There are a few steps to take when a beer hunter goes on a trip. There is the preparations, researching the beer scene at the destination, the trip it self, what beers are there along the way, enjoying the beer at the destination and maybe just as important, bring some local good beers back home to share with friends. For my trip to Sweden I had to ad a step that might for some be necessary, diving in to the fridge and start drinking all the beers I had planned to drink before leaving Santa Monica.
I’ve had two beers from Russian River Brewing Company to long in my fridge. It’s hard to get their beers on the East Coast and I’m exited that I can get their beer at my local grocery store. Damnation is their interpretation of a Belgian Golden Ale. There is nothing special with this beer, which is not a bad thing . Sometimes I think that many of us beer hunters are looking for something new and out of the ordinary all the time so we forgot the ordinary and the good. And the Damnation is just that. A good Golden Ale that I wouldn’t mind having again. The Russian River Supplication Ale is on the other hand not ordinarily beer. Sour Lambic and Flamish Brown Ales are one of my favorite kind of beer. I have been looking for a brewery that can brew a good sour beer that is just the Belgium sour beers and I think I found it. Supplication Ale is a 7% Brown Ale aged on French oak Pinot Noir barrels with Bryttanomyces, Lactobacillus and Pediococcus yeast and sour cherries. What kind of mumbo jumbo is this? The yeast and the barrel is what makes a sour beer a good sour beer. This is something that breweries in America are starting to experiment with and are getting better and better at brewing them.
I looked forward to sample some of Alesmith Brewing Company beers before I moved to California. Their seasonal Yule Smith is brewed twice a year in two different but similar styles. In the summertime the Yule Smith is a Double IPA. This 9.5% beer taste to me like a hoppy Belgian Blond which ok. Belgian Blonds are good beers. Not fare away from San Diego, which is AleSmith’s home town is Placentia, Orange County and the home town of The Bruery. All The Bruery’s beers are non filtered, bottled conditioned and naturally carbonated. The Rugbrø (Rye Bread) Ale 8% beer is loosely based on the Scandinavian Christmas beer tradition with inspiration from the Danish dark, whole-grain rye bread using three types of rye malt in the beer. I have had beer from The Bruery before and enjoyed most of them. I think it’s great that they get their influence from Scandinavia. But this beer I don’t like. It has a robust malty flavor, which is to be expected but it’s a very harsh unpleasant malty flavor. It’s very edgy and young and lack the balance that I think is important in a good beer. It says on the bottle that this beer is good to age for up to two years. I say it’s a requirement.
Rugbrø might not be to easy for an American to pronounce. See their efforts on the video below.
I didn’t have much expectation on the trip it self. At LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal it was Bud country. If my expectations to find a good beer at an airport is low, it’s even lower getting a good beer on an airplane. To my surprise British Airways (BA) actually had Fullers London Pride in a can. I understand that an airline can’t have a large varieties of beers from small and interesting craft breweries. What they can have is one beer that isn’t a light lager from a major brewery and that is what BA had. Fullers is a good brewery and I think the Fuller London Porter is a great beer and kind of template of traditional London Porters.
I flew in to Heathrow in London to continue to Stockholm after a short layover. I was lucky; my flight came in to Terminal 5 and left from Terminal 5. Heathrow can be a nightmare going from one terminal to the other. Right at the gate for my connecting flight was a pub and to my great surprise they had Real Ale or cask ale as it’s more communally called in America. And even more surprisingly the Real Ale was quality approved by Cask Marque. Cask Marque is a non profit organization that provides quality assessments on Real Ale for pubs. If you meet their quality standards you will get the benefit of display Cask Marque Sign of a Great Pint. I just had to have an Abbot Ale at that pub. For breakfast. And it was fruity and perfectly balanced like I remember British Real Ale. LAX should pick this up, spreading the great American beer culture at the boarder already when visitors come and leave.