Last night (April 20th, 2013) was CBW's One Year Anniversary Party at Coles in Buffalo, NY. Coles is one of the better beer bars in the city, although the clientele is mostly students. When I was in college it wasn't nearly the beer bar it is now, nor was the dive next door - Mr. Goodbar. However, both bars now have fantastic beer selections and if you can get to either one between 2-5 (when it's not busy) it's a great chance to try delicious beers in a much quieter and less-busy bar. I'm 30 years old now so I prefer a quiet bar where I can relax and enjoy what I'm drinking. But I am digressing, along with the standard CBW fare, they also brewed four special beers for the occasion. Unfortunately, I only had three of the four special beers (plus one non-Anniversary-but-still-specially-brewed beer):
1. McCollum Porter
My friends have a farm. The name of the farm is McCollum Orchards, and they grow hops (along with many other things). You can probably guess that the hops used in this beer came from their farm. Since I also do work on the farm, I wanted to know how the hops that grew in the trellis system I helped to raise tasted. I obviously can't take any credit for how they tasted as my friends did all the work on the hops and CBW did all the work on the beer, but it's nice to know I contributed in some small way. The porter was great. I've talked about the porter style before so I won't go into much detail there, but this beer was true to that style. It had a rich, somewhat smoky flavor but it was well-balanced (as the CBW beers tend to be). I hope this joins Frank, The Whale, The IPA, and DeMaas as one of their regular beers - and also so they keep using the hops from my friends' farm!
2. Double IPA
Hoppy, but not excessively so. As mentioned above, CBW beers tend to be very well-balanced. However, based on the name I was expecting this beer to be excessively hopped (much like Flower Power) and, much like Flower Power, I was ready to only have one and be done with it. While I did only have one, because there were plenty of other beers to drink (and only have five beers in my "bank"), I definitely would have had more. It's a hefty IPA (hence, the "double"), is citrusy with some grassy notes as well. Delicious!
3. Rye-Barrel Aged "The Snow"
This beer was only at Mr. Goodbar so I had to "run" over from Coles to make sure I had some before we sat down for dinner. It is one of the best beers I've ever had. As I've said before, the Imperial Stout is my favorite style of beer. Pizza Plant recently had an Imperial Stout tasting so I showed up (the following day) and got to try them (in a much quieter atmosphere!) The Snow (the non-barrel aged version) was one such beer at Pizza Plant so getting to try both Snows so close to one another was a great way to taste and compare. The Rye barrel aging compliments the heavy coffee and chocolate qualities of The Snow with lighter notes of vanillin and spicy-fruitiness. Awesome.
4. Four Spacious Skies Amber (the non-Anniversary-but-still-specially-brewed beer)
I kind of wish I started with this because my palate was overwhelmed by the previous two beers; it's my own fault for ending with it. However, it was a very pleasing and something I would consider a "regular" drinker.
All in all, it was a delicious night and I'm happy to see CBW doing this well one year in to their venture. Continued success to them!