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Prairie Okie

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Okie is the shortened form of Okie Dokie, which is itself an alternate way to say Okay, which can be abbreviated OK, which is the two letter state code for Oklahoma, which is where Prairie Artisan Ales is based, which is why this beer is named Okie. Though clearly it should be called Oakie, since this is a whiskey barrel aged imperial brown ale. We will give them the benefit of the doubt and guess that these Prairie guys don't enjoy puns as much as most brewers. You stay classy Prairie. In the meantime, I will drink your beer:

Prairie Okie

Prairie Okie - Pours a clear, deep brown color with some amber highlights and half a finger of white head. Smells of dark malts, toasty, nutty, toffee, not a lot of barrel character, but some vanilla comes through. Taste is very sweet, some of that typical brown ale toast character, a little nutty, maybe hints of molasses, again very little bourbon barrel, but it's there, and it contributes to the sweetness factor. Mouthfeel is well carbonated, full bodied, very sweet, almost creamy. Full bodied, but not super heavy, and it feels mellower than you'd expect from a BA imperial brown. Overall, this is quite nice, though one could wish for a little more barrel character. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 12% ABV bottled (12 ounce). Drank out of a snifter on 10/24/15. Bottled July 11, 2015 (I think).

I think I've generally enjoyed everything I've ever had from Prairie, but few things have blown me away. This one is on the upper end, and I have generally been impressed with their barrel aged stuff. Nothing on the immediate horizon, but I will clearly be seeking out more from these fine gentlemen.

Prairie Pirate Noir

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Avast, ye bilge rats! Come witness mine grog tastin.... ok, I can't really keep that up. Speaking in what I'm sure are apocryphal and historical dialects is just not my strong suit, even if last Saturday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day (more appropriate for me would be something like "I don't feel like paying for Photoshop." anyway). Plus, I drank this on Friday night not even realizing that Saturday was that most hallowed of holidays. I'm the worst. No, wait, what I am I talking about? You're the worst. Why are you giving me crap about not drinking this beer on a ridiculous, made-up "International Observance"? You are totally the worst. Instead, I celebrated World Water Monitoring Day by drinking fermented sugar water aged in barrels previously used to store fermented Jamaican sugar water that was then distilled. I monitored the hell out of my water intake on Friday, rest assured.

Um, anyway, Prairie has a whole series of Noir beers, each a pretty standard imperial oatmeal stout tagged with different treatments. The standard is bourbon barrel aged, but there's also coffee, vanilla, and even apple brandy barrel aged variants. Pirate Noir is the Jamaican rum barrel aged version. Shiver some timbers, torrent some new releases, and get ready for Pirate Noir:

Prairie Pirate Noir

Prairie Pirate Noir - Pours pitch black, with just a cap of light brown head. Smells of brown sugar, vanilla, oak, molasses, booze, really nice. Taste is very sweet, rich caramel, molasses, rum, vanilla, oak, a little booze in the finish. As it warms, I'm getting coconut and something along the lines of anise or liquorish too. Mouthfeel is rich and full bodied, a little boozy, a sipper, sugary but not cloying, and the finish is surprisingly easy going. Not going to gulp it, but it doesn't feel as heavy in the finish as it does up front. Overall, this is a very nice rum barrel aged stout. A-

Beer Nerd Details: 12% ABV bottled (12 ounce). Drank out of a snifter on 9/18/15. Bottled 18815 (so that's 7/7/15, not sure which batch, but this is long after they stopped waxing the bottles).

So perhaps I should try more of these barrel aged Prairie beers, eh? I've got another one in the pipeline somewhere, so look out for that, but what I really need to find is a Prairie Pirate Bomb!

Beer Club February

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Beer club was last Thursday! I started to write this recap when I got home, but I didn't get very far. As has been established frequently, I am the worst. But I'm here now to make amends. For the uninitiated, beer club is a monthly gathering of like-minded coworkers at a local BYOB for good food, optional libations, and general merriment. This time we checked out the newly opened West Chester branch of The Couch Tomato, a rather fine pizza establishment (in a sea of pizza places, this has immediately established itself in the local upper tier with America's Pie). I had a rather fine stromboli (called the "Italian Stallion") whilst imbibing the usual beery wares:

Beer Club for February 2015
(Click to embiggen)

For the sake of posterity, some thoughts on each are below. Since it's been a few days, these thoughts will be even more unreliable than normal, so take them with a giant, asteroid-sized lump of salt. In order of drinking (not necessarily the order in the pic):

