Chimay Reserve “Blue” Review – The Holy Lord of Beers!

•November 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Chimay Reserve - Blue

Chimay Reserve – Blue


It’s an honor to bring back guest Golden Foam Notes  blogger – GOP Ian; without further ado…


Hello boys and girls, welcome back, to GOP’s adventures in GFN. Today I will be reviewing the KING of beers, or at the very least the Duke or something. This is a beer I have enjoyed several times but am only now getting around to reviewing it. It is great, it is awesome, it is everything you wanted your date at the prom to be, but it only costs $10 and comes with a GUARANTEE to satisfy! That’s right, I am talking about the one and only Chimay Reserve, also known as Chimay “Blue.” What’s so special about this beer you ask? Read on.


In 1862, there was a little abbey founded in the town of Chimay (Belgium). These were God fearing, peace loving folk, but also big fans of God’s nectar, can you blame them? They figured they had 2 choices: a) Survive off charitable donations, OR… b) brew beer to pay for everything they needed, including having beer on tap to drink at any time and having money to donate to charitable causes. Uhh, they chose option B. The Chimay brand of Ale was born, and they were one of the first “Trappist” style ale’s brewed. To this day there are only 10 abbeys which have approval to sell “Trappist” style Ales, known for their high quality, very tasty beer! This stuff is made of natural ingredients locally sourced, well water from within the abbey itself and brewed by masters who have passed the knowledge down from generation to generation, working in the same way they pray, leaving nothing on the table.


This beer sounds perfect right? Well almost… I always felt the alcohol was just a bit too present. At 9% it’s on the high end, but the flavor of the beer is so rich that you can look past it. I was wondering why other high alcohol percent beers I have tried didn’t taste quite as sharp and after doing a little research I found what the most likely problem was…. It was selling too fast! You see, the yeast that makes this beer so mmmm is still alive in the bottle and continuing to improve the mmmm of the beer. But, when this stuff hits the shelf, people snatch it up and drink it before the yeast has had a chance to eat and poop out enough of the alcohol to make it feel smooth. In other words, the beer has not hit its full mmmm potential. So what did I do for this review? I aged a bottle for 3 months.


Chimay - Date Stamp

Chimay – Date Stamp

I opened up the 750ml bottle and was blasted with the full, glorious aroma of yeast, caramel, fruits and sexiness. Out poured the brownish-red elixir, glug-glug-glug, while a white mist lazily drifted out of the bottle… ahh, Chimay you make me feel like a young republican executing his first stock option. The head formed very quickly, too quickly… had to stop pouring as the foam was at the brim of my goblet while the beer was only half way up. Wait a bit then continued on until I had a ¾ full glass.


Now before I go on, I just want to make sure you realize I already love this beer and knew what to expect on the taste front. The remaining question was whether the aging tempered the only… less than perfect aspect of this beer. YES IT DID. It went down smoother than a democrat making promises he knows he can’t keep. The bite was gone, and was transformed into a warm tingliness going down the throat. The beer was now perfect. There are some fruity elements, a creamy-bready flavor, a bit of caramel in there somewhere and just loads of overall flavor. It seems tasty across the entire tongue so this is a beer you can pretty much drink any way you want, no need to sip or gulp.


Blue Label

Blue Label

What do I rate this? Do I go with a 10 and presume this is as good as it can possibly get? Might be foolish. Do I give it a 9 even though it’s the best beer I have ever had? Hmm, this is a problem. The solution is to pick neither! This is a solid 9.5/10 on the GOP scale and if I don’t find a better beer in the next year or two, I would just bump it up to a 10. My friends, do not hesitate to lay down some cash for this beer, and remember it is the CHIMAY Reserve or Blue.   Keep your goblets full, your belt uncinched and your tab open. Until then friends, until then.


State Food Rankings: 50 American States Ranked by Food/Drink – Thrillist

•November 12, 2014 • 2 Comments

The Golden State ranked 2nd! That’s darn good, in a short period of time, ousting great beer states, like Michigan, Colorado, and Washington! Support your local craft breweries people! Cheers!

State Food Rankings: 50 American States Ranked by Food/Drink – Thrillist

German Lagers in Mexico – An Intertwined History

•November 11, 2014 • 4 Comments
Three Amigos, encounter the tyrant El Gapo and German arms dealer!

