Saturday was Hopcat's fifth anniversary. Hopcat for those of you who don't live in Grand Rapids Michigan is the city and perhaps the state's preeminent beer bar. It's a place that has helped cultivate my love and understanding of different beers. Finding a place like this really helped me grow in my appreciation for styles by having many examples of a style on draft side by side. You can't really appreciate the nuances of something without a point of reference. Two Russian Imperial Stouts side by side is an experience in decadence; it also allows you to appreciate their differences as you sample one and then another. The fifth anniversary party taught me a few things that I didn't know before and gave me a great opportunity to try a great beer.
(please read more about my day out after the break.)
So I had a great beer on Saturday; Hopcat's Frangelico infused Oil Rigger was a taste sensation. The stout was a good example of the style. The roast was apparent carrying coffee-like flavors and the bitterness of the dark malts hearkened up just the right amount of chocolate flavor. The infusion(I assume just dumping it in) of frangelico was amazing. The strong presence of hazelnuts offered up a nutty extreme of the imperial stout style. It was to imperial stouts what hazelnuts are to coffee. The closest beer I have had is frangelic mountain brown from founders; another hazelnut flavored beer. Both beers have a nuttiness that I shall have to try to reproduce, by hook or by crook!
Events like this one can be rather low key, it was just another Saturday at Hopcat. The food was good, the beer was flowing, and fun was had. These events can be a good way to bring people into your beer drinking world. Don't be shy, your friends might just enjoy themselves!
The highlight of my day was the Hazelnut infused Oil Rigger pictured on left so I will give it a proper review:
Appearance (5/5): Dark looking, light tan head with good lacing. The dark body was a brown black and met my expectations for the style. No faults here.
Aroma (9.5/10): The hazelnuts dominated the aroma. The beer was but a note under the candy like aroma of hazelnut liqueur. The whole thing smelled decadent and appealing. Sweetness, chocolate, candy, roast and of course hazelnuts.
Flavor (16/20): Upon first sip this was sublime. As it warmed the infused flavors seemed more out of place but the beer was still a winner. It was a great beer and I enjoyed the hazelnut addition of the Frangelico. The roast and caramel flavors were subdued and the beer had reasonable dark fruits and chocolate notes.
Mouth-feel (4/5): Carbonation was spot on but the sweetness was quite high. I dunno if I like a RIS with this high of a FG.
Experience (9/10): A damn good beer.