Beer #167 Lost Abbey Avant Garde

Lost Abbey Avant Garde

Style:  Bière de Garde

Brewery: The Lost Abbey.  website

Country: USA

Region:   San Marcos, California

ABV: 7.0 % Abv

How served:  750 ml corked and caged bottle poured into a Augustijn Grand Cru tulip.  

My Overall Opinion:  Very Good. 

I paired this beer with:  Grilled apple wood smoked turkey.  Very nice pairing!

Tasted on:  Thursday April 21st, 2011  

Notes:  This is a 2008 vintage.

 This beer poured a hazy deep gold with a slight off white 2 finger fluffy head which left a minimal lacing on the glass. The smell was sweet and bready with some citrus.   The taste started off with some pepper spices and sweet with malt, caramel and apples, there was a mild bitterness in the finish and only a little bit funkiness to this brew. This beer had a medium mouthfeel and dry finish with a nice level of carbonation which massaged the tongue. The drinkability was very good and refreshing, as I find most Bière de Garde to be.  I would like to try this one again.

On the Label:  From the French word “Garde” meaning something worth keeping, this Farmhouse Style Ale is most delicious companion to a loaf of freshly baked bread from the oven.  Grab a seat on the porch, some soft cheese and a tree ripened apple from your grandmother’s old orchard.  Relax and watch the evening arrive as the afternoon sun is consumed by the illuminating moon over the gardens.  We brewed Avant Garde for you, our friends and families.  Here’s to things worth guarding over.

 From their website:  At the Lost Abbey, we pride ourselves on producing beers of the highest quality and distinction. Avant Garde is our commitment to brewing beers to no particular style. Some might want to label this as a beer brewed in the Biere de Garde tradition of Northern France. We would prefer to say it was brewed in the Avant Garde style of beers that will reward all those who seek the not so ordinary. Deep gold in color with hints of biscuits, caramel and fresh baked bread, this beer is sure to delight the senses and palates of consumers everywhere. Available in 750ml bottles and on draft at select inspired locations.

OG 1.060   TG 1.008   7.0% ABV

Malts– Two Row, Honey Malt and Port Custom Toast (we make it ourselves in our Pizza Ovens).
Hops– German Brewer’s Gold, Strissespalt Spalt and Czech Saaz.
Yeast– House Lager strain with hybrid fermentation at ale temperature.

The Avant Garde Story

It’s yours now and although you’ve lived in the city your whole life, you remember fondly the weeks spent visiting grandma and grandpa. Somehow, they spent their whole life out here. No cable tv, no cell phones or even a microwave oven. To say they were old school would be an understatement.

But there is an allure to this place, closing your eyes, images from your childhood flood your memories. There was that day when you and grandma got up with the roosters and headed to the orchard to pick fresh apples for her famous apple pie. One summer, they bought you a pig and you named it Wilbur after your favorite new book. Still, the day grandpa taught you how to drive the tractor when you were only 12 is still as fresh as the hay you mowed that day.

Traffic, bills and rude neighbors seem like such a chore now. Maybe it’s time to cash in the 401K and retire to the country. A pair of pigs- Wilbur and his beautiful bride would need your attention. The orchard still makes great fruit and though you haven’t made jam in years, the process she taught you seems approachable.

An old family friend knocks at the door. He saw you drive up and wondered if you might like to sit and chat about the farm and your intentions. Two rocking chairs call your name from the porch that is seemingly fit for this occasion. He offers a beer from his home. The back of the label tell you everything you need to know about this place you have been contemplating.

From the French word “Garde” meaning something worth keeping, this Biere de Garde styled Farmhouse Ale is a most delicious companion to a loaf of freshly baked bread from the oven. Grab a seat on the porch, some soft cheese and a tree ripened apple from your grandmother’s old orchard. Relax and watch the evening arrive as the afternoon sun is consumed by the illuminating moon over the gardens. We brewed Avant Garde for you, our friends and families. Here’s to things worth guarding over.

