A Beer Judge’s Diary: 10th Annual Beaver River Beer Tasting

My other "niece," may: black hair, white blouse. This was the start. Eventually there were a LOT more. It took two buses and another vehicle to bring everyone in for the tasting and the Norridgewock.
May, my other “niece,” is in the background wearing a white blouse. This was the start. Eventually there were a LOT more. It took two buses and another vehicle to bring everyone in for the tasting and the Norridgewock.

By Ken Carman
By Ken Carman
 This weekend marked yet another Beaver River Beer Tasting. As I serve all kinds of exotic brews I also offered a circular providing some fun information, as well as telling visitors about the nature of what I was serving.
 I am willing to admit the list of just 10 of the brews doesn’t provide much education. As usual some of that is done while serving. Even then it’s kept on the light side. The object is to keep it fun and not get too beer geeky. It’s also to raise the knowledge level just enough to make them more curious. That requires me being entertaining rather than too technical.
To the right you see Dorothy: my niece, well 2nd cousin. Second cousin twice removed by jaws of life? Oh, WHATEVER!
To the right you see Dorothy: my niece, well 2nd cousin. Second cousin twice removed by jaws of life? Oh, WHATEVER!
 Over 30 years as a children’s entertainer? Yeah, I can do that.
 The marvelous Mark Franey brought his wine and brews that reflected the seasons, including a great strawberry light (color/srm) ale. He also brought lots of folks with him from Lowville area. Mark has been an incredible friend and is a great brewer who has helped make this tasting successful every year. He also has helped with my fall competition in Old Forge, the Old Frge BIG Beer and Odd Ale Competition, as well as won one year. My cousin Joyce and her daughters: May and Dorothy, and they brought many friends. And, of course we had plenty of fellow Beaver River-ites. This is a tradition I have been proud to start.
 I thought providing you, dear reader, with my list of only ten of the beers made sense…
10th Annual Beaver River Beer Tasting!

(OK it COULD be the 11th , but who’s counting?OH, I should be! OOPS!)

Here are only ten of the many brews we will be savoring today. We will also be having some of my own braggots/brews and, as always Mark Franey will offer his wonderful, soulful… WINE, and his award winning homebrews. Bagpipe on the way over courtesy Mr. Number 4 man, whose last name oddly is ALSO Franey. And who knows, maybe his beautific sister K.T., or noted fruit beer lover Donna Brown, will be here too! <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< *****************************************************************

Southern Grist’s Boisen Berry- Southern Grist is one of the many new Nashville, TN, breweries. They love to do sours which this is one, if I remember. Sours tend to use lactobacillus, kettle souring or other methods to give brews a slight to significant tart send, sometimes compared to rhubarb.

Rogue Doughnut Lemon Chiffon Crueller- Honesty time. I didn’t care for Rogues brews when they first appeared. “Extracty,” which means it tasted like they used lot of extract malt rather than actual all grain. Thyey have improved IMMENSELY. This is one of their regular series that bounces off a doughnut theme. While the results can be a mixed bag they usually taste EXACTLY like what they claim.

Blackberry Farms Winter Saison- This is also a Walland, Tennessee brewery.They do a lot of Saisons. A Saison is a Belgian inspired brew, using Belgian inspired yeast that can produce fruity and spicy overtones: spicy in the sense of peppery. This is a dark version which usually has more malt than the light ones. Not “dark” in the sense of a porter or a stout, both of which are supposed to be roasty. Fruity sense can be lemon-like or orange-like.

Woodland’s Vanillarilla Andes Candy Porter- if you live in the Utica area you should try this brewery which specializes in unique brews. If you remember old route 12; just past the mall, heading north, it’s where the unfurnished furniture place was, before the long since past tense drive in theater. More chocolate mint than porter, IMO.

Abita’s Louisiana Spiced Ale- in my early years of touring I used to stop by one of the only breweries on the Gulf Coast. Abita’s brew facilities were in downtown Abita Springs then a cute, quaint little village. The brewer used to hand me beer out to back door to sample. Now it’s their brewpub. Most of their uniqueness is gone; swamped (Yes, if you’ve been to most of Louisiana that tis a pun.) by the new wave of craft breweries. This is a light ale with a hint of crab boil: spices like bay leaves, lemon peel and paprika. Not super spicy. Very gentle.

Jackalope’s Rompo- a red rye ale, Nashville, TN. One of first breweries on the east coast started by, with brewers who are, women. Oh and Steve but we don’t talk about him. His legs are too hairy.

Sweetwater’s Pineapple IPA- Atlanta brewery beer to compare with Mark’s pineapple.

New Holland’s White Sour Ale with Berries- Let’sjust say “we shall see.” New Holland is even more a “mixed bag,” IMO. “White” means “wheat.”

Hi-Wire’s Tropical Fruit Golden Strong Ale- Haven’t tried this. Could be fruit, hop or yeast driven. There are so many different hops now, including one that tastes like watermelon! Three Ring Brewing out of Asheville, NC.: pale, can be a tad bitter, complex, Belgian inspired.

Rigor Mortis- at 10.5abv the name could be literal if you drink a lot. These bottles are moi’ aged, let’s see how that worked out. A stiff Belgian Brown brewed by monks. NOT “Chip” nor “AALVVIN!”

16beertaste  I called the Thompsons who run the Norridgewock Riverboat to forewarn them they may have quite the load. We learned they had 40 on the Riverboat and had to bring the rest in two other boats.
 Yes, we had a great crowd in front of our place here. Ed and Dara brought cheese and crackers, I had salsa and chips for them.
 Other brews included, but were not limited to Higher Math by Dogfish, my Hal-no-pee-no braggot, Against the Grain’s cypress barrel aged All Funked Up, Atwater’s Blueberry Cobbler, my Citron Braggot, Mark’s Pineapple and Sweetwater’s Pineapple. Mark’s won in a comparison, and it seemed everyone agreed that the nose on Sweetwater’s brew was excellent, but the pineapple was lost in what had become just another IPA. Mark’s definitely had pineapple to taste. I remember him saying it was hard to work with because, for some 14192703_10154505758774281_6167610094761445106_nodd reason, the hop sense increased with the pineapple sense.
 It was a bitter parting in a good way: the bus for the Riverboat showed up and we sent them off with a 6 of Adam Bomb from Blackstone in Tennessee. I hope they liked it. IPAs with that much bitter can be an acquired taste for sure.
 But, before they leave, I want to say thanks to May, Joyce and Dorothy Lovelace for the extra pictures. Obviously I was pretty busy.
 We ended up a small group with Larry and Carol Shoch, Ed and Dara, Donna Brown and other Beaver River-ites.
 I think people left a little wiser, beer-wise, as many of them floated homeward down the reservoir. Well, maybe some of that “floating” wasn’t just the reservoir or the Riverboat?

Ken A Beer Judge’s Diary is one of many columns by Ken Carman: Certified BJCP beer judge, homebrewer since 1979 and seeker of both simple and complex quaffs who, until the very early 70s, thought he didn’t care all that much for beer. Then he discovered brews beyond the standard fare’ available on the east coast.
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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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