Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pacing Through the Bistro Double IPA Fest

Feeling a little sick, I approached my usual Saturday morning long run more carefully than usual.  Instead of going out hard and holding on, I carefully hydrated, paced myself, and took it easy to avoid getting hammered.  And it worked, as I got through the 12 miles slower than usual, but unscathed, so hopefully the run help build me up, rather than tear me down and leave me with a raging fever. 

Having barely recovered from the 12 miler, it was time to head out to The Bistro Double IPA Festival, one of the headline events at SF Beer Week.   And to survive a festival featuring some of the finest high alcohol palate searing hop monsters known to humankind, I made sure to be carefully hydrated, to pace myself and take it easy to avoid getting hammered.

Yours truly savoring the taste of Pliny the Younger after not standing in line for it.
I am not a patient man and hate standing in lines.  Long lines are often part of beer festivals.   Which is why I love the The Bistro Double IPA Festival as whatever lines exist move rather briskly.  The first beer I sampled was none other than Russian River's legendary Pliny the Younger, which many people wait in line for over an hour for.   But at the Bistro Double IPA Fest, I simply walked right up to the pitcher to get my sampler glass filled.   Even I can deal with a line consisting of zero people.

What to say about Pliny the Younger?  The hop aromas were so strong, they actually penetrated my stuffy nose.  And what really makes this work is the hefty amount of light malt, which gives the intense fruity hop flavors a certain juiciness. 

Of course, there were other beers to explore and enjoy.  I find beer festivals are good for checking out new breweries or ones that don't normally distribute in Northern California.  And so my three new discoveries that afternoon were Kern River Brewing, with their excellent Citra Double IPA, Bend Oregon's Boneyard Brewing with a couple of excellent offerings, and Six Rivers of McKinleyville, CA with their surprisingly smooth Sasquatch.

Here is a run down of some of the beers I tried, with some deep, insightful analysis of all the bitter hoppy beers from my scribbled notes

Six Rivers Brewing Sasquatch:  Really smooth tasting, with a pleasant tea-like bitterness.
Dogfish Head Burton Baton:  Another smooth brew with a light woody taste that melded with the hoppy bitterness.
Kern River Brewing Citra Double IPA: Wonderfully strong flavors of citra hop (duh)
Boneyard Brewing's Hop Venom:  Another smooth Double IPA with a restrained hoppy bitterness.
Green Flash Palate Wrecker:  Lots of strong pineapple-like hop flavors, basically Green Flash's famous West Coast IPA on steroids and working out hard in the weight room for six months straight.  It wrecked my palate.
Maui Brewing Double Overhead Double IPA:  Very hoppy and bitter.
Magnolia Gastropub Promised Land Double IPA: Very bitter and hoppy.
Moylan's Hopsickle XXXIPA: Very bitter

OK, after having a few beers primarily designed to blow away your taste buds with hoppy bitterness, pretty much all you can taste after that is a lot of hoppy bitterness. A cup of coffee after the festival tasted hoppy. 

I'm glad to get through the day intact, because there is a beer run tomorrow.

UPDATE:  You can find the winners of The Bistro Double IPA Festival on the Brookston Beer Bulletin here.

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