Hi. My name is Kevin, and I like beer…a lot!
Other things I like: Judie (well, actually, I love her), my kids (I love them too), Otis (my dawg), fresh air, wide open spaces, rain and… did I mention? Beer!
I developed a taste for the stuff (beer that is) during college. At the time, it probably wasn’t as much a taste thing as it was a social thing, if you catch my drift. I have plenty of vintage stories about Colorado’s 3:2 beer (swill), and escapades with cheap beer bought in bulk with my buddies.
After some time my palate refined a bit, and at some point past that a good friend suggested we begin brewing our own beer. We did, and after a couple of weird (not so tasty) batches of homebrew, we got it right! By the third batch, we had ironed out some of the initial problems, and we had finally achieved the desired outcome… a delicious batch of our own, home-brewed beer!
That was 1998. Since that time I’ve been home-brewing on and off (mostly on) over the years; I’ve also been exploring the ever-growing world of craft brews. The wide range of regional small-batch offerings these days is nothing short of amazing. With all sorts of flavors, strengths and styles available; if you know where to look, you can find some incredible brews from relatively unknown (outside the craft brew crowd, anyway) sources.
A couple of things happened over the last few years that really kicked my passion into high gear. The first was visiting Windsor, England, last October. While on an extended layover, Judie and I explored the town and found several ancient pubs; in them, we were able to sample several cask ales in what I would imagine were ideal circumstances (e.g. cold and rainy English setting). The second was when Judie arranged for me to spend some one-on-one time with Russell Gardner, the certified cicerone (another word for complete beer-expert) at the Public House in Las Vegas during CES. I… was… in… heaven. Russell and I spent more than three hours together pairing foods and tasting craft beers, both from the Public House and his private collection. Those two experiences were enough to inspire me to learn even more about craft beer, and to take my own homebrew efforts to the next level.
Beer is awesome; brewing it, talking about it, and drinking it are things that I enjoy greatly, and I want to share my enjoyment of it with all of you. So join me as we explore some common and not so common craft brews.
And let’s start… right now.
This evening I pulled a new (to me) beer, Nelson Imperial IPA, from “the vault” — our dedicated adult beverage cold storage facility. This was a brew that Judie and I had found at Leucadia Liquor, a store we discovered while on a late night walk in Encinitas. To digress for a moment, this place was amazing! We were in awe of all the beer goodness lining the shelves and coolers. There were tons of local California craft brews, and flavors we had never even heard of, even from the brands we were familiar with.
This place made our local (well, 40 miles away) beer source look anemic! We went, we were awed… we bought. Before we left, we had purchased $80 worth of new beers. I had heard of a few, but others were brand new to me. (We would have bought more, but space was limited in the family wagon.)
Let’s check this brew out…
The Brewery: Widmer Bothers Brewing, Portland Oregon
The Beer: Nelson Imperial IPA
Style: Double IPA, short for India Pale Ale with extra kick! If you know what I mean.
Head: Good, solid with staying power.
Aroma: Hints of spice and pine buried in hop goodness. And such a slight hint of alcohol. This one is strong at 8.6% ABV
Flavor: Up front creamy malty followed by good, but not overpowering hop kick, and ending with a slight hint of alcohol.
I found this to be a well balanced beer, with creamy malt and lovely Nelson Hops (among others). A great beer! Probably a personal favorite, although I’ll have to order it online if I want another. Thank you “Brothers”!