If you have any interest in craft beer at all, you should take advantage of the fantastic resources Beer Advocate provides. For example: My little sister was visiting Boston recently, and asked me if I knew of any good bottle shops she could visit to find some gems. Of course, I have never visited Boston, and so I started a thread on Beer Advocate asking for suggestions and I also found this information while looking on the website. Within 5 minutes of starting this search, I was able to provide my sister with valuable information that helped her to find some nice bottles to bring home.
Another perk is the people you get to know. Internet forums can be intimidating, and don't judge me for using them :-) However, I have met some great people using a DMB forum for DMB shows and DMB geekdom, and Beer Advocate is no different. Some of you may know that I have an affinity for Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, and if anyone wants to buy me this I would be forever grateful. Anyway, I was able to land several bottles of the regular Bourbon County Stout and one bottle of the Coffee variant, but completely struck out trying to land the Bramble Rye version, which is imperial stout aged in rye whiskey barrels with blackberries and raspberries, and probably my most coveted variant other than the beer you should buy me off of ebay :-) Anyway, I mentioned in a thread on Beer Advocate that I had missed out on this bottle, and when I met one of the guys from Beer Advocate at a local beer tasting, he took me to his car and gave me a bottle of the Bramble Rye. Now I can add it to my collection of Bourbon County Stouts.
Which brings me to the next step in Beer Advocacy. The Bottle Share. This past saturday I was extremely fortunate to be a part of an awesome bottle share at the Upland Tasting Room in Indianapolis. Many thanks to the Upland Indy team for allowing us to bring in bottles and share. Here is the lineup of what was sampled this day:
Founders Frangelic Mountain Brown: The special release that hits Indianapolis on Thursday and Friday this week. The same guy that gave me the Bramble brought this special treat he acquired. It's delicious, the Hazelnut coffee in this brown ale is just incredibly delicious. If you are lucky enough to get one, I recommend drinking it immediately to get the full coffee flavor experience.
Jackie O's Bourbon Barrell Dark Apparition
Jackie O's Vanilla Bean Rum Barrel Aged Dark Apparition
Both of these brews are extremely limited releases by Jackie O's. Both were awesome, maybe slightly boozy, but still remarkable beers.
Russian River Consecration Batch 6
Jackie O's Oil of Aphrodite
Firestone Walker 15th anniversary ale
Firestone Walker 14th anniversary ale
Firestone Walker 13th anniversary ale
This was my first time doing a vertical tasting of beers at different stages of the beers life. Was remarkably interesting. The 15 and the 13 tasted similar to me, while the 14 may have been a bit different. I preferred the 15th because it just tasted better to me, but really it was like splitting hairs.
Goose Island Pere Jacques 2007 (the second oldest beer I've ever had, was really good)
Goose Island Matilda 2010 (infected, which is a good thing to Beer Advocate members)
Boulevard Love Child #2
Cuvee Des Jacobins Rouge
Jack's Abby Hoponius Union
Brouwerj 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze
and Two beers I brought to the table:
Upland Bourbon Barrel Bad Elmers Porter
Stone Ruination 10th Anniversary IPA. Another beer that is filthy good and not available in Indiana.
Here is the Wall...all the beers that were consumed
What I gained from this event was extremely humbling. I find that among my friends, I tend to have more craft beer knowledge than a lot of them, and usually I am the one recommending beers to them. On this day, I felt like I knew absolutely nothing about craft beer. The people that I spent time with are so above my knowledge level it was shocking. But the best part, aside from trying these awesome beers, was that they all welcomed me and were extremely enjoyable to be around. They recognized that I have a passion for this and took time to explain things to me and helped me to further my understanding of the craft beer culture. I am looking forward to learning more from these awesome Beer Advocate guys and hopefully doing these bottle shares on a regular basis.
Cheers to Beer Advocate for bringing such amazing people with a common bond together to share their interests with each other.