Over the past year, I’ve been very impressed with New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series of beers. The collaborations they’ve started making with other breweries has been fantastic. Last year’s Kick, made with Elysian Brewing from Seattle, is still one of the most unique, and flavorful takes on the fall pumpkin beer theme. This year’s Brett Beer, made with Lost Abbey from San Marcos, was an incredibly refreshing beer that should age very well. More recently, Super India Pale Ale, from New Belgium and The Alpine Beer Company, brought immense flavor and balance to the over saturated IPA market.
About a week ago, New Belgium released the last of it’s 2012 Lips of Faith beers. Bière De Garde is a collaboration beer made with Brewery Vivant from Michigan. I haven’t the chance to try this yet, but I’ve heard several people call this one of the best of New Belgium’s beers.
The second Lips of Faith beer that New Belgium released last week was Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout. I tasted this beer on tap last Wednesday at Khoury’s. Once again, New Belgium shows it’s ability to combine and balance multiple flavors into a beer that not only highlights each element, but also succeeds in not overdoing it.
I’m convinced that this beer has some lactose in, as the smooth, creamy mouthfeel, and residual sweetness remind me of every other milk stout I’ve had. I’ve been told that there is no lactose in the beer, so I’m wondering if this sweet, creaminess may be coming from the chocolate in the beer. The coffee flavor is incredible. This beer really does taste like a black cup of coffee with some sweet creamer added. Again, I assume that this sweetness is coming from the chocolate, which, by the way, is perfectly balanced in this beer. Not over top, but some definite chocolate undertones present.
If you are a coffee lover, like myself, then I highly recommend you try this beer out. It is currently on tap at Khoury’s as well as Aces & Ales. Also pick up a bottle of Bièr De Garde while you’re at it!
A shot of the festival grounds with local band Tribal Seeds
On October 20th, Motley Brews presented the follow-up to their 2012 Great Las Vegas Festival of Beer: The Las Vegas Downtown Brew Festival. After having a blast at the last Motley Brews presented festival, I was more than excited for this one. To start with, the location and timing of this event could not have been more perfect! The Clark County Amphitheater is a nice, large, outdoor venue, and the great October Vegas weather made for a phenomenal marriage!
For their first outing in 2011, I had complained that the event seemed disorganized, and way too compact. These problems were pretty much resolved on their second go around. This time, I can only tip my hat to the organizers and sponsors of this fantastic festival! We arrived a bit late (roughly 2:15 PM), but had no trouble finding parking in the large adjacent parking lot. Upon walking up to the entrance, we were quickly able to redeem our Groupons, and were inside and ready to drink within just a few minutes.
Upon entering, we made our way right to the Joseph James tent to try and wet our palettes with their R/D #11 Ginger Lemon Weizen. Thankfully, and remorsefully, we were able to get our hands on the very last drops, which may have proven to be the best beer I had the pleasure of experiencing. The beer tasted like a mix of spicy ginger ale with a refreshing lemon twist. I really hope this one sees a bottle release, as I want everyone to be able to taste this amazing local brew! Their other two R/D offerings did not disappoint either; both the Black Rye Session Pale and the Bourbon-Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout were quite the tasty offerings! Joseph James never ceases to amaze me when it comes to what they pull off for these special events. I will continue to look forward to more R/D batches, while still sipping on their great year-round fermented offerings.
Karl Herrera, the Las Vegas Beer Ranger, pouring some New Belgium brews
Our next stop was to the New Belgium tent to get a pour of their refreshing Shift Lager. Shift really is a perfect summertime beer with its light-body, and flavorfully crisp finish. While chatting with Las Vegas’ new Beer Ranger, Karl Herrera, he officially coined the term “Get Shift-faced!” which pretty much demands to be on the front of a T-shirt! New Belgium was also pouring their Red Hoptober, Ranger IPA, and of course, Fat Tire. Their Super IPA was also on display at the Get Hopped Up Tent, along with Stone 16th Anniversary IPA and Bear Republic’s Racer 5.
