Sunday, July 24, 2011

Small Town Brewey Tasting and the new "best deal in town"

Bad picture of Scott's Beer Menu
As you are probably aware by now, I LOVE a good deal, especially one that involves beer! Well this past Thursday I went with my friend Eric to Bliss in Wauconda for their Thursday Night Craft beer tasting, with the brew-master from Small Town Brewery (also in Wauconda). For a whopping $5, you get to taste 6 different craft beers, not to mention Small Town Brewery's sample of their Wheat beer.  Clearly that is one heck of a deal... Bliss is a very cool wine bar/cafe/ store; they do free wine tastings too (if you are into that sort of thing). If you are in the northern Illinois area, it would be well worth a stop into Wauconda to check out Bliss, and their very good selection of craft beers. Now I should add that while Bliss doesn't have it's own kitchen, they do have a very nice (and very Wauconda) restaurant across the street that delivers into the store for patrons. I thought that was so cool, because I really enjoy the food at Bulldogs, and though eating inside the retro restaurant is fun, having it brought to your table while drinking a nice cold craft beer is even more fun (Bulldogs also serves craft beer though not as wide a selection).
Stiegl Weisse
So what was on the menu? Glad you asked! I have to admit how impressed I was with the way that the beer tasting menu was set up, from a cool crisp beer to more spiced Belgian styles, ending with a crisp wheat ale that refreshes your palate (just in time to try something from Small Town Brewery).
First up was Stiegel Weisse at 5.1% Alcohol per volume. This was a nice fruity beer, and I immediately thought that my wonderful husband would love it because of the banana and vanilla flavors that it has, but it was well balanced and you could still taste the wheat and yeast. This might not be one that I would buy for myself, but will look for as a gift for my hubs.
Bell's Oberon

The next beer is from Bell's and is Bell's Oberon. At 5.8% alcohol per volume, this wheat ale was really good. I liked the flavor of the yeast, wheat and hops. It was very well balanced, not too sweet, not too hoppy... just right. I like this one so much that I bought a mini-keg of it for Eric's birthday! This will definitely be one that I will be looking for again.

La Fin Du Monde

The third beer on the menu is one of my all time favorites, La Fin Du Monde. It is 9.0% alcohol per volume and is perfectly spiced. The name is French for The end of the world (the brewery is in Quebec) and with one of these delicious beers in hand I would be okay if it was the end of the world (now I have REM in my head)

Next on the menu was Maudite, a sister beer to La Fin Du Monde from Unibrou. Maudite is 8% alcohol per volume and is a little more roasted in flavor then La Fin Du Monde. Maudite is another one that I really like, and have had on multiple occasions, it was interesting to me to have them one after the other, I was really able to compare the flavors better. A little more aggressive with the malts and hops, Maudite is still a well balance, well spice Belgian style ale.

Krombacher Pilsner
Number five on the menu was a Pilsner from Krombacher. At 4.8% alcohol per volume this crisp and clean pilsner is a refreshing choice on a hot summer day. Not overly hoppy as some pilsners can be, and I would have expected after such heavily spiced beers before-hand, this was the perfect beer to follow up the Belgian ales from Unibrou. A very good example of what a German Pilsner should taste like (not that the Germans need me to tell them that).

Southern Tier 422 Pale Wheat Ale
The final (sort of ) beer was 422 from Southern Tier. I have heard some amazing things about this South Carolina brewery, but this was the first time I actually was able to try anything from them. 422 Pale Wheat Ale is 5.8% alcohol per volume and is a little more fruity than one would expect from the smell. It was a good balance of hops and the wheat flavor. I have to say I was very impressed and will be keeping a look out for the other offerings from Southern Tier.

Tim Kovac, Brew-master from Small Town Brewery
Once we finished "Scott's Beer Menu" (Scott, you are awesome!) we were given the opportunity to try the Wheat Ale brewed by Wauconda's very own Small Town Brewery. The brew-master at Small Town was there to pour us our samples himself. Small Town Brewery's Wheat Ale is well balanced, has a very strong flavor of the wheat which I really liked. It coats your mouth like melting chocolate, letting you enjoy the flavor notes in between sips. The wheat ale had a nice tone of honey, which was perfect on the hot day that we had. At 5% alcohol per volume, Small Town Brewery has created a fantastic session beer! I had the good luck to talk to Tim while we were going through the tasting, and he is a very nice man who is passionate about what he does. All the things you want to have in someone who is making beer! Currently Small Town Brewery's family of beers is only served at select locations in Lake County, IL. You MUST come out to Lake County to try some of Small Town's offerings, and I hear that they will be at the Lake County Fair this month.... so you might see me there, and if you do, say hi, I would love to meet you.

Small Town Brewery's Wheat Ale
 Thursday I discovered a very cool place in my home town, and was amazed at the variety, vision and love but into not just the beer I sampled, but the atmosphere and attitude of the people working at Bliss. I plan on going back again, it was by far the best deal in town!

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