Great Lakes Brewery's Blackout Stout - 9.0% ABV - Great Lakes from Cleveland has been a real comer in the Craft Brewing world. They have established a presence through clever appellations evoking iconic historic events and characters associated with the Great Lakes regions, such as Eliot Ness Amber Lager, Commodore Perry IPA and Burning River Pale Ale. More importantly, they have created a number of excellent beers, and their Blackout Stout is no exception. A rich black in color with a dark, full head, Blackout Stout has a solid hops presence balanced by a malty smoothness. There is an interesting spiciness, and a sweet, malty quality as well.
-ROUND 1 -
Paper City's Riley's Irish Stout in a 4-3 decision
Middle Ages Black Heart Stout - In a unanimous blowout.
Game 3 -
Watkins Lake Effect Imperial Stout - 10% ABV - Created by one of our members - master home brewer Mike Watkins, he wanted to enter this to see how it fared. Mike brews his beer from hops he grows himself and his motto is "There's no such thing is too many hops!" As a result, his Imperial Stout had a strong hops presence which was surprisingly well balanced with a rich maltiness. Though one reviewer considered the beer weak, most took note of the hops.
Watkins Lake Effect Imperial Stout in a nail-biter.
Game 4 -
-ROUND 2 - THE FINAL FOUR - THE SEMIFINALS-
Middle Ages Black heart Stout
Watkins Lake Effect Imperial Stout vs. Victory Storm King Imperial Stout
Watkins Lake Effect Stout
-Round 3 - The Finals-
Watkins Lake Effect Imperial Stout Vs. Middle Ages Black Heart Stout
Middle Ages Black Heart Stout
So why bring up Italy? Well, a bunch of us (several members of the Battle of the Beers club) and wives traveled to the land of Michelangelo for a whirlwind tour. We booked through Trafalger Tours, which meant we traveled by bus from Rome to Venice to Verona to Florence to Sorrento to Capri and back to Rome. The success of such a tour is greatly dependent upon your tour guide and here we struck gold with Maria. A vivacious and tireless guide, Maria has a seemingly bottomless well of knowledge about all things Italia. Whether it was geographic, historic, artistic, linguistic - or any other -ic - Maria had the info.
We were in Rome on Easter Sunday and it was a bit of a zoo. The Pope addressed an enormous crowd. Unfortunately the weather was dreary. Because it was Easter Sunday, the Sistine Chapel was closed to tours so we would not see that until the end of our tour. It was worth the wait. It's one of those things you just can't appreciate until you see it first hand.
Rome is a strange city. Some of the most amazing art work in the world resides there along with the ancient ruins of the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus. But at the same time, I have never seen more graffiti in my life. It seems every square inch of available space is covered with it. And it's not artistic graffiti either. It's just random scribbles. It's as if some strange graphic virus ran rampant through much of the city. It's unfortunate.
This is a beer blog, so I do want to return to potables. In Italy that means wine not beer. Many of the meals we had included vast amounts of wine. Generally that meant a choice of a dry red wine or white wine. And it was delicious. My preference is for dry reds, but I found the whites to be tasty as well. Often the wine was served in large earthen pitchers (see photo to the left).
Maria pointed out that Italian wines were much lower in sulfites than wines sold in America and therefore we were likely to not experience headaches from overindulgence often brought on by the sulfites. We may have put this theory to the test once or twice simply in the name of science, of course.
Shelly took full advantage
of the seemingly limitless supply of wine,
bless her heart.