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.


Scorched Earth is Coming

Friday came and my thoughts drifted to Black Bridge Brewery. After work I drove directly there. Jen had my favorite Pandora station playing, Def Leppard Radio. The soothing, solid riffs of “Animal” poured out of B3, elegant and beautiful like the Locomotive Stout that filled my glass. 

These things are what make a town’s local brewery successful. The connections. The interest in customers. The support of those customers for the businesses in their community. The casual, friendly, personable ambiance of Black Bridge makes it a cool haunt.  

It encourages my ambivertness. Maybe that needs explanation. There are introverts and extroverts right? The introverts recharge their good selves in solitude. The extroverts need activity and social connection. According to a buddy, I am an ambivert; I’m quite comfortable either way. Sitting alone with a stout or a Scottish export is terribly relaxing. I’ll walk away from it as happy as can be. But I really like chatting with the folks at B3. They’ve got cool intel on the happenings downtown. I’m finding out some engrossing back story, too. Being in the right place at the right time and employing ambivertness I sometimes get samples of pending beers. And that is just cool. 

So, Scorched Earth will be on tap soon. I’ve been waiting for it to return. If you like beer with hot peppers in it, this is an outstanding example of the style. And if like Evil Red, well, Scorched Earth is built from it with some additional malt to help balance the spicery. 

Imagine a cutting board with hot, hot peppers chopped up all over it. You scrape up those pulpy remains and toss it in a glass. Add am amber ale and a couple ounces of IPA. Voila! This is the piquancy of Scorched Earth. You can smell the heat, the rinds of habanero. Some habanero will be in the kegs and some ghost pepper. 

My lips perceived a somatic sensation of burning, a numbing. I could feel a specter of heartburn, a fire swelling in my gut. Generally descriptions such as that would cause people to be concerned for their health. They may think twice about ingesting a substance that would cause pain and discomfort. Well, what’s life without a bit of fun and risk, eh? Don’t worry, it won’t kill you or anything. It’s just going to be a hot beer. 

Tim said there was some hops in the batch, too. He said you had to really concentrate to find them. I guess I suck at concentration. I did drink Scorched Earth with an Evil Red, its parent. I could taste those hops. It made its offspring dry. Interesting. 
Watch for its release in the coming week. 

Scorched Earth by Black Bridge

Once more I have found beer review notes on my iPad or iPhone.  Whichever.  I will share these notes with you.  All four of you who read this blog.  Be impressed.  These are raw notes, right out of the garage, bypassing the studio and all its editing capabilities.  That was a music metaphor.  You know, a garage band, kinda raw and unfiltered.  They go to a studio, get produced, things are all pretty  and stuff.  Yeah, you’re right.  Whatever.

Nicely, nicely done.

Brut and jalapeño

Pepper beers can be difficult. This is just right. Needles on the lips heat in the gullet.

It appears that the more I like a beer the less I write about it.  Scorched Earth is definitely on my top 42 list!