Three Amigos, encounter the tyrant El Gapo and German arms dealer!


Sunday afternoon, my feet kicked up and perched on my ottoman, watching my all-time classic comedy movie The Three Amigos, and in the background the subtle bumping of Mexican polka music transmitting from my neighbor’s backyard fiesta, which is innocuous to my hearing senses, like the flying buzzes of the Ghetto Birds late at night, they are expected events, and It would be weird if I didn’t hear these things!
I had a Kung Fu grip on my Negra Modelo beer for my viewing pleasure, it was crisp and lightly flavored with the weather pushing the century mark – the Modelo Negra had no chance for survival, it was gonna get devoured!
When intoxicated, for unknown reasons, my wheels start turning and I had an epiphany, while these events were unfolding.

The Three Amigos, in-a nut- shell, – a Mexican village was being bullied by a tyrant “El Guapo” – who, by the way, received arms from a German connection! The Three Amigos come kick El Guapo’s and the Germans asses and save the village. All though this was a comedy, there are some underling loose truths to this movie’s plot. Germans and Mexicans did have a mutual respect for each other, so much, during WWI the U.S. intercepted –  the Zimmermann telegram – Germany requesting that Mexico invade U.S. territory!Yikes!!!


Mexican Norteno Band – German influence


Germany Polka band

Remember the Mexican Polka music in the back ground? – Mexicans love their Norteno, Banda, and Corridos music, and Polka music originated in the central regions of Europe; Germany, Poland, Austria, etc…

And my Modela Negra is a Lager, and you all know Lagers originated from the Germans!!!!

See where im I going with this?…

Germany and Mexico have an intertwined history!!!!….see what I did there!

So time to do some Sherlock Holmes investigating. There I was searching for German and Mexican influences, and there is some good stuff I found. Germans and Mexicans have a great history of fusion. And Mexican beer being a product of that fusion.

Emperor Maximilano - of Austria- indication of early German influence in Mexico

Emperor Maximilano – of Austria- indication of early German influence in Mexico

We can find German influences that date back to the mid 18th century. Mexican Emperor Ferdinand Maximilano was Austrian, who was put in place of power by Napoleon III, of France. Emperor’s Maxiliano reign was short lived, lasting from 1864 to 1867. Benito Juarez’s movement would eventually wear down the Emperor’s regime, along with the help of U.S. support, Maximilano would be captured and executed. What did his regime bring to Mexico, you may ask? European arts and cuisine. He would encourage Europeans, especially Germans and Austrians to occupy Mexico. Art took more of a European flavor and Empress Carlota, his wife, did fuse indigenous foods with European cuisines. Emperor Maximilian  was the first to bring Middle Europe music to México. By 1864 he had marching bands and musicians to entertain him and most importantly, when he traveled, he always had two German beer brewmasters with him. This is when the first traces of German Lager beers were introduced to Mexico.

You thought Los Angeles was diverse, in the mid 1800 Mexico was inedidated with European immigrants and influences, and Emperor Ferdinand Maximilano solidified east European occupation.

By the turn of the 19th century – many German immigrant colonies were settling in the central portion of Mexico and as far south of Chiapas! Who by the way were skilled and Industrial workers. It was during this time German immigrant beer brew masters were concocting Mexican beers for sell!  Prior to German beer brewing, although Beer was present in Mexico, due to weak industrial resources, lack of knowledge and taxation to barely and other natural resources,  it was limited and many beers were being imported. What propelled Mexican Lagers consumption and demand? What I call the perfect storm, was U.S. prohibition law, nixing the sell of alcohol. Skirting law, many U.S. citizens found their way south of the border to get their golden froth fix on and breweries were sprouting around the borderlands.

Also, during this time of Prohibition and the turn of the century – a new style of Lager was hitting the beer circuit. – The Vienna Style lager. A amber to penny hue beer, with robust flavors brewed with sweet malts. Originally brewed by Anton Dreher of Austria – his beer recipe found its way to the Western Hemisphere, leaving a large imprint in Mexican beer history laurel. Vienna lagers were being consumed everywhere…some call these beers, prohibition beers.

