Sep 25, 2007

Weekend Update

This past weekend, I took off to Richmond for a couple of nights to hang out with a few college buddies. You may recall the last time that this happened, many Belgian beers were consumed and vital brain cells destroyed.

I’m doubtful we truly learned our lesson from that weekend, but we were a bit more restrained this time around — although I did have a decent headache come Sunday morning. Perhaps that was the late night visitation from the golden dragon, Gulden Draak. At any rate, here is, to the best of my knowledge, how the weekend played out.

Friday: Stouts Galore

Stopping by Fredericksburg on the way down to Richmond has its advantages. There’s a great beer/wine shop in old town that will have plenty for you to spend your hard earned cash on. I have visited Kybecca on a few occasions and each time leave much lighter in the wallet region. This time around was no exception. I departed with a dozen or so Belgian beers — about half of which I had planned on bringing back home with me.

Dinner Friday night was at Capital Ale House. The place had just started their Oktoberfest celebration, or rather their multiple week long promotion. Out of the list of fest beers and lagers set aside for the occasion, there were only two active taps dedicated to the promotion on our visit. We decided to pass, and instead fell for a glass of Bell’s 8000 Batch. I’ve had this one several times over the past week or so, but this was my first in draft form. It was much smoother on tap with a more subtle palette — the spices weren’t quite as dominating as they were in bottle form.

We enjoyed a plate of fries with variously flavored mayonnaise for dipping before moving onto the next beer. Perusing the beer listing, I nearly jumped out of my seat with excitement after noticing that they had North Coast’s Old Rasputin on tap. The last time I visited this establishment they had it listed on the beer list, but were unfortunately out. Thankfully, they had it available this go around. The glass came to the table holding the precious, black gold and a small amount of head topping it. On tap the beer was a bit smoother and silkier, but down right amazing. I was about to order another glass when dinner arrived, but Craig convinced me to check out another stout they had on draft.

Perhaps my palette was a little numb from the previous brews, but the Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout from Bluegrass Brewing felt a little lacking. It had a great oaky, vanilla profile, but there just wasn’t that much of a bourbon flavor that I could pick up. The beer had little to no aroma, but did have a nice finish and was quite smooth.

After dinner we headed back to the apartment for a cigar and a bit of relaxing. The night’s beer events are a bit fuzzy, but we did open up a bottle of Maredsous 10, a Houblon Chouffe IPA and one more that I can’t quite remember.

Saturday: Damn It’s Hot

Saturday started at about 8:30 when the sun blasted through the window and woke me up rather rudely. Feeling pretty good, we chilled out for a bit and headed off to run a few errands and grab some lunch at a new BBQ joint (Grandpa Eddie’s) that had the best burnt ends sandwich I’ve ever had. We wanted an Anchor Steam on tap, but the new restaurant hadn’t been granted it’s ABC license just yet. Perhaps that was for the best.

Craig and I met up with Zak to run around town and take some photos. It was quickly determined that we spent way too much time out in the heat and decided to drop off Zak and head back to home base for a quick refreshing and a beer before heading out to dinner at Havana 59. After a Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, we felt recovered enough from the heat to grab our cigars and head off to dinner. We sat at the bar and ordered a beer. The selection was minimal so I went with a Pilsner Urquell with a couple of appetizers. Dinner was a marinated Filet Mignon with some greens and a Dos Equis Amber.

The great thing about this place is that after dinner we were just able to relax with a coffee and enjoy a tasty cigar. The place wasn’t too crowded so we took our time and nursed that last beer before heading back home for a movie. The first beer after dinner was a Nice Chouffe. I know it’s a bit odd to have the holiday brew this early in the season, but we were just too excited to pass it up. After the Chouffe, Zak showed up again so we opened up an Ommegang Ommegeddon. Man, that’s a pretty tasty brew with plenty of hoppiness and a nice funkiness to it. We enjoyed it thoroughly.

Too late in the evening, I cracked up that Gulden Draak thinking that we were all ready for a nightcap. Bluntly, I was wrong. The other guys had had enough and were comfortably watching the movie. After my first glass, I felt the need to finish the bottle — I hated the thought of leaving a half finished Belgian beer sitting on the counter. That’s just sacreligious. At about 1:30AM the bottle was relieved of its last drop and I proceeded to drink as much water as I could possibly hold.

Sunday: Ugh…

Again, the sun woke me up way too early — much earlier than my body needed for a full recovery. A nice headache greeted me as I began packing up my things through bleary eyes. Craig and I sat around for a bit chatting about the beers and what the other was going to be doing for the rest of the day before I finally determined I was stable enough to head on back home, in plenty of time to watch the Giants — who I am convinced are trying to give me an ulcer.

Aside from being a little foolish Saturday night, the weekend was a blast. We had a great time catching up and enjoying finely crafter beer. Now, when do I schedule the next visit.

Final Ratings

Bell’s 8000 Batch (on tap): 3.5/5
North Coast Old Rasputin (on tap): 4.5/5
Jefferson’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout (on tap): 3/5
Maredsous 10: 3.5/5
Houblon Chouffe Dobbelen IPA Tripel: 4/5
Nice Chouffe: 3.5/5
Ommegang Ommegeddon: 4/5
Gulden Draak: 3.5/5