Last Week in Untappd – 11/24 – 11/30 – (The Untappening)

CaponesWell, it finally happened.The day I anticipate in a continual 364 day loop, that most wonderful of beer days, Black Friday, has come and gone and I think we took full advantage of its bounty. In the past, this meant waking up at the crack of 9 and sheepishly making our way to Capone’s in Norristown for a solid 6 hours of drinking in an atmosphere that can best be described as a bar from a bowling alley crashed into a 70’s diner and someone hung up Vaseline smeared TVs from the 80’s. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Not that I see much else beyond the beer list, looking to see what’s kicked and trying to anticipate what’ll kick next as I order 4 or 5 beers at a time. Yes, Black Friday is Capone’s day for me. Except for this year…

A detour to find the highly-coveted Bourbon county Vanilla Rye (we failed) eventually took us to Teresa’s Next Door Black Friday Sour Event and to indulge that artisanal siren call that is Tired Hands before ultimately arriving at the threshold to Capone’s. We were successful in getting a 4pk of BCBS, a bottle of Avery’s Tweak, and 2 bottles of Abyss. Not too shabby. Here are the best of the best from a full day of rare beer drinking and Untappening (20+). The Tired Hands beers will be coming in a separate piece as a follow up to my original brewery visit.

Cantillon Fou FouneCantillon – Fou’ Foune
Location: Teresa’s Next Door
Style: Lambic
Score: 4/5
Original Comment: Metallic, tropical, lemon/ orange acidic, slight dank yeast aroma, Salty/sour sting front, tongue raking mineral, dry, biscuity fin. Good

Additional Comment: The final part of my original comment that I didn’t have room for is “…but not great.” I don’t always understand the hype behind many of Cantillon’s offerings. They are typically good but no better than any other expertly crafted sour I’ve had. This is the first where I feel like I had a fleeting glimpse of something special even if the overall experience didn’t wow me.  I will admit that knowing Fou’ Foune is the highest rated sour on Beer Advocate (#14 as of this publishing) brought some expectations with it. I think a blind taste test could yield interesting results, but I don’t have the bank account nor the resource to make that happen. Glad I had it and definitely a tasty sour, but in the future I’ll probably pass over it for something new.

ConsecrationRussian River – Consecration (on the left)
Location: Teresa’s Next Door
Style: Wild Ale
Score: 4/5
Original Comment: Still my favorite Russian River sour. That sharp vinous tang with malty cherry and subtle, nonmetallic sour. Lacks sour bite, big on flavor.

Additional Comment: I chose to mention this over Pliny the Elder  as, frankly, Pliny already gets a ton of press and I find Consecration to be the more impressive beer for its respective style. Pliny is a great IPA, but Consecration is a styled Wild with plenty of depth from the Cabernet Sauvignon barrels. The smooth blending of vinous tang, earthy berry sweetness and barreling comes at the cost of true sour bite, but this is a Wild I will drink again and again. I’m sure this recommendation surprises no one, but let me add my praise to the masses.

Sucaba 2014Firestone Walker – Sucaba 2014
Location: Capone’s Restaurant
Style: Barleywine
Score: 4.5/5
Original Comment: Dammit this is good! Malty caramel greatness, with a lovely booze heat. Rich and mild at the same time. Cheers to Capones and Firestone! Round 2-still pretty great. Might be the best beer I had today, but that will take some deep reflection.

Additional Comment: This isn’t the first time I had this beer and it won’t be the last, but I am continually impressed by the vintage series at Firestone. Everything I want out of a traditional English Barley wine: caramel, controlled heat, an undertone of vanilla and a bit of fruit on the finish. All of it is smoothed and mellowed to perfection. Truly one of my favorite beers and a stand out even among the other top class offerings.

BCBS 2014Goose Island – Bourbon County Brand Stout
Location: Capone’s Restaurant
Style: Imperial Stout
Score: 4/5
Original Comment: Malt, char,dark sugar (carmalized?), vanilla, butter aroma, syrupy mf, vanilla and huge malty, plum fruits. Heat, but lighter this year.

Additional Comment: This is a release I look forward to each year as it is one of the favorite syrupy thick, chewey bourbon stouts. That said,  I think I may actually prefer the heavier 2013 version. Everything about this beer screams indulgence, from the mouth feel, to the sticky sweet malts, to the buttery bourbon and dark fruits. Backing off these aspects, even a little, seems contrary to the true heart of BCBS. However, my complaint is ultimately the whining of a beer nerd. BCBS 2014 is still bold and gets the essence of  Bourbon County right. It’s clear that the BC series is safe in the hands of Goose Island’s new brew master.

Lou Pepe KriekCantillon – Lou Pepe Kriek
Location: Capone’s Restaurant
Style: Lambic
Score: 4.5/5
Original Comment: Mineral, sour cherry aroma, front that is mild sour cherry, hit of mineral, and a long, delicious cherry finish. One of the best krieks.

Additional Comment: In case you are wondering , the color in the picture is accurate. Bright red, like ground up cough drops in a seltzer bath. Hanssens Oude Kriek was a previous high mark for me until I had this one. Soft and fluffy mouth feel and a smooth, real cherry finish makes this one you want to sip over and over. This is the experience I want from a kriek and this is the Cantillon you want to track down. Great lambic and a high mark for the style.

Gingerbread StoutHardywood – Gingerbread Stout
Location: Capone’s Restaurant
Style: Milk Stout
Score: 3.5/5
Original Comment: Brown sugar, dark malt and ginger bread aroma. Taste follows smell. Nice, but a bit thin for an imp stout. Spice finish doesn’t overwhelm.

Additional Comment: This wasn’t the best stout I had and there are other beers from the day (mostly sours) I’d put above it, but I thought I’d give this an honorable mention. This beer set out to be Christmas in a glass with elements of gingerbread and I think it was successful in that regard.  It’s a sweet stout that emphasizes dark sugar/malts, lactose, honey and ginger/cinnamon. Similar to a ginger snap, the cookie not the wolfen sisters, it has a sweet edge but doesn’t tumble into cloying country. As a beer, I would have preferred a thicker, creamier body, but we don’t always get what we want. Nice beer and one I hope to have again when I have less distractions.

Capone’s Black Friday Pro Tip: Here’s a hint for those thinking of attending the Black Friday event and aren’t as concerned about the really big, popular beers. Most of the beers make it to the next day, making for a much less crowded and frantic beer drinking day.

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