Guest Post: Sour Power at Gordon’s

I’ll tell you what, I’m beginning to like blogging. Especially when I can goad my friends into doing the writing. This time it’s Homebrewer/scientist/dog-lover @EryckahAnne . I hope you enjoy her piece as much as I did. 

Hi followers of Lee’s blog. This is not Lee. I’m Erica. You might remember me from such blog posts as this, this, this, this, and this.I have been endlessly harassed by Lee to write a blog post. Previously, it was for his super generous birthday gift of tickets to Passport in Portsmouth, NH (amazing food and beer in a beautiful outdoor space), then again for Asheville. But I’m finally getting one done. I feel like that is an accomplishment.

Plus, this one is a little special to me because it was here I first met Lee a year ago. My life is a million times brighter for having gone to this fest and given my number to a stranger for the first time ever. Awww…ok, on with the real point of this post:

Sour Power!

(2013 Edition: Friday, April 26th 7-9 pm)

2 wonderful hours of Peace, Love, and Brett (this is actually last year’s poster). Literally.
2 wonderful hours of Peace, Love, and Brett and Brett (this is actually last year’s poster). Literally.

This event takes place at a relatively understated beer/wine/liquor store called Gordon’s in Waltham, MA. Good beer, good people, great events, horrible location.

On to the beer already! You’re thinking. I know, I know. But first I have to say that I am so glad I got to go with my friend whose name is BRETT! I can’t make this stuff up! He is a huge beer geek also and happens to be a sour beer lover too, which is pretty much mandatory given his name. Anyway, he generously drank samples of my beer and let me taste a couple of his too. And the night would not have been the same without him! Thanks for coming Brett!

So, just to give you an idea of what our night looked like when we arrived at Gordon’s:

Look at that beer list! Sexy!
Look at that beer list! Sexy!

We decided to start at the logical place: Table 1. Because we are scientists. We do things in order. Or it was the least crowded. Plus we both wanted to start with one of the best beers on that list: Cantillon Fou’foune. Obviously. Which was amazing. Obviously. So amazing I didn’t even bother writing anything down for it. I took notes on literally all the other beers I tasted. I also had to try Hanssen’s Oudbeitje which was super horse blankety in the aroma but tasted like funky strawberries (don’t I sound like I know what I’m talking about?!). Delicious.

Table 3 was next on the list. Nope, we skipped Table 2 for the moment. Try to keep up.

I told his guy he had a nice hand and that I was going to put it on a blog. He didn’t talk to me for the rest of the night. Consecration is missing because all my pictures with it were very blurry. I have the WORST picture taking skills when drinking, as will become clearer later on.
I told his guy he had a nice hand and that I was going to put it on a blog. He didn’t talk to me for the rest of the night. Consecration is missing because all my pictures with it were very blurry. I have the WORST picture taking skills when drinking, as will become clearer later on.

The stand out for me here was the Russian River Consecration, which was quite sour up front but mellowed out at the finish. But that is an obvious choice, so I will tell you I also really enjoyed Cascade’s The Vine which was a sour (duh) aged on apples. It tasted very apple-y (official Cicerone® term). I also have been a fan of Lost Abbey’s Red Poppy since I got to taste it at Extreme Beer Fest. I described this one as “herby flavors, very tart” in my notes. Overall, this table was a winner. The only beer I didn’t enjoy here was The Bruery’s Oud Tart, which Brett let me taste a sip of. I think Brett’s description says it all: “Meaty”. Mmmm…

Action shot of Tom pouring the West Coast, USA beers. He killed it.
Action shot of Tom pouring the West Coast, USA beers. He killed it.

Table 4 was next. Richard was manning this table and someone should tell him not to be so skimpy on his pours! I’m not bitter.

Yeah, that blurry arm was supposed to be in there. I told you that my pictures are all TERRIBLE! So sorry, I should be fired.
Yeah, that blurry arm was supposed to be in there. I told you that my pictures are all TERRIBLE! So sorry, I should be fired.