  • Evil Genius Stacy's Mom - Has moderate amounts of goin' on. Citra hops come through a little, but it's not particularly accomplished compared to its Citra-based brethren. B
  • Jailbreak Welcome To Scoville Jalepeno IPA - Definitely a peppery beer, but not a ton of heat, which is nice. On the other hand, I feel like whatever hops it has going on are sorta canceled out by the pepper character. B-
  • Flying Dog Mexican Hot Chocolate Stout - Now this one has some heat to it, but it's a very well matched heat that matches better with the roasty chocolate notes of the base stout than an IPA. That being said, it wasn't exactly blowing me away. B
  • Alaskan Smoked Porter - I get the impression that sometimes people bring beers they bought but realized they don't actually want to drink a whole bottle of. I'm as guilty as anyone, and this is one such example. I don't mind the occasional smoked beer, but really haven't been in much of the mood for this sort of thing lately. As Smoked Porters go, this is a pretty great example. Still not exactly my thing though, and I'm glad I shared. B
  • Stone Enjoy By 02.14.15 IPA - Tastes about 5 days too old. Oh snap, breaking the law! Just kidding, it was fine, despite not following the rules on the bottle. It's a decent beer, and it's definitely grown on me, but I've never gotten the absolute love some folks show for this (and yes, I've had it fresh before too). B
  • Ballast Point Dorado Double IPA - Ah now this is the stuff. One of my contributions and a rock solid citrus and pine bomb, well balanced and tasty. B+
  • Armstrong Ales Bold Thady Quill - A pretty nice take on an Irish Dry Stout, roasty and light bodied. Not going to melt your face, but it'd make for a nice session. Also, probably not the best setting for this kind of beer. Would still love to try more from this local upstart. B
  • Kaedrin Trystero Barleywine - I feel like my keg should be empty right now, but it appears to be bottomless. The keg feels nearly empty, but I just filled up this 1 liter growler with no problem. Need to finish off that keg so I have somewhere to put an IPA! The beer itself is doing well enough. I do feel like I perhaps dosed it with a bit too much in the way of bourbon, which cuts down on some of the fruitier malt characters in the beer. Still good though. B+
  • Prairie Bomb! - Another of my contributions, I have to admit that I didn't realize this was a coffee dosed beer. I was really excited to try it, then initially disappointed by the coffee character. Still, I ended up drinking more of this than usual, and it grew on me. Rock solid and I can see why it's so popular, but it doesn't really approach my top tier. B+
  • Victory Moving Parts 03 - Technically, we'd left beer club and moved the party over to a local bar, which was having a Victory event. This was our initial pour, a Belgian IPA. Nice enough on its own, but nothing particularly eventful here. B
  • Victory Deep Cocoa - On cask with vanilla and something else that I don't remember. It could have been that I was just drunk at the time, but I kinda loved this. Deep, rich chocolate, vanilla, full body, really delicious stuff. Have not tried the regular version but this cask was hitting the spot, so let's give it an A-
And there you have it. Attendance was a little low, so I probably drank more than normal this time. Also, we didn't get to the Nugget Nectar, mostly because we've all had it several times already this year (even out of the can, which is, yes, very nice) but also because there were less of us there that night than normal. Crazily enough, some people didn't come because it was just super cold out (not snowing or anything, just really cold, low-single digits). I don't know what their problem is. Maybe I'm not the worst after all.

Prairie Puncheon

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I remember when Prairie first started showing up in the Philly area, but for whatever reason, I didn't pounce on what I saw, and then they were gone and I haven't seen as much from that point on. Then everyone starts going crazy over these guys, and to be sure, stuff like Bomb! certainly sounds amazing (and it's not like that was on shelves here, at least not that I saw). I got my hands on a bunch of stuff from them through a BIF, and they were all fine to good, maybe even very good, but not quite the mind-blowers that I'd been lead to believe... but then, I wasn't drinking the same beers as everyone else. Major farmhouse envy over here, despite the fact that I'm pretty much drowning in great saisons these days. So when I saw a bottle of this Puncheon stuff at a local beeratorium, I immediately bought it and was rewarded with my favorite Prairie yet. Still not quite a revelation, but a rock solid funk machine (and really, what else do you want):

Prairie Puncheon

Prairie Puncheon - Pours a hazy straw yellow color with ample carbonation and a finger or two of fluffy white head. Smells fantastic, beautiful funky, musty aroma, fruity, almost vinous, spicy, maybe even hints of oak. The taste seems more substantial than the nose was indicating, sweet, but with enough earthy funk to counter that, and indeed, that earthy, mineral character is much more prominent here than in the nose. Lots of funky stuff going on in the middle and finish as well, with some of that fruitiness coming out, and a little spice too. Not sour, but could perhaps have gone that way (and would possibly be better for it, *hint*), though it's still tasty in its own right. As it warms, it gets closer to lemon territory, but again, not sour... Mouthfeel is well carbonated, medium bodied, a little spice, and just a bit of a kick on the back end from that funk. Overall, this is a rock solid Brett dosed saison. It's borderline, but I'm feeling generous, so an A- it is.

Beer Nerd Details: 8.5% ABV bottled (500 ml). Drank out of a flute glass on 7/18/14.

So I'm pretty well looking forward to trying more Prairie ales, though I don't really have any on deck right now either. Someday, I may get off my arse and start trading for the likes of Bomb!, but that's not going to be anytime soon.

Prairie Gold

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Handling those pans, looking for liquid Gold:

Prairie Gold

Prairie Gold - Pours an almost neon gold color, a little straw yellow in there too, lots of head that quickly dissapates. Smell has some light funk, lots of musty, spicy, peppery Belgian yeast, and a bright lemon note to lighten things up. Taste features a typical Belgian yeast character, but that quickly takes a back seat to the tart, lemony sourness. As it warms, that lemony character morphs into a broader fruit profile, maybe some pear, a little vinous even. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, effervescent, a pleasant enough acidity, crisp and bright stuff. Overall, it's really good. Not earth shattering, but few are. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 6.5% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a tulip glass on 6/15/13.

Another solid showing from Prairie, though I don't seem to be quite as bullish on them as some others (then again, we haven't had the same beers either). Definitely good enough to seek out more from them though, so keep an eye out. I'm sure we'll get to it sometime.

Prairie Funky Galaxy

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Well, what have we here? Yep, it's a saison, complete with baffling inclusions like trendy Galaxy hops and dark malts, brewed with Brett. Plus, it's got a label featuring constellations in the form of... the Harlem Globe Trotters? Also depicted: two disembodied blue hands pointing towards a galactic core consisting of a giant hot dog. And when I say "giant", well, if this is drawn to scale, let's call it about 1,000 light years long (and a diameter of about 200 light years). That's a big hot dog. Fortunately, no hot dogs were used in the making of this beer. Unfortunately, I'm not sure all the disparate components came together as well as Prairie hoped.

Served in appropriate glassware, of course:

Prairie Funky Galaxy

Prairie Funky Galaxy - Pours a dark brown color with lots of bubbly, khaki colored head. Smells of pure, juicy Galaxy hops mixed with bready, spicy Belgian yeast. Not a lot of funk in the nose though. Taste has a nice saison yeast character mixed with some roasted malt and those juicy hop flavors. Some light, earthy funk emerging towards the finish. Mouthfeeel is highly carbonated, dry, and surprisingly crisp. Medium bodied, but easy to drink. Overall, I find myself wishing this didn't have those roasted notes, but it's still quite good. B

Beer Nerd Details: 8% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of whatever you call that Star Wars glass on 5/26/13.

Man, this lack of harmony seems to be the theme of last weekend, but fret not, for tomorrow we'll be talking about a spectacular beer that has harmony out the ying yang. Or something. Stay tuned.

Prairie Somewhere

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So far, most of my beer trades (which I can count on one hand) have been with people I already "knew" in some way, mostly from interacting on each others blogs. But if you head over to Beer Advocate or Rate Beer and hit up their trading forums, you'll see a veritable cornucopia of stranger-on-stranger trading. This is a realm I've not really gotten into too much, and it's probably not something I'll pursue heavily, but there is a variant of the typical 1 on 1 trade called a "BIF".

BIF stands for Beer It Forward, and it's kinda like a secret santa, but with beer and without the holidays. Basically, you sign up for a BIF, get assigned a target, then send them a box full of beer. There's always a set of minimum requirements or a theme that you have to meet, and the general idea is that everyone ships (and probably receives) their boxes around the same time (there are several variants of this process - what I've described here is called a "shotgun BIF"). Everyone knows who they are sending their beer to, but no one knows who is sending them beer. There's a thread where people drop hints and try to guess who their sender is, and eventually everyone posts their hauls their too.

My target was in Chicago and we've already talked about future trades so that I can get my grubby hands on more Three Floyds awesomeness. My sender was from Texas, so I got me a cache of Texas (and other local environs) beers. The highlights, to my mind, were a few Saint Arnold beers, and three Prairie sour farmhouse ales (my sender correctly deduced that I was a saison/sour fan), the first of which I opened this past weekend. Prairie seems to be making the rounds of late, and I get the impression that these sours aren't distributed as far and wide as their regular stuff. This one is a sour farmhouse ale and a collaboration with Saint Somewhere. Check it:

Prairie Somewhere

Prairie Somewhere - Pours a cloudy golden color with a couple fingers of bubbly head. Smells of musty Belgian yeast, sweet and spicy, and just a little farmhouse funk. Taste starts sweet and very spicy, a light sourness pervading the taste throughout, finishing with a tart lemony kick. Mouthfeel is highly carbonated, spicy, crisp, refreshing, relatively dry. Overall, rock solid sour farmhouse beer here. B+

Beer Nerd Details: 7% ABV bottled (750 ml caged and corked). Drank out of a goblet on 5/11/13.

A decent first impression from Prairie, and I've got two more of their sours that will probably be popped open in the coming weeks. Expect some Texas locals to start showing up on the blog as well, including one tomorrow and probably some of that Saint Arnold stuff next week.

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

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Prairie category.

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