Beer #161 2009 Lost Abbey Serpent’s Stout

2009 Lost Abbey Serpent's Stout

Name: Serpent’s Stout

Style:  Imperial Stout

Brewery: The Lost Abbey website

Country: USA

Region: San Marcos, California

ABV: 11.0% Abv

How served: 750 ml corked & caged bottle poured into Kastaar tulip.

My Overall Opinion:  Amazing.

I paired this beer with: nothing, just an after dinner drink.

Tasted on:  Wednesday March 16th, 2011  

Note:  This bottle is dated 2009.  I was a little worried about the condition of this bottle as I noticed that the cork was working its way out of the bottle despite the cage and that the exposed cork was discolored.  So instead of aging this for another 12- 24 months I decided it was time to open this up and find out how it has held up.

Looks at how this cork is working its way out of the bottle and the dark color near the bottle.

When I pulled out the cork I heard only the slightest hiss.  Now I was really worried about this bottle.  The beer poured a pitch black and to my delight it had a one finger dark brown head meaning that it did not go totally flat due to a cork problem.  The head did dissipate quickly and left a very minimal but sticky lacing on the glass.   The nose was of dark chocolate, dark dried fruit, vanilla and roasted coffee.  The taste was sweet of dark roasted malts with strong notes of chocolate upfront, then milder hints of roasted coffee, vanilla and some dark dried fruits.  The mouthfeel was of a medium to heavy viscosity and was as smooth as silk on the tongue, with low carbonation (either by design or due to the cork issue).  The drinkability was amazingly good for an 11%abv brew.  It is a sipper for such, but he alcohol level was not the reason, it was just that I wanted this bottle to last forever.  Like most Imperial Stouts it greatly improves as it warmed in the glass.  

On the Label:  

From the beginning of time, it was so decreed, “From the this Tree of Knowledge, you shall not eat this fruit”.  Soon enough, the Serpent slithered through the Garden convincing Eve to taste the nectar from this forbidden fruit.  Once bitten and shamed, she then tempted Adam.  Together, their actions brought Original Sin upon our world.

Discontent to rest on his laurels the Serpent continued his cunning ways bringing forth more temptations. Ultimately, he foisted upon the world his own Serpent Stout – a liquid so dark and viscous that all who tasted soon fell victim to this evil incarnate.  Some turned to false prophets seeking advice.  None of it mattered.  Each struggle revealed the battle between Good and Evil.  And now that you are holding a bottle of this liquid, it is certain he has tempted even you… So, welcome to our Darker Side of Life – home of the Serpent Stout’s Original Sin and the tastiest beers known to man.

From their Website:

The history of the bible and religion is indeed the struggle of good vs. evil. Our Serpent’s Stout recognizes the evil of the dark side that we all struggle with.

This is a massively thick and opaque beer that begs the saints to join the sinners in their path to a black existence.

Tasting Notes:
Pours dark and thick, with a creamy mocha-colored head and aromas of roasted malts, dark chocolate and french roast coffee.

The mouthfeel is full, smooth and round on the tongue. The taste is rich with deep roasted malts, cocoa, coffee and a touch of vanilla balanced perfectly against the alcohol to create an excellent winter warmer.

ABV: 10.5%

Format: Draught, 22oz Bottles

Availability: Early winter release

Tampa Bay Beer Safari Weekend February 18th – 20th 2011 in Review

Tampa Bay Beer Safari Weekend February 18th – 20th 2011                                  

Our 2nd Annual Tampa Bay Beer Safari Weekend Beer Tour was quite a success!   We visited 2 brew pubs, 2 breweries, had two great beer paired dinners and 2 after dinner beer tastings.

Happy Hour

We started out our 1st night with a get to know each other Happy Hour.  We had the opportunity to sample:

Anchor Christmas Ale

Anchor Christmas Ale – Winter Warmer – 5.5% abv –  Anchor Brewing Company

Trappist Achel 8 Briun

Trappist Achel 8 Briun – Dubbel – 8.0% abv –   Brouwerij der St. Benedictusabdij de Achelse  

Twin Sisters – Double IPA – 9.0%abv – Left Hand Brewing Co 

Left Hand Imperial Stout – Russian Imperial Stout – 10.4% abv – Left Hand Brewing Co 

Kalamazoo Stout – American Stout – 6.0% abv – Bells Brewery

Orange Blossom Pilsner – Fruit beer – 6.5% abv – Orange Blossom Pilsner LLC

 …Plus 2 extra special growlers fresh from the Funky Buddha Lounge & Brewery in Boca Raton!

