I love the beer brewed by Central City Brewing. I am particularly fond of their Imperial IPA and their Copper Bock, not to mention Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine when it is available. When we heard that Central City was going to be having a 5th anniversary celebration this past Saturday, we were all aboard. We were particularly excited about the special beer pairing menu and the five uniquely aged brews to be on offer:
- Belgian Trippell – brewed December 06, 9.0% alc/vol
- Smoked Porter – brewed October 07, 8.5% alc/vol
- Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine – brewed October 07, 10.5% alc/vol
- Imperial IPA – brewed June 08, 8.5% alc/vol
- Red Racer Winter Ale brewed September 08, 7.5% alc/vol
We decided to head to Central City last Saturday evening for 7PM, thinking any earlier would not suit drinking such strong beers on a chore laden Saturday. We thought this was a perfectly acceptable idea seeing as the Facebook event listed the start and end times at noon and 11PM respectively. It was to our tremendous dismay when our waitress had no clue what we were talking about when we asked for the special menu. We missed it! The festivities came and went in the afternoon. I was even more disappointed to hear from the honourable Rick Green that the party was held in the brewery itself and that all of the food and beer was free to CAMRA members. I’m still a bit depressed writing this up.
Us looking sad (but still kind of happy) at Central City
In any case, no trip to Central City is a waste when Empire IPA is readily available. I also think the food there is rather better than your typical pub fare. That being said, there’s nothing like having your ID scanned and your mugshot taken like you’re a criminal when entering a brewpub. I find the restaurant to be somehow disjointed from the brewing operation. The last few times I’ve visited Central City, our waitresses have seemed to think that displaying half of each boob makes up for impoliteness and poor attentiveness, but then to some that’s a boon. I even got the “oooh, have you had it before” when I ordered their Imperial IPA, which I ordered with authority mind you. It seems to me that they are not taking much pride in their beer. Maybe it’s just me though, am I visiting Central City at the wrong times?
Further to Erik’s great post on cellaring beer and his creation of The Cellar page, I thought I should post about my philosophy on the beer cellar and what beers I am currently aging. Until very recently, my philosophy on cellaring has been to not cellar anything. I’ve realized recently that I was flawed in my thinking because aging can definitely enhance the flavors and take the edge off of a strong beer. What really helped me realize the greatness of aging beer was the Thor’s Hammer Barley Wine we recently enjoyed at Central City Brewing, which was fantastic. I had the opportunity to compare this barley wine, aged 18 months, to other younger barley wines, where the aged beer far surpassed the young beer in smoothness and in flavor.
I’ve learned the hard way that strong beer should be aged, having impatiently consumed a Fullers 2008 Vintage Ale, a Philips Burley Barley Wine, and a Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron far too early. In fact, I’ve noticed the pattern that I always immediatly drink a strong beer worthy of aging, only to have Erik realize my folly and buy the same beer for his cellar. This works out well for both of us, Erik gets to taste the young beer I hasten to enjoy, and then I get to taste Erik’s aged bottle a year or so later. Look forward to some great reviews of aged beer in the coming year, complete with first hand insight on how the beer has matured with age.
As for my cellar, it is humbly located in a dark, tucked away corner of my garage where the temperature ranges from 10-20 degrees Celsius throughout the year. I may have to make other arrangements in the summer during heat waves. My cellar consists of very few beers at this point in time, but my stockpile will grow. The meager number of bottles in my cellar has to do with my lack of patience and the knowledge that Erik will probably share his aged goods with me.
My cellar currently contains:
The stock in my cellar will surely grow this year. That being said, old habits die hard. I have a Driftwood Old Cellar Dweller Barley Wine in the fridge right now, ready to be warmed up and consumed at a moments notice. When will I learn?
We’ll be updating our Cellar Page with new acquisitions as they arrive. Please check back with us for reviews of aged brews as we consume them. Also, we’d love to hear of other worthy candidates for our cellar if anybody has any recommendations.