Some other highlights of the year so far:
My favorite beer of 2010 has undoubtedly been Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. I had a 2008 bottle resting in my basement, and when beer spending ceased, those beers I'd been saving became fair game. It's hard to believe I'd gone this long without having this stout of midwest legend, but sometimes it's worth keeping some prize beers untried as long as you can. Luckily, there are so many thousands of pot-of-gold beers, I'll be able to spend my lifetime following rainbows.
The KBS was a perfect stout; better, in my opinion, than its Midwest counterparts Surly Darkness and Bells Expedition Stout, and even better, I thought, than Deschutes The Abyss. Of course, I didn't try these back-to-back. You'd be in trouble if you did. But I was licking my lips after every KBS sip, drumming on the kitchen counter with excitement, in the middle of one of those rare, perfect beer drinking moments. Motor oil black, with a rich, boozy blast of coffee, oak, vanilla and bourbon. The flavor sequence is magnificent: the roasted coffee up front, a sweet toffee vanilla coating as you're swallowing, and that oak-ey bourbon burn after it goes down. I loved the throat burn and nasal sting, and though it packed all these flavors, it was amazingly mellow, earthy and smooth. The only flawless beer I've had this year.
Beer in the hospital
We were told on our hospital tour that nurses had heard of people celebrating with beers in the delivery room, but had never seen it...She advised us that if we wanted to do it, do it with caution. No, I didn't ask about this in front of the entire tour group. She brought it up unprovoked. What, you think I can't go a night without a beer? Well, I went two nights, I think, but when we were told we'd be spending a couple more nights in that tiny, uncomfortable room, I could make it no longer. In came the beer, smuggled between bags of Funyuns and takeout dinner. First came Two Brothers Moaten, which I mentioned previously, then Harviestoun Old Dubh 12. The nurses were clueless, and I didn't mind drinking them out of Styrofoam cups.
St. Paul Summer Beer Fest
I won a pair of tickets to the June festival, held in St. Paul's Midway Stadium parking lot, and it's lucky I didn't realize they were VIP tickets until we picked them up ten minutes before the gates opened for the general public. Had I known we could have access to all those beers an hour early, I would have been a hurtin' individual the next morning. With a pace like the one I displayed that afternoon, an extra hour of drinking would have been devastating. Overall, I enjoyed the experience, though I was less than thrilled with the available samples. Somewhere in between a major geek fest (See: Firkin Fest) and a get wasted drunk fest (See: City Pages Beer Fest), this festival had a good enough number of breweries, 70+, but very few offered anything you couldn't find easily on any liquor store shelf or in house draught list. With that said, I managed to sample 32 new beers, and though I don't count them officially, I get a handle on the beers I'd like to try and those I'd like to avoid. The day's best: Surly Bourbon Aged Brown Eye and Great Lakes Nosferatu, both exceptions to the mass availability rule.