Sunday, October 18, 2009

Baltimore Beer Week: More from the Tasting Section

I didn't go to many tastings over the past few days. Again, I chose the Wine Source (again, you may have chosen your own), and again they had some interesting and delicious wines available for sampling the other day. I went Thursday when Stoudt's Brewing Company and the always-favorite Southern Tier came down to Bawlmer to let us sample their wares.

Stoudt's, out of Adamstown, PA, in Lancaster County (yes, Amish country), is the creation of Ed & Carol Stoudt, the latter being one of the first women in America to found a brewery. Stoudt's also has a restaurant attached to it, which may necessitate a trip of its own. The Stoudt's presenter was a mellow young dude, one of the few brewery employees who are not kith & kin to the Stoudt clan. He brought a bevy of seven beers. My favorite was their Belgian beer, the Triple Abbey Style. Dude said this was their least popular in terms of sales, though that didn't mean people did not like it. I was not alone: a few people that I talked to (so easy to talk to people at a beer tasting) liked the Belgian best. Though all good, a few of the most notable included their Scarlet Lady Ale, one of their most popular, and their "we invented this style of beer" Smooth Hoperator. Alas, Dude didn't bring their darker and heavier Fat Dog with them, which is among their most popular beers.

I cannot say enough good things about Southern Tier Brewing Company. Though I liked all the beers I tasted this week, Southern Tier is, perhaps, the first one I tasted where I really, truly got enthusiastic about everything I drank. They make that raved-over Crème Brûlée Imperial Milk Stout, one of my favorite specialty brews of all time. They are based in Lakewood, NY - "out in the middle of nowhere" as one person said to me. The presenter was a true Southern gentleman. Really! He's from Alabama, and occasionally needles his colleagues as to how truly not Southern they are. Unlike the dude from Stoudt's, who encouraged me to go in a certain order (albeit not the one laid out in front of us), the gentleman from Southern Tier encouraged us all to go in any order we darn well pleased. I more or less stuck with the order he laid out the beers in, and started with their specialty Cuvée series, one French
oak aged, the other American oak aged. Again, there is something faintly scotch-like about these beers, and they pack a nice, gentle wallop. Of course, he also brought the Crème Brûlée stout, but I saved that for last. Before that was their Mokah Stout (y'all can tell I like stouts), a nice mixture of coffee and chocolate. I don't remember him bringing Southern Tier's Choklat Stout, but I would advise you to look for it in your local wine or beer store.

I didn't get back on Friday (saw Paranormal Activity - not so much scary to me as fun and freaky, but you will be freaked out the next time you go to bed) or Saturday. But I had tried most of the beers being tasted and had liked them anyway. Too bad I missed our own hometown's Clipper City based right out of Baltimore (technically Halethorpe). I'll use most any reason to sample their MarzHon.