So Thank You MusicGinger Lemongrass Wheat – unknown abv

Last SnowCoffee Porter – also an unknown abv

Funky Buddha's So Thank You Music, oh what a great nose you have!

Funky Buddha’s “So Thank You Music”, oh what a great nose you have!

So Thank You Music was the “Hit” of the Happy Hour with its amazing nose of fresh ginger and lemongrass, as well as its wonderful taste which matched the nose.  A close second was Last Snow, which is an interesting name as Boca Raton never even gets a 1st snow… actually it’s a celebration ale for those in South Florida to toast with as the “Last Snow(bird)” leaves the region.

 After the happy hour we took a short walk to Bernini, a fabulous Italian Restaurant in the heart of Ybor City for our first beer paired dinner.

 To honor Sierra Nevada Brewing Co’s 30 years of great brewing I paired 3 of their outstanding brews with this evening’s dinner. 

Cheers from Bernini

For the 1st Course we had Bruschetta and Calmari paired with:

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

Kellerweis – Hefeweizen – 4.80% abv.  In my opinion this is one of the better examples of a true German Hefeweizen made in America.

 For the 2nd Course we had a choice between the Classic Caesar Salad (I had mine with extra anchovies) or the House Mista Salad paired with:

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

Pale Ale – American Pale Ale – 5.6% abv.  This is Sierra Nevada’s “Flagship” beer and the one beer you can count on finding in most pubs or restaurants which haven’t figured out the craft beer movement yet.

 For our Main Course our choices were either Angel Hair pasta tossed with Grilled Chicken Breast; Shrimp Orecchiette; Margherita Pizza or the New Yorker Pizza with roasted peppers, onions, mushrooms, pepperoni, Italian sausage & mozzarella. (the pizzas as well as the meal servings were HUGE!)  These were paired with:

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

Torpedo Extra IPA – IPA – 7.2% abv.  This is their Pale Ale on steroids! 

 We also had the opportunity to try the Torpedo Extra IPA side by side with Cigar City Brewing’s Jai Alai IPA – IPA – 7.5% abv. 

Cigar City Jai Alai

Maybe I’m being a “homeboy” but I felt the Jai Alai had a tad better nose and taste, I have to say, it was it really close.

 Here is a very entertaining short video of an impromptu after dinner discussion of the tour by Ruth & Mike:

After the dinner & the “show” we walked around the corner to see what was brewing at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company.

Tampa Bay Brewing Logo

Tampa Bay Brewing Company was founded in 1996 and is a family business, with mother and son serving as general manager and brewmaster respectively. Their on-site brewery is equipped to produce up to twelve tap beers and several cask-conditioned ales on a 10bbl step-infusion brewing system.  As a matter of fact, 12 of their 16 serving tanks used to hold the beer at the famous Bass Ale Brewery in England.  

Tampa Bay Brewing Co’s Tanks

Here we tried the Wild Warthog Weizen – 5.2% abv;  Jack the Quaffer London Porter – 5.7%;  Iron Rat Stout – 8.0% abv and the MooseKiller Barleywine- 10.0% abv as well as a taste of their fabulous Root Beer, which is made on site.

Tampa Bay Brewing Co

After we left Tampa Bay Brewing Co, our plan was to do some beer hunting at New World Brewing Co.  At New World Brewing you will find the best selection of craft beer in Ybor City with 26 taps and at least 100 bottled beers.  You can also enjoy entertainment in their outside courtyard.  However tonight the courtyard was packed, so instead we opted to return to the hotel and do some beer tasting in a more relaxed atmosphere. 

