Tonight we have two different beers available for our Beer Passport. Why two? Because we want to make sure everyone gets a chance to fill out their passports and get a free t-shirt and pint glass! If you try both of them, you’ll get two stamps, meaning that if you missed last week, you aren’t out of luck.
The first selection is from Two Brothers – Northwind Imperial Stout, 2014. Now, we expect that lots of our pub denizens have had this beer more than a time or two. However, what we have here is not just Northwind, but a barrel of Northwind from last year. Before you think we are just trying to pawn old beer off on you, there’s some things you should know about beer and aging. First, beer does not go bad when stored (if it hasn’t been opened). It does change though. And that change is what we are highlighting with this selection.
Two Brothers has been playing around with cellaring some of their beers. Last year they set aside some barrels of this imperial stout to let it age. What happens to a stout when you let it age? First, the malty flavors become more prominent. You’ll notice this is like someone turned up the bass on Northwind. It’s maltier. It’s fuller. It’s bigger. Second, because it has a high alcohol content (9.1% ABV), some of the sharper elements will be rounded off or muted, leaving you with a more velvety finish. Third, hops deteriorate over time in beer, meaning that for really hoppy brews, you’ll find the most intense flavors when it is fresh (though aging hoppy beers can lead to some interesting results!). This means that in a beer where hops are not the most important aspect of the beer, like an imperial stout, the hops recede even further into the background, which contributes to that bigger, maltier feel.
So enjoy Northwind Imperial Stout, 2014 vintage. It goes down smooth with a clean finish.
Our second selection is from our good friends at Lagunitas. These guys are crazy.
They make an incredible IPA called Daytime (which they call fractional, meaning it’s only a fraction of a real IPA by ABV – or what everyone else calls a Session IPA). So what did they do? They decided to take 25% Daytime IPA and mix it with 75% cider made from Gravenstein and Granny Smith apples from Meyer Farming in Sonoma County. The result is off the wall. It sounds like a ridiculous thing to do, but the results are incredible. If you like IPAs and you like cider, then you have to try this. It’s tart, but that resiny-hoppy taste is prominent in a way that you won’t find with a cider. It’s also quite refreshing. This is a beer that highlights the creativity and artistry of brewing. There’s not that much of it in Chicago, so we hope you enjoy this!
We recommend trying both of these beers and collecting two stamps for your passport.