Friday, January 23, 2009


San Francisco’s TORONADO is getting pretty active this year at having “themed” beer nights, usually on Wednesdays, where either one or many world-class brewers ship in kegs of their limited-batch beer and/or even make a personal appearance. I have not made as many of these as I’d like, save for RUSSIAN RIVER’s “-TION” night last year and an ELYSIAN event a few months ago. This past Wednesday was the “TORONADO STOUT FEST”, and a lot of heavyweights complied, and sent in kegs of some of their darkest and most highest-octane beers (stouts, porters, imperial Belgian-style dark ales, etc.). I witnessed things I’ve never heard of or rarely seen from Port Brewing, Russian River, Green Flash, Iron Springs, Dogfish Head, Deschutes (THE ABYSS on draft!), Firestone Walker, Marin and others. They didn’t have the promised LOST ABBEY “Serpent’s Stout” on draft, though – that one would’ve been a must-re-try for sure. Thankfully the Toronado was only as crowded as it typically is at 9pm on a weeknight (which is to say very), and my drinking companion and I both got seats at the bar for a front-row view of the tap-draining action.

I’ve got a confession to make, though: I dig stouts, even the big-alcohol ones, but not the way some of you hearty drinkers do. Two glasses of 10%-ABV imperial stout or porter is more than enough for me, and though I had every intention of “going long” at this festival, after two glasses I knew I was totally done with stouts, and I retreated to the hoppy comfort of a RUSSIAN RIVER BLING PIG IPA to end my night on a palate-cleansing note. I did get my licks in, though.
Here’s what I tried:

FIFTY-FIFTY ECLIPSE – This is a relatively new brewer from Truckee, CA, out near Lake Tahoe in Northern/Eastern California. I’ve heard some really good things about them, but I haven’t tried any flagships or anything else, as we can’t get them in San Francisco yet. So many it’s strange to start my relationship with them with ECLIPSE, an ass-kicking, high-alcohol, ultra-sweet stout. Very boozy, a little hot, with a medium/thin body. I think this might be an oatmeal stout, as that’s the grain I’m getting in the taste. You can absolutely smell the malts and taste some bitter dark chocolate. Totally intense, and a pretty eye-watering way to begin the day. Something tells me the stout hounds are going to be all over this one, but I may not be man enough. 6/10.

GREEN FLASH DOUBLE STOUT – Ahh, GREEN FLASH once again are standing tall in their armor atop a white horse. VERY dry taste on this killer, which it appears is actually available in bottles as well. A great coffee aroma and general bitter undertone seeps through this delicious stout, and it’s got such a smooth finish & aftertaste. Like velvety satin sitting next to Scarlett Johansson’s skin. I’d drink this again anytime, anywhere – except when I’ve already got two imperial stouts in me. 8/10.

1 comment:

Steve said...

I'm loving your new picture taking. Keep it up, more is better :)