 Back at the hotel, in additional to revisiting some of our “Happy Hour Beers”, we shared:

McChouffe, Gouden Carolus Noël and 2 Turtle Doves

McChouffe – Belgium Strong Dark Ale – 8.0% abv – Brasserie d’Achouffe

Gouden Carolus Noël – Belgium Strong Dark Ale – 10.5% abv – Brouwerij Het Anker

2 Turtle Doves –  Belgium Strong Dark Ale – 12.0% abv – The Bruery

& a fresh growler of

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum via the Funky Buddha Lounge

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum – Double IPA – 10.4% abv – Sierra Nevada Brewing Co

Showing the Funky Buhdda’s “So Thank You Music” some Love

Friday Night after Dinner Get Together

Tarpon Springs and Spongeorama

On Saturday morning our 1st stop was Tarpon Springs. Tarpon Springs is known as the Sponge Capital of the World, so we visited the Famous Spongeorama to see the Sponge Diving Museum and stroll along the waterfront and a few specialty shops. 

Hellas

Tarpon Springs is also Florida’s own Greek village, so we of course had to sample some mouthwatering pastries at the very authentic Greek restaurant, Hellas.  This was a “sweet” way to start the morning! 

Heading over to Saint Somewhere

After spending about an hour here, we headed off to meet our friend Bob Sylvester and see his brewing set up at Saint Somewhere Brewing Company.

 While Bob explained to us his brewing process, including his use of open fermentation, he also showed off his new tanks and told us that he has just expanded to offering his 3 brews- Saison Athene – Saison – 7.5% abv, Lectio Divina – Belgium Strong Pale Ale – 8.0% abv & Pays du Soleil – Dubbel – 8.0% abv- in kegs. 

Saint Somewhere

After seeing the size of this small brewery everyone was extremely impressed when Bob told us that his beers can be found in 35 states!  It is truly mind boggling that that much beer can be produced here.  Bob also said that he will be brewing the next collaboration beer he has planned with Cigar City called Déjà Vu, in this location.  He told us that it will be a completely different style then Vuja Dé, which was made at Cigar City.

Checking the smell of Lectio Divina

Did you know that 11:00 am is the time of day your taste buds are supposed to be most in tune? Well fortunate for us our beer tour happened to be at Saint Somewhere right about then, and we were invited to help ourselves to a taste of Lectio Divina out of the keg…and as if that wasn’t a beautiful thing in itself, Bob also shared with us 3 additional very special brews!  

The Younger Oak Aged Blend

The 1st special brew was an extremely young oak barrel aged blend of his beers.  Bob warned us that it was “young & hot” and really needed to age quite a bit longer before consuming.  The nose of this beer was a mixture between rocket fuel and nail polish remover, however when it came to the taste, it was like drinking a fine port wine with no hint of the fuel or remover.

The 2 oak barrels used in aging the special brews

Enjoying the special brew

His 2nd special brew was a mature 2-3 year old oak barrel aged blend.  This beer was sublime, the nose was mildly tart/sour with hints of oak, caramel and vanilla and the taste was both tart yet mildly sweet of fruit- with notes of the oak and a smooth as silk mouth feel. I could drink this all day. Ruth says just thinking about it makes her mouth water!

Getting a whiff of the Saison Athene with Brettanomyces “C”

Saison Athene with Brettanomyces “C” strain

The 3rd special brew was a taste of a beer which he says never made it to the market. It was his Saison Athene with Brettanomyces “C” strain.  The “C” strain added more tartness and citrus in the nose and taste than you would find in the “regular” Saison Athene.

 After tasting these 3 beers, it made me feel extremely blessed that we have such a great Belgium style artisanal brewer here in Florida. 

Great sign on Bob’s Desk

Dunedin Brewery

So we left Tarpon Springs to head over to Florida’s Scottish heritage town, Dunedin.  Here we visited Dunedin Brewery for a brewery tour, beer tasting and a great lunch! Plus we will have Bob from Saint Somewhere join us too!

Dunedin Taps

Dunedin Brewery is the oldest microbrewery in Florida.  They always have 8 of their beers available year round on tap plus a few extra seasonal beers as well as guest taps.

