Recently in Dock Street Category

Dock Street Flemish Red

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Finally ticking the last of five beers I bought at the Dock Street bottle release way back when. A flanders red aged for 2.5 years in old Cabernet Sauvignon barrels, then (unintentionally) further aged in the bottle for another year and a half or so. Color me interested:

Dock Street Flemish Red

Dock Street Flemish Red Sour Ale - Pours a dark amber brown color with minimal, slow forming, big bubbled, white head. Smells of oak and cherries, with a very sharp twang that indicates sourness, quite nice. Taste is very sweet and extremely sour, with that sourness hitting almost immediately, lots of fruitiness, sour cherries, vinegar, jolly ranchers, and some oak making itself known in the middle to finish. Mouthfeel is a little low on carbonation, but nothing excessively low (like some of Dock Street's other barrel aged brews). It works well enough at the start, but it feels a little flat towards the end of the bottle. Medium bodied, an acidic vinegary feel, very slight slickness. Overall, this is a good example of the style, but not quite world beater status. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 6.75% ABV bottled (750 ml capped). Drank out of a Tired Hands glass on 6/8/13. Bottled November 2011.

It seems like every one of Dock Street's barrel aged brews has just one minor flaw that holds in back from true greatness. They've all been pretty good as they are, but tended to be a little low on carbonation, or in this case, a little high on the acidity. Part of it could always be the age of the bottle, but then, they claimed the low carbonation was intentional, so there is that. I'll probably continue to check out their annual barrel aged brew, and some of the staple beers are pretty great too. One of these days they'll really knock one out of the park...

Dock Street Devil's Double IPA

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As I slowly explore the world of trading, I find myself in the need of interesting bottles of local beer from time to time. Dock Street doesn't have a trendy reputation, but they put out solid product, and their bottle releases are low stress affairs and their last release aligned perfectly with a trade I was setting up, so I took a trip to the brewpub and picked up a couple bottles of Prince Myshkin RIS (the regular version, not the near-flat Barrel Aged one). While there, the bartender upsold me on this newly released Double IPA (yes, I'm a weak man).

Now, I've got plenty of beer to drink over here, but I've also reached a point of my beer nerdery where IPAs have to be consumed fresh. For you hopheads out there, this one's made with Simcoe, Citra, and Sorachi Ace. So let's buckle up and hope we don't get so drunk the Devil asks us to double for him, like in that horrible movie.

Dock Street Devils Double IPA

Dock Street Devil's Double IPA - Pours a cloudy dark orange color with a couple fingers of off white head, lots of lacing. Smells of big citrus and pine hops, a little resinous, and an additional hop aroma I'd call "green" (this is definitely the Sorachi Ace making itself known). Taste leans towards the east coast IPA, lots of robust crystal malt character providing a backdrop for those big hop flavors. More resinous pine than citrus, but the unique thing here is that "green" herbal character, like cilantro or dill or something (again, this is clearly the Sorachi Ace hops throwing their muscle around, holding their own with the more popular Simcoe and Citra). Mouthfeel is medium bodied, ample carbonation but very smooth. Goes down easy. Overall, a well done DIPA, reminiscent of DFH 90 Minute, though those Sorachi Ace hops differentiate it big time. An interesting change of pace from your typical DIPA. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 9% ABV bottled (750 ml capped). Drank out of a tulip glass on 4/26/13 and 4/27/13. Bottled 2/5/13 (may have been 3/5, label got cut off a bit).

So Dock Street continues a streak of solid brews that nevertheless feel a bit underachieving. That being said, I may have saved the best for last, their Flemish Red sounds pretty darn good. Will probably get to that in the coming months...

