Imperial IPA but it wasn't available so the guy at Frontier threw this in instead. We'll give it a whirl. Southern Tier, out of Lakewood, NY (I don't know where that is either) is known for making high-gravity beers, and this 9.0% Belgian is no exception.

I have another Hoppin' Frog release, Mean Manalishi Double IPA, but I won't be aging this one.In fact, I'm surprised I didn't open it as soon as I got it. It is 8.2% and has an astounding 168 ibus! Yes I know all you beer science people out there will say that the human palate can't detect when ibus get over 80 or 90 or whatever but hey, just the thought of it!

Victory's Baltic Thunder is the last of my 22 oz. gems. Victory is based in Downingtown, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia. The beer has a rich history. There once was a brewery in New Jersey called Heavyweight Brewing. They made some cult classics, with their Perkuno's Hammer Imperial Porter being the most popular. They went out of business a few years ago, to the dismay of many beer enthusiasts around the country. Victory has since brewed Baltic Thunder, a semi-clone of Perkuno's Hammer, in tribute to Heavyweight. The Baltic Thunder is 8.0%, and will be joining B.O.R.I.S. for a few months of aging. I actually have some Heavyweight beers in my collection, including Perkuno's Hammer. I'm thinking about trying both the Perkuno and Baltic Thunder on the same night.

Finally, we have the less glamorous but historically relevant Yuengling (pronounced ying-ling. Don't let anyone tell you different). Yuengling is recognized as America's oldest brewery, having been established in 1829. Can't get beer from PA without getting some history in a bottle. I have a case of their "Premium" beer, which is to say the closest thing to a Budweiser that they make. It is only 4.4%, which makes it good for the summertime drinking. They also make Traditional Lager (their biggest seller and a decent beer), Porter (a little thin but drinkable anytime) Light Lager (who cares) and Lord Chesterfield Ale (pale ale with a bit of hop bite and good drinkability).

That will conclude our side-trip away from the dusty, sun-baked roads of Albuquerque to the humidity-riddled streets of Pennsylvania. I hope you enjoyed our trip, and welcome home.

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