Sunday, March 09, 2008

Five Gravity Head beers that I've enjoyed in 2008.

Gravity Head 2008’s seemingly inexorable momentum finally met a temporarily immovable force in the form of Friday’s near-record snowfall, which left the Louisville metro area very quiet for much of Saturday even though unexpected afternoon sunshine helped clear the roads enough to bring some people back out later in the evening.

Don’t worry. Temps will be back to 60 degrees during the coming week.

Counting all sizes of kegs the same, we’ve emptied 22 kegs since February 29. Even with the snowfall, that’s certainly a record pace, and there are plenty more yet to be sampled. Of course, the inevitable question every year has to do with favorites, so here are five gravity beers I’ve particularly enjoyed so far in 2008.

NABC Thunderfoot (2007) 10% abv … Yes, it’s an NABC house beer, and yes, I’m biased. In this case, the bias is entirely justified. I enjoyed the short-lived, year-old Thunderfoot more than the other Imperial Stouts that have appeared so far.

Brooklyn Brewery Extra Brune 8.5% abv … Somewhat of a surprise to me, an American-made Belgian style with incredible yeast esters that reminded me just a bit of the Aventinus bubblegum effect. As good as this was, I had no business drinking four of them on an empty stomach last Saturday. But I did. Shame on me.

Bell's Batch 6000 (2004) 10.5% abv … Barley wines have oddly fallen out of fashion at Gravity Head, and I couldn’t begin to tell you why, except that times and customers change. This 4-yr old was superb, as was a matching Old Crustacean and the nearly two-year old BBC Bearded Pat’s, and yet the latter two are still pouring.

Avery Fourteen 9.46% abv … Cut from the same bolt of cloth as the Stone 11th Anniversary, with both somewhere in the range of Black IPA. Given the traditional hoppiness of beers like Sierra Nevada Porter, such gravity escalations seem perfectly natural.

Burton Bridge Tom Sykes Old Ale UK (cask-conditioned) 10% abv … Perhaps the simplest ale on tap during Gravity Head, with one malt, one hop and some sugar in the English fashion. Maybe it’s the yeast that lends such complexity to elegant simplicity.

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