Friday, August 01, 2008

Mini-Beer Tasting at Sycamore

By "mini," I mean that two of us sat down to try some beers at Sycamore. J swears by the beer selection at Sycamore, and I won't argue. They do have a selection one can't find anywhere else in this town.

The purpose of last night's meeting was to try New Belgium's La Fleur Misseur. NB doesn't sell this limited release brew by the bottle, so we knew we had to get our fill before it is gone. And I'm glad we did. The beer has a nice, thick head with a golden cloudi
ness to the body. It's a little fruity (which I like) and there's a bit of funk (which I'm learning to like). This is one of those beers that NB should bottle as a bomber and sell in stores.

The bartender asked us if we liked IPA's. That might be the silliest question ever, but he didn't know. We do like them.

He brought out a Mikkeller Stateside IPA from Denmark. This beer is a good example of a new trend in craft brewing. It seems that European brewers are so taken with big, hoppy American beers that they want in on the action. Mikkeller put together a Scandinavian take on an American IPA. The aroma was florally and hoppy, but the sweetness usually found in a lot of IPA's was absent. That was OK, because the dry bitter finish improved as the beer warmed.

We finished the night off with a beer I had been eyeballing for weeks: the Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Stout. One word dominates the aroma and flavor of this beer: VANILLA. The vanilla was big the way some imperial IPA's are big on hops. It tastes exactly as it is named. There is hardly a trace of alcohol or anything beer-like, but it's frickin' good. It was the perfect way to finish off the night. I wouldn't want to start an evening with this brew, but I'd end any night downing a bomber.

While drinking our beers, J and I discussed several beer-related issues in COMO (as well as our mutual distaste for hippies, but I digress).

The beer market in town is improving all the time. Obviously, Sycamore is leading the way with its daring beer menu, both on tap and off. Then we have a passable brewery in Flat Branch. Some of FB's brews are suspect, but the food and KT Trail Pale Ale are always good. Places like Hy-vee and Arena Liquors are getting better and better at stocking interesting beers, but we still lack a proper beer shop. Top-Ten W
ines does the best they can, but the beers are stored on their side and the selection hasn't changed in months.

Besides missing a proper beer shop or 40-tap brew pub, there's little or no imagination. What I mean is that the beer community has not really meshed well with the rest of the food community. Coffee Zone or Kaldi's should have a java stout at Flat Branch. Why hasn't a Flat Branch-themed ice cream been introduced at usually alcohol-happy Sparky's? When will the coffee, ice cream, and beer folks catch on that we have a fantastic chocolatier right in our backyard in Alan McClure of Patrick Chocolate? Cross-breeding these fine COMO offerings could be an opportunity waiting to happen.

Either way, Sycamore filled our beer need last night. I will have to
pay more attention to what this downtown establishment has to offer in the future.


I almost forgot to mention that the fall concert line-up is getting a little better. I've been hinting for weeks that one of my heros will be stopping by in November, and I can finally reveal his identity.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks will play the Blue Note on November 2. For those of you who unfamiliar with the head Jick, Malkmus was the former frontman for 90's indie originals Pavement. And if you know me at all, you know that I have huge crush on Pavement. Blitzen Trapper will open.

Oh, and GE, I do realize the irony of living in misery despite all this good beer, a blossoming concert schedule, and the impending arrival of my first-born.


douglas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
douglas said...

time for another "can't sing it strong enough" posting?

comoprozac said...

I was actually thinking the same thing myself.

Donna said...

Southern Tier Crème Brûlée Stout?
Sounds like my kind of beer. Yum.

My Name is Bird said...

flat branch has zbest coffee stout right now (or at least they did when i was there a few days ago). it was pretty ok.

My Name is Bird said...

flat brach has a zbest coffee stout right now. i had it a few days ago, it was pretty ok.

GE said...

Ha! At least you're highly self-aware about the irony of your situation. I think I'd move to you part of Misery... if you had a baseball team that was less than 2 1/2 hours away. OK that's not true.

comoprozac said...

Actually, I think the Royals are technically 2 hours away. You don't want to move here, trust me.

GE said...

I meant a Major League Baseball team....sorry Royals fans!

comoprozac said...

Now that's funny...Nothing says "Major League professionalism" like firing your manager at 3 AM.