And away they go…Port Brewing San Marcos+ The Lost Abbey
It’s me. You know that balding guys ego. He’s asleep right now and he neglected to blog about his beers so I thought I would do it for him.
I’ve said it before and it bears repeating, I don’t show up in Denver to loose. Sure that’s a hell of a statement but why wouldn’t you want to win? It’s the biggest and most prestigious event in the United States. Each year, we send 8 beers and every single time we enter, I expect that 50% of them will medal. Clearly, that’s a lot of pressure to put on yourself. But hey, that’s what egos are for…
This year is certainly no different as we have again entered 8 beers. I’d like to stand here and tell you that all 8 are medal worthy but that simply isn’t the case. Tomme waited all week to post this because he thought some of the beers sent were incredible unique. That’s him you know- Fearless. I think he’s stupid too. But that’s just me. The ego keeping things real.
If you’re reading this, the judging sessions have all ended and all that is left is the awards ceremony today where we get to see how well breweries have done this year. This year, the Great American Beer Festival judged over 2800 beers in 75 separate categories. First up for Port Brewing Co will be category #7 and the place where we have placed Judgment Day. This is the Specialty Beer category and beers in this division require unique fermentables. Judgment Day is made with raisins and finds itself being measured against 16 other beers. This one made Jeff’s list.
He could be right! Three years ago, at Tomme’s insistance, Eric Rose entered a Belgian Style Dubbel with Raisins in this category and went on to win the Gold Medal. It was his first ever GABF Medal. The judges have shown an inclination to accept the merits of brewing with raisins as a unique ferementable and without a doubt, Judgment Day is a beast of a beer in that department. If we hit the board with our first entry, we may hit the ground running and never look back.
Up next, we have # 11 Experimental Beers with 35 Entries. Here, Tomme has entered one of his numerous small batch blends called Veritas 002.
He is very excited to be sending a beer in this category. When he thinks of all the beers and flavors he wants to create, this is what it is all about. Often, this is a wide open field with too many unknowns to handicap well. Veritas 002 is no different. It is a collaborative blend of sour barrel aged beer, Redstone Black Raspberry Nectar and Old Viscosity. This is a unique drinking experience. Even me, his ego, loves it!
Yet, not one of our tasting panelists picked this as a medal winning creation. As his ego, I was crushed. He tells me to get over it. I don’t know if I can. Each liked the creation for its perspective but none wanted to endorse it. I am personally enamored with its ego stretching boundaries and am thankful he sent it. Based upon last night, so are many of the beer drinkers on the floor.
After the Experimental Beers, we’ll catch our breath for about 30 seconds waiting for Category # 12 and the newly created category known as American Wild Ales with 12 Entries. A brewer friend of Tomme’s recently said they probably created this category with Tomme and Vinnie in mind. As his ego, I couldn’t agree more as this is exactly the sort of category that Vinnie and Tomme can do well in.
Cable Car has been called many things since it was released earlier this summer. John Hansell of Malt Advocate Magazine tabbed it as the “best American Sour ale I have ever had…” Since it was blended, I have watched Tomme tell people in no uncertain terms that he feels it is the best bottle of beer he has ever produced. And trust me, he ain’t taken to hyperbole often. That’s my job!
Cable Car was a special blend of three oak barrels which was created for the Dave Keene and the world famous Toronado at 547 Haight Street. Dave Keene will be in the audience today and should this beer medal, Tomme has promised to drag Dave Keene on stage with him. Tomme told me last night if is only going to win one award this year, he wants this one so that Dave can see the stage from another perspective. Both Vinnie and Bagby have stated the same. Let’s hope we go trifecta on the Toronado beers and give Dave an amazing day.
Once we have ridden the Cable Car to its destination, we’ll focus our efforts to Category 16 Wood and Barrel Aged Sour Beers with 20 entries including our world famous Cuvee de Tomme. The Cuvee has gone dark in the last few years lurking seemingly beneath a burdening shadow of greatness.
I’d like to see this one make like Lazarus and rise from the dead. It remains one of the most uniquely produced American Beers out there. This batch is the first batch we ever blended for bottling and it remains to be seen if the sum total is greater than any of its parts. This is another new category created for Tomme and Vinnie and it looks like we’re crapshooting here. I like this beer. I just hope we’re not left wondering how we’re ever going to get back on the podium with this one.
Post Cuvee, we’ll slumber through Lager Land waking only long enough to cheer for PBR and Mickey’s all the while waiting to see if Sandlot can go Big Time like before and sweep through the lagers as in the past. I don’t think it will happen. There are just getting to be too many beers for this to go their way again.
After the Lagers, we’ll watch Pizza Port make it’s stretch run through the Ale categories. Our next beer will be in Category #45 with Hop 15. This is the biggest Dog that we have sent. It will easily get its ASS kicked by better more deserving beers. I hate typing that but it’s true.
It’s a production nightmare to make this beer in San Marcos and we’ve been chasing this beer all summer. For those of you playing along at home, we promise to get Hop 15 back to the podium. It is a damn fine beer. But if you’re betting the farm on one of our beers, just remember with Hop 15, I don’t drive tractors either.
After Hop 15 gets trounced(by Jeff and Vinnie), we’ll sit back and cheer through Belgian Beer land as our friends pick up the slack. We’ll pause at Category 62 for Belgian Style Specialty Ales with 58 entries including and our Ten Commandments. This is our Anniversary beer made with Blackened Raisins and Rosemary. It doesn’t really fit a “true” style guideline and it really only “sorta” fits here.
At the tasting, this beer fired like an uncaged sprinter and never let up. The problem is, that even though this beer exudes confidence, like me, this category sets up more often than not of late to smash individualism. We’ll remain committed to making this great batch of beer even if we never find a home for it at the GABF.
It’s possible that we could catch a flyer on uniqueness and earn extra points for subtle spicing but in the end, Tomme’s pretty sure we’ll get passed over. If it wins, he’s promised to High Five Jeff for a beer finally getting its due. It remains to this day, one of their most inspired and well thought out beers even though it never seems to win anything. A vote for Myopia then?
Oh CRAP! He just woke up…I’m posting now without finishing this blog. I hope he doesn’t mind. Me, I love being his ego. It’s a pretty cool job with tons of fringe benefits. Sometimes, I wonder what life would be like if I had a sucky ego job?