We decided to start off big and went with Stone Double Bastard Ale on tap. Man that's a tasty beer. The bartender was nice enough to provide us with a sample of regular Arrogant Bastard so we could taste them side-by-side. The Double is more hopped than the regular but manages to still be more balanced overall. And of course it's quite a bit more alcoholic, 10% to 7.2%. Beer Advocate users rank this as the 39th best beer in the world.
We knew we needed something in our stomachs, so we paired the Double with some wings and pub chips. I love their house-made pub chips, a delicious mix of sweet and regular potato chips that puts my hand on autopilot going back to the bowl. A perfect accompaniment to an evening of drinking beer.
After the Double Bastard was gone, we decided to switch to splitting 12 oz bottles. The menu mentioned "Founders Harvest Ale (limited release)" so we had to try one of those. The bartender told us that they had a very limited quantity to start with and only had 4 left. One sip and we ordered a second to we could each have a full beer! Another guy at the bar ordered one later, leaving just one lonely beer in the cooler. Matt's Beer Blog has a review of Three Floyd's Harvest Ale as well as some information about the harvest ale style. As Matt discusses in his Three Floyd's review, the Founders Harvest Ale is also a "wet hopped ale." Beer Advocate classifies the Founders as a Pale Ale, but I'd put it more in the IPA category. Very hoppy and refreshing.
The bartender also let us know that they recently got in some of the limited-release beers from Goose Island, including the Imperial IPA and the Bourbon County Stout. I've still got a couple bottles of the Imperial IPA at home, so we went with Bourbon County Stout. My god that beer is delicious! Creamy, chocalatey and carmely with vanilla hints and some coffee. Wonderful, coating mouthfeel. If I ever see this at a store, I'm buyin' a whole bunch. Beer Advocate users rank this as the 21st best beer in the world, and I whole-heartedly agree.
For our last beer, we decided to go for a big splurge and spent $15 to try 120 Minute IPA for the first time. I'm not sure exactly what I expected, but it wasn't what I put in my mouth. Huge disappointment. Much too sweet for my taste. I read recently in a wine book that alcohol is partially perceived by your tongue as sweet, so it's likely that some of the sweetness of this beer is linked to its 21% abv. What I was most surprised by was its hoppiness, or rather it's un-hoppiness. I was expecting a huge hop blast, but if anything I think it's less hoppy than the 90 Minute IPA. I'm glad I tried it -- and I took the bottle to prove it -- but I doubt I'll be back soon. 90 Minute is more my taste and costs much less.
Other interesting info we picked up from the bartender:
- The Lafayette Rd. Badaboomz only shares the name and menu of the downtown location. It has a different owner and an independent beer selection. If you've never been, they've got a handful of interesting beers but overall it doesn't come close to the selection downtown.
- Badaboomz recently received a case of Founders Breakfast Stout that, as is apparently quite common, was immediately split between owner Mike DeWeese and other employees before it ever saw the cooler shelves. Oh well, I don't blame 'em! Anybody know where it can be had around town right now?
- The owner of Three Floyds brewery apparently owns a small piece of Badaboomz. That's how they're able to get Dreadnaught on tap every once-in-a-while. Apparently Badaboomz is the only place outside of the FFF Brew Pub that you can ever get Dreadnaught on tap. I asked if they could twist the arm of the the FFF's owner to get Alpha Khan on tap. The bartender actually wrote it down, so we'll see if anything comes of it (cross your fingers, Matt!).