While we were on tour last summer, I combined my interest in craft beers and the traveling I was doing to create a daily beer blog of sorts, trying a new local brew each day (much to my liver's dismay), briefly commenting on it (or not), and hoping readers and/or fellow beer dorks would be either exposed to some new beers or able to recommend to me local favorites. It's kind of like my Random Start posts, but with beer instead of music.
I'm continuing that trend on this tour. We ask for and usually get a local brew on our tour rider, but most of the time, I just grab a couple of our crew guys and head for a preshow meal/beer at a restaurant, drafthouse or pub within walking distance of the club we're playing at. That's usually where I end up finding the best beers. What follows is a list of three of my favorites from this tour so far.
Bell's Two Hearted Ale
Beer Advocate Score: A
Riley's Beer Dork Score: I want to pour it into my mouth forever.
Our tour manager, Brian, is a Michigan-native (where Bell's beers are brewed) and suggested (read: demanded) I try Bell's Two Hearted when we were out at the awesome little gastropub called Milltown in Carrboro last week. It blew me away. It might be the best IPA I've ever had, and I've had a lot.
A user review on Beer Advocate reads:
Pours a deep golden, with a one-finger head that dissipated quickly. Slight lacing on the glass. Smells of tropical fruit, citrus zest, a little pine. Malt flavor up front, with a hint of the hops in the finish. Mouthfeel was a little thin.
I don't know what the fuck any of that means. (Also, "mouthfeel" is a horrible, horrible word and needs to go away immediately or yesterday.)
I'd review it like this:
It bursts from a pint glass like a glorious, moderately hoppy, winged phoenix that flies directly into your mouth area to give your taste buds a blowjob while it fires millions of delicious flavor lasers at your tongue and unleashes lightning bolts of happiness into your limbic system. A celebration of yumminess mitigated only by how fast you can pour it into the biggest hole in your head.
In short, it's AWESOME.
Breckenridge Brewery Vanilla Porter
Beer Advocate Score: B-
Riley's Beer Dork Score: I want a pipeline from Colorado that flows directly to a tap in my kitchen. With my last name, I should be able to make that happen, right?
I didn't find this one at a local brew; it was graciously bestowed upon me as a "beginning of tour" gift from Greg from Moving Mountains. I'd heard a lot of great things about Breckenridge beers, specifically the Vanilla Porter, but hadn't had the opportunity to try any of them because they're tough to get in SoCal. Thankfully, Greg and the guys stopped through Breckenridge, Colorado, on the way to Vegas to meet up with the tour, and they grabbed me a sixer sampler of Breckenridge's finest. The Vanilla Porter did not disappoint. I'm not really a fan of sweet beers, but I found it vanilla-ish enough without being overpowering, coffee-ish without tasting muddy. It'd be an amazing compliment to a stack of pancakes and a pile of bacon. The perfect breakfast beer. Are we allowed to drink beer with breakfast?
Duck Rabbit Milk Stout
Beer Advocate Score: B+
Riley's Beer Dork Score: It makes Guinness taste like leprechaun diarrhea.
A guy with a serious beard suggested I try this. When a guy with a serious beard recommends you try a beer, you listen. When you listen to a guy with a serious beard recommend a beer, you end up having one of the best beers you've ever had in your life and wish that you were capable of growing a serious beard so that you could recommend awesome beers to people and have them listen . . . and learn.
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I'll keep it simple. (Also: Imagine that I just grew a beard. A serious one.)
If you like Guinness, stop drinking it and get some Duck Rabbit Milk Stout.
If you don't like Guinness, get some Duck Rabbit Milk Stout, drink it, grow a beard, then tell people to drink Duck Rabbit Milk Stout.