Weekend Tap Update! One Rare Firkin and Some Deliciously “Common” Beer In The Star City…

Bell's Hopslam AleThis weekend in Roanoke, the new craft beer on draft news might as well have the Mission Impossible theme music playing in the background, because it just might take an act such as rappelling into the bar area at Blue 5 to score a taste of what’s being tapped there today.  A couple weeks ago, the downtown restaurant put on tap a small keg of Bells Brewing’s annually released and frenetically sought after Imperial IPA, Hopslam.  From what I remember, it was all gone by sometime the next day.  Today, they will be tapping a firkin of the same beer.  In case there’s still confusion over what a “firkin” actually is, it is a small cask in which a beer is placed and naturally allowed to undergo (or continue) fermentation, and from which is dispensed without any introduction of additional pressurized gas, such as co2.  Therefore, any carbonation in the beer is a result of the fermentation inside that cask, and results in a somewhat to very smooth, gentle mouthfeel in your drinking experience.  (The name “firkin” also works very well for events surrounding releases of beers inside such casks, such as “Firkin Fridays”. Admit it, you’re saying it over and over in your head right now.)  The whole process and the lack of any additional pressurized gas being added often results in a very different tasting experience versus having the same beer from a normal tap dispensing system.  At any rate, firkins are very small vessels, offering up only around 40 or so beers, so if you’re curious at all, or if you didn’t get any Hopslam to begin with this season, you might want to make plans to be at Blue 5 this afternoon.  As far as rappelling into the bar, I was really only kidding – instead, just try to get there early.

Three Heads Common Man Special LagerThe weekend also gives the craft curious in the Star City a chance to try a couple examples of a slightly uncommon, “Common” beer style.  There just don’t seem to be too many attempts at this very American lager style, the “California Common” or “Steam Beer”, which, technically a lager, undergoes fermentation at higher temperatures than lagers typically would.  This results in fruitier (or perhaps more ale like) flavors and a more aggressive hop flavor profile and accompanying bitterness.  You might remember that Virginia’s Port City Brewing Company (Alexandria) took advantage last year of its power loss during the 2012 derecho storm by creating a Steam Lager out of beer which would have continued fermentation at usual, much colder temperatures.  This weekend, we’ll have two chances to try this lager/ale crossover style, as Local Roots Restaurant will is putting Three Heads Brewing’s (NY) Common Man Lager on tap, and Blue 5 will have the Anchor Brewing Company’s (CA) Anchor Steam.

It’s Friday, craft beer curious – get out and try something new, or perhaps revisit an old favorite.  Either way, cheers!


~ by thebeerroad on February 22, 2013.

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