Vienna Style Lager - Negra Modelo

Vienna Style Lager – Negra Modelo


This leads to my  Negra Modelo – out of all the Lager styles. This Mexican- Vienna Style is my favorite. And Modelo Negra makes a great brew. This beer has been in production since 1925! and today Group Modelo owns 80% of Mexico’s beer market! Dos Equis also makes a popular Venna Style lager but the Negra is my favorite. Mexican beers come in many styles from Pilsners (light beer) to dark lagers (Munich Dunkel.) As mentioned earlier, German Lagers are visible in the western hemisphere. From Central to South America, Lagers are the ruling class of beers, and it doesn’t stop there, Asia has a fine brew of Lagers as well. Such as Sapparo and Ashai.

Germans have a strong influence in todays Mexican culture, although Maximilano reign was short lived, his influences has left a strong imprint. And on any given weekend, cruising through Los Angeles, you can hear Banda/Norteno music playing echoing in different neighborhoods while party patrons sipping on Coronas (lager) and eating carne asada, and having a good time. Till next time, cheers.



Guest Blogger – Ian Robertson aka GOP Ian

•October 14, 2014 • 3 Comments
Unibroue - Terrible

Unibroue – Terrible

Terrible - Head

Terrible – Head

It’s a great honor to present our first guest blogger. GOP Ian. Ian and I have two things in common, we work together and we love beer!  But everything else we agree to disagree! Our personalities are  like night and day. I’m a left winger and he’s a right-winger, I like Star Wars, he likes Star Trek! I’m Homer Simpson and he’s Ned Flanders…you get the point right? Our water cooler gang, anointed him GOP Ian because of his staunch advocacy for conservatism but we will change him eventually, he’ll be protesting in the mean streets of LA, grow his hair long and hug a tree in no time. And to be honest, he is a cool vato and we enjoy his banter and find his politics and views amusing – he brings a breath of fresh farts to our 9 to 5 daily grind. Without further a do, GOP Ian…..

GOP Ian here, giving my first review on Golden Foam Notes. I just want to say, this review is being composed just minutes after sampling the beer of the day, so please excuse any problems with my grammar or general intelligibility.

Today’s beer is “Terrible” by Unibroue, a Canadian company based in Quebec. My first and only exposure to this company was a Belgian style ale called “La Fin Du Monde” which translates in English to “The End of the World.” It’s a pretty good beer but this review is about “Terrible,” so moving on. I received this bottle from my next door neighbor who found it lying around (probably something his son bought and never drank) and thought to give to me, since he knows about my newfound appreciation for beer beyond Budweiser. By the way, just about e.v.e.r.y. beer is beyond Budweiser. So, after letting it hang around in my fridge, rent free for about 2 weeks, I decided it was time to review it, so here goes.

This beer came in a 750ml brown, mysterious bottle, which is 1 pint, 9.4 ounces… that’s quite a bit of beer. The bottle is dark and says “Terrible” as if in warning to the wanna-be connoisseur, browsing the isles at the local Bevmo. The kicker though is the strength. It’s tipping the scales at 10.5% ABV (alcohol by volume)!!! That’s the strongest I have ever had in my rookie career. For comparison, Bud Light is 4.2% ABV, which means it’s comparable to drinking this stuff, not washing the glass, and then filling it with water… . thaaaat’s right. This stuff will kick you in the balls, and then your balls will kick your brain in the balls. Here I am, I survived the alcohol, and the rest of it… but that’s coming up.

This Dark Ale which was brewed “On Lees” which from my drunken search on Wikipedia means it was brewed partially with dead yeast, potentially left over from wine, was a first time adventure for me. I started off by unwinding the metal wire from the cork, exposing the raw cork beneath. Then I twisted the cork, as I do for all corked beers, only this time it defied my thirsty might. I tried gripping it with my shirt between my hand and the cork, no good. I tried twisting the other direction, no good. I couldn’t believe it, this beer had already defeated me, not needing to tap into its 10.5% potency to do so. I would not be easily defeated however, not having touched a beer in over 4 days, so I changed my strategy and began using my thumbs to push at one side, then the other. I continued this all the way around until it seemed the seal had been broken. A final twist with my strong hand and the cork was loosed, as was the aroma of success.