Dunedin Celtic Gold Ale

We all stated off with their Celtic Gold Ale – Kölsch – 5.2% abv to enjoy while we toured around their brewing facilities

Dunedin Brewery Tour

Sharing a Dropkick Red Ale with Bob

We had all worked up a mighty thirst during our tour, so we were happy to try the samples of their Dropkick Red Ale – Amber Ale &

Dunediin Leonard Croon Stout

Leonard Croon Stout – Stout – 5.2% abv  offered to us by Ricky (our awesome guide, beer tender and server) before we placed our order for lunch. 

Dunedin… I’m ready for lunch

I chose to have their famous Pacific Coast Fish Taco, and since I heard they still had some of their delicious Christmas Farm Ale – Spiced Beer – 5.2% abv available, I paired that with my fish taco.  Boy, this was one great lunch stop!

Having fortified ourselves, we will set off to Cigar City Brewery.  On our way over to Cigar City we passed the time playing a few rounds of Beer Cap Bingo for some beery cool (of course) prizes.

Cigar City Brewing

Cigar City Brewery was founded by beer columnist and Tampa native Joey Redner in the summer of 2007. Since its inception CCB has been guided by Joey’s passion for both great beer and the city of his birth.   With the creative input and expertise of Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup award winning brewer Wayne Wambles, Cigar City Brewing endeavors to make world class ales and lagers which celebrate the rich heritage and traditions that make Tampa one of the world’s most unique cities.

 During our tour of Cigar City’s facilities what struck me the most was how much they have expanded since we were here last year. During our walk around the brewery we even caught a glimpse of a group of B.J.C.P. judges occupying the back end of the brewery where they were hard at work judging something I’m sure we will quaff in the future!

What on Tap at Cigar City Brewing

Once we made our way to the tasting room we had some samples of:

Getting a taste of Vuja Dé

Vuja Dé – American Wild Ale – 10.0% abv

Cubano Espresso – American Brown Ale – 5.5% abv

Jose Marti – American Porter – 8.0% abv

Humidor Jai Alai IPA – IPA – 7.5% abv

Cigar City Tasting Room

After having our fill at Cigar City we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for our big night out at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. (or so they keep calling it…I wonder how long and how many beer dinners it will take to convince them to add Beer to the name?)

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

Stylish, contemporary dining is the hallmark of Fleming’s. The menu features the finest in prime beef, augmented by a tempting variety of chops, seafood, chicken, generous salads, inventive side orders and indulgent desserts.  

Fleming’s

We had a 4 course beer paired gourmet dinner created especially for our Beer Safari by the chef at Fleming’s.

 Here is our menu:

 First Course

lobster mango crisps; Crispy wontons topped with main lobster, mango finished with garlic, shallots, and fresh herbs paired with:

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis

Sierra Nevada Kellerweis  a  Hefeweizen of 4.80% ABV by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
 

Second Course

Malheur’s Spring Salad; Julienned Pears and Gala apples, tossed in Orange Sriracha vinaigrette, finished with candied walnuts and grape tomatoes paired with:

Malheur 10

Malheur 10 a Belgian Strong Pale Ale 10.0% ABV from Brouwerij De Landtsheer NV 

 

Third Course

petite filet; Chimichurri sauce, served with roasted baby carrots with golden raisins and balsamic reduction, garlic mashed potatoes paired with:

Terrapin Hop Karma IPA

Terrapin Hop Karma IPA an American Brown Ale 6.00% ABV by Terrapin Beer Company 

 

Fourth Course

chocolate stout cake; Cake infused with double chocolate stout, served with Chantilly cream paired with:

Young’s Double Chocolate and Stout Cake

Young’s Double Chocolate Stout a Sweet Stout 5.20% ABV Wells & Young’s Ltd. 

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Belgium Barge Re union

Between Courses we had a brief overview of the beer we were drinking and the chef explained how he paired the meal with the beer.  As you can see, we decided to try the same beer for the first pairing as the previous night, in order to do a comparison of appetizer/beer pairing for this beer, just to try something a little different.  This Kellerweis is what I consider the perfect example of this style.

