Port Brewing Hot Rocks Lager

Port Brewing's Hot Rocks Lager

Thanks to the genius that is Twitter, I found out that Monk’s Kettle had Port Brewing’s Hot Rocks Lager on tap a couple weeks ago.  Since I hadn’t been able to try it on my recent brewery trip down to San Diego, I made a point of heading over there to check it out.

I was fascinated with the idea of a “stoned” (adding hot stones to the wort during the brewing process) beer and having never tried one, was eager to check it out.  From what I’ve read, adding in hot stones caramelizes the sugars to give it a toffee flavor which sounded right up my alley as I generally love toffee and caramel flavors in beer.  As you can see, it has a beautiful ruby brown color with an off-white creamy head.  Definitely had a caramel-y smell and taste with quite a bit of lingering flavor.  I found this beer to be quite drinkable; not overwhelming in its taste and really enjoyable.  And at 6.2% ABV,  you can savor a few of these without too much punch.  Definitely worth checking out if you happen to come across it.

I love the sweat dripping down...it's the hot rocks!

What are your favorite characteristics in beer?  Caramel?  Toffee?  Sour?  Hops?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

Mikkeller Single Hop Series

Last night Andrei, Gene and I headed over to The Monk’s Kettle for the first evening they had Mikkeller’s Single Hop Series on tap.  So what is a single hop beer exactly?  According to Beer Around Town,  “each release is the same IPA recipe, IBUs (International Bittering Units for my fellow novices!) kept the same, the only difference is variety of hop used.”  It seems like the point of these beers is really to feature the hop.

Having absolutely no idea of which hop was what (although Monk’s menu did provide a good sense of what to expect as well as which hops were often used in what types of beers).  We started with Nelson Sauvin, named clearly after my ancestors (no not really) and the sauvignon blanc grape (the hop has similar characteristics).   This is supposedly a fruity hop but I couldn’t really taste it…the taste was really hard to describe but I liked the most out of all of them.

The second one we tried was Simcoe.  This one was pretty earthy tasting to me.  Andrei described it as resin-y and when he said that, I definitely got that flavor (I’m still figuring out how to describe tastes!)  The last we tried was Chinook.  To me this one was the most bitter out of the three, with a slight citrus-y flavor.

Not much I can say about these beers.  It was interesting to taste the various hops in their “single” state but I didn’t really care for any of the beers…and this should come as no surprise considering I prefer more malty beers to hoppy beers (although I can enjoy a hop-filled Pliny The Elder with the best of them!  But that’s another blog post…).  For me this was definitely more of an educational experience than an enjoyable one.  But if you’re interested in beer, definitely check these out while they last at Monk’s Kettle!