While rummaging through my beer fridge earlier this afternoon I found a few bottles of “Juxtaposition” ; a 2009 Stone Brewing-Brew Dog-Cambridge Brewing collaboration beer. I believe this beer was brewed in the spring of 2009 and released in July. This beer was brewed by James Watt of Brew Dog, Mitch Steele of Stone Brewing and Will Meyers of Cambridge Brewing. With such a talented trio, how could this beer be anything but brilliant?
My first taste of this beer was at the 2nd Saturday Stone Brewing event at Hamilton’s; a craft beer institution in San Diego that is famous for pouring super limited releases. The line was so long when I showed up that I had to call in the Cavalry, errr…. beer superhero Greg K. Minutes later I was escorted down an alley and through the back door to find the glistening Juxtaposition flowing from the tap. Different from any pilsner this beer lover had ever tried; I fell in love at first sip.
So here I am in February of 2011 pouring from a bottle that was stored at about 50 degrees for about 19 months. It pours sultry black with a two finger luscious head. The nose is that of roasted malts and an ever so faint touch of hops. It instantly brings a smile to my face as I breath in with closed eyes and an anxious palate. Anticipation is a beautiful thing; especially when we are referring to an impatient girl like me !
The first taste is of the same roasted malts found on the nose with a subtle bitterness and traces of vanilla and maple sugar on the finish. If I didn’t know better, I would swear this beer had been barrel aged. At 10% ABV, the alcohol is surprisingly subtle. There is a silkiness to the mouthfeel that makes me sigh…
Please note that this beer is better served closer to room temperature to appreciate the complex characteristics. I removed the bottle from my beer fridge before going for a 5 mile run. Suffice it to say I had my eye on the prize the entire way. The rain started pouring down on my last mile and all I could think of was pouring this beautiful beer – I broke an 8 minute mile. Now that is motivation 🙂
Cheers & Peace to all…
A friend asked recently when I had converted from a wine snob to a beer geek. My tweets about my parallel universe as a “beerophile” were posting to my Facebook page and she was not the first person to comment on my transformation. After pondering the question, I decided to write a little about my journey.
I started drinking wine in my mid-twenties when I moved to California. I truly enjoyed the seemingly endless options of fabulous wine available and as my taste developed so did my passion for wine. My palate evolved over the years and I found I was more prone to fine wine than basic grocery store selections. My investment in my habit grew. I loved wine and was enthralled with the complexities of appearance, the nose, the feel and the taste associated with the many types, styles and brands. Wine and of course, the food that compliments it, was a huge part of my social life as the years passed. I loved sharing my wine finds with good friends over dinner at both my home and restaurants. I shudder at the thought of the money I have spent over the years…
While I had always enjoyed beer, I honestly never thought much about what I was drinking. I preferred to drink micro-brewed beer, but was not really conscious of the decisions I made. I just knew that I didn’t care for Coors, Bud or any other watery beer on the market. There was no real passion in my beer selections and I rarely took the time to think about the ingredients going into the beer, much less the business and political implications of my choices. Never had I pondered which beers would best pair with an artisan cheese platter I had assembled for a cocktail party nor had I contemplated a social dinner offering different beer choices with the course I would prepare.
That is until I moved to San Diego in 2003… I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with a young man who founded a craft brewing business in San Diego. A neighbor in my building, GK brought his own beer selections to a party at my loft and even brought his own glassware. I was in no way, shape or form offended by his apparent beer snobbery. On the contrary, I was intrigued by his passion. I recognized there was a lot I could learn from this incredible entrepreneur. Many of my new neighbors in Park Loft were also craft beer fans. With Greg as a generous anchor, there was never a social event in the building (and boy did we have a lot of them!) that didn’t include several of the many choices of beer brewed by Stone. There were many group outings to local craft beer mecca’s like O’Brien’s, The Local, Hamilton’s, and The Whistle Stop. This was the beginning of my craft beer education.