It was a malty scent, a sweet apple like aroma, reminding me of fruit that had been left in a basket and then forgotten. Not unpleasant at all, but definitely a surprise. The head (golden foam) was a little under an inch thick and quickly dissolved, leaving no lacing behind. I don’t know if the lacing is a big deal or not, but I thought I would mention it since all the “professional” reviewers do. The color was a n earthy brown. By the way, this beer seemed to get very good reviews so I was expecting a pretty darn good beer. Then came the first sip. It wasn’t mine.. I asked my wife to take the first sip since she was graceful enough to watch the children while her husband went into drunken fighter mode…ehh, writer mode. She made a face and said it tasted like all of my beers, like Vienna sausage, hahaha that’s no good, her rookie taste buds make me feel like a pro again. My first sip was like… a teaspoon of rubbing alcohol mixed with rotten fig. Never had either ? Good, you aren’t missing much. As you exhale your nose is stung by a potent alcohol type of burn that I should have expected from a 10.5% ale, but had forgotten about.   Hot diggity damn that’s strong! I found that taking deeper swallows produced more of this unfriendly sensation so I sipped, letting the bubbles play on the tip of my tongue. The flavor is fruity, very fruity, making the earlier scentof fruits in a basket seem like a liar… there were really a lot more rotten fruits in that basket, and I think the basket had started to rot too ,ha! Very sweet, too sweet, the fig/apple flavors came though strong and sugary, leaving me with a mouth full of sugar and alcohol, but not in the same way as a margarita… this was just wrong. I guess I would best describe the flavor as “sickly sweet.” If you have experienced that smell at some point in your life then no explanation is necessary. If not, no explanation can help you.   This is definitely not a refreshing beer, not even on a hot day, with its overpowering sweetness, rotten charm, and overly-powerful alcohol burn. It is a beer to have once you are already buzzing hard, and maybe not even then.

It would have been nice to have a positive review for my first blog on Golden Foam Notes, but it is what it is, and better for you to get an honest review than a false pleasant one. This is not a beer I would buy, and probably not even accept for free again. I have a feeling this was a failed batch at Unibroue, and the master brewer thought that maybe by calling it was it is, the peasant folk would believe it was sarcasm and maybe even fool themselves into thinking they had just had an exotic bit of nectar which the rest of the world was missing out on. I can count myself amongst the suckers who sampled an entire bottle of this rotten concoction. On a scale of 1-10, I give this ale a 4. Why not lower? Because I can tell some effort with into this, with the spices and fruits. The result was catastrophic but I need to reward creativity and effort. Otherwise, we end up with Bud/Miller/Coors lights everywhere. A unique beer, but not anything I would recommend to someone I like.

My next review will be of a beer I already know I like, but the bottle will have been aged a couple of months to extract the maximum flavor. Until then friends, until then.

Farewell Bobby, welcome Mr. Robert! – Oakland, CA Trip

•September 28, 2014 • 1 Comment

Our good buddy, Bobby will be taking the plunge into the abyss of matrimony. To celebrate his last vestige of bachelorhood, he requested to go to a Raider’s game. So we made a weekend out of it. What was on the itinerary? A weekend of non-stop debachery.

We arrived to Oakland, Califas late Saturday 9/13 afternoon! Bobby showed up 15 min after we arrived at the

On the road to Oakland, Califas - Sept, 13 2014- via the 5 fray

On the road to Oakland, Califas – Sept, 13 2014- via the I-5 freeway

Love/Hate Letter!

Love/Hate Letter!

Motel! To our surprise Bobby brought a  treasure chest filled of beers and snacks from Eureka, California. Along with a note from his Fiancee and adorable daughter. We appreciated the excellent beers and snacks, but the “Go Giants Beat LA” reference??? really???Anyways Dodgers beat the Giants 17-0  that night, so we got the last laugh!! In your face monkeys!! LOL!!!!

The beers Bobby brought over were excellent. And the Lost Coast – Eight Ball Stout – caught my attention! It had a mocha coffee roast taste – medium carbonation and very tasty. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a beer glass to

Lost coast Brewery - 8 ball Stout 6.3%

Lost coast Brewery – 8 ball Stout 6.3%

pour this ebony beer to view her and taste her gracefully, as she deserves. As always, Nor Cal beers are superior and if it wasn’t for Nor Cal breweries, California beers would not bowed well with the rest of the nation’s brews!

The Big Lou Dog brought a bottle of Don Ramon Anejo Tequila – I’m

 Don Ramon Anejo Tequila- very smooth.

Don Ramon Anejo Tequila- very smooth.

not a big Tequila drinker, but this brand was smooth, no bad after taste, and when chased with beer ohhhh weeeee, nice!!. It sparked the night and got us revved up! With some great beers and fine Tequila on hand. We were ready to take on the night!

We found our way to Jack London Square, the entertainment hub for Oakland. I had heard about the  The Trappist – a bar dedicated to Belgian and Specialty Beers! So, the boys and I found our way to visit this bar. And it didn’t disappoint.

Belgium beers rings religous antiquity! When I think Belgium beers, I think of Monks brewing god’s golden

Lots of character in Oakland

Lots of character in Oakland

St. Barnardus and Ch

St. Barnardus and Charcuterie

froth in Abbeys/Monastaries back in the medieval times. Selling and drinking beer, in the name of baby Jesus.

The Trappist, felt like walking into a time machine, the place is cozy with a Manor and Tavern feel, so kudos on décor! I went straight to the bar and immediately saw St. Barnardus – Triple on tap and ordered some. I have had plenty of confessions with St. Barnardus – and it is a fine brew – filled with a rainbow of flavors. The creamy head just drizzles down the goblet glass within seconds – leaving a lewd and crude messy froth that would make Ron Jeremy blush. Take a sniff and you smell fruits scents injected straight through your sinus cavity and bam, you see a light and monks chanting…then you hear the gentle angelic whispers of “come drink me, and lets be one.” Take a sip, and you are in heaven.  That my friends is St. Bernardus.

To compliment our beers, the Big Lou Dog ordered a chopping board of meats, cheese and breads, the French

call it Charcuterie.  We also ordered the Reuben Sandwich, a

hardy sandwich! We kept ordering more beers and food, time was standing still, and we drank the night away

The Trappist, Oakland Califas

The Trappist, Oakland Califas

chopping it up – talking about old times. After the Trappist, we took a midnight stroll of the city. The bay

breeze had the trees chime in symphony and leaves falling. The streets desolate but the buildings were vibrant

and standing erect like English Queen’s guards protecting its grounds. I took snap shots of the city, Oakland sure has character and charm. We walked off our buzz and called it quits about 1am and prepared for Sunday’s Raiders game.

Miraculously, I didn’t wake up with a hang over, but my buddies sure did. I woke up early and exercised while the boys slept off their hangover. By the time I came back, the boys were having Breakfast@a local Mexican restaurant, so I joined them. We had breakfast and got ready for the Raiders game.We reached the Oakland Coliseum an hour before game time, and did some tailgate partying with Bobby’s friends. It was pretty neat to see a sea of black jerseys. Fans were great, although the aura can feel intimidating, everybody was super cool and occasional heckles ensued when an opposing fan would fly different colors, but it was harmless fun. When in Rome, do what the Romans do, was my motto for the day!I shouted “ Raiiiiiiddddddeeerrrzzzzzzzzzzzz” here and there. The Big Lou Dog – shouted “Cowboys” in little

Bobby and Lou Dog navigating through the streets of Oakland

Bobby and Lou Dog navigating through the streets of Oakland

bursts, getting ominous stares, considering the Raiders were not playing the Cowboys. He was just being an antagonist schmuck LOL! We trickled our way into the stadium, passing by each tailgate party was like viewing different sitcoms, each having different themes, pretty cool. The line into the stadium was surprisingly seamless, I wasn’t restless or irritated, maybe the alcohol kept my patiences at bay, and to be honest I was having a good time, so the line wait was not even a bother.

I hear free board and meals, if we stay at this place.

I hear free board and meals, if we stay at this place.