Dock Street Man Full Of Funk Porter

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This one's going to live up to its name, so stay frosty folks: Dock Street describes this as a "Vatted porter blended with a small dose of Prince Myshkin Russian Imperial Stout. Aged in an Apple Brandy barrel for 3.5 years with brettanomyces and Cantillon wild yeasts!" So yes, this is certainly full of funk, both figuratively and literally. Lets see if all that funk translates to greatness:

Dock Street Man Full Of Funk Porter

Dock Street Man Full Of Funk Porter - Pours a dark brown, almost black color with a finger of big bubbled tan head that actually has decent retention. Nose is filled with funk and that twang that indicates sourness, quite nice, actually. Taste is less funky than the nose would have you believe, only a very light sourness, just a little oak, but enough that the roasty, toasty porter flavors don't really overpower the taste either. There's a slight vinous character that works well enough here, but isn't super prominent. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, with low carbonation, but nowhere near flat(definitely much more here than in the BA RIS or Barleywine, though it's still low overall). This has a sorta muted flavor profile, but it's also well balanced. Overall, a solid beer, not something that is going to weaken the knees, but really nice. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 8% ABV bottled (750 ml capped). Drank out of a tulip glass on 4/13/13. Bottled 9/23/12.

Not quite the sour funk bomb that I was expecting, but really good, probably my favorite of their barrel aged treatments, but only because it had mildly appropriate carbonation (that BA Prince Myshkin would have been perfect if it wasn't almost completely still) and I still have one more to try (a Flemish Red, which actually has a pretty good reputation). Speaking of Dock Street, they're doing another bottle release on Saturday and I plan to pick up at least a couple bottles, so this Dock Street train will continue on.

Dock Street Barrel Aged Barley Wine

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Back in November, I bought a whole boatload of Dock Street bottles. I really enjoyed the La Biere Des Amis Saison, but the Oak Aged Prince Myshkin's RIS, while featuring a wonderful barrel aged character, was showing its age a bit. It was also completely uncarbonated. I had chalked that up to age before, but now I learn that this may have been an intentional strategy on Dock Street's part. While looking into this Barrel Aged Barley Wine, I learned a little more about the process (emphasis mine):

This very special batch of our immense ale has been tempered by 10 months of quiet aging in oak barrels that had previously been the home of Chadds Ford Pinot Noir wine. The result is a sensual synthesis of the worlds of beer, oak, and wine. The aromatics leave the drinkers to believe that they may be about to taste a port wine or brandy. The malt is the true star here, with the bitterness of the hops dying away to reveal flavors of coconut, caramel, and rum. It all comes together with a slightly acidic and tannic woody finish. The initial hint of alcohol slowly fades into a warming burn.

This Dock Street Barley Wine has been lovingly hand bottled strait from the barrels, and bottle-conditioned by our brewers. The carbonation was left intentionally low so you can taste how it did pulled right from the cask.

Well, I guess that explains it. Oddly, I felt that this Barley Wine was better carbonated than the RIS I had, though it's still damn near still. So like with the stout, I really enjoyed this, but that low carbonation level really held it back from true greatness for me (whether intentional or not, I'm just finding that I appreciate carbonation in beer).

Dock Street Barrel Aged Barley Wine

Dock Street Barrel Aged Barley Wine (2009 Vintage) - Pours a deep, dark brown color with about half a finger of slowly forming head. Really weird. Poured it with some authority, and it basically took about 20 seconds for the head to actually form up. Never seen anything like it. Actually, now that I think about it, it's kinda reminiscent of how Guinness does its thing when you first pour it. Anyways, it smells amazingly good. Rich caramel, vanilla, and oak, some fruitiness and hops too. Taste features a lot more of that fruity malt character, raisins and figs, some oxidation here - definitely showing its age, but not in a bad way. Again, we've got rich caramel, brown sugar/molasses, and that great vanilla and oak barrel aged character. Maybe a little red wine. Really fantastic depth of flavor here. Unfortunately, it's all betrayed by the carbonation. Mouthfeel is extremely low on the carbonation front (which is bad), but it is very rich and full bodied (which is good). Once again, I find myself wishing for a little more carbonation, which would have made this perfect. As it is, I'm left with just a really good barley wine that has a great barrel aged quality, but not enough carbonation. I'll leave it at a B+ and hope they do something like this again, but decide to liven up the carbonation a bit.

