Bogrolls & Barley Wines
Columbus AleFest 2007
June of 2007 saw the return of the Columbus AleFest. This year the event was held at the Aladdin Shrine which meant the parking was a piece of cake; also,
each table had a jug of water and a bowl which enabled the erstwhile ale tasters to clean out their glasses (the organisers obviously listened to my complaint
last year). After all, one simply cannot switch from a pilsner to a stout without cleaning the glass -- it wouldn't be cricket!
As in 2006 the notable trio of Lord McGinnis of Beaconsfield, Lord Roberts of Tewkesbury and Lord Shigley of Gelsenkirchen attended the 2007 event
(Young Shigley's dad also attended last year).
All sorts of beer glasses, t-shirts, sweatshirts, caps were on sale -- and, there was a particularly fine silent auction for three separate magnums of Stone's
Double Bastard Ale. I put in a couple of bids, but some bastard beat me.
If you're all sitting comfortably, I'll begin...
1) Sam Adams Boston Lager (4.9%)
Not exactly the most daring start, but I wanted to begin in somewhat "safe" territory. I've really taken to Sam Adams Pale Ale this summer, so the Boston
Lager seemed logical. Good hoppy taste with a distinctive malty body, nice bitter/sweet finish and rather refreshing. Not sure I'd call it a lager though. 9/10
Lord McGinnis began with Great Lakes Blackout Stout (9%); clearly going for the jugular at an early stage!
2) Duval (8.5%)
Some geezer called Michael Jackson rates this as a world classic, and it's not hard to see why. This was a delicious Belgian Strong Golden Ale; very pale to
look at, but fragrant with a clean apple-like finish. I later learned that Duval features a Scottish yeast from McEwan's. This ale was a winner with Lord Shigley
as well. An easy 10/10
3) Stone Pale Ale (5.4%)
From one of the best independent breweries in the U.S, this pale ale was refreshing, lightly hopped, and bright. 8/10
4) Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA (9%)
Yes, I'm trying to cut down on IPAs this year, but I couldn't resist this gem, which like last year was "wet-hopped" on site. This means there was a huge metal
vessel which was infusing extra "wet" hops to the keg. The result being a totally refreshing ale, albeit a little on the wild side with all those bloody hops!
Another easy 10/10
What an excellent start -- four fabulous ales, with appropriately high ratings. Could it last....
5) Columbus Brewing Co. Barley Wine (10.5%)
Answer, NO! I like a good Barley Wine (cue Stone's Old Guardian), but this monstrosity from the Columbus Brewing Co was absolutely rank. It tasted like
stale Christmas cake soaked in cheap whiskey. Ghastly! An easy 0/10. Lord McGinnis liked it though.
6) Southampton Publick House IPA (5.2%)
Located on Long Island, Debby and I visited this brewery in the late 1990s. Their IPA was pleasant enough, a little on the light side and lightly hopped. There
are supposed to be 5 different hop varieties used in this IPA, but they must have been hiding somewhere. 5/10
7) Westmalle Trappist Ale (9.5%)
The abbey from which this ale originates is Our Lady of the Sacred Heart in West Malle, near Antwerp, Belgium and is one of the rarest beers on the planet.
It's worth mentioning at this point that my colleagues both saw service (Air force) in Germany and therefore had exposure to the classic European styles such
as Bocks, Doppelbocks, Dunkels, Marzenbiers etc. All rich, malty, strong, and on the dark side. We at Roberts Manor tend to describe these styles as shite.
Thus, Westmalle Trappist Ale was tart, malty, bitter, chocolatey and thoroughly hideous. I would rename it Liquid Plumber, thus was the level of respect for
this world classic from Roberts Manor. A classic 0/10
8) Piraat Ale (10.5%)
One of the first Belgian ales I'd ever tried a few years back, in the early days of running The Manor - this was a deep golden delicious Belgian ale with a
subtle haze to it. A little spicy with a tangy fruity finish. Packed a punch too! 9/10
9) Moyland's Tipperary Pale Ale (5%)
From California, a completely forgettable Pale Ale that thought it was an IPA. Bland and over-hopped. 2/10
I'm a big fan of Otter Creek's Pale Ale and Copper Ale, so it came as no surprise when Lord McGinnis said he'd just tasted the Otter Creek Copper Ale and
thought it was horrible. His description was "it tasted like sucking on pennies".