Once we were in the stadium, we immediately hit the concession stands for some beers! To my surprise they had Lagunitas Indian Pale Ale  on tap.  The IPA is a fine beer recipe, and a treat for the hoppy minty beer connoisseur. Actually, right now, the Lagunitas IPA is my favorite IPA. If Marijuana was a drink, it would be a Lagunitas IPA – it smells like pure minty leaves, that of the Marijuana lineage. You take a gulp and very hoppy and again, you get a Marijuana texture feel to it. **Note full disclaimer** Like Bill Clinton, I took a puff but didn’t inhale Marijuana. LOL! The price seemed inflated, but i get it. At $12 a cup, for 20 oz – I guess that is a reasonable rate at a sports event. And considering the Big Lou Dog bought a round of Bud Light, and that tasted like carbonated water mixed with some corn syrup posing as yeast and barely. The Lagunitas was we’ll worth the money.

With our beers at hand and the game on, it was a triumphant afternoon. Well actually, almost triumphant, Bobby’s Raiderzzzz, didn’t show up for the game, but regardless, it was a well spirited effort from the Raiders!

Catching up and spending time with Bobby was the highlight of the weekend. I wish him the very best on his marriage and spending an epic life journey with his super fiancé and daughter! Mr. Robert, when you guys are in SoCal make sure to stop by my hood, weezz gotzz some great breweries in the East Side of LA now, its changed a lot, since you have been gone. Till then, Cheers!

Neat Old School Architecture.

Neat Old School Architecture.

Midnight stroll

Midnight stroll












Oakland Coliseum - tailgating

Oakland Coliseum – tailgating













Roll Dogs

Roll Dogs


























Sea of black jerseys!

Sea of black jerseys!











Butt Light beer! At least it kept me cool, stands were Africa hot!

Butt Light beer! At least it kept me cool, it was Africa hot in the stands.














Oracle Arena - as quoted from Lou Dog “Where the Golden St. Warriors lose to the Lakers"

Oracle Arena – as quoted from Lou Dog “Where the Golden St. Warriors lose to the Lakers”














Bobby and Lou Dog, raging!

Bobby and Lou Dog, raging!














Washington St. Beer Part Deux

•September 4, 2014 • 2 Comments

My Sasquatchian friend from the great Northwest shipped me some of Washington St, finest brew, AGAIN! And I can’t stop raving about Washington State beer, it’s so freaking good.

Im going to take a different approach at my beer review. Im going to use the ancient Haiku poem structure as my format. Wait, I know, it sounds lame, but give me a chance, I think you’ll like it. The Haiku is fairly a simple poem structure/formula, it is as easy as playing Tic-Tac-Toe. Below formula…

1. Choose a subject – using 5 syllables. (BEER IS F-ING GOOD)

2. Describe your subject – using 7 syllables ( GOLD BUBBLES SPICES TINGLES)

3. Tell how it affects you – using 5 syllables (FLOATING ON THIN AIR)


The Haiku goes way back, about 700 AD. Both used by Chinese and Japanese cultures. It was the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694) , that brought the Haiku to prominence. And his Haiku was influenced by his firsthand experience of the world around him.

I was also influenced, to write a poem beer review, in honor of the writers and poets that used alcohol as their median of expression. Like Hemmingway and LA’s, very own infamous writer Charles Bukowski …so here we go.

photo 2

Issaquah Brewery – White Frog Ale 5.7% – first impression, wheaty – pours like a lager w/minimal head- golden cloudy appearance




White Frog Ale Is Good…

She is blonde with fresh bubbles…

Sour tart frown but smooth…









Dick’s Brewing Co – Dick Danger Ale 5.5%- First impression – The Name of the beer! Good Fall beer!






Dick Danger Ale nice…

Nubian coffee roast taste…

Sunday drive to church…







Okay, there goes my attempt at poetry…hope it wasn’t too cheesy. Feel free to send me your Haiku beer review. And I will post it on my blog. Kudos to Kevin, for providing some of Washington State’s finest brew – I have some Cali beer coming up your way soon. Tell next time – cheers!

Peter the Great + Barclay Financial = Russian Imperial Stout!