Beer Nerd Details: 10.5% ABV bottled (750 ml capped). Drank out of a snifter on 4/5/13. 2009 Vintage.

I do have to wonder if four years in the bottle didn't impact that carbonation a little, so I do so wish I got a fresh bottle of this stuff. Anyways, I still have a couple of Dock Street beers in the cellar, both funky sours, so look for those soon. And apparently they're doing another bottle release soon - I may need to pick up a few bottles of the "regular" Prince Myshkin's RIS, which was excellent when I tried it fresh at the brewery last year.

How to put this... Do you ever get that not so fresh feeling? This is a common beer nerd trope, so I won't harp on it too much, but it's something I've become much more attuned to over the past year or so. It's especially pernicious when it comes to beers that rely heavily on hops, but it's hardly limited to IPAs and the like. Take this Russian Imperial Stout from Dock Street, which was aged for a year on Hungarian red wine barrels (which were previously used to age a barleywine), then further aged for about 2 years in the bottle (well, technically, it was first released in 2010, but I bought my bottle in 2012). I really wish I'd gotten to try a fresh bottle of this stuff, because I'm positive that it would have blown me away. As it is, I was pretty well impressed, but it's definitely showing its age. I mean, you can pretty much tell what you're in for just by looking at the stuff:

Dock Street Oak Aged Prince Myshkin RIS

Dock Street Oak Aged Prince Myshkin's Russian Imperial Stout - Pours a thick, gloopy black color with an almost imperceptible head, just the faintest ring of light brown on the edge of the glass. Smells utterly fantastic, rich caramel, vanilla, and oak. There's a fruity character too, almost like port. The oak is so nice that if I didn't know better, I'd think bourbon was involved. Tastes follows suit with rich caramel, a less prominent but still present vanilla and oak, some dark chocolate, and a trace of bitter roasted malt in the finish. Alas, its age comes out in the mouthfeel, which is definitely way too low on the carbonation, but otherwise full bodied, thick, and chewy. It was certainly drinkable, and I put down the whole 750 without much of a thought, but if this were a bit more carbonated, it would have been sublime. As it is, it feels thinner than it should. For now, I'll hit it with a B+, though it was probably way up in the A range when fresh.

Beer Nerd Details: 9.5% ABV bottled (750 ml capped). Drank out of a snifter on 2/22/13.

Least you think I'm just wanking about this old beer crap, I was reminded to hit up my Dock Street stash last week when Rich on Beer noted that this BA Myshkin was definitely getting a little long in the tooth. And it looks like his beer didn't have quite the carbonation problems mine did - his picture even displays some semblance of head! That or Rich is more tolerant of low carbonation in his beer, which is certainly possible. I've noticed this is something that bothers me more than most. Anywho, I've actually got a few other Dock Street beers in the cellar, including the 2009 barleywine that was in these Pinot Noir barrels before Myshkin and some funky sours too, though none are in the immediate pipeline.

La Biere Des Amis

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Back in November, I went to a Dock Street bottle release and loaded up on bottles... and despite some Thanksgiving shenanigans, I haven't dipped into my stash since then. Well, it's about time we change that, isn't it?

This beer, a sessionable saison, is a collaboration between Dock Street Brewer Scott Morrison and Daniel Thiriez, the owner and brewer of a French brewery called, oddly enough, Thiriez. They claim it's the first US-French collaboration on American soil, and why wouldn't it be? Insert French joke here.

So how did this "beer of friends" turn out?

Dock Street and Thiriez La Biere Des Amis

Dock Street and Brasserie Thiriez La Biere Des Amis - Pours a very pretty, light golden yellow color with a couple fingers of fluffy head, great retention, and plenty of lacing. Smells of spicy belgian yeast, pepperery with a nice bready character too. The taste is sweet and spicy, classic Belgian yeast profile here, very well balanced flavors. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, crisp, refreshing, and dry. Clocking in at 4.5% ABV, this is a compulsively drinkable beer. It's not going to melt anyone's face, but it might raise an eyebrow here or there, and it's making a great accompaniment to my sushi dinner tonight. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 4.5% ABV bottled (750 ml capped). Drank out of a goblet on 2/22/13.

