T Minus 9 Days – Mad River & Thirsty Dog

Mark  has been working real hard to get a good cross selection of beers for the beer festival.  A mix of different styles, from breweries from across the US and Europe.  (At last count, it looks like we’ll have at least 20 beers from Belgium, and we’ll talk more about that later in the countdown.)

This morning I was looking over the work-in-progress beer list, and I was surprised just how many beers and breweries on the list I was not familiar with.

Mad River Brewing Company

Mad River Brewing Company is from Blue Lake, California.  They’ve been brewing beer since 1989, and are best known for their beers under the Steelhead label.  There’s a Steelhead beer glass in my collection, which I acquired on a visit to a brewpub in San Francisco years ago, so I assumed that they were related.  I don’t recall the brewpub being anything spectacular or particularly memorable, and this San Francisco branch has long since closed.   There are still branches of the Steelhead brewpub in Eugene, Oregon and two locations in California.

That said, apparently Mad River Brewing Company has no relation to the Steelhead brewpubs, they both just decided to start up a business using the same brand name at about the same time.

We won’t have any of the Steelhead beers from Mad River (which is primarily pale ales and IPAs, and I’d love to try them, but we have to make this more than just an IPA fest), but we will have two from their Jamaica series.

Cool runnings

Jamaica Red Ale was originally brewed for a reggae festival in Northern California, but it was met with such enthusiasm that it became a year round offering.  Sadly, when most people think of red ales, they think of Killian’s Red, which is actually a lager.  This review from one of Beer’s Advocate’s founding Alstom brothers makes me look forward to trying this beer:  “Oh yeah! Smooth, medium-body, luscious fruity/malty sweetness with notes of toffee, wood, earth, ripe pineapple and bready notes. Yeast flavours. Crisp. Sharp, somewhat coarse and leafy, hop bitterness that smacks with notes of citrus and herbal and backs the maltiness just right.”   Read the review here:  http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/266/735/?ba=bros

Sorry Bob Marley. No herbs, just malt and hops

We’re also expecting Mad River’s Double Dread Imperial Red Ale, which is a maltier and hoppier version of the Red.  I’m really looking forward to this one.

Speaking of red ales, it looks like we’ll also be pouring Juggernaut Red Ale from Pyramid Breweries.  This is a late substitution, as we were trying to get Snow Cap, their winter warmer, but it looks like we’re a little too early in the season.

Thirsty Dog Brewing Company

So many legs, so little time

Another brewery that I’m not that familiar with is Thirsty Dog Brewing Company from Dayton, Ohio.  We’re counting on them to help improve our selection of darker beers.

Old Leghumper Porter was a gold medal award winner back at the 2002 World Beer Cup.  Reviews suggest that it is a robust full bodied porter with dark chocolatey roasted malts, with just a hint of hops in the finish.   For those of you keeping score at home, IBU’s = 24, OG = 15 P.

Siberian Night Imperial Stout is a whopper of an imperial stout … providing physical proof of the existence of dark matter .  Reviews suggest a taste range of dark chocolate, coffee, fig, currant, with a healthy dose of hops.  This beer was a gold medal winner at the 2006 Great American Beer Festival, and has taken a bronze medal in some other years.  Check out  more reviews at Beer Advocate here:  http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/12516/8023  And for those of you keeping score at home, IBU’s = 58, OG = 25 P.  (I wish we could get IBU and gravity information for the other beers being poured so easily.)

9 days to go and counting down …

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