•August 14, 2014 • 1 Comment


GOP Ian and I was chatting during break, and he was talking about his latest visit to Costco and the craft beers they carry now.He ran down a list of beers he bumped into…from lagers to Hefs, Ales etc… but one stood out to me– a Russian Imperial Stout. Now we all know that Russians love there vodka, maybe, too much, they actually had to sancation the fermented potatoe because of early death rates.

Boris Yeltsin

Boris Yeltsin

And how can we not forget about Russian’s President Boris Yeltsin and his tyraid of public drunkeness.

There is now doubt that the Russians like to get tipsy. And the Russian Imperial Stout, is by far, a heavy ABV hitter, literally the Ivan Drago of beers,  so this beer brought many questions. How did this Vodka loving country manage to get their own personal beer style recipe? I mean, I don’t ever hear about a Filipino Pac-Man Stout??? So, I did some investigating and found some interesting facts and history.

As we all know, or maybe not? Stouts and Porters originated in England and neighboring countries, found mostly around ports and named after the helping hands of the ports – called “Porters” – We can trace the birth of the Russian Imperial Stout/Porter – to Peter the Great and his visit to Western European countries.

Peter the Great , circa 1700 – the Czar of Russia. Who was responsible for Westernizing Russia with his staunch land

Russian Tsar Peter the Great

Russian Tsar – Peter the Great

reforms, built the capital of St. Petersburg and constructed a formidable military. He basically put Russia on the map!

In his thirst for a perinnieal Navy – he visited Western European countries, most notable; England. During his visit to England, Peter the Great was offered his first Stout/Porter and fell in love with the chocolate-like barely beer. In fact, he loved it so much, Peter brought back home a vat to discover that the beer had spoiled and froze during the journey back home.

Barclay Brewery who brewed the stout, – quickly found a solution. They increased the alcohol and hop contents that boosted the shelf life of the beer and drastically changing the hue color of the beer, leaving a dark chocolate -coffee oil slick appearance. Thus the birth of the Russian Imperial Stout was born. The beer became an instant hit in Russia, beer no longer had the stimiga of just being a blue collar work force Spirit beverage but also a royal beverage! Thus “Imperial” signifying – class status. On a side note Barclay Brewery was part owned by the Barclay Financial banking family! Can you imagine that, beer was responsible for Barclay’s global success! sort of. Russian Empress, Catherine the Great (1729-1796) would continue to purchase

Barclay Russian Stout the coffee like froth.

Thrales Anchor Brewery brewed for Catherine the Great for several years and

then John Courage Brewery continued to brew its Imperial Stout, with the boast on its label that it was originally brewed by Imperial order of Catherine, up until the 1990s! The beer trade, via the Baltic Sea route, from England to Russia lasted for 200 years!

the Russian Stout was fading out by the turn of the 20th century. Production of the Russian Stout seized and local breweries favored different style beers, like Lagers and traditional Ales, coupled with change of ownerships and catastrophic events to some breweries e.g. fires. The Russian Stout went dormant, but like Mt. St. Helen, it has erupted again!

The newfound bravado and quirkiness of the emerging craft brewing scene in the U.S. has brought back and have reincarnated the Russian Imperial Stout recipe with bolder flavors and higher AVB’s- that would make your chest hairs grow, like a Chia Pet!

In recent  years English brewers have rekindled the Imperial trade route – retracing the Baltic beer route. I believe this Baltic beer run event has become an annual event, with participating regional Breweries, sponsoring the event, and contributing their custom Russian Imperial Stout along the way.

The Imperial Stouts/Porters are winter beers, served between temps of 55-60 degrees, and usually poured in a sniffer glass (pic below), to help smell the complexity of roast /Chocolate aromas with a faint smooth like milky texture.

Imperial Stout - Snifter Glass

Imperial Stout – Snifter Glass

The Russian Imperial Stout is one sexy beast with a Royal history. Peter and Catherine would have been proud with the new renditions.

Hey, I have an idea, with the recent tensions with Russia and President Putin flexing his iron fest. I will volunteer my civil services, with an  American style Russian Imperial Stouts at tow, trek to the Kremlin and discuss with our comrades how we are so similar in cultures and enjoy the finer things in life, while drinking the Amer-Russo Imperial Stout! –  this should ease tensions. Wow, I feel like Denise Rodman when he visited North Korea. Till next time – cheers!



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