Annual Stock House Beerfest 2011

13 Sep

What: Stock House Beerfest

When: Annually in the middle or end of July

The Stock House Beerfest, this event happens every summer about ¾ of the way through. Back in the old days we had a neighbor that brewed his own beer who lived across the alley from us and we would stroll over to the beerfest every July/August and my dad would have a great time drinking awesome beer while I would drink the (actually really damn good) root beer that Curt would make for the kids. Well these last couple years I have had the privilege to be old enough to drink beverages otherwise restricted to me in the past. So this year, 2011, there were 17 drinks on tap for the event. For a homebrewer that is unreal. He makes all his own beer in his basement and he was able to come up with, store, brew, present and everything else that goes into having a party with 17 different kinds of beer! Amazing. I want to give you an idea of what his basement looks like because its also amazing.  Ribbons, medals, trophies and anything else you can imagine that you would win for entering a beer making competition. Now imagine that covering all the walls and available space in an entire basement. This guy has more awards than I have even tried different beers in my life. To put it simply, he is the real deal. And this isn’t even his job, he has a full time job and this is just a hobby. I can only imagine what this guy could do if he was given the opportunity to have access to a real brewery and spend his whole day coming up with new brews and perfecting the ones he’s already made.

On to the beer. So out of the 17 beverages on tap, 1 was rootbeer, one was a mead, one was a ‘pinot gris pyment’ (whatever that is) and one was a wine cooler (most likely for the ladies). So I stayed away from those. So out of the 17 I was willing to try 13 and would have had them all if I hadn’t been stranded there by the people I came with and had to drive myself home afterwords. I ended up sampling 9 different types of beers. I will give you the list (in the order in which I drank them) and a short description and a grade I would give it.

  1. Saison IPA, a hopped up saison style, this was a hazy Belgian looking beer, with Belgian yeasts on the nose, bananas/cloves. Yellow, not much head. Fruity, hoppy saison style beer, reminded me of curbside from Goose Island. There was a little booze on the end, 7.0% ABV—-B+
  2. BIPA, Black IPA, hopped up roasted IPA. A murky dark brown brew, with a nice tan head. Lots of roasted malts and a little bit of bitter hops in the aroma. The flavor followed suit, lots of malts and roasted notes not a ton of hops, reminded me of Summits Great Norther Porter. There needed to be more hoppy oils in this supposed black IPA (maybe i’ve been spoiled by Stone Brewing). 6.5% ABV— B-
  3. Scottish 60, a session scotch ale. This had a dark amber color small off-white head. Taste was sweet malts, some peated scotch in there. The aroma was mostly the sweet malts. I was hoping for more of the scotch presence but in a session ale that would be tough. 3.5% ABV – B-
  4. Robust Porter, his traditional offering of a porter style ale (these are the ones he really excels at). Dark brew, almost black, little tan head out of the tap. Tons of chocolate and roasted flavors. This was a great porter, it was thick and chewy everything a traditional porter should have. Reminded me of a better version of the Summer GNP. Hit all the right notes and there was nothing negative about it. 6.5% ABV – A-
  5. Strong Bitter, an English bitter beer. Light creamy amber color, light white head. The aroma was dominated by some sweet malts but the fruity hops took over. The taste followed suit, this was an extremely well balanced brew. The malts played a great Robin to the hops Batman. It was a great dark character beer with a very easy light drinkable feel to it. 6.0% ABV – A (best in show in my opinion)
  6. Altbier, a malty German affair. Reddish muddy brown. Dominated by malts, sweet on the nose and in the taste. He compared it to Alaskan Amber but I thought it was sweet (and much better) than that. 5.8% ABV – B
  7. Imperial Stout, huge roasty strong stout. Another one of his dark beers where he really puts forward a good product. Was oily black, pitch-like, had a nice dark tan head that stuck around. There were dark fruits, sweet and roasted malts, chocolate on the nose. The dark fruits realy stuck around or the taste, that was the best part in my opinion. There were tons of chocolate and roasted notes in there as well. This wasn’t the bitter stout that is typical for the style, he really got a sweet beer in the end here which I really enjoyed. This didn’t drink very heavy either but left a slick coating in the mouth. There was a little booze in the taste as well. 10.0% ABV – A-
  8. Spruce Ale, caramel malts and spruce tips. Murky golden color. Malts and some earthy hops in the aroma. There were mostly sweet malts in the taste. Didnt know where I was supposed to find these spruce tips, dont think I ever did. 4.2% ABV – B-
  9. Double IPA, he compared it to Avery Maharaja. A yellow amber color, definitely some roasted grains in the color, somewhat caramel-like. Fruity hops in the nose, floral, citrus. Some malts as well, but it is a DIPA. Taste was hoppy, there were high IBU’s in this one. A bitter hop punch came through but not overpowering. I wouldnt say this is the Maharaja but more like Masala Mama at the Town Hall Brewery in MPLS. Which in my opinion is better, this was much more balanced than the Maharaja and I think the Masala is one of the best IPA’s out there. 8.0% ABV – A

So that was it. I spent a solid 2 hours trying these beers. Had some great conversations with new people, even scored an invite with the brewer himself to go brew a batch together at some point this fall. I wish I still lived right across the street because I would have stayed all night, tried the rest of the beers and probably tried to finish some of them off for him. I missed out on his self-proclaimed WIPA or ‘white IPA’ which was the opposite of the BIPA he said. I heard that was actually quite good. And there were a couple others that I wasn’t too bummed about missing out on but still would have loved to try. I will give you my top 3 here in sort-of order:

  1. Strong bitter
  2. Double IPA
  3. Imperial Stout

The bitter sneaked into the top spot just because it was so well balanced and really it came to be the best all around beer. It was really the only one I had nothing I wanted to improve on. I really liked how balanced the DIPA was and how it reminded me of the Masala Mama and the imperial stout being as fruity as it was made it a real treat.

I honestly cannot wait for next year and wish that he would do this like 2 or 23 more times in a year. But I’m glad I get a chance to go brew with him at some point, maybe I will come up with a beer half as good as these and I will be very pleased and proud of myself.

Overall grade for Stock House Beerfest 2011: A+


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