And the Dock Street jamboree continues tomorrow with a 3 year old barrel aged brew. Stay tuned.

To a certain type of beer dork, saying that these were bottle releases is probably overselling their significance. Near as I can tell, Dock Street doesn't actually distribute their bottles, and Victory is doing a limited distribution in the general region, but in practice, these releases consisted of my walking up to a counter and asking for a few bottles. No waiting in line for hours (in the rain!) like some bottle releases, just good beer and friendly conversation.

Things kicked off with Dock Street Brewing's annual holiday release of limited brews last night. They claimed that only around 2-6 cases were available for each variety, so I was a little wary, but I got there early enough to get everything I wanted:

Dock Street bottles
(Click for bigger image)

Lots of barrel aged rarities there, some aged for 3+ years. As luck would have it, frequent commenter and newfound beverage compatriot Rich on Beer was also in attendance, along with some other beer geeks, so we engaged in much beer dorkery. I had a good time and it was great to meet up with Rich.

I had a Rye IPA, which was quite a solid, juicy American hopped ale with well matched spicy rye notes, and also a non-barrel aged Prince Myshkin's Russian Imperial Stout, which managed to exceed expectations. Big beer, light roast, lots of chocolate and caramel, not overly sweet, very well balanced stuff. I'm now really looking forward to the Hungarian Red Wine Barrel Aged bottle I got. I don't have any pictures or detailed notes, but look for some more detailed reviews in the coming weeks. Dock Street seems like a pretty small operation, but one that I think should probably garner a better reputation... at least, based on my limited exposure, which is admittedly small.

I've already mentioned this morning's bottle release, Victory's Red Thunder. This day-before-Thanksgiving release slot was occupied by Dark Intrigue last year, one of them wait in line, braving the elements kinda releases. This year was significantly more subdued. Victory opened early with a special breakfast menu, and the place was indeed as crowded as I'd ever seen it, but it seems most folks were more interested in breakfast than the bottle release (though I think you could order a few bottles from your table). I arrived a little over an hour after opening and there were only two people in line in front of me. I don't know if anyone lined up before opening, but on the other hand, red wine aged baltic porters aren't exactly the most hyped styles.

I've had the base beer, Baltic Thunder, a few times now, and I've always enjoyed it. I'm not a huge fan of porters, but this one is a little bigger and richer, hence the Baltic appellation. I'm hoping the barrel aging will tone down some of those elements as well as add some complexity. Let's find out, shall we:

Victory Red Thunder

Victory Red Thunder - Pours a dark brown color with pretty amber highlights and minimal, light tan head. Taste has those typical roasted malt and chocolate aromas, but I feel like the fruitiness is much more pronounced than the base beer, presumably from the wine. Even getting a hint of oak in the nose. Taste leans heavier on chocolate, vanilla, and caramel than roasted malt flavors, and that oak is definitely contributing a richness to the whole affair. I'm not picking up much in the way of red wine in terms of fruity flavors, but there's a pleasantly dry astringency that comes out in the finish that works quite well. Tannins and all that (probably just as much an oak thing as a wine thing). Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, well carbonated, a little mouth-coaty with a long finish. It's no quaffable session beer, but it's not quite a sipper either. The alcohol is reasonably well hidden, and it's all rather well integrated and balanced (unlike the recently reviewed Mikkeller Black Hole beer, though I think that had its charms as well). Overall, I really like this beer a lot. I can see porter fanatics being disappointed by the toned down... porterness... of this beer, but it worked well for me. Admittedly, I'm not a huge porter fan, so take this with a grain of salt, but I consider this an improvement over the base beer. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 8.5% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a tulip glass on 11/21/12.

Good stuff. Probably not going to inflame the passions of your typical beer nerd, but it hit the right notes for me. All told, I've had a pretty cool couple of days here. And when combined with my yearly holiday beer purchases and a couple upcoming trades, my cellar is reaching capacity. Well, not really, but I should tone things down for a bit while my liver catches up to my acquisitions. This will, of course, be chronicled right here, so stay tuned. Gonna be an interesting few months...

