With two beer events happening at the same time in St. Louis, it sometimes gets a bit difficult to decide which one to attend. Light night you had the option to attend the O’Fallon Beer Dinner at Big Sky Cafe or the Imperial Tasting at Whole Foods. How is a beer lover to decide? Luckily for me, I had already paid for my ticker for the Imperial Tasting before the beer dinner was announced, so I had the decision made for me.

Andy and Ric put on a fantastic spread of beers and snacks that not only allowed us to cut some of the big beer’s alcohol content, but also allowed us to pair beers with certain foods. For instance Ric provided malted milk balls to pair with things like the Imperial Stouts and a mildly sharp cheddar cheese to match with a bitter Imperial IPA.

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The beers provided on this beer adventure were:

  • Schlafly Imperial Stout (’06 and ’07)
  • Schlafly Barleywine (’06 and ’07)
  • Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti Imperial Stout
  • Rogue – Old Crustacean Barleywine
  • Arcadia – Imperial IPA
  • Goose Island – Imperial IPA

beer-564_1024x768.jpgNow you may be asking yourself, how did they get an ’06 Imperial Stout and Barleywine? Normally I’d say that Andy is one of the few beer managers in St. Louis that actively holds beers back to age and sells them at reasonable prices. But in this case it’s because we had some very special guests, Dan Kopman and Nick Vickery of St. Louis Brewery, who brought along this wonderful beer.

Ibeer-567_1024x768.jpgf I were to rank my personal favorites from the evening, I’d probably choose the ’06 Barleywine and ’06 Imperial Stouts as my two clear cut favorites. It was amazing to try the beers side by side and see just how much they’ve mellowed and smoothed out over time. I also really enjoyed the Oak Aged Yeti from Great Divide. I’ve had both the oaked and un-oaked versions of this beer and have always preferred the oaked version. To me, the oaking really softens some of the harsher notes and gives the beer a subtle vanilla flavor as well.

This was a very fun event because it lets you really nerd out with fellow beer enthusiasts and really talk about beer. Andy and Ric are always looking for suggestions about styles for these tasting sessions. Feel free to comment here or in this thread on the forum to give them your ideas for future tastings.

Did anyone attend the event at Big Sky?  Feel free to leave comments about that as well, I’d love to hear about it.