 After Dinner we returned to the hotel for another round of beer tasting, but the 1st order of business was to settle our dispute as to which cartoon dog, Muttley or Snuffles, was the one which would jump up and then float down in air on his back like a feather after receiving a treat.  To our surprise it was both!

Muttley vs Snuffles

Saturday Night after Dinner Gathering

This evening we finished what was left of:

Sierra Nevada Hoptimum – Double IPA – 10.4% abv

Funky Buddha Lounge’s Ginger Lemongrass Wheat, So Thank You Music

Bell’s Kalamazoo Stout – American Stout – 6.0% abv

As well as the following:

St. Bernardus Christmas Ale – Belgium Strong Dark Ale – 10.0% abv – Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV

Southern Tier Crème Brulée – Imperial Stout – 10.0% abv – Southern Tier Brewing Company

Paníl Barriquée – Flanders Red Ale – 8.0% abv – Paníl

The Lost Abbey 10 Commandments – Belgium Strong Dark Ale – 9.0%abv – The Lost Abbey

Saturday Night’s Beers

An old cigar factory

On Sunday morning after a leisurely breakfast we enjoyed a perfect day for our guided historical walking tour of Ybor City (the original “Cigar City”).   

A little piece of Cuban Soil found in Ybor City during our walking Tour

The old Florida Brewing Company Building

Our guide informed us that Ybor City is also the home of the 1st brewery in Florida, the Florida Brewing Company (after prohibition it was re-named Tampa Florida Brewery, Inc)In 1896 the construction of the Florida Brewing Company started; when it was finished, it was the tallest building in Tampa at six stories.   They used the water from a natural spring which ran under the building to make their La Tropical Beer.  The Florida Brewing Company exported more beer to Cuba than any other brewery in the USA.  Unfortunately this Brewery closed in 1961.

“Count” Bon Beer Voyage

Then was back to the hotel to say our goodbyes and check out.  Overall, an amazing weekend with a fantastic group of people and great beer to match!  Can’t wait until our next one!  Looks like the  Saint Augustine Beer Safari Weekend will be coming up in September…make sure you are on the BEERmail list to keep up to date on the latest with our Beercation Beer Tours and Weekend Beer Safari beer trips! Cheers!

Beer #103 Lost Abbey Angel’s Share- Bourbon Barrel Aged

Lost Abbey Angel's Share Bourbon Barrel Aged

Name: Angel’s Share- Bourbon Barrel Aged

Style: American Strong Ale

Brewery: The Lost Abbey  website

Country: USA

Region: San Marcos, Ca

ABV: 12.5% Abv

How served: 12.7oz caged and corked bottle poured into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout glass.          

My Overall Opinion: Amazing. 

I paired this beer with: nothing.  It was used as an after dinner drink.

Tasted on:  Tuesday April 20th, 2010. 

Note:  2010 vintage.     There has been a lot of noise that Angel Share has no head as is completely flat.  Well as you can see there was a nice headed poured from this bottle. This head lasted for a few minutes and then thinned out and would reappear again if the glass was swirled.   Now the beer itself was almost totally flat after the pour, but a beer like this you do not need much carbonation to make it enjoyable.  The first thing I tasted was a very rich chocolate taste, then a hint of bourbon and vanilla, then the heat of the alcohol hit, wow what a great tasting beer and mouthfeel.   This is for sure a sipper and one which you hate to see the last drop gone from your glass.  

On the Label:  Way down in Kentucky and across the pond in Scotland, distillers age their whiskeys for many years in oak barrels.  Over time, some Whiskey is lost to evaporation.  They refer to this loss of spirits as “The Angel’s Share.”  Each time a barrel is filled, a measure of liquid seeps into the oak and is lost for forever.

Our Angel’s Share is a barrel aged burgundy colored ale infused with copious amounts of dark caramel malt to emphasize the vanilla and oak flavors found in the freshly emptied Bourbon barrels.  Each batch spends no less than 9 months aging in the oak.  As with all of our beers, this beer is brewed for sinners and saints alike.  So be an angel and share it with a friend or two.

