Monday, January 14, 2008

Homebrew Haven

Sometimes I complain to people I know about how tough it is to be a beer blogger. You never get to just go to your favorite places (never is a strong word since I've been to Harry's Country Club in the past week and 75th Street Brewery a couple of weeks ago), there's always a new place to try. Sometimes you end up going to crapholes like The Stables and places that always kind of scared me like The Final Approach yesterday. But for all of my complaints I get the occasional great experience.

I've been lucky enough to find some great places, Harry's being one, and meet some pretty great people. Bad Ben is one of those people. Ben is as entertaining and interesting guys you'll ever meet. Anybody who runs 100 mile races is bound to be interesting, but Ben is also a blogger and most importantly, to me at least, a homebrewer. So I consider myself lucky that I was invited to his house for a B.U.R.P. party (Beer Utilitization and Reduction Party).

Ben isn't just some schmoe who brews a keg or load of bottles at once, he's darn near a pro. He brews in 10 gallon batches and ends up with more beer than one family can drink. So the B.U.R.P. was born. At this particular B.U.R.P. were 5 beers, a barleywine, IPA, Saison, Porter and a regular old Pale Ale. I believe Ben told me that none of the beers were less than 8% alcohol with the barleywine topping the bunch at 11.4% (approximately, I don't take notes when I'm drinking).

I showed up to the B.U.R.P. after having a couple of beers at the Yard House as well as a nice dinner. If you ever get out to the Yard House, get a Rogue beer on tap and have the sliders with Bearnaise sauce. You won't be disappointed. After dinner, Stella wanted to do some shopping and stuff and we made our way back towards the Bull E. Vard mansion. After our last shopping stop I tried to make the turn over to Bad Ben's but Stella decided she needed to stay home but gave me permission (like I needed it) to go over to Ben's which luckily is only 5 to 10 minutes from the mansion.

I stopped at Rhyno Liquor to pick up an appropriate gift, a nice big bottle of Breckenridge IPA and tried to find Ben's house. Yahoo Maps sucks and told me to turn on a street that doesn't really exist (at that location) so I missed my turn. Luckily I used to live on the street in question so I had a really good idea where the turn was that I missed. I found the cul-de-sac that housed Ben and got in the house. I walked on in the door and made my way to the kitchen where I saw Matt, Ben's son. Matt hooked me up with a sweet pilsner glass and I grabbed myself an IPA. I don't know the correct procedure when trying a slew of beers, I told myself that an IPA will get the taste buds warmed up. I really enjoyed the IPA. I talked to some dude about our mutual love of IPA's, 75th Street Brewery and Barley's Brewhaus.

When I finished the IPA, I washed out my glass and went for what I thought would be the highlight of the evening, the Saison. It was fantabulous. It may have been just a little too sweet to be the perfect Saison but it ranks right up there with any Saison I've had. Next up was the barleywine, I've never had a barleywine and didn't know what to expect. I'm going to come to the conclusion that I don't like barleywines because Ben's beers were all so good, I'm sure the barleywine would compare favorably to others. But, I didn't like it, didn't want to finish it and didn't want seconds. I know there are no wrong answers when it comes to beer, unless the answer to a bartender's question is Bud Light in a bottle, so Ben won't be mad at me for not liking the barleywine, but I feel bad about not liking it.

Last up in the beer menu was the Porter. I love porters and think it's a completely underrated beer style. Ben's porter was the balls. It may be the best porter I've had and I've had my share. To be honest, I stayed a little longer than I intended because I couldn't get enough porter.

I can't thank Ben enough for inviting me over to sample his beers. I enjoyed myself immensely and had a good time meeting all of the people I met over there.


  1. Never had a Barley Wine before?!

    That's okay, I still enjoy reading your blog! Sounds like a great party.

  2. I love barleywines, but I can easily understand why some people don't. That strong alcohol taste can be overwhelming. Even for me: I've found that while I really enjoy one glass of barleywine, two is always too much. At that point, the alcohol just starts to dominate the flavor and makes me feel kind of sick. Since you had it late in the evening, that may be what happened to you. Barleywines aren't session beers, and should be approached like a glass of fine whiskey: one and done.

  3. Bull E. Vard,

    Thanks for the mad props! We have so much fun putting this thing on, and appreciate those who appreciate beer. I may have another BURP in the Spring, due to being overstocked, (still).

    Cheers and Happy Trails,
    Bad Ben