This week for What’s on Tap, I decide to review three beers literally on tap while I watch the Thursday Night Football game. It will be interesting to see if my mood on these beers changes as the game goes on since I’m not giving the Vikings a lot of hope with Christian Ponder at the helm. It’ll also be interesting to see if I end up “upping” the alcohol content on subsequent brews or if I just enjoy three medium bodied session ales. Perhaps most importantly I need to try and not spill my beer on the keyboard.
So without further ado, I’m packing up the computer and heading down the street to Stanley’s Northeast Barroom for the first ever What’s On Tap: Live Edition!
6:45 PM CST – I arrive at Stanleys and after parking work my way to the far end of the bar. Fortunately there is a single barstool right by the wall adjacent to an outlet. The bartender seems mildly confused as I pull out my laptop and start setting up office on his bar – this could be fun J.
6:48 PM CST – Unbeknownst to me, but logical considering the time of season, Stanleys has a bunch of Oktoberfest beers on tap. I start out by ordering one of the standard bearers of the style.
6:55 PM CST – Appetizer course comes out Korean pork sliders. This is a large portion, way more than I expected six Kings Hawaiian rolls topped with slaw and pulled pork slathered in a sauce that is half Gochujang and half hoison. It was tasty but I wished it wasn’t just cole slaw fixings on there – give me some kimchee for crying out loud!
7:11 PM CST – Finished course one and the Paulaner Oktoberfest. I really wish there had been more spice or tang in that Korean BBQ.
7:20 PM CST – Ordered course two, lemon breaded walleye bites and an Odell IPA.
7:25 PM CST – Both the walleye and the IPA are out, the kitchen is on its’ game since this is a packed house for the football game tonight. The walleye fingers were served in a basket and cut to resemble fries. They were accompanied by a lemon for squeezing and a very nice dill forward tartar sauce.
7:26 PM CST – The fog and rain at Lambeau make this game look like it is being played in London – I guess it is a good thing I ordered the fish.
7:40 PM CST – The Packers contingent here is obnoxiously loud as Eddie Lacy busts off a long run. I may need to switch to hard liquor if I wish to make it through this game. A couple plays later Randall Cobb just scored this could get un-prettier than the few remaining options at the bar roundabout 1:45 AM.
7:55 PM CST – Already not feeling good about this game (and a little heavy-headed from drinking the Odell IPA so quickly), I find myself also concerned about the lack of much sweet selection (outside of Pumking which I have reviewed before) to pair with dessert. I guess I will be returning home to eat dessert at the quarter break since I know I have some dessert-worthy options in the cellar.
7:57 PM CST – The Vikings fans start slowly heading to the exits as Jordy Nelson goes yard for six. I think I made the right call on getting my dessert for the road. At least I started both Cobb and Jordy in DFS.
8:00 PM CST – Cordarrelle Patterson with a big run back of kickoff gets the one remaining Vikes fan excited until he sees the flag on the ground calling it back.
8:05 PM CST – Ponder sacked mercilessly at the 5 yard line. I hope my cheesecake shows up soon so I can get out of here. I also hope no one is doing any drinking games associated with Green Bay points scored. Oh wait, that is all they have to do for fun in Green Bay.
8:10 PM CST – Cheesecake has arrived and I pack up my satchel and laptop to head home. Stopping now is smart because I am not impaired and as such can drive safely. Always remember kids, #GetBlitzedResponsibly.
8:25 PM CST – Wife has pulled us out a bottle of Boulder Chocolate Shake Porter to enjoy with the salted caramel cheesecake! Is there a game going on?
8:30 PM CST – Pick-6 for the Packers, it is not even half and the game is over, this is TNF as we are accustomed to it. Oh well, I’m done writing about this ugly game. Tme to just concentrate on the drinking.
8:38 PM CST – 28-doughnut: Where’s The Tequila?
Paulaner Oktoberfest from Paulaner Brewhaus out of Munich, Germany.
Served: Served on draft into a pint glass.
Appearance: Very light amber in color with a thin ring of tight white bubbles.
Smell: Not getting too much aroma at first as it warmed I got a little breadiness and grassiness
Taste: Caramel forward and sweet it didn’t pair as well with the Korean BBQ as I had hoped but then again that was the Korean’s fault for being too sweet and not enough spicy or tangy. This beer has a lot of biscuit notes up that really dominate its taste throughout.
Mouth feel: Very light body and mouth, I find myself drinking this one very fast without much effort. There is zero aftertaste but a little bit of dryness.
Overall: Great example of an original Oktoberfest. I can see why they serve this in the giant steins and boots. I could drink a lot of this. Of course I wouldn’t look cool though unless I was in lederhosen.
Odell Elephant IPA from Odell Brewing Company out of Fort Collins, CO.
Served: Served on draft into a pint glass.
Appearance: Slightly hazy orange with a thin ring of white bubbles and lots of lacing.
Smell: Citrus notes and spice with a little bit of dankness. At first whiff, I thought that maybe the barkeep had poured me a Deschutes Fresh Squeezed by mistake.
Taste: Very tropical and citrus forward including orange, lemon, and a hint of resinous pine.
Mouth feel: Feels lighter going in than it does once it is in. The piney bitterness definitely hangs around long after the initial fruit dissipates fairly quickly. The bitterness is so clear and present throughout my palate that it makes me more aware of the ABV which at 7% has this pushing double IPA range.
Overall: I really enjoyed the walleye paired with this one. To increase the overall experience I added some Tabasco to the tartar. The added heat paired perfectly with the hop load of the beer. This is definitely big for a regular IPA though so fortunately I am only having one of these. Otherwise, I might not make it to halftime.
Shake Chocolate Porter from Boulder Brewing Company out of Boulder, CO.
Served: Poured from a bomber into tulip glasses at roughly 60 degrees.
Appearance: Black as night with a half inch thick tan head that is dissipating slowly.
Smell: Rich dark chocolate aroma with a hint of coffee and a faint remnant of roasted malt.
Taste: Wow, I forgot how good this beer tastes. The chocolate is right there without being too sweet. It is more of that dark chocolate carob/molasses flavor. As it warmed the chocolate became more prevalent but it still wasn’t in your face like some.
Mouth feel: This is decidedly lighter bodied than I would imagine based on the look. You cannot judge a beer by its color alone, you have to taste it. The chocolate stays in your nose but the rest of your palate goes clean pretty fast. By pairing it with the cheesecake which is very thick, my mouth is definitely getting a contrast in body.
Overall: Now this is the perfect pairing I was looking for. This makes for a sweet and slightly salty dessert with rich robust cocoa-y beer. I think I have found Cracker Jacks in the crust of the cheesecake, if I can get them to give me the recipe I will (then I will post it in our forums). The saltiness goes so well with this dessert brew. It reminds me of the great combo that is chocolate covered pretzels.