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.
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.
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.
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.
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.