News Flash – Vail Brewing Company

The Board of Majesty

In honor of National Beer Day today, I give you our latest trip to a brewery — this time in Vail, Colorado. We sat down at the aptly named Vail Brewing Company for a couple hours last week, and were loathe to leave, and not just because there was a snowstorm brewing outside. It was their second birthday, and they had great live music, a charming atmosphere and, above all, some interesting and tasty beers. Here they are, in no particular order.

Brown, English, Stout

(From left to right)

Down River Brown – 5.5% ABV – 22 IBU – 40 SRM

This was super drinkable, and had a nice malty flavor with almost no hops (though a higher IBU than I would have expected). Not a huge amount of flavor overall? But it was nice to sip. I liked this more than the PiC.

Us and Them English Ale – 6.0% ABV – 40 IBU – 14 SRM

This was also very nice. Caramel notes, with more hops but still sweet. I generally like ESBs so I’m biased, though the PiC actually liked this more than me. A little dryer than usual, perhaps? The hoppy bitterness lingers longer than I would like, but it’s overall very nice.

Brother From Another Udder Stout – 5.9% ABV – 29 IBU – 40 SRM

This had a very strong coffee smell, but no taste of it — thankfully. Really nice and thick, with a silky texture. The PiC described it as smoky and burnt, which I agree with. We asked the bartender, and it’s an oat chocolate vanilla milk stout. Many adjectives, but it at least made the name make sense.

Warmer, Blonde, Raspberry

(From left to right)

Hut Trip Winter Warmer – 5.7% ABV – 18 IBU – 27 SRM

This was number one on both of our lists. It had a really interesting smell, of chocolate and cinnamon, but really didn’t taste that way at all. It was a Very nice. Interesting smell, chocolate and cinnamon. It was made with vanilla black tea, herbal chai, and cinnamon, and you could taste the chai especially. Colorwise, it was dark for a warmer, but I think that’s because of the tea?

Hot Mess Blonde – 5.5% ABV – 22 IBU – 4.5 SRM

Like the raspberry blonde (below) without the raspberry. It was a little sweeter and rounder, and also a bit wheatier which doesn’t really make sense. It was much better without the fruit, and it was our third choice overall. There was a touch too much hops, perhaps, but that’s me being a wimp about bitterness.

Pink Vail! Raspberry Blonde – 5.4% ABV – 4 SRM

This was good! But still number six for us. It wasn’t super fruity, and had some nice hoppy notes. Very easy drinking, with a twist. The PiC wished there was a little more raspberry, but I was okay with it — almost just an aftertaste.

 

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The Irish Derby

The Irish Derby

I’ll get back to Jerry Thomas soon, I promise! This is another dinner party drink, this one St. Patrick’s Day themed. I found this gem of a cocktail when investigating drinks that weren’t Irish coffee, car bombs, or generally green in color.

Probably the most important (American, as opposed to Irish) news that came out recently is of course the fact that the Republicans in Congress could not agree on their own health bill, and Obamacare / the ACA remains in place for the foreseeable future. I actually like this news for two reasons: one, I am a fan of Obamacare, but two, I actually appreciate that for once people were not just blindly voting on party lines. Granted, some of the Republicans that would have voted no would have done so because it was TOO similar to Obamacare, so that’s not quite what I’m going for, but at least it’s a start.

The Irish Derby - Ingredients

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The Al Capone

The Al Capone - Hero

This is the second drink I made for the Speakeasy party (the other being the French .45). It’s a pretty simple cocktail, just a modification of a Moscow Mule but I’m pretty sure I’ve never had a version of a Moscow Mule that wasn’t delicious so how can you go wrong. As evidenced by the name, this represented the Mob side of the game.

There’s no vocab I can really spark on newswise (there are some recent comparisons of Rachel Maddow and Trump’s tax returns to opening Al Capone’s vault live online to find nothing, but that’s boring), so instead I’ll share something that is only related through train of thought. Speakeasy > Prohibition > Smuggling > Tunnels > this cool story! Enjoy.

The Al Capone - Ingredients

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The French .45

IMG_5149

Last weekend, our friends hosted a Speakeasy party, and we were tapped to provide the drinks. For those of you that don’t know (most of you, I assume), Speakeasy is a party game where you lie to each other (always fun) and try to figure things out about the other team without knowing who’s actually on which team, and obviously lends itself very well to having 1920’s theme decor and comestibles.

Since I didn’t want to be stuck behind the bar the whole time, I opted for two batched drinks, attempting to satisfy both those guests who wanted a lighter, fruitier drink and those who wanted something a little more spirit-forward. Both of these ended up rather on the first end of that spectrum, but I was okay with that. This one, the French .45 (like the gun) represented “The Feds” in the game, and is apparently the more original recipe for a French 75 (usually with gin). The second drink, the Al Capone, was obviously for “The Mob” and, well, you’ll just have to take a look at that post to find out.

Some not so great news coming out of the French town of Grasse yesterday, when a teenager committed a school shooting, which is rather uncommon outside of the US. The silver lining is that no injuries were considered life threatening.

The French .45 - Ingredients

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69. West Indian Punch

69. West Indian Punch - Hero

Here’s another variation on JT’s Brandy Punch (after last week’s Barbadoes Punch). I, for one, didn’t know that preserved (not candied) ginger was a thing, but apparently it’s pretty common in British-esque countries. And is very tasty. I’ve eaten many a “clove” or two on their own once I found it at our local British food store. It’s a pity it’s not more common.

One of the biggest news stories today is Wikileak’s release of details on CIA hacking tools that can snoop on your phone, computer, and even your connected TV. This is not super surprising, as the spy agency is just that — a spy agency — but it will definitely pose problems for the western organization (ugh that’s a stretch) as some of the tricks of their trade are now revealed.

69. West Indian Punch - Ingredients

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70. Barbadoes Punch

70. Barbadoes Punch - Hero

This is one of the many variations on JT’s Brandy Punch (which was delicious). It is notable for being one of the drinks I never thought I would actually make, due to the required additional ingredient — guava jelly. Because who has that? That’s not a thing! Then, one of our friends brought back some guava jam as a gift from a tropical trip so… problem solved! Technically jam not jelly I suppose but close enough.

The only news that I could understand about Barbado[e]s itself was this which does not merit repeating here. So, instead, some regular news. Scientists have found what they think are the oldest micro-fossils yet, dating back to 3.77 billion years ago. They are probably bacteria that lived around hot volcanic vents in the ocean’s floor. Cool!

70. Barbadoes Punch - Ingredients

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