Clusterfork, have you heard of it? It’s a great event that’s hosted at The Bruery in Placentia where they open their vault and pour you a taste of some of their aged beers and current special offerings. It’s a great bottle share event too, you get to bring two beers of your liking and get to hang with like-minded beer people. Earlier in the year I received an invitation and couldn’t make it due to prior engagements, but after attending the most recent event if that invite comes again, I will not be declining; I’m even considering a Society membership. The invitation for Clusterfork came from a dear friend and fellow beer aficionado Dale, we’ve attended a few beer festivals and special events together and we’ve had our share of good and not so good beer. Thanks again Dale!
The was a total of eight beers to taste and with the option to come back and get a ninth pour of your favorite. The Bruery selections were Oude Tart 11 & 13, Pinotlambicus, Bryeian, Windowsill, Cacaonut, White Chocolate 2013, and Chocolate Rain. All the sours I had were great and my favorite was Oude Tart 11, obviously being aged longer than the 13 the flavors were more subtle and balanced, but you could still taste all the great flavors of grape, citrus, vinegar, and oak.
I was worried about what to bring to an event like this one after going online and looking for pictures to give me an idea of what exactly folks were taking to share. After I searched, I found a picture of a Barley Wine Style Ale made by a brewery called Blind Pig out of Temecula California that was brewed in 1994; we all know the story of Blind Pig and how it ends and resurfaces right? If not click here to figure it out. After seeing the picture of a 94 bottle of Blind Pig Brewing, I was thinking fuck, I don’t have anything that special! I looked through my cellar and found two bottles of the same beer that was brewed two different years and I thought, I definitely have something special to share. They were bottles of The Abyss from 2007 and 2009 Imperial Stouts aged in bourbon barrels and brewed by Deschutes Brewing; they have a wax seal that makes them look sexy. The bottle of 2007 (aged six years) had a nice smoked oak flavor to it mixed with figs, licorice, and roasted malt. The 2009 (aged four years) was brighter, not as dark in the flavor, but still had great flavors of vanilla, chocolate, and dark dry fruits.
I captured about 95% of what I had a chance to taste that day and it’s all below.
There’s evidence in my picture roll that I took a break to eat right around here and the food was provided with the purchase of the event ticket. The Viking Truck was serving delicious dogs and I don’t recall the name of the one I had (pictured below), but it was hella good and came with the best tater tots I’ve ever had, they were perfectly crunchy. Thanks guys!
I started taking pictures and jotted down some notes after each taste, but I had to stop myself as I was having lots of fun and I told myself only pictures will do. I didn’t take any notes for the beers I sampled that are pictured below, but they turned out to be my favorites. Mexican Cake, a Barrel Aged Imperial Stout that’s made by Westbrook Brewing Co in South Carolina, was by far my favorite of the evening. The stout had a nice aroma with fantastic flavor of vanilla, dark chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, and just enough heat from peppers; simply delicious and I need to get a few bottles of this! One of the things that I found odd was the disclaimer at the top of the label, “Product of the USA”, as if to warn idiots and proud Americans that they weren’t drinking a beer from south of the border. My second favorite was Rare Bourbon County Stout by Goose Island out of Chicago. This is a very hard to find beer and I even had to go online to make sure it was true, but I overheard someone say that they’ve seen a few of these bottles on the auction block for over $200 a bottle and they were right. This last stout was too very delicious, lots of caramel, vanilla, toffee, butterscotch, oak, and you guessed it, bourbon.
I didn’t have a clue on what to expect nor did I ever think it would be fun to be around so many beer enthusiasts or aficionados, whatever you want to call us, but please don’t call me a “beer nerd”, it drives me nuts! It was a great event and I had a chance to try a serious lot of great tasting beer, some that came from different corners of the US and even Europe. A setting provided like the one at The Bruery for Clusterfork puts you together with people that are eager to share a small pour of a beloved beer they’ve had hidden in their home cellar for years. I love being a part of a community of beer drinkers who drink to appreciate great flavors and when given the chance, to share a bit of beer and knowledge with others. Hope to see you at a Clusterfork soon.
Throw one back for me ~ cheers!