Tim and Alex from Tenaya Creek
From there we hit another local favorite in Tenaya Creek. They were happily pouring their new Dutch-style Belgium Tripel, Oktoberfest Lager, the recently bottled Hauling Oats Oatmeal Stout, and their iconic Hop Ride. Not to mention, they also decided to unveil a Hop Ride infused popcorn! Being a Las Vegas staple for years, you really can’t go wrong with anything that Anthony and Tim brew up. Their year round beers are top-notch, and their seasonal brews always leave you looking forward to the next one! If you haven’t been to the brewery yet, you should make it a point to do so. Hell, there’s a good chance you’ll see your’s truly at the bar sipping on a Hop Ride!
Another local staple, Big Dog’s Brewing Company was pouring just nearby. Their selections included Dirty Dog IPA, Las Vegas Lager, Lake Mead Monster Double Red Ale, and the Great American Beer Festival 2012 Silver Medal winning Red Hydrant Ale! Big Dog’s is another local brewery that you just can’t go wrong with! While I would have loved to have seen the seasonal Pumpkin Ale, or the monster that is War Dog IPA, I was more than pleased with what they had to offer! With 2 locations in the Valley, there is no reason not to stop by and grab a drink!
After making our rounds with the local breweries and New Belgium, we decided to hit the outside circle and try and get our hands on some beers we haven’t had before. Our next stops were to Tommyknocker’s and Moa. Tommyknockers, from Colorado, is fairly new to the Las Vegas craft brew scene. They had with them a nice assortment, including Vienna Amber Lager, Maple Nut Brown, Imperial Nut Brown, and a nice, mild, Pumpkin Ale. All of their offerings were solid, and can be found locally at this time.
Moa, from New Zealand, is a brewery that I have yet to try, but I’ve always been curious about. They had samplings of their Breakfast, Pale Ale, and Blanc Evolution. I only tasted the first two, but I was quite fond of both! As a nice contrast to most breakfast inspired stouts, Moa’s Breakfast had a bright, wheat, sweet cherry flavor that would pair nicely with a berry muffin or eggs. While it won’t be for everyone, I think it would be a nice substitute for a mimosa at brunch. The Pale Ale had a subtle citrusy hop nose and flavor, which was balanced by a bitter malt aftertaste.
From here, we went along the line, sampling well known beers from the likes of Dogfish Head (Namaste and Midas Touch), Firestone Walker (Pale 31, Union Jack), Sierra Nevada (Hoptimum, Pale Ale, Torpedo, Kellerweis), Lagunitas, Indian Wells, Three Monkeys, Chicago Brewing Co., and a newer name to the Las Vegas scene: Riley’s
To be honest, I had not heard much about Riley’s until this event. Riley’s is a smaller brewery from Madera, CA, who are in roughly their fifth year of existence. Their lineup consisted of: Sancha, which reminded me of a cross between a pale ale and a honey ale; Vixen: a coffee/chocolate inspired stout; and Wildcat IPA. All three were quite tasty brews, and show a lot of promise for this new brewery. I’ll be looking forward to what they decide too cook up next!
If there is one beer trend that I really enjoy, it’s the new “Session IPA/Pale Ale” trend. Something just appeals to me about a low ABV, flavorful IPA that won’t make you feel all nice and fuzzy after just one glass. Thankfully, one of our last stops, Ballast Point, brought along a beer that is a perfect pale ale for this occasion. Their Even Keel Pale Ale, was just fantastic, and perfect for this mild October day. It had a perfect pine aroma, with just enough citrus to hit your nose. The taste was quite the same, with a great dry finish that didn’t linger for too long. Not be outdone, they also brought along an arsenal of their other lovingly-crafted brews: Big Eye IPA, Calico Amber, Pale Ale, and the incomparable Sculpin IPA.