From their website Down in Kentucky and across the pond in Scotland, distillers who age their whiskeys for many years refer to the evaporation of the spirits from their barrels as “The Angel’s Share.” We couldn’t agree more. Each time a barrel is filled, a measure of liquid seeps into the oak and is lost for good.

This striking Strong Ale is brewed with copious amounts of Caramel malt to emphasize the vanilla and oak flavors found in freshly emptied bourbon or brandy barrels. The beer spends a year in oak before it is packaged for release. The beer is 12.5% ABV and is available in 375ml and 750ml bottles and on draft at inspired locations.

The Angel’s Share Story

It’s warehouse #5 built in 1886 that gets the most attention. The other four weren’t built so well and succumbed over the years. On the outside, to most #5 is a rather unremarkable white washed building. That is until they pass through the weathered doors and are easily consumed. Here in the hallowed halls it just oozes history. Inside this three story building, they find row after row of whiskey slumbering away the days until the distiller calls their name and they are called into action.

It’s a weathered building with a timeline of over one hundred and twenty years of continuous service. Looking around, there is a warm orange glow from all the wood inside. On both sides of the room for as far as your eyes can see, there are wood racks with carvings, nicks and dings. It smells sweet in here. Could that be the Whiskey breathing? Perhaps it’s the angels doing their work? Or is there just something sweet about 200 year old wood that intoxicates your sense of smell.

Imagine the history that belongs to the wood in this “shed.” It comes from seeds that were planted when the idea for the Revolutionary War was just fermenting. And it’s still here, every single day telling the story of this distillery. This warehouse has seen it all. It survived the harsh winter of 1913. There was the Tornado in 1956 and who can forget the flood of 1973? But, it’s still here. Still working, living and breathing whiskey as great grandpa designed it to do.

Sure, there are more cobwebs and spiders than there used to be? It’s an old building after all. One of the family members proclaimed it to be a grand old warehouse of monumental importance, so now it’s on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. Yet, the premise has always been the same. We need a place to age those spirits. And #5 has always been there.

Ask the family members to describe #5 and they all tell you the same thing.”The Angel’s get more than their fair share from #5 but we don’t care. To us, there is nothing finer than the whiskey that comes from old #5. We wish they drank less. But then again, we really don’t need an excuse to drink more?”

Way down in Kentucky and across the pond in Scotland, distillers age their whiskeys for many years in oak barrels. Over time, some whiskey is lost to evaporation. They refer to this loss of spirits as “The Angel’s Share.” Each time a barrel is filled, a measure of this liquid seeps into the oak and is lost forever.

Our Angel’s Share is a barrel aged burgundy colored ale infused with copious amounts of dark caramel malt to emphasize the vanilla and oak flavors found in freshly emptied bourbon or brandy barrels. Each batch spends no less than 12 months aging in the oak. As with all of our beers, this beer is brewed for sinners and saints alike. So be an angel and share it with a friend or two.

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Beer #91 Lost Abbey Red Poppy Ale

Lost Abbey Red Poppy Ale

Name: Red Poppy Ale

Style: Flanders Oud Bruin

Brewery: Port Brewing Company. website

Country: USA

Region: San Marcos, California

ABV: 5.0% Abv

How served: 375ml caged and corked bottle poured into a La Chouffe glass.        

My Overall Opinion: Amazing.

I paired this beer with: nothing.

Tasted on: Monday March 29th, 2010. 

Note: Well a Flanders Oud Briun is one of my favorite styles and Red Poppy Ale did not disappoint me!  This beer is tart, but not over the top tart. You get a sour cherry flavor without the cherries being in your face.  A very refreshing beer.   I will age my other bottles as I am sure this will age very very well.   This was a 2010 vintage & this  bottle states a 5.0%abv while the website states a 5.5%abv.

On the Label:  Malt Beverage Brewed with Cherries Aged in Oak Barrels.

From their website: Perhaps no country embraces the use of fruit in beers more so than Belgium. Numerous traditional as well as regional specialty ales are infused with every sort of fruit imaginable. In this way, the flavor of the fruit becomes especially prominent.

