Last night, I hit the jackpot with an invite to the Golden Ticket Beer Sampling Event at the Flying Saucer in Downtown Memphis.
The Memphis Beer Week event was a 25-seat tasting of 15 of the rarest beers that could be found.
Pliny the Elder from Russian River? Check. 2006 Black Chocolate Stout from Brooklyn Brewery? Check. All the beers served were brews that you can’t buy in Memphis, and some were beers that are long out of production and have been aging nicely. It was a beer geek’s dream.
The Golden Ticket tasting was organized by Kirk Caliendo, district manager for the Flying Saucer, and Austin Sawyer, import, craft and specialty brand manager for Budweiser of Memphis, which has been putting on the Beer Week events. They did a great job of finding an array of beers to satisfy even the most discerning craft beer drinker.
That giant bottle above is .79 gallons of Brass Knuckle Imperial IPA from Marin Brew Company. It’s a super hoppy beer that, at 9.6% ABV, packs quite a punch.
Here are three of my favorites from last night:
Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin – North Coast Brewing Company
I’ve had Old Rasputin before, the popular Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing. But I got to try the small batch version of the beer that was aged for nine months in 12-year-old bourbon barrels. It had nice notes of bourbon on the nose and it tasted like strong roasted malts and chocolate. This beer was so popular at the table that people kept picking up the empty bottles, trying to get just a few more drops!
Dank Tank Some Strange – SweetWater Brewing Company
I’ve never had a beer from SweetWater Brewing Company that I didn’t like, and Some Strange did not disappoint. The 10% ABV Black India Pale Ale from Sweetwater’s Dank Tank series is hopped with Amarillo, Pacific Jade and Zythos, and then dry-hopped with Falconer’s Flight, Falconer’s 7 C’s and Topaz. The beer was just released and is the first Dank Tank beer to flow out of SweetWater’s new brewhouse.
Consecration – Russian River Brewing Company
Pliny is one of my all-time favorites, but it was a real treat to try Russian River’s Consecration. Aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels with currants, it’s a tart sour ale that leaves your mouth watering and your taste buds reeling.
Here’s the full list of beers that were sampled:
1. Pliny the Elder, Russian River Brewing Company
2. Matilda, Goose Island Beer Co.
3. 2010 Brooklyner Weisse, Brooklyn Brewery
4. Dank Tank Some Strange, SweetWater Brewing Company
5. 2009 Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chein, BFM Brasserie Des Franches-Montagne
6. Game of Thrones Iron Throne, Brewery Ommengang
7. Brass Knuckle Imperial IPA, Marin Brewing Company
8. Schneider Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock, Weisses Bräuhaus G. Schneider & Sohn GmbH
9. Barrel-Aged Old Rasputin XV, North Coast Brewing Company
10. Local Species, Blue Mountain Brewery
11. Imperial Eclipse Stout, FiftyFifty Brewing Co.
12. Allagash Curieux, Allagash Brewing Company
13. 2006 Black Chocolate Stout, Brooklyn Brewery
14. Consecration, Russian River Brewing Company
15. Walker’s Reserve, Firestone Walker Brewing Co.