We tried a lot of beers at the Memphis Brewfest Winter Warmer this past weekend, so picking our favorites was a tough assignment. Here’s what we came up with:
1. Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing Company — I’ve heard so much about Russian River’s Pliny the Elder that I almost thought the skies would open up and angels would start singing when I took my first sip of this Double IPA. Well, all that did happen. It was amazing. Best beer of the day.
3. Never Summer Ale, Boulder Brewing Company — Dark caramel malts, combined with lots of hops and a “top-secret brewmaster’s spice,” make this is a winter seasonal that you can’t put down.
4. Blind Pig, Russian River Brewing Company — With all the winter seasonals in the building, it was nice to try a really good IPA. The Blind Pig delivered a blast of citrus and floral aroma in a light, well-balanced brew.
1. Peach Lambic, Lindemans — I asked the lady serving us which of the frutiy lambics I should sample; this peach was recommended and did not disappoint. Aaaand it was served over ice cream. This may become a dessert staple in this house.
2. Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing Company — This is a no-brainer. It was my second beer of the day (at the festival, that is) and would have been my first had I not lined myself up behind the wrong group of drunkards. I hope my recent homebrewed clone comes close.
5. Welcome Winter Ale, Samuel Smith — I love Sam Smith and passed this table over at first because I’m pretty familiar with their beers. But I’m glad the unfamiliar label drew me in. I’m not winter’s biggest fan, but I could surely cope better with more of this beer on hand.
1. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier — I’ve been reading the book, Smoked Beers, and just finished the part where they visit this brewery. It absolutely lived up to its billing. An insanely dense, smokey, bacon-like aroma blends perfectly into this Marzen-style beer. I must have gone back to this beer 15 times at the festival. A Rauchbier just jumped to the top of my to-brew list.
2. Blind Pig, Russian River Brewing Company — This was the first time I’ve had this beer and I thought it was an incredible IPA. If they told me I could walk around the festival and drink this beer only for the rest of the night, I would have done it.
5. Mogul Madness Ale, Rogue — This beer stands out for the sheer fact that after two hours of drinking, it was able to elicit quite a reaction from my overloaded taste buds. Citrusy hops and a wallop of malts combined for a complex ale that really hit me. I was thinking this was a barleywine when I first tasted it.
What were your favorite beers from the Winter Warmer? Leave a comment below.