I can’t finish this without giving a shout-out to all of the food vendors that made it out to quench the hunger of the beer sipping crowd. From restaurant representatives to food trucks, there was something for everyone. Our eatery of choice ended up being Haulin’ Balls, who serve a variety of gourmet sandwiches based around, you guessed it, the meatball. The food was nothing short of remarkable, and I would recommend that any carnivore seek them out.
All in all, this may have been the most pleasant beer festival that I’ve had the opportunity to attend. A big thanks is in order to all the vendors, sponsors, and especially Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada for all the phenomenal brands that they helped bring together! As a group, we’d also like to thank any of our followers that found us and said hello. It’s always great to meet you guys in person, and we appreciate all of the kind words and constructive feedback that we receive.
In closing, if you have not had an opportunity to attend one of these festivals, then you are missing out! Do yourself a favor and make sure that you clear your calendar off and come out and have a blast! …I’m sure you’ll see us there!
Your’s truly filling in for Karl at New Belgium, while he took a well deserved bathroom break
UPDATE: Joseph James commented on Twitter regarding how to find the new recipes:
Red Fox 4-packs, Lager cans, Gluten Free (Fox Tail) cans, and Weize Guy bottles that do not have the word ‘light,’ are new. As for Tahoe and Hop Box, look for Tahoe 22oz and Hop Box 4-pack bottles. In about a month all beer in the market should be the new recipes regardless of package. These recipes have been evolving over a year so there are newer versions on the shelf.
This past Wednesday, Joseph James re-launched their brand at Khoury’s Fine Wine.
Earlier this year, the brewery hired Alex Graham as the new head brewer. They then began the process of seeking honest feedback about their beers and rewriting all the recipes to match what they wanted to represent their brand. From what I understand, every recipe of theirs was changed. Some beers were completely rewritten from scratch, others were slightly modified.
At Khoury’s, the brewery staff was on hand giving free samples of all of their beers. I didn’t try all of them, but here’s a recap of what I did try:
Tahoe Blue Pale Ale: I had never tried this beer before, so I can’t compare it to the old recipe. I can say though that this is a very solid pale ale. Very crisp, bright and refreshing. On the hoppier side for a pale ale, so it’s got a nice bitterness up front before the dry, citrusy finish.
Hop Box Imperial IPA: Previously, I always had mixed results with this beer. I’ve always thought it was a decent beer, but it was never bitter enough, or had enough hop aroma. The new recipe takes care of all of that. Very strong upfront bitterness with a wave of grapefruit aroma. Less sweet malts are used to keep the focus on the hops. Overall, this is a great IPA.
Red Fox Imperial Stout: The old version was a good stout, but had a bit of thin mouthfeel. This new version feels like a stout should. It has a dark roasted espresso taste and it’s also a bit smokier too, with an almost ashy, vanilla finish.
Joseph James is also experimenting with new beers as well. The first 48 customers at Khoury’s had received one of Joseph James’ “rough draft” beers. I was able to snag a bottle of Toasted Coconut Pumpkin Porter. The other rough draft beer available was S’mores Porter.
I picked up all of their beers so I’ll get to try the rest that I didn’t try that night and write about them here.
Thank you to everyone who came by Tenaya Creek this past Tuesday for the stout and cake event. We all had a blast drinking awesome beer and eating Goran’s amazing cake! Hopefully in the future we can plan more of these types of events!
Thanks to Justin Massongill for the photos
You remember Goran’s cake recipe he posted using Tenaya Creek’s Imperial Stout, right? Wish you could eat the cake without the hassle of actually making it? Head to the Tenaya Creek brewery after 6pm on the 31st to meet up with Goran and the rest of us at Hooked on Hops to sample some of the cake while drinking some of the brewery’s finest beers.
We plan on having a busy night and there’s only so much cake to go around so show up early!
Tenaya Creek Brewery
3101 North Tenaya Way, Las Vegas, NV 89128
Tuesday, January 31st at 6PM
I have recently became a contributor to this blog. This is the my first post. I will be posting many recipes in the future that include beer as one of the ingredients. Please do not be shy as far as leaving any feedback. I will be also very happy to answer any questions you may have.