This clearly demonstrates that one bloke's ale is another bloke's Liquid Plumber!
10) Gulden Draak (10.5%)
Why I kept persisting with the Belgian dark ales remains a mystery to me. This was a malty, dark "Tripel" ale with a sickly toffee-like sweetness. Totally vile!
Apparently, it won "Best Beer" at the Holland International Beer Festival at Haarlem, in 1995 -- at which point they should have stopped brewing this horrid
liquid. Mind you, it comes in a very nice white bottle. 0/10
11) Celis White (4.9%)
One of my firm favourites from AleFest 2006, I just wanted to try something that wasn't going to make me feel ill. The Belgian brewer Pierre Celis established
his Belgian White (wheat) Ale in Texas before the brewery was taken over by SAB Miller. He then took the rights to his beer up to Michigan where it has been
brewed ever since. Celis White is your classic white ale: cloudy, tangy, citrusy and fruity. A perfect refresher for that hot summer's day and quite simply, one
of the finest beers on the planet. 11/10
12) Lion Stout (8%)
Speaking of one of the finest beers on the planet, surely the surprise of the festival....this stout from Sri Lanka was a little ripper! It had a mocha aroma with
a smooth taste of roasted oats, which did not overpower the taste buds. There was some chocolate in the slightly bitter finish. The only beer that all three of
us agreed on! 9/10
13) Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale (4.2%)
The girl serving the Goose Island beers was actually from Chicago -- home of Goose Island -- and she made it perfectly clear that all of the Goose Island
beers are "terrible", with the exception of the 312 Urban Wheat Ale. I partly echo that thought, although their "specialty" beers really are something special.
Anyway, the 312 was an unfiltered wheat ale; crisp, fruity and smooth. Perfectly balanced. 9/10
Lord McGinnis had Flying Dog Double Pale Ale (10.5%), which he was not too happy about. He showed to me -- it smelt like an overdose of hops and tasted
like an overdose of hops. We went to the table where this was being served and protested to the serving bloke that this was not a Double Pale Ale, but a
Double IPA. He looked at us and said "I agree with you, it is a Double IPA!". The high-gravity ale business is all about using trendy recipes and using trendy
names -- hence Double Pale Ale. Jim Royle from The Royle Family would have said "Double Pale Ale MY ARSE!!"
14) Pennsylvania Brewing Co. Penn Pils (9%)
This was a sprightly little pilsner with a kick to it. A sort of Great Lakes Dortmunder Gold with more muscle. Rather tasty. 8/10
At this stage, events took a disturbing turn -- Lord Shigley presented me with the Elevator Brewing Co. Procrastinator Doppelbock. I thought I was going to
be physically sick. This, to my mind, was without any shadow of doubt the WORST beer in the entire world. Even worse than the hideous floral Goose Island
Honkers Ale and that appalling fag-ash classic, Mackerson. The Procrastinator Doppelbock was all of the dark Belgian shite encapsulated into one ale with
the result being this grotesquely bitter, malty, dark, sickly sweet etc etc....the most thoroughly repugnant "thing" I've ever tasted, which also demanded a new
low rating. Dare I say -10/10
Lord Shigley, on the other hand, thought it was excellent, and he was supported by Lord McGinnis. All I can say is it's not the first Elevator Ale that I thought
deserved to be poured down the bog!
15) Duchy Original English Ale (4.7%) -- with a taste in my mouth reminiscent of sucking an unwashed sweaty sock that had been worn on a 60-mile route
march, I had to try one last ale, just to take that taste away. Duchy Original English Ale was an organic ale using the rare Plumage Archer barley, which is
harvested from Prince Charles's Home Farm at Highgrove. It was a pleasantly rich, spicy ale with a touch of caramel and an orange fruity finish. A fitting way
to end an entertaining AleFest! 7/10
The Aladdin Shrine will be hosting the Columbus AleFests for the next few years . Hope to see you there for an afternoon of ale tasting -- Cheers!
Lords McGinnis & Roberts at the Columbus AleFest.
|Lord Shigley, after tasting the Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA.