Pro-Am Beer Night at the Trappist

A Great American Beer Festival (GABF) Pro-Am tasting was recently held at the Trappist in Oakland. Of the 73 Pro-Am entries for this year’s GABF, 8 of them were made in California, 6 of which were available last Thursday – including ours. It was a great event and it was especially cool to meet the folks behind the other beers and share brew stories. I can’t thank Nicole and the crew at the Trappist enough for their hospitality and enthusiasm for the beers being served and the community it brought together. I’d say for a good two hours straight there was a line for refills of about 20 people deep – even though you never had to wait more than 5 minutes to get your hands on another great brew. Brilliant!

I must be honest, and I’m not just saying this, all the beers were fantastic in their own right. Although, I must have had a special place in my belly for the Hazy Frog Robust Porter because I was inspired to start tackling the Quincy’s Winter Warmer porter recipe this weekend – I brewed 10 gallons of it yesterday. Michael Frenn inspired me!

Anyway, I can’t wait for Allie and I to get to Denver to try all of these beers again – along with the other entries… Exciting stuff indeed.

The 6 Beers…

Beer Name: Across The Pond
Beer Style: English IPA
Pro: Peter Hoey, Sacramento Brewing Co.
Am: Mike Mraz
ABV: 6.2%
IBUs: 75
OG: 1.065
FG: 1.015
Background: Won 1st place in 2009 CA State Fair Competition; 2nd in 2008 State Homebrew Competition
Description: This copper colored English IPA is brewed with exclusively English hop varieties – no American hops were harmed in the making of this beer.

Beer Name: Janet’s Brown Ale
Beer Style: Imperial American Brown
Pro: Vinnie Cilurzo, Russian River Brewing
Am: Mike “Tasty” McDole
ABV: 7.9%
IBUs: 60
OG: 1.075
FG: 1.015
Background: 2004 & 2009 AHA National Homebrew Competition Gold Medal
Description: A dark, double IPA strength ale featuring Northern Brewer hops balanced against a rich, malt backbone. Minty hop flavor and chocolate malt combine for a “Thin Mints” effect. Named after Mike’s late wife.

Beer Name: Kyle’s Nightmare
Beer Style: Rye IPA
Pro: Todd Ashman, Fifty-Fifty Brewing
Am: Alex Drobshoff
ABV: 7.3%
IBUs: 72
OG: 1.067
FG: 1.016
Background: Came 1st in a club-only competition.
Description: Taste this IPA and “Find your Balance.” A full-bodied American IPA with a touch of Rye.

Beer Name: Elizabeth Street Bitter
Beer Style: English Extra Special Bitter
Pro: Shaun O’Sullivan & Jesse Houck, 21st Amendment
Am: Richard Brewer-Hay
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: 25
OG: 1.055
FG: 1.013
Background: Beer of the Year 2003-2008 in Allie’s Secret Taste Test.
Description: The Elizabeth Street Bitter is brewed with 8 different malts and an equal balance of US and UK hops. It features a mellow hop finish but complex malt flavor. This was batch number 20 of the ESB. An evolution of the first beer ever made back in 2003.

Beer Name: Hazy Frog
Beer Style: Robust Porter
Pro: Nick Campbell, Blue Frog Brewery
Am: Michael Frenn
ABV: 7.2%
IBUs: 42
OG: 1.070
FG: 1.015
Background: Best of Show at Beer World Cup, 1st at Sam Adams’ Longshot, 2nd at CA State Fair and 3rd at CA Brewer’s Commercial Competition
Description: A substantial malty dark ale with a complex and flavorful roasty character. This clone of Anchor Porter includes chocolate, crystal, black and roasted barley malts.

Beer Name: Five and Dime 510 Tripel
Beer Style: Belgian Style Tripel
Pro: Rodger Davis & George Kumparak, Triple Rock Brewery
Am: Nathan Smith
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: 40
OG: 1.077
FG: 1.015
Background: 3rd at 2009 World Cup and MoreBeer Forum Competitions
Description: Flavors and ingredients based around Gregory Verhelst’s Tripel from the La Rulles brewery in Belgium. Nathan grew the yeast at home with 25 gallons of starter to produce a commercial-sized yeast pitch.

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