Sunday, December 8, 2013

Lexington Recap

For the second to last cyclo-cross race of the season, we headed to Lexington. And since Lexington is just far enough away to make driving home after the race a real downer, we decided to get a hotel room, and sample some of the beer offerings about town. After a muddy, muddy race day, we headed to Gratz Park Inn, our domicile for the evening. After some de-mudding, we hit the town.

Our first stop was Country Boy Brewing. Initial web-based research had indicated they had a Gose on tap, so I was especially excited. While I’ll admit I wasn’t surprised when it wasn’t on tap when we got there, I was still disappointed. Enough so that I didn’t take notes on the sampler we had. I just kept thinking how I really wanted to try the Gose. Color me predictable. Anyway, our second stop was West Sixth Brewing Company. Yes, the one that has been in the news as of late. We had a sampler of their beers, including PRHBTN Lemongrass Wheat, Saison, IPA, Double IPA, Smoked Mild, and their Christmas Ale. The best two were the PRHBTN Wheat and the Smoked Mild. PRHBTN Wheat was surprisingly not gummy—it had none of the usual downsides of American Wheat beers—and instead crisp and bright. The lingering lemongrass (as opposed to hop bitterness) was an especially nice touch. Smoked Mild was my favorite: the smoke malt was in the nose and the finish, and the base beer was excellent, with chocolate, cocoa, and hints of toffee to balance the light hints of bacon greasiness from the smoked malt. Well made and delightful. The IPA was solid, but you all know about that. If not, go pick up a six of the cans. Elli did note that it was more subtle when fresh, which, I will note, is a high compliment from her. The Double IPA was more of the same, but bigger. I was disappointed by the saison; it was slightly phenolic without much else in the way of yeast character, followed by under-attenuated candy Pils malt. It had neither the mineral bitterness or juicy dry body you find as the most common splitting point between saisons. Instead, it was just blah and in between with too much body on the tongue. Finally, the Christmas Ale was pretty much a Christmas Ale—big, malty, and sweet with spices—although not an offensive one, which was nice. After these two stops, we headed to the Village Idiot for dinner, followed by a final couple of beers at Lexington Beerworks, both of which were within walking distance of the hotel. I was excited to see Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere on tap at Lexington Beerworks. Color me served. And afterwards, sleepies.

All in all, a pleasant and enjoyable evening. While we didn’t make it to Blue Stallion Brewing, there is always next time; I’ll try to be more upbeat regarding Country Boy next time as well. And I can tell you when next time will be: while down there, I was excited to find out about Jeff Rice’s upcoming conference on beer writing: Craft Writing: Beer, The Digital, and Craft Culture. You know I’m already registered. So here’s to the next opportunity to try out Lexington’s finest, and hear some damn fine speakers to boot!


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