Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Quest for Beervana, 2010, #1: Two Sour Ales, Two IPAs at the Map Room in Chicago

The Map Room offers over 200 of the world’s finest beers, approximately 30+ on tap, representing about 30+ styles of beer (perhaps OMG needs to start the 30/30 club). The quote of the night, delivered at OMG Headquarters during the hazy morning hours: “There’s no such thing as a person that doesn’t like beer, just people who’ve yet to find the right beer.” Sometimes, even in the dead of winter and with snow on the way, a touch of sour, funky fruity beer transports you to a different place, maybe a field of strawberries in Flanders, or a monastery cellar.

Bocker Cuvee des Jacobins (Brouwerij Bocker, 5.5% Flanders Red) - won the sour battle for the night, with plenty of complexity underneath its sour aroma and bite

Hanssens Oudbeitjie Lambic (Hannsens Artisanaal, 6% Lambic)– initially interesting, the funkiness eventually overpowered and the strawberries remained too subtle and overwhelmed. Not usually one to say this, but a slightly sweeter malt bill would have helped too.

IPAs don’t go out of season, and here at OMG, we’re getting ready to brew our spring IPA. For ideas, we sampled two arguably west coast interpretations.

Port Wipeout IPA (Port Brewing, 7% American IPA) - a hoppy west coast IPA from the San Diego area. Bitter grapefruit and pine flavors. A touch of malt holds the beer together, but this beer is about hops. Fantastic.

New Belgium Ranger IPA (New Belgium Brewing, 6.5% American IPA) - though arguably still a west coast IPA, there's more malt here, for a slightly more balanced flavor compared to the Wipeout. A touch darker as well, almost reddish. One of the few American styles offered by New Belgium, but a fantastic addition to their lineup.

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