For this recipe I have decided to use the Imperial Stout beer from Tenaya Creek Brewery from Las Vegas, Nevada after our recent trip there. The stout has Chocolate, Roasted and Black malts making this a very thick and flavorful beer. It is definitely one of my top favorite beers out there.
Please keep in mind that, for this recipe, I have decided to keep it very simple and also due to the fact that I would like everyone to be able to make this cake, I have taken lots of shortcuts. There is a long way of doing this (which will yield an even better result), but I guarantee you, I would have lost you half way throughout the recipe. Anywho, I implemented the K.I.S.S method (Keep it simple, stupid).
On to the recipe now!
Yield: 12 servings
- 2 ea (14.5-oz) Gingerbread Cake mix packages
- 2 ea large eggs
- 2 3/4 c Imperial Stout Tenaya Creek beer, room temperature (1 bottle)
- 1/2 c Butter, softened
- 1 ea (16 oz) package Powdered Sugar
- Stir together gingerbread cake mix, eggs and 2 1/2c Imperial Stout beer.
- Pour the batter evenly into 2 lightly greased cake pans
- Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until the toothpick is clean once inserted into the center of the cake. Cool the cake on the rack for 1 hour or until completely cool.
- Beat the softened butter at medium speed until creamy. Add the sugar and the 1/4c Imperial Stout beer gradually.Beat until light and fluffy.
- Spread the Buttercream between the layers and on the top of the cake.
- Garnish the cake
Keep in mind that you can use plenty of things for garnish. I have decided to go for roasted Pecans this time. Make sure you toast them in the over at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes. Be careful and do not burn the nuts.
The finished product will look like this:
Old Rasputin is one of the best Imperial Stouts I’ve had. I always recommend this beer because it’s a perfect example of the style. If you can find the beer on nitro tap, it brings it to another level.
This bottle is a bourbon barrel aged version of Old Rasputin. I didn’t know it existed until I saw the bottle at Khoury’s Fine Wine. I can only imagine that this is pretty rare, and as much as I wanted to age it, I had to taste it.
The bourbon was very present in the way this beer smelled and tasted. It gave the beer a stronger alcohol taste and warmth. In addition to the bourbon flavor, the barrel aging added additional layers of vanilla in the body of the beer.
The carbonation gave this beer an incredible mouthfeel. It felt like it was served on a nitro tap. It had a giant, pillowy soft head.
This would be the perfect beer to drink with an after dinner dessert, or even as one in an ice cream float.
If you find any of these bottles, BUY IT!
Deliciously balanced stout with lots of body and malty, roast chocolate, and espresso flavors. Loads of magnum hops give this beer a strong, clean bitterness to balance out the sweetness.
The caps are wax sealed so this beer can be safely aged. Over time the hops will start to fade and the sweetness will mellow out creating a smooth profile.
Great suggestions from Food Republic. All of the suggested beers are very unique beers in that they are attempting to be a sort of “champagne beer,” either by using champagne yeast, being blended with wine, or using “Brett” bacteria to give it some wine-like tartiness.
If you are looking for a more traditional style of beer, but still want something fancy for New Year’s, here are four of my suggestions:
Chimay Grand Reserve
Nothing says celebration like a Belgian beer made by monks. This is my go-to special occasion beer. It’s a very good, balanced beer that pleases everyone, even the non-beer drinker types.
Stone BELGO Old Guardian Barley Wine
A very full flavored, robust beer. If you can’t find the BELGO version (which is very likely since it is only brewed every other year), then get it’s non-Belgian yeast-fermented, slightly less awesome brother.
Anchor Christmas Ale
Brewed once a year, specifically for Christmas and New Year’s. Well spiced without being overdone.
Tenaya Creek Imperial Stout
Being released today at Khoury’s Fine Wine! Either drink it this New Year’s or age it a year and drink it next year before the world ends!