Tag Archives: Dogfish Head

Theobroma Update

I’m out of Theobroma and it doesn’t look good as far as seeing any more.

Just got off the phone with my Dogfish guy. Here’s the deal:

The brewery expansion that happened earlier this year revealed issues with their foundation which needed to be resolved. This set the guys behind with stuff like 60 and 90 and d’Etre. They switched from running ‘special’ beers like Theobroma in the 300bbl tanks to using all the 300 tanks for 60 and 90 et al. This sent Theobroma and others into 100bbl tanks, which resulted in a much smaller amount than was originally planned for.

Just under 30 cases were allocated for the NoVA area, of which I got two. As I said, those two cases are sold out. I’m sending people to DC where there wasn’t any more available, but had fewer stores buying it, so they may have more in stock.

I wish I had more. Good luck and happy hunting. If you see any out there and are so inclined, post a comment and let the rest of the class know where to get some.

Review still to come…

Beermonger

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Beer Geek Alert

Just received two cases (make that one and a half, actually) of Dogfish Head Theobroma. If anyone wants in call Rick’s and I’ll set some aside for you. This stuff won’t make it to the weekend, so don’t wait.

Because of the limited amount available, I’m limiting everyone to a maximum of two bottles. Review coming later tonight or tomorrow.

Also, Bell’s Hell Hath No Fury Ale is in. This is based on a Dark Belgian Ale and has some interesting coffee notes and kinda reminded me of Aventinus when I tried it yesterday, except without some of the banana clove feel.

Beermonger

Weekend Tastings & the Youtube Clip of the Week!

This week’s clip features my favorite U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team member, Alicia Sacramone. Yes, I’ve logged some time with the Games this week…Anyway, here she is knocking a douchebag out.

Excellent.

So, Friday night it’s gonna be Oktoberfests and Pumpkin Ales:

-Brooklyn Oktoberfest

-Brooklyn Post Road Pumpkin Ale

-Southern Tier Pumpking

Also, we’ll be trying the excellent Abita Pecan Harvest Ale. Weihenstephaner Fest Bier and Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest just arrived, so they might get cracked open as well.

Saturday I’ll have Devin from Dogfish Head in. We’re in between special releases, so I might bring some goodies from home to taste. At this point the table’s looking like:

-60, 90 and120 Minute IPA (120 batch bottled July 7th)

-India Brown Ale

-Festina Peche

-Midas Touch

-Black & Blue

And whatever else I can scrounge up. It’ll be a good time as always. See you this weekend at Rick’s!

Beermonger

p.s. I’ve caught Olympic fever. One thing is seriously bothering me, though: The commercials for ‘Knight Rider—The Series’. Really? As opposed to, ‘Kight Rider—The Musical’? Actually, I might get into that. Only if Drunk Hasselhof plays the lead again, though.

Seriously, this looks like it’s going to suck. Hard.

The Beermonger Review: AleSmith Decadence Imperial Porter

AleSmith 2007 Decadence Imperial Porter

AleSmith 2007 Decadence Imperial Porter

I recently had to say goodbye to a friend of mine. My best friend (‘Mother’) moved his narrow ass back to L.A. (again). Before he left, the two of us got together at Our Cute Friend’s place for a night of beer, Guitar Hero, more beer, loud music, more Guitar Hero and a ton of great beer. I took the opportunity to bring a few beers out that otherwise I probably wouldn’t crack open for myself. We drank a 2006 bottle of Dogfish Head Fort (a favorite of My Cute Friend). We drank a bottle of Avery Maharaja (one of the Holy Trinity of Weed-Smelling and Tasting Beers). We drank one of my last bottles of Stone 11th Anniversary (the instant classic; they need to bring this beer into regular production now). We pounded beers like Dale’s Pale Ale and Loose Cannon in between. We even cracked some Miller Lite for the hell of it. Thankfully we avoided the 2002 Dogfish Head Worldwide Stout I’d brought, otherwise someone may have been injured.

While we were at it I figured I’d break out a super-special Scooby Snack: A bottle of AleSmith Decadence 2007 Imperial Porter (with great thanks to Alpha-level Beer Minion Doug, who was kind enough to bring it back from one of his San Diego excursions).

We can’t get the AleSmith beers out here in VA, so don’t even ask. I’ve had their Speedway Stout before and enjoyed it immensely before realizing I was at the bottom of the (12% ABV 750mL) bottle and completely hammered, causing me to rant and rave about how amazing the beer was to my fiance who just shook her head and informed me that she indeed knew that I was drunk. As if I didn’t know.

Anyhoo, I had this bottle of Decadence and thought this would be a good time to crack it. Not only could I try out the beer, but I could get opinions of friends who aren’t in ‘the business’. Mother and My Cute Friend are into beers, so they know a thing or two about a thing or two. The ’07 Decadence is a 10% Imperial Porter, rich and malty, pouring a dark reddish-brown. Smells roasty to me at first with hints of dark fruit (very subtle, that) and the expected notes of chocolate and caramel. Expected doesn’t mean boring, though. I could’ve smelled the beer all night. That would’ve been boring. I moved on and started to drink the beer.

