Beer Break Vol. 2, No. 39
What's on tap?
July 18, 2002
Do you get a kick in walking into a new (to you) place, discovering a bunch of tap handles and checking out just what they have to offer? The selection gives you immediate hints about the beer region, the ownership and the customers. At one of the three Summits Wayside Tavern this can be exhausting, since each location has more than 100 taps.
In fact, at the Cumming restaurant there are more than 200 taps. They list the beers you'll find on regularly at Summits website.
Giant beer menus can create information overload, and that's one of the reasons we've so enjoyed looking at the designated taps for the American Beer Month Challenge. Owners of places with gigantic selections have created a Cliff Notes version of their beer lists.
Here are some of them:
Great Lost Bear, Portland Maine: Allagash White Ale, Bar Harbor Blueberry Ale, Casco Bay Summer Ale, Geary's Summer Ale, Gritty McDuff's Summer Wheat Ale, Magic Hat #9, Sam Adams Summer Ale, Sebago Northern Light Ale, Shipyard Summer Ale, Stone Coast 420 IPA.
Fred's Rivertown Alehouse in Snohomish, Wash.: New Belgium's Fat Tire Amber, Mac & Jack's African Amber, Maritime Pacific's Clipper Gold, Pyramid's Snowcap, Diamond Knot's I.P.A., Winthrop's Outlaw Pale Ale,
Deschute's Black Butte Porter, Dick's I.P.A., Winthrop's Grandpa Clem's Nut Brown, Hale's Cream Ale.
Barley's Taproom, Greenville, S.C.: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Carolina Blonde, Rogue Amber, Rogue Hazelnut, Highland Oatmeal Porter, Blue Moon, Thomas Creek Red, New South Lager, New South White, Redhook Hefe Weiss.
Horseshoe Pub & Restaurant, Hudson, Mass.: 2-Street Rolltone Red Ale, 2-Street Mocha Java Stout, Wachusett Country Ale, Wachusett IPA, Wachusett Blueberry, Berkshire Traditonal Pale Ale, Deja Brew Kick Ass Pale Ale, Deja Brew Lobster Tail, Sherwood Forest Pale Ale, Rapscallion Concord Junction Premium.
These lists alone make a pretty strong statement about the diversity of American beer.
Since it's American Beer Month we pulled a couple of classics out of the archives:
MAGIC HAT BLIND FAITH IPA
Brewed by Magic Hat Brewing Co. South Burlington, Vt.
Anheuser-Busch brewer Mitch Steele's tasting notes:
The appearance is deep copper, with a good head of foam. The aroma is fruity and estery, with an overwhelming hop character that reminded me of green peppers. Magic Hat's web site states that the hops used are "Willamette and UK Progress, then (lots of) Cascade". The label calls the beer "blessed with hops," the understatement of the year. There are 4 malts used in this beer, which provide a nice level of complexity and body to balance out the hop bitterness. The finish possesses strong hop bitter and a touch of butterscotch. Definitely one of the hoppier IPAs of this (tasting) set, brewed by a brewery with one of the coolest names in the business.
SIERRA NEVADA PALE ALE
Brewed by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, Calif.
Flossmoor Station brewer Todd Ashman's recollections and tasting notes:
My introduction to Sierra Nevada products was with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale I remember it well as it was my first experience with hoppy beer. I was sold. This was it. I wanted to brew beer like this and be able to call it my own....
Light copper in color with a white head. Wonderful cascade hop aroma is very inviting. The beer delivers on its promise and the hops are there. Medium bodied with a touch of malt sweetness. The hop finish is this beer's trademark. If you ever wanted to know what Cascades hops are like this is the beer to taste.