5 Beers for 5 Years

Congratulations & respect to Black Bridge for making it to the five year mark.  That milestone, no easy task for any business at any time, will be commemorated this weekend.   The little powerhouse of a brewery has accomplished so many things in the past half decade … never pouring a bad pint, securing medals, spearheading the renaissance of downtown Kingman, flashpointing a community of brewers, other stuff I’ve not listed here.  Sincerely, it’s a wonderful place deserving of all its success.

Some markers of success for a business:  1) solid business plan; 2) realistic growth plan; 3) attracting a successful staff; 4) desire to succeed; 5) good product that creates repeat customers.  Mission accomplished, so here’s a big Cheers to Five Years!  A virtual high five, as it were.

Since this my blog I’m going to write about what I say are the 5 best Black Bridge Beers from the past Five Years.  And, of course, I will be right about them all.  Leave a list of five more in the comments.

Locomotive Stout
Alas, this stout is no more.  It has been replaced with Hooley Stout.  To be sure, that is a good beer as are Stresstout and Angry Elf.  But nothing will replace Locomotive.  It contained a ridiculous amount of hops and a ridiculous amount of roasted grain, according to Tom.  That made it ridiculously dry and ridiculously tasty to me.   When I couldn’t decide which beer to have, when the bloody huge taplist just overwhelmed my brain, it was always the choice.  Just the right amount of body, session level alcohol content.  Yeah, it’s pretty much the beer that made me a fan of Black Bridge.

Wicked Poison
It looks like an unassuming, delicate pint of pilsner with a hint of turbidity.  It is not.  Wicked Poison is disingenuous wheat wine and it’s alcohol content combined with an ephemeral drinkability will bring you to a reckoning if you are not careful.   While your local brewer does not personally like the beer, there is no arguing that it is still talked about five years on and almost everyone else in Kingman loves the thing.  It is actually a good gateway beer – wine drinkers, especially, and many who just don’t think they like beer will consume some Wicked Poison and the scales fall from their eyes.  The beer adventure begins.

80 Shilling
I still remember standing at one end of the bar in Black Bridge and Tom at the other and he yelled out “80 Shilling will be ready Tuesday!  I promise!”  Because for a while it was 80 Shilling and Locomotive that I drank and that day they were out of the quiet little Scottish export beer.  It truly is an unassuming selection at B3.  Orangey-red in color, nice sustainable collar, malty sweet and smelling of light caramel and toast it’s just an easy beer to love and drink.  It’s been on tap from the beginning, it seems.  Never bad, never off, always fantastic.

Scorched Earth
One of my first craft beer experiences was Crazy Ed’s Chili Beer.  And it was awful.  I survived, I persevered.  Eventually I had Ring of Fire from Dragonmead Brewery.  That was good.  Then Tom took Evil Red, his hoppy amber beer, and shoved an idiotic amount of peppers in it.  And it was Good.  No, it was better than that.  I still have no idea how he made habanero and ghost chili’s palatable but he did.  Yeah, it takes a little while to drink a pint (if you’re smart) and it numbs your lips.  But there is no better chili/pepper beer.  The brewing of Scorched Earth has become an event in these parts and word is getting out to the rest of the state and even Las Vegas.

Legend of Tom
Coffee Porter.  It takes all the porters B3 has done and combines them into one drink, and makes them all better.  It makes coffee better.  Decent alcohol level,  luscious coffee scent; the first iteration was barrel aged and had the added benefit of the flavor and aroma of spirits.  It’s only been on tap twice but it was brilliantly done both times.  Locomotive made me a fan, Legend of Tom made me a loyalist.

Those are my five picks.  Time and space would fail me if I went on to recount the goodness of Holy Water, Wagonwheel, Smokebox, Chichester, Evil Red, Katastrophic Humiliation.

Need a beer now.

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Rejoice, It’s National IPA Day and All

Today beer snobs can be celebratory since their ballyhooed libation is all center stage and such. Unlike, of course, the rest of the year when it’s only the most popular craft beer style in the world. Well, maybe just the US.  Anyway, yay.

The IPA is for beer snobs. We either cherish it as a gift from the children of Dionysius or revile it as the product of spoiled hipsters and palate starved brewing pioneers. There seems to be little in between areas. No one says, oh an IPA, how quaint; or, how meh, I’ll just have a stout please.

No, IPA fans will slather at the bar and demand vicious levels of IBUs. IPA haters will gather at the end of the bar and roll their collective eyes and mutter invective about mainstream craft beer Hops Hunters. Because IPA is mainstream beer.

And I may be a believer.

I have not forsworn my Belgians and my stouts. But I do grok the place of IPA.

Enough of that!  Drink what you desire and if it be IPA then go forth. There are some wonderful options in Kingman. At Black Bridge I recommend Rival and Cliff Dweller.  Rival is just, well, fantastic. Beautiful color, just the right level of hops, subtle alcohol presence.  At Rickety Cricket, Enigma of Your Imagination. It’s well done, with a very dry finish and some interesting plum and mint flavors that surprised me.

Beer Review: #50 Whiskey Coffee Stout

  • Brewery:  Jeremy Fass
  • ABV:  6.3%
  • Style:  Stout/Porter
  • Serving:  Growler
  • Bottled Roger Rating:  88%

#50

Begin At the Beginning (Aroma)
It smelled of toast, chocolate and coffee.  Definitely coffee.  A freshly brewed cup, in fact, the smell that gets you out of bed in the morning.  And a little soy sauce.

And Go On (Appearance)
It was black and opaque as it should be.  It was muddy in direct sunlight, clarity in the body would have made it completely beautiful.   The head was the color of chocolate milk and whipped cream.  It remained throughout the beer.  Outstanding.

Till You Come to the End (Taste)
First thought after tasting:  mocha frappuccino.  Coffee and chocolate dominant this beer.   Well, let’s say instead they are the most prevalent flavors.  Fans of Black Bridge’s Legend of Tom and Stresstout will find comparable tastes in #50.  The coffee beans were exposed to a whiskey barrel, however I did not notice any whiskey flavor in the beer itself.  Maybe that added to the sweetness of the beer, though.  Very dry finish, which felt perfect for the sweet, medium body beer.  Seemed more like a porter than a stout because of that lighter body and not a lot of roast flavor.

Then Stop (Conclusions)
A thoroughly wonderful beer.  The chocolate and the coffee were distinct players in the nose and the flavor, they did not blur together but neither did they fight for dominance.  A little toasty malt flavor also came through, hops only evident in the dry finish, in my opinion.  The alcohol is just high enough to feel it after a couple of glasses but it also does not overpower any other flavors.  The balance achieved with this beer is superb.  If you get a chance to twist Mr Fass’s arm and get some more of this beer, do so.  There will be no disappointment!

Beer Review: Dankwood

  • Brewery:  Founders Brewing
  • ABV:  12.2%
  • Style:  Imperial Red IPA
  • Serving:  Bottle
  • Bottled Roger Rating:  88%

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Begin At the Beginning (Aroma)
Resin.  Pine.  Right at bottle opening there is a spritz of whiskey.  Vanilla after the resin fades.

And Go On (Appearance)
Towards the red spectrum (really??).  The head looks like a foam mesa.  Maybe a paper mâché.  It’s also whiskey brown.

Till You Come to the End (Taste)
Resin & pine fades into orange rinds.  Creamy vanilla tames the hops, reigns them in.  It becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.

Then Stop (Conclusions)
I feared the IPA-ness but it was not harsh, the vanilla notes helped.  The beer has a solid theme:  resiny hops, oak/wood body, harsh & bitter contrast.

Likely to drink again.