What an experience. Not unlike the Speedway (Imperial) Stout, the Decadence is very drinkable for its alcohol level (10% ABV). Blind, I might have never guessed that it was as strong as it was. The malts were front and center—sweet, cocoa, caramel, more of those dark fruits I’d noticed on the nose (less subtle on the palate, surprisingly) and slightly smoky. My Cute Friend was impressed, which caught me a little off-guard since he’s a die-hard HopHead usually. I guess that’s by choice, though; I’ve seen him enjoy many types of beers but I think he just gravitates to the hoppy stuff. We all came away wishing we could get more of this good stuff.

That always kills me, knowing I can’t get certain beers. That will always bother me. If there was only one great brewery out there that I couldn’t get, even if I had all others, it would still piss me off. I’d be bothering every distributor in the area to sign them up. I guess that’s what keeps me in a job. I’m off on a tangent, aren’t I? Sorry.

In the end, boys and girls, I think it comes down to this: This all happened about 6 weeks ago. This was one more night with ‘the boys’; a send-off to a guy who’s like a brother to me. Good friends hanging out like stupid kids all night—like none of us had a care. Among all of the memories of that night (admittedly there aren’t that many), the AleSmith Decadence stands out.

Forgive me if this isn’t much of a review. If you’re reading this, you’re likely into beer and you have a fairly good idea of how this beer is—it’s a fantastic, outstanding example of a type of beer that we don’t see too much of. It’s powerful, richly flavored but perfectly drinkable. The point I think I’m trying to get to is that every now and then, it’s not about the greatness of the beer. It’s about the moment and the friends you share that beer with.

I give it a 10.

Beermonger

Savor, NoVA Summer Brewfest thoughts

Yeah, so that whole ‘I’m going to catch up on writing’ thing? Not so much, I know.

Anyhoo, I wanted to lay down some thoughts on the Savor event now that any and all relevance they might have had is gone and give a brief report on this past weekend’s Summer Brewfest.

Overall, I was very impressed by Savor. The setting was great and the collection of brewers and breweries was outstanding. I’m not sure how I feel about the layout though. The semi-circles of tables that lined the outside of the room caused a lot of traffic jams and made the food impossible to get to at times. Not good for an event that is supposedly about the pairing of craft beer and food. I was at the Friday night session, and I’ve heard some things said about the crowd that night. Yes, there did seem to be an inordinate amount of Hill staffers there as well as beer industry folks (myself included). But I can’t tell you how many customers of mine I ran into, and I think there were a fair amount of true Beer Geeks. The only problems I had with the crowd was:

1. The Hill people seemed to sweep in a poach all the food, and

2. The whole “Dress to Impress” idea kinda got blown up when I saw my first fanny pack of the evening. I sweated it out in my sport coat and Jo said she felt a little silly and overdressed (even though she looked fantastic). Fucking tourists. Sorry, that’s the native DC/Metro in me, but still…

Really, in the end I thought Savor was a success in showing off the creativity of craft brewers. The tickets were pricey, but I think the collection of that many great brewers in one room made it all worth it.  Highlights:

Russan River, especially Supplication. Easily the beer of the show for me.

Avery15 and Maharaja. Great beers, and meeting Adam Avery during the week leading up to Savor was very cool. He couldn’t have been cooler to me.

Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron. Every time I have this beer it stuns me, and not just because of the ABV. I read an interview in Draft this month with Jim Koch from Boston Brewing where he said that Palo is an example of “fearless brewing” and I couldn’t put it any better.

Clipper City Loose Cannon. The only beer they brought and they paired it with three different foods. Ballsy. Worked. This is a beer that I just can’t seem to order enough of for stock and every time I try it I see why.

Flying Dog Kerberos. The new Tripel. These guys seem to get better and better all the time.

-Meeting Garrett Oliver, Charlie Papazian, the guys from Draft, All About Beer, etc. Really, that was friggin’ cool. I’m still relatively new to the beer business, so there’s a lot of folks I haven’t met yet. It was nice to meet some of these guys that I’ve heard and read about.

This past Sunday I went to the NoVA Summer Brewfest. I’ve heard a lot about the Old Dominion Fests, and how this may be the event to replace it. I never made it to the Dominion Fest but I really had a good time at Brewfest. There were some excellent beers out for tasting, the one cover band I heard was awesome (they had a female singer that Jo and I were both really impressed with, and that’s saying something) and plenty of volunteers. I didn’t see one unmanned booth. Admittedly, there weren’t a ton of new beers out, and many brewery reps that folks might have been expecting weren’t there, but to be fair there were about 3 or 4 other fests happening up and down the coast this weekend, so guys were kinda spread out. Devon from Dogfish had a great selection of beers, though, as did Tomfrom Clipper City with the new Oxford Organic Raspberry Wheat as well as the Oxford Organic Amber out of a firkin (which was all kinds of kickass). Worth the drive, worth the ticket price; can’t really ask for more.

