Eric's Beer Blog

My online journal for beer (and other drinks) tasting, brewing, tourism, and general musings.

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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Shallo's in Indy

My boss took Daniela and me to Shallo's Restaurant and Brewhouse, located just outside of Indianapolis, before the John Prine concert (which was amazing).

This is a damned nice place. The food was good. The beer selection was outstanding. Daniela had some Bell's Porter and Young's St. George's English Ale.

I'm having a hard time remembering what I had-- it was a while ago now. I believe I had some sort of IPA, perhaps from Founder's, on draft. Also Arrogant Bastard on draft, a beautiful thing. And I had some Flying Dog Gonzo Porter in a bottle. The Gonzo is a truly lovely beer. It's 9.5% ABV, it's dark and deep and luscious. It's a limited edition. I bought the last big bottle of it that was available in Bloomington (or so the guy at Big Red Liquors told me). It's now available in regular sized bottles, and you'll want to pick some up if you can.

After that, things start to get a bit hazy. But suffice it to say: if you're in the neighborhood, you'll want to go to Shallo's. It's a good place.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Founder's Breakfast Stout

I bought this beer because I loved the name. I've had mixed experiences with Founder's, a brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Their beers are fine, but I've never really been blown away by one.

This seasonal offering clocks in at 8.3%, a heavy hitter to be sure. It's gotten some great reviews (Beer Advocate has it rated the 9th best beer in the world, #4 in America; 22 and 15 respectively on RateBeer).

It is a very interesting beer, but I can't quite muster the enthusiasm of the larger beer rating community. Perhaps my standards for stout are higher... After all, I've drunk more than my share of the inimitable Cadillac Mountain Stout, which Beer Advocate ranks only #27 in America, but which is the perfect beer in my book. I'm also a big fan of the Victory Storm King, Bell's various stouts, and the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout. And I should mention here that I'm already counting the days till I get to try Dark Lord Super Imperial Stout (April 29th) from the geniuses at Three Floyds. Dark Lord is a 13% abv monster, and since I'm on a bit of a ratings kick, I'll mention that Beer Advocate has it as the 3rd best beer in the universe.

But back to the Breakfast Stout. Its name comes from the fact that it's loaded with coffee-- Sumatra and Kona, so they say. There's lots of dark roasted coffee in the nose, and it also makes up the biggest part of the taste. I get some nice bitter chocolate and a little malty sweetness as well.

I guess what makes it less than perfectly satisfying for me is a certain lack of balance (just too much coffee-- and that's saying something coming from me) and a slightly thin mouthfeel.

Don't get me wrong: it's a good beer and ambitious. But it's not something I'll go looking for.