Monday, December 16, 2013

Twenty Bottles

Sometimes, there's just too many craft beers out there to drink, and you have so little time. Sometimes, you wish you could try many different beers but to do so would leave you intoxicated, unable to do anything else.

For times like that, I recommend joining a group of beer drinkers and sharing bottles.

This weekend, the second Ottawa Bottle Share was held with 20 craft beers from across North America. The premise is that everyone brings a bottle that is not easily acquired: you can't get it in the LCBO, nor can you find it in great supply.

It might sound like a lot of beer to drink in one sitting, and true, by the end of it all, your taste buds are exhausted. But because you pour no more than an ounce or so of each beer (sometimes, I put much less in my tasting cup), and you drink for about three hours, you have less than two pints.

For this tasting, I calculated that I drank, at most, one pint.

But what a tasting.

The majority of beers at this bottle share were stouts and porters, with a couple of Scotch ales, pale ales, and barley wines. My favourites of the afternoon were the MacKroken Flower Reserve Scotch Ale, the Barley Days Yuletide Cherry Porter, the Dogfish Head American Beauty, and the Heady Topper.

Not to toot my own horn, but I brought a taste of Ottawa brewing history that held its own with the other samples: a 2005 Tsarina Katarina Imperial Stout. Yes, that's an eight-year-old stout, from my friend, Perry Mason, of the gone-but-not-forgotten Scotch-Irish Brewing Company.

This is the beer that made me want to start reviewing beer. I first wrote about this Imperial stout two years ago, when I couldn't believe a beer could last for six years. Two years later, it still holds its body and flavour, with very little hint of its nine-percent alcohol level. For me, it was a treat to revisit.

I wish to thank Sasha and Matt for opening their house to this tasting, and to all the participants who brought amazing beer. I can't wait to do this again.

For those of you who wish to attend the next Ottawa Bottle Share, follow the Ottawa Beer Events blog.


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