Red Poppy Ale is a veritable celebration of Sour Cherries in an explosion of aromas and tastes. Brewed from a brown ale base and aged in our oak barrels for over 6 months, this beer is not for the faint of heart.

The Golden Poppy is the state flower of California and the Red Poppy is found in Flanders Fields where our inspiration for this beer comes from. This beer is 5.5% ABV and is available in 375 and 750 ml bottles and on draft at inspired locations.

ABV: 5.5%

Availability: Mid-winter release

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Beer # 73 Lost Abbey 10 Commandments

Lost Abbey 10 Commandments

Name: 10 Commandments

Style:  Belgian Strong Dark Ale

Brewery: The Lost Abbey website

Country: USA

Region:  San Marcos, California

ABV: 10.00% Abv

How served: 750ml corked and caged bottle poured into a St. Bernardus chalice.      

My Overall Opinion: Very Good.

I paired this beer with: Bow-tie pasta, with tomato sauce which had baby spinach and rosemary added.  

Tasted on:  Monday February 8, 2010.

Note:  This beer started off with a bang for me.   The raisin and rosemary taste was very apparent.  What I enjoyed most was the “smoked” flavors I picked up.   As I was drinking this beer I was thinking how great this beer would be to cook with.  When I 1st poured this beer it was at 49° and I thought it was an amazing brew. However as this beer warmed up, contrary to most Belgian Strong Dark Ales I’ve had in the past,  didn’t improve but started to go downhill rapidly, therefore I gave it a the very good rating instead of amazing.

On the Label:  Ale brewed with Honey, Raisins & Rosemary.

10 Commandments:

The most imaginative beers are our crusade.

We believe we are all in this together.

We strive for honesty and integrity in our lives like you.

Fresh beer is great.  Aged beer is better.

Now that you have found us, help us spread the message.

There is good and evil in the world.  Our beers are good.

Passion isn’t something you can buy at the corner store.

We believe an inspired life is worth living.

Life is about choices.  The Lost Abbey is a great choice.

We are not perfect, but no one is.

From their website:  A stronger version of our Lost and Found Abbey Ale brewed to a more contemplative alcohol content. Massive in every stretch of the brewing way possible this is the sort of beer that will remind a beer drinker who considers themselves a saint that even saints stray as sinners from time to time.

Not for the faint of heart, this beer weighs in at a heavenly 9% ABV and is available in 750 ml bottles and on draft at select locations.

ABV: 9% (note, on the label of my bottle the abv is listed as 10%) 

Availability: Late Spring Release

Love Great Beer?  Join Us on a Bon Beer Voyage Beercation! www.BonBeer.com 

Beer #18 Cuvee de Tomme

Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme

Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme

Name: Cuvee de Tomme

Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale (However drinks more like a Flemish Red Ale)

Brewery: The Lost Abbey.  website

Country: USA

Region: San Marcos, California.

ABV: 11.00%

How served: 750 ml caged & corked bottle poured into a Rodenbach Grand Cru glass.  

My Overall Opinion: Awesome.

I paired this beer with: Lemon Pepper Chicken.

Tasted on: Wednesday November 11, 2009

Note: This was the 2009 version.  It is listed as a Belgian Strong Dark Ale, however if you buy this beer expecting it to taste like that style, you are in for a big surprise.  I used my Rodenbach Grand Cru glass, as I feel this beer tastes very similar to the Rodenbach Grand Cru.  So if you’re a fan of the Grand Cru or enjoy a Flemish Red Ale you are in for a great treat with Cuvee de Tomme.

 I have added a photo below of an older bottle. 

“The most award winning Pizza Port beer of all time has found a new home at The Lost Abbey.   A massive brown ale base that is made from four fermentable sugars including Malted Barley, Raisins, Candi Sugar and Sour Cherries, this beer is fully fermented before being placed in Bourbon barrels where the beer ages for one year with the Sour Cherries and the wild Brettanomyces yeast that we inoculate the barrels with.  One of the most complex and unique beers we make each year.”

Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme front older version

Cuvee de Tomme older bottle

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