When I first read about Strong Ale Day my first thought was “This is going to be a bunch of malt-heavy beers like Old Ale and Wee Heavy.” Thankfully, there were a variety of beers available and we got to grab a solid snifter glass to go with them for not too much more. Having the right glass makes all the difference so it was interesting to check it out. There was one slight logistical problem with the setup in that everyone had to go back to try each of the six tasters included with the glass. So the line was much larger than it would have been if everyone took six beers with them at once.
I went with two friends so I didn’t have to have six tasters on my own of all these strong beers. It was good that I did because I prefer to let friends finish the ones I don’t really care for. We started with the 8% oatmeal stout called Dammit Jim Stout. It had a solid flavor but didn’t really stick out in any way. Next we went for the Imperial Porter that had some solid coffee and chocolate flavors. This one was quite nice and smooth though it still didn’t match the Victory at Sea from Ballast Point.
We then went for the Imperial IPA. It was my favorite of the set and quite deliciously hop forward. I couldn’t taste much malts but mostly nice tropical fruit and citrus hops. Next we tried two different barleywines. I’m not typically a fan of this style but both of my friends enjoyed them. The Black Barleywine was not as bitter but they were both pretty interesting. The flavors were both a bit on the sweet side for my tastes. Finally, we went with the Imperial Stout. I didn’t try the Old Ale or Wee Heavy because I don’t typically enjoy those style.
Overall, it was a fun experience and a great way to get people to recognize how important it is to use the right kind of glass for the right beer. With a snifter glass it sends the message that this beer should be savored slowly, which we certainly did. At times it felt pretty crowded, much more than I have ever seen here before.