Sorry this took so long. I had a great time travelling and am now back and ready for the New Year. It’s a pretty exciting time to be writing about beer. While last year when I started it was all about what might come, it is now about what is coming. I met and interviewed a lot of up and coming breweries last year. This year, I get the opportunity to write about them opening. Like I said, exciting. I’m in the midst of setting up follow-ups and looking forward to Winnipeg’s craft beer community growing.
Once again I’ve been really impressed with the craft beer advent calendar. While I know there are qualms and concerns with the beers sitting for so long, having a chance to try unique and one-off beers is well worth it. So, let’s wrap up with some statistics.
- Once again we had 24 beers, this time from around North America.
- There were 15 from the USA and 9 from Canada
- States and Provinces represented:
||Canadian Provinces or Territories
|– California (3)
– North Carolina (2)
– New York
– British Columbia (2)
– Ontario (4)
- One of the beers, Evil Twin’s Smoked Pilsner, technically doesn’t come from anywhere in particular as the brewer uses other breweries. That particular one came from Connecticut, but he is based out of Brooklyn, NY.
- 62.5% of the beers came from the United States and 37.5% from Canada
I’m a bit disappointed that most came from the United States, but I suppose they were the ones who chose to participate. I’d like to see a more Canadian advent Calendar and I’m actually hoping next year there will be enough breweries here in Manitoba I can just build my own local version. Or maybe we will get a collaboration pack for Christmas…hint hint.
Over the 24 days there were some hits and misses. Out of all the beers though, my favorite came to us from:
Spider Bite Brewing Company, Holbrok, Long Island and was Boris the Spider Russian Imperial Stout
Once again it’s been a lot of fun doing this blog-a-thon of beers from the advent Calendar. I brought some pretty interesting ones back from my trip and I’m looking forward to trying those. As for this blog, I’ll be returning to my focus on beer in Manitoba. I can’t wait.
Yesterday was a pretty decent turn around in respect to beer. While it was not my favourite, it was okay and that’s a big jump from day 6. Today, as usual, I got up early and went into grab the now individually wrapped day 8 beer from my spare bedroom (away from cats who might knock it over). Given that the advent calendar beers tend to sit for a little while before actually being opened, I was hoping that I might something that actually can age well. Today’s beer is just that.
Today we have Spider Bite Beer Company’s Boris the Spider Russian Imperial Stout. Spider bite is located in Holbrook, Long Island and distributes its beer primarily between Long Island and New York. Spider Bite Beer Company was conceived by founders and friends Larry Goldstein and Anthony LiCausi back in 2008. Larry was born and raised on Long Island, but after getting biology degree he decided to move to Atlanta to study Chiropractic medicine. It was during his time in Atlanta that Larry discovered a love and passion for craft beer. He began home brewing, entering competitions, writing tasting articles for a local paper and then began assistant brewing at a local brewpub. After more than a decade as a Chiropractor he moved his family back to his hometown of Nesconset, NY. Larry attended the American brewers’ guild to receive a formal brewing education followed by an apprenticeship at Lost Abbey/Port Brewing in San Diego. It was here he fell in love with many of the styles he brought over to Spider Bite when it opened in 2008. You can listen to the guys talk about there beer and the brewery here.
Spider bite has a number of different spider themed beers. Check them out. I am pretty excited about today’s beer. Russian Imperial Stouts are a style that I’ve really started to enjoy and appreciate. These beers age incredibly well and change over time. This style of beer was originally brewed in the 1800s by Thrale’s brewery in London England for export to the court of Catherine II of Russia. This same beer is brewed today now under the Courage brewery name and is called Courage Russian Imperial Stout (RIS). Ranging between 8%-12% alcohol with strong malt notes of coffee, caramel, chocolate and dark fruit (plums, prunes or raisins for example), it is a perfect beer for a winter night.
Like I said I have become a pretty big fan of this style and have learned to appreciate the deep rich complexity of these beers. I think this is one of those styles that takes a little bit of getting used to and I certainly didn’t appreciate these beers last year as much as I do now. Without anything further, let’s get to tasting this beer.
Appearance: Pour incredibly dark, like a black hole absorbing all light around it. Very minimal head which is to be expected with this style.
Smell: Rich coffee smells, smoke, chocolate and black licorice.
Taste: The smoke notes are evident on the start which fades into a chocolate malty sweetness finishing with a rich coffee aftertaste. Almost like a smoky chocolate mocha.
Mouthfeel: Low carbonation but full rich body, silky smooth with a slightly sharp finish.
Overall: Overall a very deep and layered imperial stout. There is a lot going on with this beer. The richness of this and ability to hide the alcohol content with a nice warm lingering after the finish makes it a really delicious Russian imperial stout.
Do I like it: Absolutely. I really like this one. As I said I am a big fan of Russian imperial stouts and this one lives up to my expectation. The rich flavours balanced eminitley and smooth make this a great beer to sip on a cold winter’s night. This certainly is not a gulping beer, that wouldn’t do it justice, it’s a beer to savor.