Anyway, as you can see, this is a pretty solid table. I enjoyed everything here, especially the Allagash FV 13, which you can’t really buy, so I won’t tell you about it, and the Jolly Pumpkin Madrugada Obscura. That one was a bit rich but had a great sour flavor to it.

Then it was time for the 8pm special opening! In Table 1’s corner it was White Birch Morning Breaks from 2010 and in Table 3’s corner it was Cascade Kriek from 2008. I went for Table 3 (I like Tom) while Brett hit up Joe at Table 1. The Cascade was predictably in-your-face with the cherry (in the best way possible) and not as sour as the younger ones I’ve tried. The White Birch was not particularly sour but had a nice floral/herby flavor. Both winners, but for a sour beer tasting, the Cascade was definitely more fitting of the style.

A picture of my tiny pour of Cascade (at least, that is what I’m going to claim it is).
A picture of my tiny pour of Cascade (at least, that is what I’m going to claim it is).

Table 2! Hey Kurt, long time, no see. Also a great pourer, and doesn’t hesitate to tell you exactly what he thinks of the beers.

If you didn’t think the last pictures were so bad, then this happened. And it was the best of the few I had.
If you didn’t think the last pictures were so bad, then this happened. And it was the best of the few I had.

The winners here were the Tilquin Gueuze, which was Kurt’s favorite we heard more than once, and the LambickX. The Tilquin is a blend of worts from various awesome breweries, including Cantillon. How can you go wrong? It was very sour but dry. However, my favorite was the LambickX, made with brettanomyces giving it a very funky, horsey kind of taste but it was amazingly smooth and clean. Brett said he could “drink a bottle of it himself”. I think he was biased because the yeast shared his name. The Mikkeller Funky E-Star should never be drunk under any circumstances. Unless you happen to like the taste and smell of tires. Not sure what you were going for there, Mikkeller, but it was bad, really, just awful. And no, that is not the Cantillon Classic Gueuze you see on that list. It didn’t exist (or we may have missed all of it and the reality of that is just too painful to acknowledge).

This was when I decided to try the guest draft, which was De Struise Weltmertz. I had never heard of it before this night, but man it was tasty. And the guy pouring that was not doing skimpy pours thankfully.

De Struise Weltmertz. So good. And check out those tattoos!
De Struise Weltmertz. So good. And check out those tattoos!

Time for the 8:30 special bottle opening! Oh wait, Richard opened his like 15 minutes early so there was no Boulevard Love Child #1 to try when I went up to get some. Richard and I are on bad terms. Especially since he has no idea who I am. Anyway, I heard it wasn’t that good. I ended up grabbing some Fantome Extra Sour along with Brett at Table 2. It was surprisingly drinkable and had a slight pepper taste.

We finished off back at Table 1 with the Petrus Aged Red and the Drie Fontienen Zwet Be.

Mmm…alcoholic cough syrup. The glass was supposed to show how red the Petrus is (it is really red). Again, I fail horribly as a photo journalist-guest blogger whatever.
Mmm…alcoholic cough syrup. The glass was supposed to show how red the Petrus is (it is really red). Again, I fail horribly as a photo journalist-guest blogger whatever.

Some people earlier mentioned the Petrus tasting like cherry flavored cough syrup, which it was a bit reminiscent of. Super sweet, but nice cherry flavor. The Zwet Be was a dark, unexpected surprise. It is a coffee porter made with lambic yeast. The sourness was slight but it was actually really refreshing after drinking so many sours to have something dark for a change.

Then I had to take a final the next morning at 9am. So if you were getting a little envious reading this post, just think how much fun it was to get up at 7am and take a final after drinking all these beers. Not. Fun.

And hopefully this will convince Lee to never ask me for a guest post again :).

Well, Erica, with this caliber of insight and reviewing, you can pretty much bank on me asking for more posts.

Oh, and to all the readers, it’s worth noting that the cost of this event was only…$30!!! I am a HUGE fan of events in the $25-$35 range, and as you can see, this one is DEFINITELY worth attending. That’s all for now, cheers!

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