Wasn't sure this one would even happen. We'd just had D.W.O. and the response to the callout was muted. The ever-ready bunny, Dan, was ready and willing, of course. David said he might be able to join us late. Robert was out on the left coast promoting some book about dairy farming. Guests from out of town would predlude "P" from joining. Kevin had to pick up his child. Even I had to stay late at work and was going to be late. We called it for 8 PM at good old Croxley Alehouse.
I arrived just after eight and found Dan sitting at the bar. Our favorite bartender, Val, was there and remembered us, a good sign. ("I remember you! You guys are the beer experts.") The beer selection did not disappoint. Since Dan and I had picked Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale as the Best Brown at D.W.O., we were eager to taste it on draft and see if it was different from the bottled version.
While it was pretty much the same beer, I have to admit the hops seemed a bit more "alive," while the Dog still retained the same great malt/hops balance. I've no doubt that if we had the draft and bottled versions to taste head-to-head that the draft would have won out, but the differences between the two were not major by any means.
David arrived. I was in the mood for fall/winter seasonals. Next up was a round of Goose Island Harvest Ale. It was decent, but a bit too sour and hoppy for my taste.
In the next round, Dan went for the Blue Point Pumpkin Ale, which felt very light in the mouth but was nicely spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg. David opted to try the cask ale, Rose County (sour and bitter). Meanwhile, I opted for the Harpoon Winter Warmer. This beer was...different. There was a strong note of cinnamon in this beer too, but it was kind of peppery. I couldn't decide whether or not I liked it. I found this all rather perplexing. At some point yummy "medium" wings arrived.
We followed this with a round of Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale. Whoa! Quite a bit different from the Old Brown Dog. Hoppy—almost like an IPA. Apparently, the alcohol was beginning to kick in. I have no notes for the next beer but the photo evidence confirms my recollection that we had a round of Ommegang Abbey Ale. Definitely the most complex beer we'd had all night. There's a lot going on here: honey, toffee, caramel, licorice and chocolate! But like Ommegang's Three Philosophers we'd had at D.W.O., this struck me as a little too alcoholic. At 8.5% ABV, it was definitely stronger than anything else we'd had. Naturally it came in a girly-glass.
Burgers arrived, as did Kevin. As the BrewCam™ photo shows, everything get sketchy for me after this point. Dan and I finished the night with a Hoegaarden Wit. Gawd! This WAS good! The orange and coriander flavors seemed SO fresh. Even though it's "only" 4.9% ABV, it's a fantastic beer. Kevin had a short dead guy. That is, a half-pint of Rogue Dead Guy Ale. Imbued with the love for all mankind that only a solid night of draft beer can bring, we adjourned. Another succesful DNO!