ambassadors for the (largely) amber ale

Three men. Twenty (or so) breweries. One apparently large but generous Mexican.

Tom of Mountain Goat fame and Barney and Miro from Beer Deluxe planned a trip to the States, the sole purpose being to sample the best of what the US could throw at these men, from the very lively craft beer scene.

Last Ale Stars we were treated to a slideshow to see where the lads got about to.

By some fluke of nature, I’d got there early on the night and had the good luck to chat to Tom just before the crowd was let into the front bar. He’d said to me that before beer (was there ever a time before?! hehe), he didn’t really have much interest in visiting the States. I nodded in agreement.

Here’s Tom posing as a confident informant with big cans…oh alright then. Those are actually massive brew tanks in the background.

ale stars - beer ambassadors

Inspired by their journey, the beer was chosen to focus on breweries the trio had got to visit.

ale stars - beer ambassadors

(Miro telling the story of the very large Mexican fellow who could have killed him, but provided him with consummate hospitality…overnight)

The nibblies on the night were not going to enough for me, so based upon Mel’s recommendation, I shared the gnocchi on the bar menu with Tris. It did not survive long. RIP gnocchi, we never knew you.

ale stars - beer ambassadors

Tristan took gorgeous photos of the beers sampled on the night but I thought I might just include the photo of all the pretty bottles from which the beer came and include my notes.

Ale Stars Sep 2010 beer lineup

Lagunitas ‘A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin” Ale – the group seemed pretty passionately divided on this one: either it was love, or hate. I personally loved it – didn’t taste like it had 7.3% ABV. A little too chuggable! It uses a mixture of German, European and US hops and softened with wheat to add a ‘bready’ character. The Lagunitas brewery is apparently the size as that of Little Creatures. It also has an infamous car park. I’d say this is a nice entry to hoppy beer.

Avery India Pale Ale – an American IPA. I don’t seem to have many notes on this except ‘very, very bitter’. This is very much in keeping with the West Coast IPA aesthetic as they favour hop flavour over malt.┬áDidn’t quite have as much depth as the first beer sampled though it is possible I just wasn’t used to the bitterness. Been a long time since I had a beer I felt was too bitter for me!

Avery ‘Salvation’ – a collaboration brew with Russian River after realising that both breweries had a beer that had the same name. Rather than have one brewery pull their beer, both blended their ‘Salvations’ and thus we have the result here. Beer is love, folks! This is quite an alcoholic drop at 9% ABV and it’s obvious in the taste, and a little warming. Quite fragrant too.

Left Hand Milk Stout – a bit of a softie as far as stouts are concerned, due to the addition of lactose powder, and not milk. These milk stouts are very, very smooth and silky on the palate. Very aromatic but as far as stouts go, a little thin for my liking. I need to stop drinking those extreme beers perhaps!

It was fantastic to live vicariously (and perhaps with healthier livers!) through our Beer Ambassadors, and wonderful of them to regale us with their tales of beery derring-do. You can read their chronicles on their blog. Naturally, you can read Prof Pilsner’s account (he always gets them up lightning-fast!) and also our beloved Local Taphouse’s too.

Feel free to sift through Tristan’s photos below.

Shandy has one final word for you – make your choice: Jesus or hell?

ale stars - beer ambassadors

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