Update: Dropped Red Thunder to a B+. Still very good, but I was perhaps too enthusiastic upon first taste...

The Whip

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Back in March, we had a beer club outing at The Whip Tavern, an English style pub. At the time, it was a bit cold and pouring rain, so we resolved to come back later in the year and sit outside. Well, a few weeks ago, we did just that. England doesn't really have a reputation for great cuisine, but both meals I've had here have been really great. The first was Bangers and Mash, and it was perfect. This time around I had some delicious duck contraption. For whatever reason, it seemed like the taplist was a bit more limited this time around, but I still managed to get my hands on a few seasonals and interesting beers nonetheless. I'm going from my sparse Untappd notes and memory here, so take the following with a grain of salt (also no pictures - sorry):

  • Dock Street The Great Pumpkin - Another pumpkin ale, this one somewhat more subdued in the alcohol and spice departments, which isn't really a bad thing, but which also doesn't really set this apart from any other pumpkin ale. Pretty standard stuff, though certainly something I could drink a few of... B- (Beer Nerd Details: 5.5% ABV on tap. Drank out of a half-pint glass.)
  • Weyerbacher Harvest Ale - It's the time of year when hops are harvested and breweries grab a portion of fresh "wet hops" (normally hops are dried in order to preserve them) to make various hoppy styles (a practice that deserves a closer look on the blog at some point). This beer gave off a really fantastic hoppy aroma. It's a little on the earthy/grassy side, with just a little citrus peeking through. The taste was nice and bitter, with an almost spicy hop character to it. Perhaps this is just me buying into the hype, but it tasted fresh. It's not a face melter or a revelation or anything, but a well executed IPA. B (Beer Nerd Details: 6.2% ABV on tap. Drank out of a half-pint glass.)
  • Leavenworth Boulder Bend Dunkelweizen - Not terribly familiar with the style, but it was kinda like a stout mixed with delicate wheat flavors. I have to say, I didn't really care for it. No off flavors or anything, it just wasn't working for me. Perhaps the roasty flavors were the cause of my issue, but whatever. I didn't have a problem drinking or finishing it, and it was certainly more interesting than a macro, but still not particularly inspiring. C (Beer Nerd Details: 4.7% ABV on tap. Drank out of a half-pint glass.)
  • Theakston Old Peculier - I've always heard good things about this beer, but I must have gotten a bad bottle because I didn't care much for it and the flavors I got out of it don't seem to match up with much of the BA nerds' thoughts... I got a distinct apple aroma out of this, which is typically a sign of problems. I also got some raisins in both the aroma and taste. It wasn't undrinkable, but it wasn't particularly good either. D (though I may revisit it at some point). (Beer Nerd Details: 5.7% ABV bottled (12 oz). Drank out of a pint glass.)
  • Innis And Gunn Oak Aged Beer - I had this the last time I went to the Whip as well, perhaps because it goes really well with one of the desserts. This time around, I got a better feel for the oak and caramel/toffee flavors in the beer and was quite pleased that I got another. So I will up this to a B+ (Beer Nerd Details: 6.6% ABV bottled (11.9 oz). Drank out of a half-pint glass.)
  • Spaten Oktoberfestbier - I was going for a German Octoberfest beer; what I got was a skunked bottle of dishwater. Yes, it was in a green bottle, and it was bad. I couldn't get much out of this beer at all, and didn't finish it. This does kinda bring up the question of how to rate beers that are clearly defective, but in this case, it's all due to the green bottle choice, so I have no problem giving it an F. (Beer Nerd Details: 5.9% ABV bottled (12 oz). Drank out of a pint glass.)
Well, there you have it. Even considering that the drafts were mostly half-pints, I probably drank too much, but it was still a fun night out (we even stayed long enough to play a couple rounds of quizzo). I'm sure I'll be returning to this place at some point soon.

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Hi, my name is Mark, and I like beer.

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