The third edition of Camp Beer took place yesterday with twenty-one different and predominantly hoppy beers sampled and discussed. The size of the event had been increased to 60 attendees, necessitating a change in venue from Cathy's living room to an actual event hall. Conveniently enough, it included a pulpit from which Kevin preached the good word about craft beer.Although best recognized for their Dark Lord Imperial Stout, Three Floyds Brewing is also known for producing beers with strong hoppy flavours and aromas, but without being overly bitter or harsh. Their Pride & Joy was the inspiration for my own American Mild. Three beers of theirs were served: Gumball Head, a highly hopped American Wheat beer, Dreadnaught, a well balanced Imperial IPA and Alpha King, a very dry and bitter Pale Ale.
Lost Abbey / Port Brewing continues to produce some amazing beers. The Lost Abby Devotion is a Belgian Pale Ale with lots of citrus and fruit flavours. Smooth and well balanced with a lingering floral hop bitterness. Typical of a West coast IPA, the Port Brewing Hop 15 has strong citrus and grapefruit flavours but a little better balanced then most.
As I get the chance to try more and more of their beer, Southern Tier is fast becoming one of my favourite breweries. Their Un-Earthly Imperial IPA is a very well balanced blend of citrus hops and caramel malts and the 10% ABV is hardly noticeable. Their Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout is out of this world.
Bootlegger's Brewery from Fullerton, California is not a brewery that I was familiar with until yesterday. We sampled their Black Phoenix, an ale brewed with coffee and chipotle peppers. With aromas of strong coffee and chocolate, the coffee definitely overwhelms the flavour. And just when you start to wonder where the chipotle peppers are supposed to be in it, you feel a slight tingle and burn from them on the back of your tongue and throat. Definitely an interesting beer, although I'm not sure if I could drink a lot of it
The surprise ending beer of the day was the Saint Arnold's Divine Reserve #3 which was actually supplied for the event by me from my own personal beer cellar. I decided that some of the beers that I have been aging should really be consumed sooner then later and since I had a large enough quantity of it, I donated it to Cathy to use for a Camp Beer event. I also gave her a couple of other beers that may show up at future events. The DR #3 was bottled in Sept 2006 and is a Double IPA with an alcohol level of 9.5% ABV. Most of the hoppy aromas and flavours had faded as I expected. It now had a sweet and toasty caramel malt flavour with some fruity characteristics and a very smooth finish. The high alcohol was still noticeable, but no longer harsh. It actually reminded more of a barleywine style.
The next Camp Beer event is scheduled for September and will concentrate on Stouts. It's already being referred to as Stoutapolooza and will feature vertical tastings of Dark Lord and The Abyss. Tickets will undoubtedly go very fast.