And with that, I’m out. I’ll try to catch up some more later. ‘Til then.

Beermonger

Weekend Tastings and the Joy of Gov’t. Regulation

So I was trying to get this stuff posted last night, but I had some issues with our internet…

I’ll be doing a rare Friday Night Tasting May 9th from 5-8 PM. I’ll be pouring the Gouden Carolus Grand Cru Van De Kaiser from 2000, 2004 and 2007.

This is going to be something of a ‘make-up’ tasting since I was trying to do this one a couple of weeks ago, but that got nixed when the ’00 and ’04 didn’t show from my distributor. This led to me getting far more worked up than the situation deserved and got me in a little hot water with the distributor that I get the beer from. You see, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, we have what’s known in the business as a “three-tier system”. That means in order for you, the consumer, to purchase a sixer of beer there has to be an entity that imports the beer into the state, buying it directly from the producer. After that they distribute the beer, meaning they sell it to retailers and restaurants. After these middle-men and the government get their cut of money and taxes they deign to allow the average citizen to purchase the product they wish to buy.

As I understand it, this system came to be after the repeal of Prohibition. Essentially, it is an alcohol tax without actually having an alcohol tax. On its own I don’t necessarily have much of an issue with the system except for it seeming awful Puritanical and greedy. But then again, this is America and the Commonwealth of Virginia to boot, so…

My real issue is that distributors purchase “rights” to sell certain beers within certain areas of the state, or for the entire state itself. As a business practice, this is done to ensure that, say, two distributors who handle Sam Adams don’t undercut each other in the same marketplace. Although where the damn problem with that is is beyond me. You see, in practice these Rights create little monopolies, wherein the restaurant or retailer (such as yours truly) is forced to buy a product from a certain company regardless of their pricing or regard for their customers. If you guessed this is a snapshot of the situation I ran into a couple weeks ago, you are correct.

I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to spend the vast majority of my (not nearly as big as it could be) budget on product from one company, only to have the beer I need, that I’ve promised my customers that I would have, sent to some other shop hours away because (are you ready?) they took their delivery sooner. No one gave me the heads up that “Hey, other guys want this stuff, maybe you should take the delivery early”. No. Just sent it out and scolded me like I’m supposed to know.

But that’s what comes along with “Rights” in the three-tier system. You get the right to sell a certain breweries products and with that you get the right to do pretty much whatever you feel like with it. It’s great for them: they can go ahead and not worry about people skills or customer service when hiring, because it doesn’t matter! The customer has no choice but to give their money to the distributor! I could call in an order and they could go ahead and say “Go fuck yourself” and I’d still have to pay them if I wanted to have the stuff in stock that I need to compete with every goddamn chain and big-box store trying to put guys like me out of work!

I’m using this situation as an example: The distributor and I have both said what we wanted to say to each other, and I’m ordering as usual. Really, what choice do I have? It’s not like they have competition. My rep from them and I are cool; I’ve known the guy for a while and it wasn’t all his fault. Bygones and all that stuff you need to say so that people don’t think you’re an uppity retail guy who thinks he’s more important than he is. Trust me, dealing with distributors on a daily basis lets you know exactly how important you are. All I want to say is that there is a word that my mom uses way too often: asinine. It’s not that she uses it too often because it doesn’t apply; she uses it too often because there’s so much in this world that is against all common sense that it seems a shame to throw around such a great descriptor.

The three-tier system and the distributor “Rights” monopolies are asinine. I wish I had a widget that you could click and hear my mom say the word just so you get an idea of how it feels. Asinine.


Anyway, Saturday I’ll be pouring from 12-5 PM as usual. I’ve got Weyerbacher Muse (a cool Belgian-style Saison), Rogue Mom Hefeweizen, the new Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Ale and Dogfish Head Immort Ale.

Come by if you’re in the hood. Until next time.

Cheers,

Beermonger

Dogfish Arrival Situation

For my customers who have been waiting for the 120 Minute and Immort Ale to arrive:

When these limited beers arrive, the distributor generally doles them out in very small quantities for the first week or so that they’re available. After that, most stuff becomes fair game. In another week and a half or so, I should have some decent amounts of these beers in and will contact you to let you know what I have.

As the quantities are so small right now, I won’t be pre-selling anything. If you want something this week, come by and get it. Anything else is plain unfair. Ironically, this is the argument my distributor gives me when I yell and scream about only getting two cases of 120. Then again, in a couple weeks I’ll end up buying everything they have anyway, so I’m just trying to get it all done now.

Like I said, when more gets freed up I’ll make some calls and emails and let you all know what’s up. Until then, come by this weekend for what I have now and hopefully I’ll have some better news very soon.

Cheers,

The Beermonger